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AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019



28 & 29 On the Cover Tidwell Strimban Photo by Rebekah Gregg

December 2019




In Every Issue


18 ‘Tis the Season

4 Around Woodstock


Don Akridge

From an exhaustive calendar listing to photos of beautiful Christmas decorations, our holiday section is sure to inspire you.

38 A Reel Success

Coming soon to a location near you: The 2020 Cherokee Film Summit.

40 Run with Rob

Two-legged and four-legged race fans turned out for Rob’s Rescues’ first 5K fundraiser.


Community News


Siobhan Brumbelow




Michael Caldwell


Ribbon Cuttings


Everyday Angels


Library Events


Community Calendar


Rob’s Rescues


School News


Recent Home Sales


Directory of Advertisers

38 Cherokee Office of Economic Development 46 Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists 49

Don Esa


Claire Frost


Barbara P. Jacoby


Harry Johnston


Saanvi Lamba


Dr. Sarah Licht

40 Rob Macmillan



Teddy the Spaz Man


Ashley Velez


Pacita Wilson

Patty Ponder, ALM President 770-615-3322 @AroundWoodstockMagazine @AroundWoodstock @around_woodstock 2

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

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Around Woodstock Letter From the Editor It may be the last thing you’d expect to read in the December issue, but I want to talk football. For a minute, anyway. My birthday present from my very thoughtful husband was a couple of tickets to the University of South Carolina’s homecoming game. It’s been decades (I wanted just to say years, but I’m sad to say that decades best describes the time lapse) since I’ve gone to a game. One of the highlights of the weekend for me was meeting George Rogers, who was an outstanding running Hanging with George Rogers and his back for the Gamecocks Heisman trophy. when I was a student. George won South Carolina’s first Heisman in 1980, after leading the nation in rushing and topping the 100-yard mark in every game. George was a guest of the Gamecock Club, signing autographs and posing for pictures with his Heisman. That trophy was impressive and heavy! I have to brag on him because the Gamecocks, bless their hearts, aren’t known for a consistent winning record. But we DID beat the University of Georgia this year! Between that and George’s success, I’ll grab the bragging rights wherever I can. I also learned that George runs a foundation that gives financial assistance to first-generation college students. What a life-changing outreach that is ... and one that will benefit multiple generations. We have quite a few life-changing nonprofits in our own community: Consider the work being done at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch, the Cherokee Family Violence Center, and the Cherokee County Homeless Veteran’s program, among so many others. During this season of giving, as you are shopping for the perfect gifts for family and friends, look beyond your circle for a need that you can meet. There’s no gift too small. The list on pages 24 and 26 should give you some ideas. It’s a blessing to the staff of Aroundabout Local Media to serve you each month. We’d like to wish each of you a joyous holiday season, and exciting and prosperous new year!

Candi Hannigan is the executive editor of Around Woodstock. She has lived in Cherokee County since 1987. Send your comments or questions to Candi@


AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

What’s New Making Waves and Brazilian Wax has opened at 2360 Towne Lake Parkway, Suite 109, offering hair services for men, women and children, and waxing services. 678-247-6994. The owners of KPOP BBQ and Bar are opening Seoul Food at 1105 Parkside Lane, Suite 1208, a to-go fast-styled Korean restaurant with multiple Korean BBQ styles of meats and sides. Owners hope to open in late December or early January.

Joella’s Hot Chicken has opened at 188 Molly Lane, Woodstock. The restaurant offers Southern, fast-casual food. www. Prime 120 is open in downtown Woodstock, at 120 Chambers St.

What’s Coming Northside Cherokee Hospital will open the remaining beds this month on the new seventh floor; the eighth floor opened in the fall. The floor will be home to 32 inpatient beds and eight observation beds to support medical/surgical patients. Hospital officials hope to add a twostory vertical addition to the medical/ surgical tower (floors 9 and 10), a horizontal addition to expand emergency and imaging services, and storage for other areas. An application was filed with the Georgia Department of Community Health.

What’s Closing The Adidas Speedfactory, which opened in 2017 in the Cherokee 75 Corporate Park off Highway 92, will be closing, expecting to cease production by April 2020 at the latest. The 74,000-squarefoot facility employs more than 150 people. “… Our focus will be on filling the very attractive 74,0000-square-foot expandable facility with a new company and matching the workforce with job openings. Cherokee County is Atlanta’s fastest growing community and is an exceptional place to locate and grow a business,” Marshall Day, chairman of the Cherokee Office of Economic Development said.

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COMMUNITY BOARD The Around Woodstock Community Board consists of community leaders from different walks of life. Our board assists us in many ways that include serving as contributing writers and providing valuable feedback.

Rev. Dr. Joseph Cousin, Sr., was appointed pastor of Allen Temple AME Church in June 2017. His degrees include a bachelor of arts in political science from Hampton University, master of divinity degree from the Boston University School of Theology, and a doctoral degree from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in the field of marriage and family therapy. Donnie Henriques has been mayor of Woodstock since 2006: he served on city council beginning with the creation of Ward 6 in 1999. Donnie and his wife, Dr. Jan Henriques, have three children and three grandchildren. Kris McKeeth is team leader and

visionary for The Premier Group Keller Williams Realty on Main Street in Woodstock, and has more than 25 years experience in real estate. She’s active in many community efforts that include her position on the Business Board of downtown Woodstock and as president of Etowah Foundation.

Publisher Aroundabout Local Media, Inc. ALM President Patty Ponder 770-615-3322 Executive Editor Candi Hannigan 770-615-3309 Managing Editor Jackie Loudin 770-615-3318 Art Director Michelle McCulloch 770-615-3307 Page Designer Laura Latchford Controller Denise Griffin 770-615-3315 Market & Advertising Specialist Michelle Smith Copy Editors Bill King, Eliza Somers

Ross Wiseman started Momentum Church in 2005 and

still serves as lead pastor. The father of five draws from his experiences in 26 years of ministry and 24 years of marriage to challenge, inspire and instruct people in what it takes for better living, loving and laughter.

Renee Gable, a sales and marketing executive

for Window Expert Tinting, has been Woodstock’s Planning and Zoning Commissioner since 2015 and volunteers for many committees that work to improve downtown Woodstock. She is an avid cyclist who aligned herself with Greenprints Alliance because of her desire to help create safe trail riding experiences.

Dan Thrailkill and his family love living in the “city unexpected.” He serves on several civic and private local boards and is active in YPOW. In 2016, Dan co-founded Front Porch Advisers, LLC which focuses on community relations and business development strategies for Georgia-based companies. Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1988, Dan believes no one should be a victim of their disease, so you’ll likely see him at the gym.

Around Woodstock, a publication of Aroundabout Local Media, Inc., is a monthly community magazine. The magazine’s goal is to build a sense of community and pride in Woodstock and surrounding area by providing residents with positive stories and timely information. It distributes a total of 16,500 free copies. Approximately 15,700 are direct mailed to homes and businesses and an additional 800 are placed in racks around the community. See page 56 for a distribution map. Around Woodstock also has many digital viewers of the magazine online each month. Around Woodstock welcomes your comments, stories, and advertisements. The deadline is the 10th of the previous month. Subscriptions are available for $24 per year. Send check or money order to the address below. The viewpoints of the advertisers, columnists and submissions are not necessarily those of the editor/publisher and the publisher makes no claims as to the validity of any charitable organizations mentioned. Around Woodstock is not responsible for errors or omissions. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved. © Copyright 2019

Around Woodstock 1025 Rose Creek Drive, PMB 380, Suite 620, Woodstock, GA 30189 For Advertising: Patty Ponder, 770-615-3322 Website: Volume 7, Issue 2


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Local News Spencer Nix Named Citizen of the Year Reformation Brewery cofounder and CEO Spencer Nix has been named the 2019 Barbara G. Ingram Citizen of the Year. The award, presented by Preservation Woodstock Inc., is given to a resident who has made notable contributions toward the preservation of the city’s heritage. Nix was nominated for Nix is co-founder of Reformation Brewery. his efforts in saving the old Priest Home Furnishings warehouse by turning it into the new home of the brewery’s downtown location. As honoree, Nix will be the grand marshal for the city’s Christmas Jubilee Parade, set to begin at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 7. “History is our story; an epic, a tragedy, a comedy, a quest, and a continual rebirth,” Nix said. “Preserving our history gives our community its unique character and links us to the roots of the community and its people, adding to the quality of life."

Wreaths for Headstones A fresh, decorated balsam wreath will be placed on each of the 16,000 graves at the Georgia National Cemetery this year, with help from the community. This is the goal of the Georgia National Cemetery Advisory Council, which is raising funds to purchase the Christmas decorations. Council members are asking for donations of $30 for three wreaths, or $15 each. Checks can be sent to GNC Advisory Council, P.O. Box 1116, Woodstock GA 30188, or donate online at National Wreaths Across America Day will be observed Dec. 14 at Georgia National Cemetery in Canton. Visitors can place wreaths at the gravesites beginning at 11 a.m.; a short ceremony will follow at noon. The event is free and open to everyone.

Typically, there are enough volunteers laying wreaths that the task is completed in an hour. 8

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

Council Votes for Tax Waiver The Woodstock City Council recently voted to allow small businesses opening commercial locations in the city to qualify for the New Small Business Occupational Tax Waiver. Under the program, newly organized businesses that open in the Cherokee County jurisdiction in a commercial location, and have fewer than 10 employees, among other requirements, qualify for the waiver of the application, inspection and occupational tax fees for their first year. An occupational tax license, more commonly known as a business license, is required for all commercial and home-based businesses by each local jurisdiction. The waiver program is intended to encourage business owners to consider Woodstock as a favorable and encouraging environment to begin their business. “Woodstock has been focusing on programs for a few years that help foster a business-friendly community to attempt to grow our employment base,” Mayor Donnie Henriques said. “From partnerships with the Cherokee Office of Economic Development and Chattahoochee Tech to establish the area’s first co-work space, to small business programming support through city supported agencies and nonprofits, we have seen an increase in the community of like-minded individuals looking to establish businesses in the area. We hope that the waiver of these fees is seen as a further incentive to take that next step here in Woodstock.” The city’s first economic development plan, adopted in 2018, emphasizes the retainment and recruitment of small and medium-sized businesses to help reverse the 93% outward commute pattern identified by the consultants’ data. Woodstock currently has around 1,350 commercial businesses registered in the city limits. “We have seen data and heard through conversations in the community that business growth and employment opportunities are a high priority for our residents and their quality of life,” said Brian Stockton, director of the Woodstock Office of Economic Development. “Our continued support of programming, and removing or reducing barriers of entry to start or grow your business here, are very important goals for our elected officials and our management team.” It is estimated that about 50 businesses should qualify annually for the waiver program, based on licenses issued over the previous year. Applicants must submit an incorporation of the business with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office within the previous 12 months from the date of the occupational tax license application. For more information on starting a business in Woodstock, or the waiver program, please contact the Development Services office at 770-592-6054, or visit

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019


Local News Students Participate in Drunk Busters Program

Spencer Nix

The museum store and visitors center have expanded in the new facility.

