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Progress 2013 GOVERNMENT

The Cherokee Tribune SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013


Commissioners capitalize on community 2E


6 Cities Woodstock




Holly Springs




Ball Ground






Cherokee Tribune/SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013

Cherokee Board of Commissioners capitalize on flourishing community

Staff/Samantha Shal

From left, Chairman Buzz Ahrens and Commissioners Brian Poole, Harry Johnston, Jason A. Nelms and Raymond Gunnin. For the year, Ahrens has asked county leaders to ‘build competitive advantage.’ He continues to focus on the county’s unique selling points, including low tax rates, high rankings for local schools, award-winning public safety services and an overall high quality of life. By Erin Dentmon

herokee County Board of Commissioners chairman Buzz Ahrens hopes to raise the bar for Cherokee County in 2013. For the year, Ahrens has asked county leaders to “build competitive advantage.” He continues to focus on the county’s unique selling points, including low tax rates, high rankings for local schools, award-winning public safety services and an overall high quality of life. Cherokee County Emergency Medical Services has been ranked the top EMS agency in Georgia, the county’s 911 center is one of four nationally accredited centers in Georgia, and the county has plans to invest an additional $45 million into parks and $100 million into transportation in the coming years. Ahrens said he wants to use these factors and others to make Cherokee County the preferred location for businesses and residents. “I’m really optimistic. These unique selling points


do differentiate Cherokee County from the others,” he said. Cherokee County now has the highest S & P rating in its history and is operating on a cash basis without having to borrow money to meet expenses, Ahrens said. The county has the lowest number of employees per capita of any of the 10 counties in the Atlanta Regional Commission and the second-lowest tax burden in the ARC. Cherokee County has an unemployment rate of 6.7 percent, almost two full percentage points lower than the statewide rate. 2012 was a big year for Cherokee County parks, and 2013 is shaping up to be just as busy. The county completed a soccer park in 2012 using money from a $90 million park bond, and multiple projects, including the Cherokee County Aquatic Center, are under construction and slated for completion this year. Other highlights of 2012 include the long-awaited opening of an interchange at Interstate 575 and Ridgewalk Parkway. The Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta are set

Sfaff/Samantha Shal

The Cherokee County Aquatic Center construction site, as seen from outside. 2012 was a big year for Cherokee County parks, and 2013 is shaping up to be just as busy. The county completed a soccer park in 2012 using money from a $90 million park bond, and multiple projects, including the Cherokee County Aquatic Center, are under construction and slated for completion this year. to open near the interchange during the summer. The county also had an encouraging budget year in 2012, spending less and taking in more than budgeted. Two new commissioners came on to the county commission in January, Ray-

mond Gunnin and Brian Poole. They join Ahrens and commissioners Jason Nelms and Harry Johnston on the five-member commission. Other county accomplishments in 2012 include implementing an employee

wellness program and cutting Emergency Medical Services response times by about 30 percent. Ahrens said he would like to see the county land a major economic development win in 2013, along with pursuing other initia-

tives like opening the county’s aquatic center and fire training center and finding an operator for Ball Ground Recycling. The county will also look to improve fire services with the completion of a fire training center.

Mayor proclaims best year on record for Woodstock By Megan Thornton

Woodstock Mayor Donnie Henriques said 2012 was the best year on record for the city. In his State of the City address, he took the opportunity to laud city officials and staff for numerous accomplishments and successes over the past year and looked ahead to the future. “No matter what form of measurement you utilize, 2012 was the best year on record for quite a while for the city,” Henriques told council members. “That being said, we still face challenges to dig out of five years of recession and continue to move the city forward.” Henriques said the city’s general fund finished the fiscal year June 30 with a surplus of $225,518. In this fiscal year, council adopted a balanced budget and earmarked $250,000 to go to the city’s reserve fund. “If the current fiscal year’s revenues and expenditures continue to trend the way they have through mid-