History Museum Settles into New Home The new home of the Cherokee County History Museum and Visitors Center, at 221 E. Marietta St. in Canton, “offers an opportunity to provide a permanent home to our collections and expand our cultural and educational offerings to our community,” said Historical Society Executive Director Stefanie Joyner. The move was made last month, from the Cherokee County Historic Courthouse to the former Canton Police Department building, adjacent to Brown Park. The museum reopened with an expanded store and visitors center, and a small exhibit space detailing the history of Cherokee County. The society’s collections and archives also are available for research assistance by appointment, Mondays through Fridays. Admission is free. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. WednesdaysFridays, and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. Further expansion is on the horizon for the society in the new location, with plans underway for a capital campaign to enhance the space as a cultural hub and history center. Architect John White with INOX has been hired to convert the space to include interactive historical exhibits, retail space, and research and office space. Projected completion is 2022. “Mr. White came very highly recommended, and is best known locally from his work at the Tellus Science Museum and Booth Western Art Museum,” said Lisa Tressler, the society president and building committee chair. “We are excited and look forward to working with him to create a dynamic new history center that will preserve and celebrate our legacy, which stretches from Native American culture, to the Mill village, to today’s modern rebirth of our downtown centers.” For more information, contact Joyner at or 770-345-3288. 10

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

Fire educators with Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services recently spent time at Ace Academy in Canton, engaging students in the department’s Drunk Busters program. Students learned about the dangers of being impaired from drinking alcohol, by wearing goggles while participating in a few exercises. According to Senior Fire Educator Lisa Grisham, “Wearing the goggles simulates the effects of impairment, and it shows the students how difficult it becomes when doing a simple everyday activity while being under the influence.” Students wearing the goggles are asked to take a pitcher of water and fill a couple of glasses; put together a simple puzzle; walk a straight line; and drive a pedal cart in and out of pylons, which simulates driving while drunk. Alcohol-impaired driving accounts for more than 30% of driving fatalities each year, including 4,700 teens. That’s more than all illegal drugs combined. Drunk driving costs more than $199 billion nationally every year. Impaired driving is a crime, and also results in significant fines, higher insurance costs and even losing your license. Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services is committed to educating teenagers about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Students drive pedal carts during the Drunk Busters event.

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019




Happy birthday! To a beautiful wife and mother, thanks for all you do! Love from all.


E-mail to: January deadline is Dec. 10. Please specify Around Woodstock.


Celebrated her 5th birthday on Nov. 24. and we are so excited to take her to Disney World this month to celebrate! Mommy and Daddy love you very much!

Gwendalyn Sydney

Happiest 4th birthday to our precious girl! We love you so much!!! Big hugs from Mommy and Daddy!

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EVENT CALENDAR Dec. 5 Good Morning Cherokee Breakfast, 7 a.m. breakfast

Alliance Spine & Pain Centers

300 Parkbrooke Place, Suite 390, Woodstock, 770-929-9033

meetings offer current and future chamber members the opportunity to conduct business and network with more than 200 fellow business leaders. Sponsor is WLJA 101.1 FM / Enjoy! Cherokee Magazine.

Dec. 10 Business After Hours is

4:30-6:30 p.m. at The Rock Barn, 658 Marietta Highway, Canton. Sponsor is Hasty Pope, LLC. Strictly a networking event; no program. AT&T is the presenting sponsor.

Dec. 12 Power Hour, 10–11 a.m. at Joella's Hot Chicken

188 Molly Lane, Woodstock, 770-928-0843 12

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

the chamber board room, is a fast-paced networking time with fellow business leaders.

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019


Plans for Managing County Growth BY HARRY JOHNSTON

We often talk about the need to manage growth in Cherokee County — how to keep and make it the very best it can be. But, what are we trying to accomplish and how do we do it? Actually, we’re trying to restrain residential (population) growth reasonably. Last year, we were the fastest growing county in the Atlanta metro region, and probably the state, at 3.2%. At that rate, our current population of 262,000 will grow to 524,000 in 22 years. We can handle reasonable growth, and it keeps our economy prosperous. But, too much growth will destroy the small-town lifestyle we all love, and overwhelm our services and infrastructure. We’re already seeing that with roads. It’s a bit arbitrary, but my target is to keep residential growth under 3%.

How do we do that?

We can’t (and shouldn’t) stop all growth. The quality of life here, so near Atlanta, will continue to attract people. But, we can reasonably restrain growth through our zoning process, by limiting areas where high density residential development is allowed. The law requires the process to be systematic and fair. It has to consider compatibility with a reasonable land use plan and surrounding development, and it has to allow for reasonable economic use of property. Our plan calls for substantial density in and around the cities along the I-575 corridor, with moderate densities across most of the already suburbanized south end of the county, and around the centers of major communities. But, it calls for gradually lower densities moving


AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

away from those areas, down to a semi-rural density of one living unit per 2 acres across about half the county’s land area. Overall, the plan is designed for a build-out of a population around 500,000.

What about business development?

I see that in two main categories. One is retail sales and services for the residential population. We don’t have to work to attract those. They’ll come when the market is here. They’re really a part of residential growth. We just need to keep them in suitable locations near major roads, and make them look nice. The businesses we want to attract are those that serve regional, national, or even international markets. They bring jobs without necessarily bringing residents. They can include some retail, like the outlet mall in Woodstock. Distribution centers also qualify, but they bring truck traffic, and often not many good jobs. Mostly, we’re trying to bring light manufacturing and corporate/regional offices. We do that by buying and preparing sites for them, waiving impact fees, and sometimes phasing in their property taxes. I’m interested in your thoughts. Please email me at

Harry Johnston is chairman of the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners. He's a retired CPA and accounting manager, and a former district commissioner.

Elm Street’s Musical Tradition



One of the many wonderful holiday traditions that delights Woodstock every year is Elm Street’s musical version of “A Christmas Carol.” We are lucky to have Darrell Meek return this season as the grumpy old miser, Ebenezer Scrooge. We asked him a few questions about his prep for this holiday production.


Who is Scrooge to you?

“He is a very lost, angry and bitter man, but he's not without hope. He has blinded himself to the world around him, and only sees what he wants to see. Things could have been different, but, due to his own choices, he has accepted ignorance as his way of life. It's not until his eyes are opened wide by the spirits that he sees how much he's missed and how much of a good impact he could have been making. He discovers he wasted his entire life doing wrong. “Everyone can relate to Scrooge. He could be somebody's uncle, or our brother. They may be bitter, or circumstances in their life have made them give up on humanity, hope, trust or faith. We think we should just ignore that person, because they're ignoring us, but, in reality, we all have to be that Christmas Ghost to help bring back the light to the Scrooges of the world.”

DEC 13th - 24th

What’s one of your holiday traditions?

“One of my favorite Christmas traditions is something that we've done for many decades — opening Christmas crackers. Most Americans may not know about it, but it's just a little trinket you have at Christmas dinner. We each get a cracker and we open them up at the same time. It makes a popping sound and we put on the goofy little crowns made out of tissue paper, and everybody has some kind of little trinket that was in there — a toy or something like jacks. One year, I even made my own crackers, and picked out gifts at a dollar store that reflected each person's personality, and I put them in the crackers.”

Why should people see “A Christmas Carol”?

“There is just so much joy and laughter. The endearing tunes are so catchy, you'll keep humming them for years to come.” Elm Street hopes that you will make seeing “A Christmas Carol,” playing Dec. 13-24, part of your holiday traditions. Merry Christmas!

Siobhan Brumbelow is on staff at Elm Street. She holds a BA in Theatre from Brenau University and toured with Missoula Children’s Theatre.






ELMSTREETARTS.ORG | 678.494.4251 AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019


Understanding Ranked-Choice Voting BY STATE REP. MICHAEL CALDWELL

We often assume every election across the country follows the same basic process, but one of the best parts of the American electoral system is the different methods of voting from state to state. Some officials are elected by plurality (the most votes), while some require a majority (more than 50% of voters). Some are winner-take-all, while other districts allow for multiple members. I want to focus on the difference between plurality and majority voting, the runoff elections that result, and a system called rankedchoice voting. In Georgia, we elect by majority; in order to win an election, you need to win 50% + one vote of the participating voters. This seems normal, but we’re actually in a minority of states that require this. Most follow the system inherited from the British: electing by plurality. Officials elected by a plurality system (sometimes referred to as first-past-the-post) win by gaining the most votes. If there are three candidates in a race and Candidate A receives 39%, Candidate B receives 37% and Candidate C receives 24%, then Candidate A would be declared the winner. In Georgia, we don’t award a victory until the candidate has won a majority of the voters. We remedy situations like this example with a runoff election. The runoff is scheduled to bring voters out for a second time to choose between the two candidates who received the most votes in the first election. Whoever receives a majority then is declared the victor. In this system, Candidates A and B would be placed on the ballot again, and the voters could grant either one a majority in the second round. In my opinion, this system is better by far than a plurality alternative. Plurality allows an elected official, who represents a small minority of a district, to be elected if he or she can string together a strong enough niche in a crowded field. It has yielded many of the problems we see in the British parliamentary system and the former colonies around the world that maintain first-past-the-post.


AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

There are downsides to our two-round system. It’s expensive. As you would expect, holding two elections costs more than one. There also commonly is a major dropoff in participation between the first election and the runoff. Voters who make it to the ballot box the first time often don’t prioritize the second, which means that, although the runoff election grants a majority to a candidate, it is usually by a smaller number of voters. This is where rankedchoice voting comes in. Ranked-choice voting allows a voter to rank their choices. Let’s say I was voting in the previously used example and ranked them: (1) Candidate B, (2) Candidate A, (3) Candidate C. Let’s say there were 100 voters and the results were: Candidate A: 39 votes (39%) Candidate B: 37 votes (37%) Candidate C: 24 votes (24%) In a ranked-choice system, we wouldn’t come back for another vote. Instead, we would drop the 3rd place candidate (Candidate C), like we do in our current runoff process, but instead of holding a second election we immediately would divide the C votes by their second choices between A and B. Let’s say Candidate C’s 24 voters’ second choices were divided 4 for Candidate A and 20 for Candidate B. The totals in the instant runoff would yield: Candidate A: 43 votes (43%) Candidate B: 57 votes (57%) Candidate B is now the victor, with a majority of voters having chosen him or her, and there is no need for the added expense Continued on page 51 Michael Caldwell is the state representative District 20, which includes Towne Lake and Woodstock. He can be reached at 678-523-8570 or email him at Michael.

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No Place Like



The 2019 Holiday Tour of Homes Woodstock Junior Woman’s Club

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Th eS pe n Ho cer m H es om St e, ag d in eco g, ra Sh te an d b no y n Hy Bi dr dd an y ge a AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019


Behind the Scenes

How Santa’s elves accomplish the Holiday Tour of Homes.



This year marks the 23rd anniversary of the Holiday Tour of Homes, sponsored by the Woodstock Junior Woman’s Club (WJWC). Since the tour’s inception in 1997, the former Junior Service League of Woodstock has been investing in the lives of Cherokee County citizens in need, amassing more than $500,000 to donate to nonprofits chosen by members each year. For many, the annual event, held on the second weekend in November, kicks off the holiday season, providing tourgoers with festive ideas for their own homes. The 2019 tour proceeds, $23,882, benefited three nonprofits: 1) Georgia Cares, dedicated to serving victims of human trafficking across Georgia; 2) BEATS Inc., which specializes in the use of hippotherapy and aquatic therapy as primary tools of treating children and adults with disabilities; 3) Anna Crawford Children’s Center, which works to prevent and fight child abuse. The four homes on tour this year were decorated by Bella Luce Window Treatments, Hydrangea Homes Staging, The Neighborhood Nest, and Woodstock Rustic. Let’s draw back the curtain to give you an idea just how the elves in the club bring this massive undertaking to life. Spoiler alert: It’s more than holiday magic. Choosing Homes. Starting in January, the club members begin to follow up with


AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

homeowners, realtors and builders who expressed an interest in participating. Flyers are posted, emails are sent, calls are made. The women on the WJWC board visit the homes and look for a good flow, a large enough size to accommodate a crowd, that wow factor, uniqueness, and proximity to other homes being considered. Designers. While the homes are being reviewed, the search for designers begins. WJWC begins pursuing past designers, and addressing any emails, calls or requests from other interested designers. They depend on designers to volunteer their time and services to this cause, just as the organization depends on the homeowners to participate. Once chosen, they are paired with the home that best matches their aesthetic. Decorating and Installation. In early fall, the WJWC hosts an evening for the designers and homeowners to meet over hors d’oeuvres. The designer’s plans generally are discussed with the homeowners, who are offered first right of refusal on decorations before they are marked for sale to interested tourgoers (that is, if the ladies of WJWC don’t buy everything up first). When installation begins, the homeowners and designers coordinate what works best for them — spread over a month, two full days, whatever they decide together.

Sponsorship: Starting in the spring, WJWC reaches out to sponsors, who donate goods, services, and funds to be a part of the tour. All the sponsors are listed by level in the ticket booklet and on the WJWC website, which is coincidentally where tickets are pre-sold. Some sponsors can be found throughout the homes as well. The Weekend of the Tour.

Homeowners, designers, league members, sponsors and beneficiaries gather on the Friday before the tour begins for the preview party. We present thank-yous to everyone who made this possible, and have general merriment before going to see one home on tour before anyone else. When the tour begins, homeowners make themselves scarce from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Designers, usually given keys by the homeowner for the weekend, station themselves in the kitchen to keep track of their sales, take email addresses to coordinate pick-ups and drop-offs, and answer questions. League members are stationed throughout the home to take extra care of everything and make sure everything is flowing and everyone is happy. When Continued on page 22

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019



Continued from page 20

by d ey te ss ra a co a M de ic e, ss m , Je Ho tic rs us bo R Ar ck e sto Th od o W 22

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

the tour is over, the designers have all the unsold decorations removed by the end of the following week. Amazing Sales. One year, an entire house’s decorations were purchased by the homeowner. Several homes’ decorations sell out year after year. And, two years ago, a model home in Inwood was sold to a tourgoer. We’re able to put on this fantastic event each year due to the support of the community. Without the homeowners, we wouldn’t have anything to decorate. Without the designers, the festive holiday decorations and wow factor would be missing. Without the sponsors and volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to put on, and fully staff, this event. Finally, without the nonprofits that do so much for the community, we would have no reason to do it. Thank you to everyone who was involved in this year’s tour. We’re so grateful to be a part of this community and be able to give back to it. There truly is no place like home. Claire is the editor of House of Frost, a blog juggling family, fashion, food and furnishing with a little sparkle.

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019


Helping Hands Because many of our friends and neighbors struggle financially every day, there are many charities that work hard to help people in need. Here’s a list of local nonprofits that have additional needs for the holidays.

Adopt a Vet

Cherokee Family Violence Center

Each Christmas, the Cherokee County Homeless Veteran program reaches out to veterans living in assisted-living facilities, nursing homes or at home alone. Last year the program supported more than 230 veterans in senior facilities, and provided Christmas for 40 veteran families who were financially challenged. To request aid for a veteran in need, or to support the program, contact Jim Lindenmayer at or 678-983-7590, or Betty Lewis at 770-318-6451.

Items are needed year-round. The center has a transitional housing complex with 72 units for single moms and their children, an emergency shelter that accommodates 12 women and children, and a legal department providing services for victims of intimate partner violence. Donations requested: warm items (coats, scarves, gloves, hats, robes, socks) for women and children, extra small to extra large sizes; small vacuum cleaners, microwaves, Swiffer starter sets and refills, Tupperware, sheets and towels, etc. to establish a new household. Craft materials for the children’s program, such as glue sticks, bottles of glue and craft kits. And, for the emergency shelter: white towels and washcloths, white twin and full sheet sets, new pillows, new socks, undergarments, and pajamas in a variety of sizes. For delivery details, call 770-479-1704, ext. 101 or email

Cherokee County Senior Services

Registration for Adopt a Senior will be open until Dec. 12. The following items are needed to fill gift bags: nightgown or pajamas and slippers, $25 grocery gift cards and a book of stamps. Other items also are accepted, but nothing perishable. Drop off donations before Dec. 14 at the Senior Center at 1001 Univeter Road, Canton. 770-704-2320.

Hugs for Seniors

The Cherokee Recreation and Parks Agency is collecting items for nursing centers in Cherokee County until Dec. 6, for the first Hugs in a Blanket campaign. Individuals can bring a warm blanket and a pair of unisex slipper socks to the rec center at 7545 Main St., Building 200, Woodstock. For more information, call 770-924-7768 or email

Cherokee Youth Works

Cherokee Youth Works (CYW) is a program of the Cherokee FOCUS collaborative. CYW works with youth and young adults ages 16-24 to help them gain and retain employment, and obtain an education. The wish list includes gifts that assist and support the goals of the participants, such as monetary donations or gift cards for items such as: gas cards, GED testing fees, college admission fees, transportation, child care, temporary housing, clothing for work and other supportive gifts. Contact or call 770-345-5483.

The Children’s Haven The Children’s Haven promotes the health and happiness of children in Cherokee County who are affected by abuse. The group works to ensure their safety, advocate on their behalf and respond to their needs. Holiday needs include: diapers, wipes, teen underwear (adult sizes XS-L), bralettes or sports bras (XS-L). Target or Walmart gift cards are welcome. Items can be dropped off at 1083 Marietta Highway, Canton. 770-345-3274. Volunteers are always needed to assist in the Caregiver’s Closet. 24

Continued on page 26 AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

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Helping Hands

continued from page 24

Forever Fed

MUST Ministries — Cherokee

Forever Fed distributes Christmas boxes to 300 children receiving Christmas Angel gifts each Christmas season. Forever Fed also hosts eight mobile pantries and clothes closets serving 600-plus families struggling to make ends meet every month with grocery support and clothing. For a list of high demand food and clothing, visit the website and click on the "Donations" tab for details. If your organization would like to sponsor a food drive, please contact or phone 678-883-3314. There are hundreds of family-friendly volunteer opportunities each month as well. Sign up to serve at

The annual MUST Toy Shops, including one for Cherokee County residents, are collecting new items for children living in poverty. Toys, games, bikes, dolls (every ethnicity), sports equipment, underwear, socks, t-shirts, hats, scarves, gloves and blankets are in particular need. Gifts for tweens and teens are the greatest need: purses, wallets, jewelry, blow dryers, curling irons, sports equipment, makeup kits, athletic shoes, and boots. Drop off donations at 111 Brown Industrial Parkway, Canton, or email if you would like to volunteer! Toy shops will be open by appointment only Dec. 3-21.

Goshen Valley Foundation

The holidays are a difficult time for foster children not living with their families. Goshen Valley Boys Ranch attempts to provide a memorable Christmas experience for foster youth with the help of the community. This includes building traditions, talking about the true meaning of Christmas, and fulfilling some of the youth's wants and needs through gift giving to teach them that they are loved. With 42 youth to purchase gifts for, Goshen relies on the ever present generosity of the community in order to fulfill these wishes. A list of gifts have been compiled on the Amazon website through a Charity Wishlist. Those desiring to help can visit: and click Christmas list, or can email Stacy Cooper, Executive Director at or call 770-796-4618.

North Georgia Pregnancy and Family Resource Center

The Jasper agency serves North Cherokee, Pickens and surrounding counties. Free and confidential services include pregnancy tests, free ultrasound referrals, parenting classes, counseling, and much more. The nonprofit, which serves pregnant moms and families, needs diaper bags, diapers, wipes, baby clothes, maternity clothes, cribs, car seats and financial contributions. 706-253-6303.

Papa's Pantry/Encompass Ministries

Encompass Ministries and its food pantry offers yearround food and stability as well as life skills training assistance, Mondays-Saturdays. Special holiday needs: Donations of turkeys, ham and nonperishable food items. A list of the top 10 food needs is kept up-to-date on the website. Tax-deductible donations also are accepted online. For more details, call 770-591-4730.

Secret Santa The Secret Santa program of the Department of Family and Children’s Services for Cherokee County offers a way for individuals, businesses, schools, churches or groups such as Sunday school classes or Boy and Girl Scout troops to help the more than 300 children in foster care this year. Sponsors can be matched with specific children or collect speciality items needed to service our program. All levels of contributions are accepted. All size donations are appreciated. For more details, call the Secret Santa phone line at 470.403.0541 or email 26

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019




Legal Representation in Cherokee County

Attorneys Aaron Strimban and Robert Tidwell


AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019


ith 35 years of combined experience handling personal injury claims, law partners Robert Tidwell and Aaron Strimban have a unique blend of experience that they say poises Tidwell Strimban Injury Lawyers to be Cherokee County’s personal injury law firm. While Strimban has spent his entire legal career representing people who were injured by the negligence of another, Tidwell spent the first half of his career representing insurance companies. “All of the years I spent working with insurance adjusters and representing insurance companies in court have given me an ‘insider’s advantage’ that we now use for the benefit of our clients,” Tidwell said. “We only represent people who have been hurt by the negligence of someone else; and we insist that the insurance company treat them fairly.” When the firm opened its doors in 2013, Strimban said, the goal was to offer the Cherokee County community “Atlanta-level legal representation without the commute to Atlanta.” The attorneys point to an impressive number of jury verdicts and settlements that make the case they’ve done what they’ve set out to do. Because of the job they have done for their clients over the years, Tidwell and Strimban have been named Georgia Super Lawyers for each of the past four years. This designation places them in the top 5% of all personal injury attorneys in Georgia. To receive this honor, attorneys must be nominated by fellow attorneys and vetted by a third-party administrator. “No other law firm located exclusively in Cherokee County can claim that honor,” Strimban said. While the large verdicts and settlements are impressive, they point out that what sets them apart from the TV attorneys is their focus on helping their clients get better.