year, I expect the city’s past couple of years,” Henreserve fund to swing to a riques added. positive Both Main balance Street and by the Woodstock SIX CITIES end of partnered to the fiscal launch two new year,” he valuable marsaid. keting tools for Henriques said through downtown: Woodstock the efforts of the Downtown Scene Magazine and Development Authority and the Main Street Program, m, which was launched to 2012 was a “banner year” provide one common site for economic development for downtown events. in downtown Woodstock. The Main Street Wood“The Woodstock DDA stock organization continand Main Street Woodstock ued to grow in 2012, closing strove to and succeeded in out the year with nearly 200 making a major marketing members. They also held 25 push for downtown,” Henribbon cuttings during the rique’s said. course of the year. During the course of the A vital employee, Ecoyear, Henriques said 13 new nomic Development Direcbusinesses opened, creating tor Billy Peppers, departed 46 new jobs. The net job at the end of 2012 to take a creation in downtown for new position with the 2012 was 33 positions. Department of Community Many new residents Affairs. were welcomed to down“I want to thank Billy for town Woodstock over the his hard work and dedicapast year with, 63 new tion over the years,” Henhouses constructed. riques said. “New projects at Garden The opening of the Street and Walton WoodRidgewalk Parkway interstock added to the success change topped the list of that John Weiland Homes public works improvements has experienced over the in 2012, Henriques said.


Staff/ Samantha Shal

Woodstock Mayor Donnie Henriques told the council members in his State of the City address, ‘No matter what form of measurement you utilize, 2012 was the best year on record for quite a while for the city,’ As part of this project, the relocation of Rope Mill Road was completed and the relocation of Woodstock Parkway began in 2012. Led by Director Pat Flood, the public works department oversaw the resurfacing of 2.86 miles of streets in the city in 2012. The list included Londonderry Drive, Brittania Circle, Springfield Drive, Magnum Court, Winchester Way and Caliber Court. Approximately 0.75 miles

of Trickum Road was restriped and over 70 potholes were filled throughout the city. Henriques said just five short years ago, Woodstock was struggling to work together to achieve its goals. Now, the Woodstock of today boasts a new interchange, outlet mall, a thriving downtown, a new senior center, new trails and parks, grid streets and new apartment complexes. He also looked forward

to a new amphitheatre, a downtown hotel, grid street and trail expansion and the widening of Arnold Mill Road and Towne Lake Parkway. “Yes we have problems and we will have more problems to face in the future — every community does,” Henriques said. “But I want to challenge each of you to dream big and continue to work together to move our city forward. After all, dreams do come true.”

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013/Cherokee Tribune

Woodstock’s focus turns to arts, parks Smoke, A1A, The Lovin’ Spoonful and Craig Campbell, the 15th annual Summer Concert Series completFor the city of Woodstock, new arts venues, parks ed another successful year, Henriques said. Staff is curand recreational facilities are rently working with RCS quickly becoming a reality. Productions to finalize the Mayor Donnie Henriques 2013 concert series schedsaid the city collected $996,415 in Parks and Recre- ule. Additionally, the William ation impact fees in 2012. G. Long Senior Center had a “We purchased the very productive year in 2012 Granger House to complete with over 700 registered the Elm Street Cultural Arts members and 58 special Center property assembly events and and the old trips in photogra2012. phy studio For the city of WoodLongadjacent to stock, new arts venues, time Coorthe Park at dinator City Center parks and recreational Betty Rice for the facilities are quickly retired and developbecoming a reality. Jan ment of Massey restrooms was selectwith some ed to take her place. of these funds,” Henriques “Betty will be missed said. greatly,” Henriques said. Council also committed “She can be credited for so an additional $40,000 in much of the success at the impact fees to complete the center and for helping make Taylor Randahl Mountain it what it is today.” Bike Trails at Rope Mill In 2012, Parks and Park. In addition, Southern Recreation officials decided Off Road Bicycle Associato stop offering softball tion announced that their leagues at Dupree Park due Southern Trail Summit will to aging infrastructure and be held in Woodstock on declining participation. March 23, to coincide with Some of those infrastructure GreenPrints Alliance Trailissues were addressed by fest. Director Preston Pooser at GA Development Partners was awarded the bid to the retreat, including a light build 1.5 miles of the multi- system replacement for an estimated cost of $200,000 use trail system in downand about $25,000 in town, which is being built restroom repairs, sod and with part of the funding irrigation for the infields for from Cherokee County’s use as a greenspace. Parks and Recreation Bond “After long discussions program. with the Recreation Adviso“I would like to thank the Board of Commissioners ry Board, the request was for their support of this pro- made to eliminate the softball program due to the costs ject,” Henriques said. of replacing the infrastrucWith performances by Mother’s Finest, Blackberry ture,” Henriques said. “We By Megan Thornton