“Aaron and I are husbands and dads. We understand how the entire family is affected when someone is hurt,” Tidwell said. “When mom or dad is hurt, everyone in the house suffers. Our goal is to help our clients get better as quickly as possible, so the family can return to normal.” If a client is not able to afford medical care, Tidwell Strimban Injury Lawyers is connected with a network of surgeons, orthopaedists and other physicians who will provide the care needed without charging their clients up front. “This allows our clients to get top-quality health care as quickly as possible,” Tidwell said. “Sometimes, the ability to get treatment right away is the difference between getting better and being permanently hurt. We want our clients to get better.” “If we recover all the money in the world for you, we will have failed you if you have not recovered from your

injuries,” Strimban said. “That is the most important recovery.” Although Tidwell Strimban Injury Lawyers is local, the practice has served clients in metro Atlanta, throughout Georgia and across the United States. “You don’t have to go to Atlanta, or hire a TV attorney, to get high-quality legal representation here in Cherokee County. I’m downright evangelical when it comes to my love of Woodstock. It’s a great place,” Tidwell said. “You no longer have to call an attorney you see on TV to get one of the top 5% of attorneys in Georgia,” he said. “Go ahead and give them a call, but then give us a call. You will quickly see the difference between being a file number at a TV firm and being a valued client of Tidwell Strimban Injury Lawyers.” For a free consultation and evaluation of your case, call Tidwell Strimban at 678-999-8500.

PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS 135 Village Centre West, Suite 200 Woodstock, GA 30188

678-999-8500 ACCOLADES

Super Lawyers 2015-2019 Georgia Trend Magazine “Legal Elite” Trial Lawyers College


$1,450,000 Settlement in a disputed wrongful death case.

$1,080,000 Jury verdict in federal court for the injury of a grandfather, a 66-year-old man injured at a car dealership. $900,000 Settlement for a family struck by a drunk driver. $825,000 Settlement for a 65-year-old lady in an automobile accident. $700,000 Settlement for a young child injured on a baseball field. $650,000 Settlement for an injured grandmother, a 64-year-old pedestrian hit by a car in a parking lot.

$641,751 Verdict for a family-owned small business. $550,000 Recovery for a family of three involved in out-of-state wreck. $250,000 Settlement for young man who required bilateral hip replacement following a wreck.

Sponsored Content AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019



Christmas Wish List BY TEDDY THE SPAZ MAN

Dear Santa, I've been a good boy all year long, and I just know you’ll agree after I tell you all the wonderful things I’ve done. I’ve numbered ’em so you don’t miss anything. And it’s long so you might wanna grab me some popcorn.

My Good Boy Deeds


When I had an accident in the living room, I was totally gonna fess up, but then I overheard Yogi bellyaching about how he never gets enough attention so I selflessly pointed the finger at him, but did he thank me? Nope! The little ingrate just sat and glared at me. Rude.

Teddy in Violet's stanky death grip.

2. 3.

For mom’s birthday, I took her on an allexpense-paid guilt trip to PetSmart.

Dad was feeling a little neglected, so I gave him a brand new set of fully loaded poop bags. Bet the neighbors are soooo jelly.


I totally stopped eavesdropping on my neighbors. Unless they’re fighting, then all bets are off. What?! My name’s not SAINT Teddy!


I was even super sweet to Violet! After I diagnosed her with a severe case of lactose intolerance, I stole her stash of Milk Bones. Pretty sure I saved her life.


Mom hates doing her hair so I snuck into the shower, emptied her shampoo bottle and filled it up with Nair. Now she’s a changed woman! She cries happy tears all day long and she’s so grateful, she never wants to leave my side. Must be why she hasn’t left the house since. Win-win!


I used to hog the TV. Now, I just watch a little football.

OK, time for my demands - err - Christmas list. Heh, heh, just call me Rude-olph. 30

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

Teddy on his brutal car ride after a Taco Bell run.

My Super Modest List


Please make me 3 inches taller so Violet doesn’t get me in her death grip every time she walks by. Not to mention, her breath be stanky.


Please install a secret doggie door to the cheese drawer. And some more gourmet options wouldn’t hurt either.


For the love of dog, please, please, please get me some heavy duty nose plugs. Those car rides after a Taco Bell run are brutal. OK, well that’s it, Santa! Told ya I’ve been a super duper good boy! Love, Teddy the Spaz Man (the bestest boy in the whole wide world)

P.S. I do have ONE confession. Ya know how my

neighbor Mr. Johnson always be trippin’? Well, I kinda push him. Heh, heh, just call me Rude-olph.

Teddy the Spaz Man is a social media dog and not-so-humble Hallmark star living in downtown Woodstock. Facebook/Instagram: @teddythespazman.

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019


‘Tis the Season

December is the time for celebrations, cantatas, parties and breakfasts with Santa. Judging by the number we have listed here, we’re guessing Santa may be signing up for Weight Watchers in January! The Sequoyah Regional Library also is hosting Christmas events - turn to page 43 for a list of those activities. On the following pages, you’ll find inspiration for decorating, suggestions for helping your neighbors in need, a guide for the best holiday lights, and more. We hope you and your family have a joyous season!

Dec. 2-15

Children can drop off their letters to Santa at Santa’s Mailbox, located in the gazebo at The Park at City Center. Just before Christmas, they will receive a personalized letter from Santa. Please remember to include a return address. No classroom projects, please.

Dec. 5-8

Return to Bethlehem, 6-9 p.m. at New Victoria Baptist Church, 6659 Bells Ferry Road, Woodstock. Free, outdoor family event. Step back in time and experience what life was like at the time of Christ’s birth. Pet live animals, taste breads and sweets, and visit the live nativity.

Dec. 6

March of the Toys parade begins at 7 p.m. in Ball Ground. This annual tradition supports Toys for Tots; bring a new, unwrapped toy to drop in collection boxes along the parade route. Grand Marshals will be actress Toni Hudson and her dog, Charlie, star of “Charlie’s Christmas Wish.” The event is a big draw for cosplayers around the southeast; they’ll gather - along with Santa - in City Park after the parade for photos. A shopping area will be open before the parade; vendors will offer ornaments, jewelry, home decor, etc. More details at

Dec. 6

Pancakes with Santa begins at 6:30 p.m. at Hickory Flat Fellowship Church, 5301 Hickory Flat Highway, Canton. The free event includes food, crafts and a Santa visit.

Christmas in Canton is planned for 6-9 p.m. Activities include a visit with Santa and his reindeer, lighting of the new 28-foot Christmas tree in Cannon Park, a Rudolph movie, crafts, face painting, balloons, decorating cookies, carolers, s’mores and more. Shops will be open late.

Dec. 7

Holiday wreath making is the theme for the next seminar, at 10:30 a.m., by the UGA Master Gardener Extension volunteers of Cherokee County at the Senior Services Center, 1001 Univeter Road in Canton. Using natural materials found in the yard. Participants will need to bring some supplies. Class limit of 25 participants. To register, email, call 770-721-7803 or visit Breakfast with Santa will be 9-11 a.m. at Bascomb United Methodist Church, 2295 Bascomb Carmel Road, Woodstock. Canes and Cocoa at the Valley at JJ Biello Park, sponsored by the Cherokee Recreation and Parks Agency. Children ages 1-9 can hunt for candy canes on the field, and the small and large playgrounds. After the hunt, families can enjoy hot cocoa and holiday snacks in the pavilion, and “sleigh” rides on a tractor. Pre-registration required due to limited space. Cost is $10 per child. Check in at 9:30 am. Candy hunt starts at 10 a.m. Contact Lindsey Collett at or 770-924-7768.

The Ball Ground parade will feature Santa, and collect gifts for Toys for Tots. 32

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

Canton Optimist Club’s Christmas parade begins at 6 p.m. Watch for details at

Dec. 7

Breakfast with Santa for veterans with children younger than 13 years old. 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., seating is limited so reservations are requested. Sponsored by Arrow Exterminators and the Cherokee Homeless Veterans Program. The event will be held at 15021 Highway 92, Woodstock. RSVP: 678-983-7590 or jlindenmayer80@gmail. com or

Dec. 13-14

“A Christmas Carol” is the holiday feature at Elm Street Cultural Arts, with Friday/Saturday shows at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Monday and Tuesday shows at 2:30 p.m. A sensory friendly performance is 2:30 p.m. Dec. 21, and an ASL show is 2:30 p.m. Dec. 22.

The Elm Street Theater presents “A Christmas Carol” at 2 p.m. Free admission; please bring a hearty, non-perishable food donation for local food pantries.

Christmas Jubilee Parade of Lights in Woodstock begins at 5:30 p.m. at Woodstock Elementary School on Rope Mill Road, and travels down Main Street to Sam’s Club at Highway 92. For road closures and parade map, visit Festival: After the parade, walk over to The Park at City Center and visit Santa, and watch as the mayor and Santa flip the switch to light the 30-foot Christmas tree, and announce the winners of the Best Holiday, People’s Choice, Most Original floats, and the History and Heritage Award float. Music by Ronnie the DJ. Free moonwalk, cupcake decorating and kids’ activities.

Dec. 8

“Canticles in Candlelight” is a free cantata presented at 7 p.m. at Bascomb United Methodist Church, 2295 Bascomb Carmel Road, Woodstock. 770-926-9755.

Dec. 12, 19

Mistletoe on Main features complimentary carriage and wagon rides 6-9 p.m., starting at Cannon Park in downtown Canton. Information on the Downtown Canton GA Facebook page.

Dec. 13

Shop with a Hero is set for 7 p.m. at the Walmart at Highway 92 and Trickum Road. Donations are appreciated; call Officer Ryan Bleisath at 678-614-9104 or visit the Woodstock Public Safety Foundation website at for more information. This event helps children whose families are facing financial difficulties by taking them Christmas shopping.

Dec. 13-14

Daily Bread Trio Christmas Concert at the Cherokee Arts Center in Canton, beginning at 7 p.m. each night. Tickets available at

Darrell Meek, center, returns this year as Scrooge. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Blackwell.

Dec. 13-14, 20-21

Drive-By Live Nativity at Rising Hills Church, 3693 Hickory Flat Highway, Canton. 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Through Dec. 14

CAC Members Holiday Show & Sale Exhibit features work of the Cherokee Arts Center members. No admission fee; art will be available for sale.

Dec. 14-15

“The Blessings of Christmas - Peace, Hope, Joy, Love” is a musical that will be presented at 6 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday at Hickory Flat Fellowship Church, 5301 Hickory Flat Highway, Canton. Admission is free. Cherokee Chorale, directed by Scott Martin, presents

"Christmas with The Cherokee Chorale" at 5 p.m.

Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday. The concerts will include selections by John Rutter and Ola Gjeilo, a medley of songs by John Williams from the movie “Home Alone,” along with audience favorites such as "Do You Hear What I Hear?" and Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus." The concerts also will feature guest choirs from Sequoyah High School (Saturday) and Etowah High School (Sunday). Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for students. Performances at Canton First United Methodist Church, 930 Lower Scott Mill Road, Canton.

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019



What exactly is the sequence of returns, and how do variable rates of return impact (or not) investors over time? The phrase describes the yearly variation in an investment portfolio’s rate of return. Across 20 or 30 years of saving and investing for the future, what kind of impact do these deviations from the average return have on a portfolio’s final value? The answer: no impact at all. Once an investor retires, however, these ups and downs can have an effect on portfolio value — and retirement income. During the accumulation phase, the sequence of returns is ultimately inconsequential. Yearly returns may vary greatly or minimally; in the end, the variance from the mean hardly matters. (Think of “the end” as the moment the investor retires: the time when the emphasis on accumulating assets gives way to the need to withdraw assets.) An analysis from BlackRock bears this out. The asset manager compares three model investing scenarios: three investors start portfolios with lump sums of $1 million, and each of the three portfolios averages a 7% annual return across 25 years. In two of these scenarios, annual returns vary from -7% to +22%. In the third scenario, the return is simply 7% every year. In all three situations, each investor accumulates $5,434,372 after 25 years —– because the average annual return is 7% in each case.1 Here is another way to look at it: The average annual return of your portfolio is dynamic; it changes, year-to-year. You have no idea what the average annual return of your portfolio will be when it is all said and done, just like a baseball player has no idea what his lifetime batting average will be four seasons into a 13-year playing career. As you save and invest, the sequence of annual portfolio returns influences your average yearly return, but the deviations from the mean will not impact the portfolio’s final value. It will be what it will be.1

When you shift from asset accumulation to asset distribution, the story changes. You must try to protect your invested assets against sequence of returns risk. This is the risk of your retirement coinciding with a bear market (or something close). Even if your portfolio performs well across the duration of your retirement, a bad year or two at the beginning could heighten concerns about outliving your money. For a classic illustration of the damage done by sequence of returns risk, consider the awful 2007-2009 bear market. Picture a couple at the start of 2008 with a $1 million portfolio, held 60% in equities and 40% in fixed-income investments. They arrange to retire at the end of the year. This will prove a costly decision. The bond market (in shorthand, the S&P U.S. Aggregate Bond Index) gains 5.7% in 2008, but the stock market (in shorthand, the S&P 500) dives 37%. As a result, their $1 million portfolio declines to $800,800 in just one year.2, 3 If you are about to retire, do not dismiss this risk. If you are far from retirement, keep saving and investing, knowing that the sequence of returns will have its most relevant implications as you make your retirement transition. Securities offered through registered representatives of Cambridge Investment Research Inc., a broker-dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc., a registered investment adviser. Cambridge is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of Peter Montoya Inc. or MarketingPro Inc. This material was prepared by MarketingPro Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor


Continued on page 51 Don Akridge is president of Citadel Professional Services, LLC, an independent firm, founded in 1994 and conveniently located off Chastain Road between I-575 & I-75 in Kennesaw. 770-952-6707.

• Pre-K4 through 8th grade • 66 Years of Catholic education

Join us for

SNEAK-A-PEEK Dec 9 at 10 a.m.

OPEN HOUSE Jan 11 at 2 p.m.

Applications now being accepted for 2020-21 Register online or call 770-428-3328 34

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

• S.T.R.E.A.M. activities in all classrooms • Twice-recognized National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence • Religion classes and student-led school Mass every Wednesday • Affordable tuition, scholarships Scan to RSVP

How to Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss BY DR. SARAH LICHT

Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the leading causes of permanent hearing loss. However, it is 100% preventable if you take the correct measures. According to the American Speech and Hearing Association, of the 40 million individuals with hearing loss, 10 million have been identified with noise-induced hearing loss. When an individual is exposed to a noise as loud as a lawn mower for more than 8 hours at a time, permanent damage most likely has occurred. The louder the noise, the less exposure time is needed to cause hearing loss. There are two primary types of hazardous noises: occupational noise, meaning factory or mechanical work, and recreational noise, like lawn equipment, loud music, power tools, firearms, motorcycles, etc. There are also unexpected noises that are difficult to predict, such as a loud explosion, or even a child’s toy. Studies have shown some children’s toys can emit sounds up to 120 decibels, which equates to the level of a jackhammer. Once the ear has been exposed to these sounds past the recommended exposure time, the tiny hair cells in the inner ear become damaged, and are unable to recover. The damage affects the ability to hear and understand speech. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides several strategies to help prevent noise-induced hearing loss.


Educate yourself. Be aware of the noise levels around you, and how they can affect your hearing. If you must yell over background noise to be heard, then the environment is too loud. If, after leaving a noisy environment, your hearing is muffled and you hear ringing in your ears, these are signs the environment is too loud.


Download an app. There are apps, such as Decibel X,

available for smartphones to help you measure environmental noise levels. We live in a noisy world, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any quieter. It is up to you to be aware of the noises around you.


Protect your ears. It is important to use hearing protection and limit sound exposure time. You always can increase the distance between yourself and hazardous noise, or use hearing protection; this will reduce the intensity of damaging sound delivered to your ears. Also, remember to protect the ears of those who are too young to do so for themselves, and inform family and friends about the dangers of excessive noise levels.

Sarah Licht, Au.D. is a Doctor of Audiology and provider at North Georgia Audiology in Woodstock. She has been practicing since 2016.

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019


EVERYDAY As 2019 comes to a close, we would like to recap some of the year’s features and the wonderful way that you, our readers, helped children and families within our community. Everyday Angels will continue to receive donations for past features. We love surprising families with unexpected donations. With no overhead costs, salaries or expenses, Everyday Angels will continue to send 100% of your donation to the family you specify.

Brian Keller, single dad to three daughters, was involved in a motorcycle accident while in Kentucky for a family funeral. He was life-flighted to Vanderbilt Hospital with broken legs, a fractured spine and brain injury. “Brian is back in Woodstock and just had the last of his reconstructive surgeries and is now working on walking again. He is determined to get up and moving,” sister Valerie said.

Amy McCall, a young wife and mom of two boys, went from health enthusiast and ninja warrior athlete to victim of a debilitating condition that continues to baffle doctors. The best neuroscience teams are not sure of her diagnosis and continue to try medications and therapies to help her. Please continue to pray for answers and treatments to help relieve her current state.

Madison Johnson’s life changed in an instant when a dive into Lake Allatoona resulted in a fracture of her C5 vertebra. “Madison is doing really well and working very hard in rehab. Her controlled arm movement has improved and she has a lot more movement with her fingers and toes. She graduated from Shepherd in November and returned home to her family, friends and beloved dog, Brody!” according to Madison’s mom, Lori. Young wife and mom, Allie Chamber’s recurrence of Stage 4

breast cancer sparked a firestorm of community support as her new condition required quick and aggressive treatments. She continues her brutal fight and is most grateful for all of the love and support of our community. Like many others, young mom

Cara Keener’s diagnosis of colon

cancer stopped her world as she had to take a leave of absence from work to fight the cancer. Today, she has completed her necessary chemo treatments successfully, and is now living between unnerving scans.

Aiden Hulsey’s biking accident in June severely damaged his cervical spine. He has returned home from The Shepherd Center and continues his progress through tireless therapies and determination. 36

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

Amanda, 24, suffered a severe brain aneurysm, (Acquired Brain Injury) following her wedding. Over the years, she has overcome odds and continues to work hard for progress. She bravely shared her story with our readers to create awareness of ABIs and to begin helping others who find themselves in similar life-changing circumstances.

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019


2020 Cherokee Film Summit Bringing your story into focus.


For generations, people have gathered to share stories — to teach, to encourage, to entertain, and to connect. Though times have changed, our continued need to share our story has not. The story of how film found its footing in Georgia is powerful and speaks to the bold and innovative spirit of Georgians. In 2003, the biographical film “Ray,” about native Georgian Ray Charles, established its production office in Macon. When Louisiana announced its new film incentive, the team closed the office and headed for the Bayou. As Film Commissioner Lee Thomas put it: “It was time for a bold move.” The state Legislature, along with industry professionals and the Georgia Film Office, responded with the Georgia Entertainment Industry Incentive Act, which was signed by Gov. Sonny Perdue in 2008. As a result, the film industry now employs more than 92,000 Georgians statewide. Cherokee County is no stranger to this growth. The inaugural Cherokee Film Summit was held in January, and was rich with stories. Launched by the Cherokee Office of Economic Development (COED), the summit was designed to connect the film industry with our community meaningfully, and to demonstrate the multi-faceted ways in which our community could play a supporting role. This award-winning summit recently received one of the Southern

Jim Nichols, co-owner of strategic film agency Half Machine, which was an instructional partner at the inaugural Cherokee Film Summit last January. 38

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

The award-winning “Ozark” locations team, from left: Wes Hagan, Kevin Dowling, Erin Thornton and Trace Taylor.

Economic Development Council’s top honors — the Special Judges Award for Comprehensive Community Outreach. Our film community became family through instructors’ anecdotes shared during break-out sessions, transparent networking conversations, and candid personal accounts from the “Ozark” locations team. Cherokee’s welcoming community and fluid coordination between city and county agencies has established it in film scout circles as a great place to film. Location professionals often share that a fellow scout recommended Cherokee. The story has gotten out and galvanized Cherokee’s reputation as a prime filming destination, having attracted more than 140 known film projects. But that’s not the only story there is to tell. Cherokee is not only the backdrop for filmmaking, but a connection point for film professionals. Most recently added to that list was 2019 summitgoer Jack Holloway. Holloway was no stranger to hard work — he was working in landscaping, but envisioned a career in the film industry. Raised in Cherokee, Holloway kept up with his community, and noticed a promo for the 2019 Cherokee Film Summit on COED’s Facebook page. Wanting an opportunity to refocus his career, he attended the summit. Afterward, Holloway boldly shared his story with Key Assistant Location Manager for “Ozark” Kevin Dowling, who encouraged him to reach out persistently. He took Dowling’s advice, and two months

later was hired as a location assistant on HBO’s “The Outsider.” “So many times, people give up,” Dowling said. “But Jack was persistent. He’s a hard worker, and he’s going to last in the industry.” Looking back on the event, Holloway recalled, “I was terrified — Kevin could have shut me down, but he didn’t. You have to take a chance. I saw an opportunity to surround myself with others who were passionate about film and storytelling, and I found it in Cherokee — where I was raised. I took a chance on the film summit, and it paid off.” No matter where you are in your personal narrative, the 2020 Cherokee Film Summit is a place for all to learn, to grow, to be entertained, and to connect — a place to bring your story into focus. The 2020 Cherokee Film Summit, an initiative of the Cherokee Office of Economic Development, will take place at the YANMAR EVO//Center on Jan. 23, 5-10 pm. Tickets are available through Eventbrite or by visiting For more information on the Cherokee Film Summit, email Film Project Manager Molly Mercer at or call 770-345-0600. The Cherokee Office of Economic Development is the leading organization for business and film recruitment and industry retention & expansion.

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019



Race planner Rob Macmillan, center, with friends Dylan Mullen, left, and Todd Marovich. Top, runners at the start of the race.