LOCAL GOVERNMENT will need to make a final decision in the coming months regarding the Advisory Board’s recommendation on the future of the

park.” On a brighter note, work began on Woofstock Park at the site of the old Walden Chase apartment complex in


December. Located at 150 Dupree Road, the new park will feature a dog park, community garden and trail head. Con-

struction is scheduled to run through the spring, and at the retreat Pooser said he is looking for sponsorships to help fund site amenities.



Cherokee Tribune/SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013

Canton mayor calls for new vision future, the vision must be developed incrementally over both the short and long term,” he said. Canton Mayor Gene The city Hobgood council must is eyeing SIX CITIES work for the city’s short-term future and longwhile term goals, working Hobgood to solve said. challenges the city faces, He said the city should such as the need for more engage a professional fire services and attractorganization to develop a ing more business to the brand for the city. city. “This The city must mayor have an recentidentity,” Perhaps the best gift ly he said. that a council can give called The its citizens is a debtfor the city free city. city to should develop a a longMayor Gene Hobgood develop citywide range developvision ment plan to take “that will add quality, not the city through the next just quantity, to our city,” 40 years. Staff/ Samantha Shal In conjunction to look- he said, noting that ecoMayor Gene Hobgood sits in his office at Canton City Hall. Hobgood recently called for the city to develop a nomic development ing many years forward, city leaders have multiple efforts must be enhanced long-range vision to take the city through the next 40 years. on all fronts. projects on tap for 2013. that a council can give its Hobgood said develop- to begin this spring on the water releases in times of City council members On March 5, city resipark, which will include a drought. have talked about the pos- citizens is a debt-free ing an Etowah River prodents will vote to decide The Canton Theatre, sibility of hiring an ecocity,” he said. tection plan needs to be an playground and other whether the city will amenities along the operated by the city’s nomic development direcLast year, the city important priority for the issue $6 million in bonds Etowah River. Downtown Development tor, and Hobgood said one launched First Fridays city. to build and equip three In December, the coun- Authority, started showing of his goals is to develop through the Main Street “Not to do so will new fire stations and rencil approved a purchase of movies this month for the a citywide economic program and expanded betray future generations ovate the existing downland for a future park on first time in 40 years. The development plan to the farmers market and and deprive them of the town station. Bluffs Parkway along the city last year approved the attract quality businesses. Taste of Canton. First beauty and utility of this In his State of the City Hickory Log Creek Reser- hiring of a part-time theHobgood wants to Fridays are set to return great resource,” he said. address, Hobgood called voir. This land may also ater director and the purcontinue to focus on in March. The city council for a 21-member citizens be used for a fire station chase of projection equip- reducing the city’s debt, Hobgood said he approved a design and a committee to develop a ment for showing movies. which has gone from $70 hopes to see downtown vision for Canton in 2050. contractor for construction in the future. The reservoir itself City leaders also have million to $48 million Canton become a “walkaof Etowah River Park in “Although 2050 seems was completed in 2012 their eye on attracting over the last five years. ble, active and vibrant 2012. Construction is set a far distance into the and is now permitted for more business to Canton. “Perhaps the best gift area.”

By Erin Dentmon


‘ ’

Holly Springs sees resurgence in applications for city development By Erin Dentmon

HOLLY SPRINGS — The city of Holly Springs saw a resurgence in applications for development in 2012, and Mayor Tim Downing hopes the trend will continue into 2013. “The development is starting to come back, and, to our pleasure, most of it is commercial,” Downing said. A new Wal-Mart store and the Cherokee County Aquatic Center are both expected to open in the city this year. Anyone driving north on Interstate 575 has probably noticed fencing being installed on the Sixes Road bridge. But it’s not ordinary

chain-link fence. Downing loughs or layoffs, and withsaid city leaders chose to out raising the actual dollar make more of a branding amount of tax revenue colstatement with the bridge lected,” Downing said. by installing a nicer lookCreating a downtown ing fence and placing the area behind the historic city’s train depot has logo on been on the SIX CITIES the city’s radar for bridge. about eight These years, and the updates city may see will be more progress completon the project ed within in 2013. The the next city is workfew months. ing with development partThe city moved forward ners to create a plan for with road maintenance and developing the 25 cityimprovements in 2012, owned acres, Downing repaving Ash Street and said. other feeder roads. “It has morphed quite a Holly Springs met its bit over the last eight budget for the year in 2012. years,” he said. “That was without furThe proposed city cen-