Overall race winner Brent Harris. 40

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

We held the first 5k Run With Rob on Nov. 9. It was very cold but also very fun. It was a race through the golf course at Bridgemill which was wonderful and I think everyone enjoyed their run. I ran with my friends and my dad. It turned warm and I think everyone was probably thankful for that. I usually play golf and ride on a golf cart on the course, but running it is extremely hard as there were a bunch of hills which made it very tough. The run raised $1,100 for The Grey Project who was the beneficiary of the run. The Grey Project does TNR (trap, neuter, return) and feeds free-roaming cats in Cherokee County. I interviewed them a few years ago and you can read that interview on my website ( The sponsors of the run were: Freshens Fresh Food Studio, eBryIT Computer Services, Vanessa Mullen Premier Homes, Prestige Medical Group, GSI Inc., Fun-Fare, Bridgemill Dentistry, McStatts Printing and Aroundabout Local Media. Classic Race Services did all the timing and these are the winners in the different age groups. Overall male winner: Brent Harris; overall female winner: Caroline Olvin; overall Master's male winner: Doug Mulkey; overall Master's female winner: Amy Krumrey. These were the other winners in their age categories: Todd Henry Marovich, Brent Hohn, Peyton Cummings, Breanna Washam, Tiffany Fletcher, Sarah Short, Cassie Bartz, Marie McMichael, Matt Taylor, Gordon Macmillan, Melinda Eubanks, Mike Hohn, Judy Hohn, Gary Lineback and Ernest Smallman. I thought next year we might do a golf tournament and another 5k.

Ella Adams with 7-month-old Novi.

Rob, far right, runs the race with his dad and a friend.


Natalia Redmon holding puppy Simba. Novi and Simba are available for adoption at Refuge Rescue.

Runners were bundled up for the cold, early morning start. AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019


Focus On Your 5 Senses in

Christmas Decor BY PACITA WILSON


t ’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s also a special time to open your home to family and friends. To make your guests feel at home, use your five senses, and incorporate some festive, but easy, touches in your holiday decor that will help your guests feel the magic of the season.


Sights. Christmas is a time for decorating to the fullest. Allow your home to become a pallet of your favorite colors, trimmings and twinkling lights.


Sounds. Do you hear what I hear? Play soft classical or instrumental renditions of your favorite holiday carols. Music in the background will make for a light and jolly atmosphere.


Scents. The smell of a


Tastes. Offer homemade


Textures. Whether you

glowing fraser fir candle adds an instant, familiar and cozy touch to your gatherings. It is a simple way to warm up any space. treats to your guests. It will make them feel special and welcomed. It is very hard to resist a sweet treat.

are decorating a beautiful table for your Christmas feast, or bringing together a group of loved ones with a potluck meal, the table linens and napkins you select will engage your guests’ sense of touch with soft, welcoming textures. When we allow our senses to become a part of the Christmas experience, we create opportunities for memories to be made and remembered as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Many blessings to you all this Christmas season!

Holiday tablescapes incorporate several of the five senses. Photo by Taylored Imagery. 42

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

Pacita Wilson is the owner of Pineapple Park Home.

@ the Library Sequoyah Regional Library System


WOODSTOCK 7735 Main St., Woodstock • 770-926-5859

Dec. 3

Cherokee Theatre Company invites you to join us for a collaboration with Kudzu Players to bring you “A Christmas Carol” being added to our regular season lineup.

Woodstock Holiday Open House at 6 p.m. Dive into the

holiday spirit with live music performed by the Woodstock Elementary School fifth-grade chorus, along with crafts, food, and Santa Claus. Don’t forget to pick up your Winter Literacy Challenge log. For all ages.

Dec. 8

Project Pinterest at 3 p.m. Join in and explore Pinterest-inspired creative projects. This month, make a medley of holiday crafts. For ages 16 and older. Registration required; call to sign up.

Dec. 12

Chopped (Christmas Cookie Edition) at 6 p.m. Join in for a

November 22, 23, 24 2019

fun evening of friendly competition and tasty treats. Compete for the best decorated Christmas cookie and win a prize. For teens in grades 6-12. Registration required; call 770-479-3090 (Ext. 244).

Friday/Saturday - 8pm • Sunday - 2:30pm

Dec. 15

D.I.G. (Drop-In Genealogy) at 2 p.m. Enjoy an afternoon of genealogy discovery by researching and learning about various topics. is available for use within the library, as well as other research tools. A short presentation will be followed by discussion questions.

$20 Adult | $18 Seniors 60+, Students, Military *** SHOW NOT INCLUDED IN 2019-2020 SEASON TICKETS ***

Dec. 19

The Woodstock Polar Express at 5 p.m. Hear a reading of the holiday classic, “The Polar Express,” while enjoying crafts and hot chocolate. After the story, stay and watch the animated movie (Rated G). Wear your pajamas and have fun. For all ages.

Dec. 31

“Noon” Year’s Eve Countdown at 11:30 a.m. Calling all kids!

Bring an adult (or your whole family) and celebrate the New Year with a Countdown to Noon party. Play games, make a special craft, enjoy party foods, and celebrate with a balloon drop at noon.

HICKORY FLAT 2740 E. Cherokee Drive, Canton • 770-345-7565

Dec. 2

Hickory Flat Holiday Open House at 6 p.m. Pictures with Santa

Claus, a tree-lighting, crafts and entertainment. Refreshments provided. Don’t forget to pick up your Winter Literacy Challenge log. For all ages.

Dec. 9

Stuffed Animal Slumber Party at 6:30 p.m. Bring a cuddly friend

to this year’s “Polar Express” storytime. Enjoy the evening, then tuck your stuffed animal in for the night. The stuffed animals will spend the night in the library and you can pick them up the next day after noon. You’ll also receive a photo memory booklet of your stuffed animal’s overnight adventures. Registration required; call to sign up.

December 6,7,8| 13,14,15| 2019

W W W. C H E R O K E E T H E A T R E . O R G


2019-2020 season!!

FOLLOW US Because CTC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization your donations are tax deductible.


Friday/Saturday - 8pm • Sunday - 2:30pm

Adults – $18 | Member Discount – $15 Groups 10 or more - $13 | Senior/Student/Active Military – $15 P l ay i n g at Canton Theatre • 171 Main St., Canton, GA

Box Office 770-591-0282 | Cherokee Theatre Company PO Box 5885 • Canton, GA 30114 AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019


Around & About DECEMBER

6-8, 13-15

IN town


Woodstock Farmers Market

The Cherokee Theatre Company will present “Greetings,” written by Tom Dudzick, at the Canton Theatre, 171 E. Main St. The play explores what happens when a young Catholic brings his Jewish atheist fiancé home to meet the family on Christmas Eve.

8:30 a.m.-noon, every Saturday through Dec. 28. Market Street, downtown Woodstock.

Ball Ground Christmas Tour of Homes is 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tickets 8 $20 in advance, $25 on tour day. Presented by the Ball Ground



Christmas Jubilee Parade of Lights in 7 Woodstock begins at 5:30 p.m. at Woodstock

Business and Community Association and the Ball Ground Historical Society.

Northside Cherokee will be hosting a free stroke screening 9 a.m.-noon in the galleria room at Northside Cherokee Hospital. The comprehensive screenings will be administered by health care professionals and will include a risk assessment, blood pressure reading, total cholesterol (HDL, ratio of TC/HDL), glucose, a limited number of carotid ultrasounds and a one-on-one consultation with a healthcare professional. Free parking is available. Appointments are required. Call 404-851-6550 and press “0.” Register early, as spaces will fill quickly.

Senior Lunch & Learn, sponsored by Cherokee Triad - S.A.L.T. 19 (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) This month’s topic

is senior auto insurance, with speaker Michael Preston. The Jan. 16 meeting topic is balance and fall risks, with physical therapist Danielle Beatty. Meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month, noon-1 p.m., at Heritage Fellowship 3615 Reinhardt College Parkway in Canton. The program is designed to educate seniors on a variety of topics including: identity theft, phone scams, housing options, in-home care, advanced directives, and problems associated with aging. RSVP for free lunch by calling 770-479-9415 or


A Longest Night Service at Bascomb United Methodist Church begins at 7 p.m. The church is at 2295 Bascomb Carmel Road in Woodstock.

Homeless Veteran Candlelight Vigil begins with a wreath-laying at

5:45 p.m. at Veterans Park, 7345 Cumming Highway, Canton. Held on the longest night of the year, the ceremony is the start of a tradition to recognize the plight of the estimated 40,000 homeless vets. Sponsored by the Cherokee County Homeless Veterans Program, a nonprofit that works to end homelessness among veterans. For more information, contact Jim Lindenmayer at or 678-9837590 or Mike Satterly at or 404-680-2412.



Higher and Higher, and Brother Brown and the Soul Reunion will perform at 7 p.m. at the Canton Theatre, 171 E.

Main St. Higher and Higher, a rock and soul revue, faithfully recreates the one-of-a-kind sounds that hit the airwaves in the 1960s and ’70s, featuring the hits of Jackie Wilson, Diana Ross, Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Ike and Tina, Sam and Dave, and so many more. Brother Brown and the Soul Reunion is a group of revivalists bringing the sounds of Motown. 44

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019


Children can drop off their letters to Santa at Santa’s Mailbox, located in the gazebo at The Park at City Center. Just before Christmas, they will receive a personalized lette.

Elementary School on Rope Mill Road, and travels down Main Street to Sam’s Club at Highway 92. After the parade, walk over to The Park at City Center and visit Santa, and watch as the mayor and Santa flip the switch to light the 30-foot Christmas tree and announce the winners of the best floats. Music by Ronnie the DJ. Free moonwalk, cupcake decorating and kids’ activities.


Dec. 6

iThink Improv Troupe show begins at 8 p.m. The show is suitable for all ages.

Dec. 13-14

“A Christmas Carol” is the holiday feature at Elm Street Cultural Arts, with Friday/Saturday shows at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Monday and Tuesday shows at 2:30 p.m. A sensory friendly performance is 2:30 p.m. Dec. 21, and an ASL show is 2:30 p.m. Dec. 22.


Small Town Creatives

Quarterly meetings offer a chance to network with other creatives. Paid registration required.


Meets the last Friday of each month (except for December) at 8 a.m. Breakfast is served. The event includes a brief presentation that focuses on updates given by greater Woodstock or Cherokee County officials on important issues or services offered that affect the community. RSVP required.


Young Professionals of Woodstock meet 7-8:30 a.m. Thursdays at the Copper Coin.

Unplug and Recharge During the Holidays BY ASHLEY VELEZ

With a month left until a new year and a new decade, many successful young people may find themselves highly determined to finish the year strong, instead of taking much-needed rest and time to reflect. Work trends related to the future of freelance and selfemployment illustrate millennials’ predisposition to overwork, have poor work-life balance, and suffer from surprisingly high rates of burnout, anxiety and depression. Millennials are now the largest demographic in the American workforce, and up to 42% have made the decision to freelance, according to online magazine FastCompany. What’s more, millennials contribute to a self-employment rate that is reported likely to triple to 42 million workers by 2020, according to a 2017 Deloitte study. The added stress of traveling, socializing and the pressure to stay “on-brand” and document all of the above on social media often makes it difficult to disconnect the mind from work, or worse, gain motivation to go back to work. To help keep worklife balance on track and avoid burnout, choose intentional and mindful rest during the holiday season.

Review and Reflect

Take time to map out what you’ve achieved this year, and make at least three goals for the upcoming year. Seeing all your accomplishments in one list is a reminder of everything you truly were able to accomplish these last 12 months, and it might help you in the next step.

Little Doses of Mindfulness

Balance the holiday hustle and bustle with little doses of mindfulness. Instead of trying to multi-task and hustle, slow down and force yourself to take 10- or even 5-minute mindfulness breaks every hour. These breaks, however small, can result in more clarity, more energy, and greater efficiency.


Unplug From Social Media

Go on a social media/internet hiatus. Particularly during the holidays, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by holiday activities that appear effortlessly curated on social channels. Taking a break could help improve sleep, reduce anxiety levels, and give yourself some time to do, well, anything else.

Take Time for Yourself

No, I mean actually take time for yourself. And don’t feel guilty about it! Young people who fall in the millennial age group, anywhere from 22 to 38, are entrenched in a deeper problem known as “millennial burnout.” Recently legitimized as a syndrome, millennial burnout is a growing problem due to trends such as rising workloads, longer hours, and limited staff and resources, coupled with financial and social stressors.

Ashley Velez handles social media for YPOW and is a digital marketing expert. She is a proud resident of Woodstock, where she lives with her husband Oscar and their two sons.

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019



“My bladder was controlling my life!” Sheila is an active woman in her early 50s, a common age for women to experience bladder problems. “I never leaked – but I had to use the bathroom constantly! Things I used to enjoy, like exercising and shopping, were becoming more of a challenge. I was so afraid that I might accidentally cough, sneeze or laugh too hard, and wouldn’t be able to get to the bathroom fast enough. I was starting to get embarrassed by my frequent trips to the bathroom,” she explained. “It started in my late 40s, when I was getting this weird feeling that my bladder had ‘fallen.’ It got worse and worse, and it just became this constant pressure. It affected everything. “I finally talked to my GYN, and he said it was a prolapsed bladder.”

What is prolapsed bladder?

Prolapsed bladder, also known as fallen bladder or cystocele, is a condition where the bladder drops down from lack of support. Pelvic floor muscles and tissues hold the bladder and other organs in place, but they can weaken over time. This causes the bladder to descend from its fixed position and slip downward into the vagina. In more severe cases, the bladder may dangle completely outside of the vagina.

What causes prolapsed bladder?

There are four main reasons a woman may develop a prolapsed bladder: • Childbirth • Strain or injury • Menopause and aging • Excess weight

What are the symptoms?

• Sensation of pressure • Leakage of urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing, etc. • Protrusion of tissue from the vagina • A sensation that the bladder is not empty after urinating • Difficulty urinating • Pelvic pain or discomfort • Painful intercourse

Life after treatment

Sheila was given several treatment options, but ultimately chose a permanent treatment solution called a surgical bladder lift. “That surgery literally changed my life. I’m back to my normal self, doing the things I love!”

When should you see your doctor?

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should see a specialist, also referred to as a board-certified urogynecologist. This is not a condition that repairs itself and usually worsens over time. Thanks to the modern methods available today, it can be fixed.

Cherokee Women's Health Specialists PC has seven physicians with offices in Canton and Woodstock. 770-720-7733.


AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

Rob’s Rescues Project Chimps I interviewed Leslie Wade who is the director of communications for Project Chimps, in Blue Ridge.

What does Project Chimps do, and when did it start? This dog’s name is Doug. He is 5 years old and is a beagle. Beagles are hunting dogs and need room to run around. He knows how to sit, and is very friendly and affectionate. He doesn’t mind being carried around, and he knows his name and will come to you when you call him.

We provide chimps that were involved in medical research with a forever home. The property was bought in 2014, and was ready for the first chimps in 2016.

Where did you find the chimps?

We provide shelter, food and enrichment (puzzles and activities), and the opportunity to be outside for the rest of their lives.

Did you always want to work with chimps, and what is special about them? Many of us were inspired by Jane Goodall and the awareness she brought to the plight of chimps. Chimps are very intelligent and emotional beings.

Where did you find the chimps?

These come from the New Iberia Research Center, affiliated with the University of Louisiana.

There currently are nine cats in the main cat room of the shelter. There are seven kittens and two adult cats. The cats love it when people come to visit and play with them, so you should go and do that. The kittens in the picture are Megan and Mae. These animals are available at the Cherokee County Animal Shelter, 1015 Univeter Road, Canton.

How many chimps are here, and what is their favorite thing to do?

We have 59. We are hoping to have 100 by year end. There are 120 more still waiting in the lab. Their favorite activities vary depending on their personalities. Some love the outdoors, some don’t. Some have favorite toys. Some love puzzles.

Rob with Leslie Wade of Project Chimps.

Do all the chimps get along?

They generally get along. Sometimes, they get into fights, but make up quickly. Minor squabbles happen over food. Sometimes, they are trying to get more dominant or preventing others becoming dominant. Chimp politics is a thing!

What is the best thing about working with chimps? Watching them thrive after coming here. Seeing how they respond to having choices — like who to hang out with, what to eat, whether to go outside, what to play with, etc.

What do you have to study to do what you do? Some chimp caregivers did college programs studying primates. Some here worked their way up, starting as a volunteer.

How can I and the community help you? Volunteering is a great need. Helping prepare meals, puzzles, building climbing structures. There are many volunteer opportunities. Visit

Rob Macmillan is on a mission to help shelter dogs and cats. On Facebook @robsrescues.

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019


Make the Most of This Season of Gratitude BY SAANVI LAMBA

Our glossy paper is recyclable!


Like the song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Of course, for me, like many others, it’s a time for extra fun with family and friends, building a snowman, exchanging gifts, and enjoying a break from school. But, most importantly, it’s the season of giving and gratitude. In November, I went to the dentist for my teeth cleaning, and I noticed something in the front office — something they called a “thankful tree.” It was made of paper, and I saw that several patients had left thank you notes on it. I wrote a note and posted it, too. I thanked the office for making me smile with my shiny teeth. I was very happy to read all the other notes. One that made me smile read, “Thank you for making me capable enough that I can help people around me.” This is what I mean by gratitude — returning kindness and helping those around you. I love reading and writing, so we buy lots of books. When I am done reading them, I donate those books to the library or school, or anyone who needs them. We had a book fair at our school, and my brother and I bought books for our class library. With my mom, I participate in the Toys for Tots program, where we collect toys and distribute them as gifts to children in the community. Every time we go to temple or church, I like to volunteer my services, like giving glasses for water, serving food or simply handing out napkins. This season, I plan to visit a homeless shelter and nursing home to help with volunteer work. In our Girl Scout meetings, and my karate classes, we talked about gratitude, and learned that it means being thankful, appreciating others and just being kind to others. The whole season is about togetherness, spreading love, caring, and sharing with others. I ask everyone to do some act of kindness this holiday season. Small gestures can bring much happiness, and, of course, it will make you feel happy, too. That is the reason I think this is the season of joy and fun, but, most importantly, this is the season of gratitude.

Saanvi is a Girl Scout and a third-grader at Little River Elementary. She enjoys reading, writing, singing, dancing, swimming, taekwondo and playing violin.


AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

The Foundation of Traditions BY DON ESA

Years ago, after my wife and I were newly married, we moved 1,700 miles across country from Colorado Springs to Princeton, New Jersey, where I entered seminary to prepare for church ministry. There was a bit of culture shock from the lifestyle in the West to the hectic life in the East. When the first Christmas in our new location approached, we were definitely homesick and decided to fly home for the holidays. By the second year, however, a new reality became evident. As a pastor, I probably would find it nearly impossible to leave my church responsibilities during the holidays to go back to our childhood homes. Thus, we were determined to make it through that second Christmas on our own. It’s been that way ever since. We began establishing holiday traditions in our home that grew through the years. It started by adopting some of the traditions from each of our childhood homes. My mother baked tons of Christmas cookies, so we got her recipes. My wife’s mother baked delicious coffee cakes, giving them as holiday gifts to family, friends and neighbors. There were other food traditions and routines on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Year by year, we added to our holiday decorations, first obtaining some of the childhood Christmas ornaments from our parents. Eventually, we had scores more ornaments that we collected from

each place we visited on vacation, as well as making or buying ornaments that marked special events in our family. When our children came along, more activities were added to our holiday customs. Among them was setting a night aside before Christmas merely to look at Christmas light displays. And, of course, worship services were part of our customs. Then came the time when Grandma and Grandpa would fly out to visit us at Christmas. Instead of going home for the holidays, our house became their home. Traditions — customs that make a house a home and a group of people a family. None of them are spectacular events, but put them all together, and they add up to our heritage and identity. Why are traditions so significant to us? Traditions are the foundation of our roots, our personality, who we are, our uniqueness. If you know of someone who is uprooted, displaced, lonely, and cut off from their past, invite them into your home this year, and share your traditions.

Don Esa is the pastor of Woodstock and Trinity Presbyterian churches in the Free Home community. He is married with two grown children.

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019


School News Senior Earns a Perfect Score River Ridge High School senior Callie Goins achieved the top composite score of 36 on the ACT exam. Of the 1.8 million students who take the college entrance and placement test each year, less than onehalf of 1% accomplish this feat. Goins also is a Superintendent’s Key Scholar ranked No. 6 in her class, Callie Goins and serves as senior class secretary and treasurer for the National Honor Society. A member of the Beta Club service organization and school Leadership Club, Goins also is a U.S. Figure Skating gold medalist and two-time Georgia Figure Skating Club Skater of the Year. She volunteers with Project Linus and Georgia Figure Skating Club, and at the school’s Trunk or Treat and Knight Before Christmas events.

The Marching Knights at the White Columns Invitational, where they earned Most Outstanding Woodwind section. Photo courtesy of Mark Drury, Super Holiday Tours.

Marching Their Way to Superior Ratings The River Ridge High School Marching Knights recently completed their 2019 competition season, which included appearances at the Bands of America Regional at McEachern High School in Marietta, and the White Columns Invitational at Milton High School. Under field direction of Drum Majors Laura Flores, Celeste Mcmullen and Cameron Porter, the Marching Knights received straight superior ratings in percussion, color guard and overall band at the White Columns Invitational. They also were named the Most Outstanding Woodwind Section of the 19 bands at the White Columns competition. The band is marching in Woodstock’s Parade of Lights on Dec. 7. The River Ridge Band program ensembles, led by Director of Bands Ross Amend and Associate Band Director Christin Lawhorne, will host a free winter holiday concert at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 in the River Ridge High School Auditorium.

A Special Donation Helps Special Students Several members of the Woodstock Lions Club recently joined the faculty and staff of Woodstock Middle School to dedicate a new accessibility station. The equipment is designed to help students with special needs improve their learning experience. The donation of the accessibility station was made possible by the estate of Woodstock Lions charter member, Glenn Hubbard. The new accessibility station will help special needs students at Woodstock Middle School. 50

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

Make Social, Emotional Wellness a Priority BY BARBARA P. JACOBY

The Cherokee County School District (CCSD) serves 42,300 students in our community’s schools each day. Given that total, three may not seem like a large number. But, three is an enormous number for our CCSD family; it is the number of students we have lost this school year to suicide. As you may have read in one of my previous articles, our superintendent of schools and school board have made suicide awareness and prevention, and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) top priorities. They did this by creating a new leadership role focused on SEL, hiring the district’s first mental health counselors, and funding efforts by a cross-section of staff to develop suicide prevention and SEL solutions ranging from classroom lessons and school care teams to widespread staff training. The superintendent’s committee, appointed to study what SEL should look like in our school district, made recommendations (online at that already are being put to work in our schools. Students in grades 5-12 participated in a survey this fall to help the SEL team better understand students’ current levels of SEL Core Competencies: Self-Awareness, Responsible Decision-Making, Relationship Skills, Social Awareness and Self-Management. The SEL team also has been interviewing advanced high school students, since that group nationally is experiencing increased levels of stress and suicide. While there is much work to do to translate this data into classroom lessons and support services, several initial takeaways are important for all parents to know. The first is a frightening lack of sleep among high school students, which research has shown is a top risk factor for

suicide (others are mental illness, bullying, lack of empathy and toxic stress). The surveyed students reported regularly choosing to sleep only four hours a night. Their reasons included opting to take a heavy load of advanced classes to earn college credit, better their chances of university acceptance, and win scholarships; high levels of extra-curricular activities for the same reasons; and the connectivity of cell phones and social media keeping them awake and online. We’ll be doing our part to ensure students understand the importance of sleep for their well-being, but we need parents’ support as well. Another take away from our school district’s SEL work so far is the high number of students who don’t view themselves as possessing resiliency, which we, as adults, know is critical to weather life’s ups and downs. This will be another topic embedded in classroom lessons and activities to help students. What can you do as a parent to help strengthen your child’s resiliency? The American Psychological Association offers an excellent parent resource page at helpcenter/resilience, with advice based on the child’s age. Another valuable resource, always available to you, is our school counselors – call or email them if you need advice. They want to help ensure your child’s well-being.

Barbara P. Jacoby serves as chief communications officer for the Cherokee County School District, and is a CCSD parent with four children.

Understanding Ranked-Choice Voting

The Sequence of Returns

or time of a second election. This system has been used in municipalities across the United States, and in the past few years was adopted statewide in Maine. It is still early to say whether this is a system we would want to adopt in Georgia. We have the benefit of watching Maine, and seeing how well the electorate adopts the system, and how it affects the quality of campaigns, before we decide how it would fit here. As they discover the benefits and pitfalls of an instant runoff, I believe we should be watching closely. As a majority-election state, I believe we can learn a lot by watching sister states experimenting with this new system. As always, feel free to reach out to me at michael@ or on my cellphone at 678-523-8570. You also can join us at 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings for our Weekly Coffee With District 20 at Copper Coin Coffee in downtown Woodstock. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity to represent our families in our General Assembly.

their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note: Investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor a recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

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Citation: 1 - sequence-of-returns-one-pager-va-us.pdf [10/19] 2 - [7/3/18] 3 - [2/8/19] AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019


Woodstock Area Homes Sold in October List Price Address 425,000 575,000 729,900 442,000 539,000 349,900 725,000 276,500 265,000 805,000 277,500 411,800 415,000 285,000 275,000 420,000 200,000 375,900 259,000 219,900 399,888 389,900 240,000 350,000 250,000 315,000 370,900 399,900 243,900 529,500 285,000 239,000 400,000 270,000 265,000 249,900 249,900 215,000 189,000 239,900 285,000 495,000 272,900 275,000 659,000 179,900 299,000 287,500 315,000 299,500 240,000 539,000 249,900 229,000 215,000 174,900 400,000 245,000 224,900


317 Little Pine Lane 100 Autumn Glen Drive 425 Reeves Street 109 Newcastle Walk 324 Heritage Overlook 606 Colony Court 190 Fowler Street 110 Chickasaw Run 123 Farmington Drive 178 Fowler Street 807 Plaintain Drive 527 Margaret Lane 1810 Grand Oaks Drive 700 Walnut Lane 306 Cardinal Drive 306 Ashgrove Court 353 Knollwood Lane 557 Lost Creek Dr Drive 310 Tuggle Court 1010 Ragsdale Road 1784 Grand Oaks Drive 102 Hillview Court 8017 WHITNEY Court 225 Revillion Way 806 Cataya Cove 508 Rokeby Drive 615 Stone Hill Drive 193 Highlands Drive 1202 Canterbury Court 1011 Meadow Brook Drive 605 Sorrell Way 106 Thornwood Drive 302 Luke Street 408 Sam Cobb Court 404 Creek Run Drive 601 Beverly Way 253 Weatherstone Pointe Drive 114 Thornwood Drive 523 Stanford Place 105 Toonigh Court 300 Tuggle Court 3006 Bradshaw Club Drive 402 Citronelle Drive 603 Sorrell Way 149 Windfields Lane 1039 Washington Avenue 515 E Cherokee Court 1025 Inca Lane 418 Coolsprings Trail 218 Edinburgh Lane 505 Radford Court 307 Heritage Overlook 623 Hickory Creek Lane 8027 Whitney Court 703 Etowah Court 111 Robinhood Drive 154 Stoney Creek Parkway 133 Stoney Creek Parkway 412 Creekside Lane

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

Subdivision Longleaf Woodstock Autumn Glen South on Main Newcastle Farm Olde Heritage Colony Woods Woodstock Downtown Indian Wells Farmington Woodstock Downtown Woodlands Villas at Mountain View Oakhurst Walnut Creek Cardinal Woods Woodstock Knoll Riverchase Stoney Creek Whitfield at Ridgewalk Applewood Oakhurst None THE SPRINGS Woodlands The Park At Kingsgate Wynchase Stoney Creek Arbor View Farmington Meadow Brook The Woodlands Briarwood Bradshaw Farm Village At Weatherstone East Cherokee Village East Cherokee Village Village at Weatherstone Briarwood Daventry Village Toonigh Crossing Whitfield at Ridgewalk Bradshaw Farm Kingsgate Woodlands Overlook at Woodstock Knoll Arnold Mill Estates East Cherokee Village Mill Creek Crossing Springfield Place WYNCHASE Wellington Manor Olde Heritage Hickory Creek The Springs Little River Crossing Sherwood Forest Stoney Creek Stoney Creek Creek View

Beds Full Baths Yr Built Sales Price 2 6 4 4 6 3 5 3 4 4 3 3 4 3 4 5 3 5 3 3 4 4 5 4 3 3 3 4 3 6 3 4 5 4 4 3 3 4 2 3 6 5 3 3 4 3 3 3 4 3 3 5 4 3 3 3 5 4 3

3 4 4 3 4 3 4 3 2 5 3 3 3 2 2 3 2 4 2 2 3 2 3 2 2 2 3 2 2 4 2 2 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 4 2 2 3 2 2 2 3 2 2 4 3 2 2 1 4 2 2

2017 2006 2019 2007 2007 1980 2015 1977 1979 2015 2004 2019 2014 1998 1973 2011 1985 2014 2005 1983 2014 1978 1990 2005 2001 2011 2013 2002 1987 2004 2004 1994 1996 2001 1986 1987 2002 1995 1999 1987 2003 1996 2000 2004 2013 1974 1986 1999 1993 2008 1990 2007 1986 1991 1984 1972 2015 2015 1983

478,375 525,000 741,110 436,000 530,500 335,000 706,000 267,500 252,500 749,000 275,000 399,900 412,000 270,000 255,000 417,500 185,000 340,000 255,000 215,000 405,000 390,000 229,900 351,000 236,500 315,000 360,000 365,000 244,000 530,000 283,000 243,500 379,900 270,000 245,000 250,500 252,000 223,000 187,000 220,000 279,950 449,000 262,500 275,000 607,000 200,000 304,000 287,500 310,000 299,500 243,000 550,500 246,000 225,000 215,000 170,000 400,000 290,000 233,750

Days On Market 621 83 251 86 255 75 155 2 47 104 21 112 28 8 103 27 35 89 42 58 92 39 20 3 5 1 66 47 2 5 8 9 78 5 52 18 2 21 3 52 117 132 59 8 53 5 4 2 5 4 2 1 13 8 8 5 12 86 2

AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019



For advertising rates and information: Patty Ponder, 770-615-3322 •

December 2019



Cherokee County Animal Shelter


SnipPet Spay/Neuter Clinic




AUTOMOTIVE Frankfurt Foreign Automotive 13 678-505-8907 Woodstock Quality Paint & Body 770-926-3898


BEAUTY SALON & SPA élon Salon 770-427-8698


Salon & Spa Venéssa 770-591-2079



CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS Next Step Ministries 770-592-1227


AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

Inside front

Gentle Dental Care/Georgia Dental Implant Center Inside back 770-926-2784 Smile Doctors by Williams Orthodontics Woodstock:770-592-5554 Canton: 770-345-4155


EDUCATION/TRAINING/TUTORING Chattahoochee Technical College 770-528-4545 St Joseph Catholic School 770-428-3328





Carpet Dry Tech 678-368-5991

LGE Community Credit Union 770-424-0060 DENTAL

Tidwell Strimban Cover, 28, 29, 49 678-999-8500 Williams | Elleby 833-LEGAALGA



ATTORNEYS/LEGAL SERVICES Imbriale Injury Law 678-445-7423

Joint Chiropractic, The 678-214-4449


Citadel Professional Services, LLC 770-952-6707 Graham & Kapp, LLC 770-591-8121



Sports BodyWorx 404-268-0999

Holiday Lights of Hope


Holiday Lights at Veterans Park


HOME DÉCOR Pineapple Park 678-494-8494


Neighborhood Nest, The 770-485-5898


HOME AND GARDEN Bryan Plumbing Services 770-826-5277


Carpet Dye Tech 678-368-5992


Hardrock Scapes 877-295-2060


Mr. Junk 678-MR-Junk1(675-8651)


INSURANCE State Farm Agent Sheila Geist 770-924-3680

Main Street Nail Studio 770-928-2662 9







HOLIDAY EVENTS Cherokee Theatre Company 770-591-0282



HEALTH & WELLNESS Sanctuary on Main 770-365-5106

Elm Street Cultural Arts Village 678-494-4251


Abigail Peyton Photography


Rebekah Gregg Photography


Shot from the Heart Photography 27 PHYSICIANS AND MEDICAL SERVICES Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists 770-720-7733


North Georgia Audiology and Hearing Aid Center 770-726-8948


REAL ESTATE & RELATED SERVICES Holbrook 1 678-371-4246

Premier Group, The — Keller Williams 678-494-0102

Back cover

Wild Birds Unlimited 770-928-3014




Oaks at Towne Lake 770-592-2195


KPOP BBQ 770-485-3055


Nuevos Amigos Cocina Mexicana 770-213-3302




EconoRides 25 678-218-7170

Rootstock & Vine 770-544-9099 RETAILERS/ SHOPPING Queen B’s Boutique & Studio 770-703-9640


AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019


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AROUND WOODSTOCK | December 2019

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