Holly Springs

ter area would include a new city hall, commercial retail space and residential space. “This is something that’s been on our goal list for quite some time. There’s no reason to rush it. This is something that will certainly shape the future of Holly Springs and, to some extent, the future of central Cherokee County,” Downing said. “This project needs to be done correctly.” Building a new lift station to provide sewer service for the downtown area and Hickory Springs Industrial Park is one of the first steps of the project. The engineering for the lift station is in progress, Downing said.

Holly Springs Mayor Tim Downing takes time out at City Hall. The city of Holly Springs saw a resurgence in applications for development in 2012. 

Staff/Todd Hull

The city has a full slate of road improvement, maintenance and stormwater projects in store for 2013.

“We’re going to continue to live within our means and try to expand our tax base for the benefit of our residents,” Downing said.

Waleska enjoys busy time of growth, improvements By Erin Dentmon

After a busy year in 2012, there’s one thing on Waleska Mayor Doris Jones’ mind: football. Reinhardt University, located in Waleska, will play its inaugural football season in 2013. “I think it’s going to open up the city to so many possibilities,” Jones said. The Eagles will play their first football game in Macon on Aug. 31 against the Mercer University Bears. The first home game for Reinhardt will be Sept. 7 against Lindsey Wilson

College. in city streets. The city also In 2012, the city welupgraded a water line comed a “splash pad” in along Georgia 140 and renCline Park, an outdoor ovated city hall. water recreation area built “I’m surprised about with about $200,000 of everything we were able to combined city and county get taken care of,” she said. funds. The city council The splash pad was approved beer and wine about six years in the mak- sales inside city limits. One ing. store in “It’s Waleska is SIX CITIES been sensaselling beer tional,” and wine. Jones said, Already noting that a city full of many famitrees and lies enjoyed splashing rolling hills, Waleska and around last summer. Reinhardt have partnered In 2012, city officials for a gateway grant to plant passed a solicitation orditrees along Georgia 140 nance to protect non-profit coming into the city. groups collecting donations The city is also prepar-


Staff/Todd Hull

After a busy year in 2012, there’s one thing on Waleska Mayor Doris Jones’ mind: Reinhardt’s football team. In addition to football, Jones said the city is abuzz about other growth at Reinhardt.

ing for the construction of a new 15-acre park adjacent to City Hall. “It’s going to have walking trails, and maybe some bike paths in the future,” Jones said. City officials will also work to improve lighting

and sidewalks. “We have some areas of the city that are a little dark,” Jones said. In addition to football, Jones said the city is abuzz about other growth at Reinhardt, including increased enrollment and

the addition of more academic programs. “(Reinhardt) moved up to university status (in 2010), and now the sky’s the limit,” Jones said. “They’re doing a wonderful job, and we’re so happy to be the city they’re in.”


SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013/Cherokee Tribune


Nelson’s leaders talking strategy building a new park with a “It’s a beginning point. large play area and picnic What do we want to be areas. when we grow up?” HaviThe city recently began land said, noting that the Big things are happenrenovating a park across plan will likely look 10 ing in the little town of from City years into Nelson this year to set a hall, and the future. framework for the city’s SIX CITIES Haviland The city future. said the council will The city has launched new fencing also put its website, www.nelson and other together a work capital Mayor Mike Haviland should be improvesaid the website is still a completed this spring. ments program to help priwork in progress but is a The city’s expenditures “welcome addition” for the oritize and budget for capiwere slashed in 2012 as tal projects. city. city leaders lowered operat“This is “Now ing fund spending by supposed if you $70,000. to have want to “We’re trying to match been in find an expenditures with revenues. place to agenda or We’ve had some chalguide our basic Now if you want to lenges,” Haviland said. The SPLOST financial find an agenda or city has operated with a projects,” records, basic financial deficit seven of the last Haviland it’s postrecords, it’s posted. eight years. said. The ed. It’s It’s how you do busiThe city purchased a city has Staff/Todd Hull how you new police vehicle and SPLOST ness, anymore. Part Ball Ground Mayor Rick Roberts stands in the City Council Chambers. Roberts said do busimaintenance Bobcat in funds in the city saw many accomplishments, including the new STEM Academy. ‘I believe ness, anyof what was missing 2012. reserves it is important we communicate to the residents we have a plan and what it entails’ more. Part was us communicatThe city council also inithat have of what ing with the public. tiated a city manager posibeen colwas misstion to handle day-to-day lected but ing was us Mayor Mike Haviland not yet management of the city. communiCity clerk Brandy Edwards spent. cating is now also city manager. “These with the “She has the authority things are public,” basic man- to make management decihe said. sions, and the council’s not agement tools that we Haviland said the city always here, so that’s council has three initiatives need to be able to drive ments, including the new as a gateway to welcoming By Megan Thornton major,” Haviland said. our program, and in turn planned for this year to set STEM Academy. In coordivisitors to the historic Haviland noted that the drive our budget. We didgoals for the future. The nation with the Cherokee trict. changes under way and n’t have these things, and city will update its fiveCounty School District, the Roberts said that while Mayor Rick Roberts planned for the rest of it’s a huge, huge step foryear plan, collaborating city was able to purchase the the recession may not be believes the city of Ball 2013 are an “ambitious ward,” Haviland said. with Pickens County and former Ball Ground Elemen- over, there have been good Ground’s best years are still effort.” The city will continue the cities of Jasper and tary School site for $35,000 indicators that the city is to come. “It’s for sure a dramatic to work on two park proTalking Rock. to be repaid through county coming back. After issuing At the city’s annual planchange in the way the city jects during 2013. With City leaders held the parks bond funds. The coun- zero business permits for ning retreat in February, $250,000 from the county- of Nelson conducts itself,” cil voted to surplus the almost four years, 11 permits city’s first strategic planRoberts recognized that ning workshop in February. wide park bond, the city is he said. school building but plans to were issued in the first six growth was slow to come to months of 2012. Ball Ground, so city officials keep the gymnasium as a City leaders Along with developing a buckled down and worked to recreational facility. held the city’s The city also finalized gateway to the city’s historic prevent taking on debt like first strategic and approved its park district, other goals for 2013 many other cities did. planning and beyond include dispos“We worked hard and did improvement plan, which workshop in will also be ing of the old school facility without,” February. ‘It’s funded by sealed bid, with funds Roberts said. SIX CITIES a beginning through bond from the sale going to gym“It will still point. What monies. nasium improvements and be a long do we want to Among the to explore ways to take time before approximate- State Route 372 off the state be when we we come ly $800,000 system for large truck trafback, but we grow up?’ in proposed projects are fic. will.” Mayor Mike updated restroom facilities Construction goals Now, Roberts said the Haviland, left, and a possible retaining wall include completing the Lincity is open for business and said, noting to address drainage issues at ear Park along Valley Street, ready to grow. that the plan Lion’s Field, improvements a new fire station and addiRoberts invited Misti will likely look to the nearby trail, resurtional sidewalks to connect Martin, president of Chero10 years into faced tennis and the whole city, kee’s Office of Economic the future. and an addiDevelopment, to speak at the basketball courts, a new tional well retreat, where she said the  Special to the multi-use site and water city is in prime position to Tribune field, a new storage tank. attract businesses as it now Other has Ball Ground Elementary youth baseball We worked hard field and parkgoals include STEM Academy within city and did without. ing improveplans to apply limits and is located within It will still be a for the city to one of the county’s Opportu- ments. Roberts said become a Betnity Zones, which gives tax long time before the plans have ter Home incentives for jobs created. we come back, taken longer Town in the Originally a planned city but we will. than anticipatnext five laid out by the railroad, ed, but should years; increasRoberts said city leaders be under concontinue to have a plan and Mayor Rick Roberts ing businesses struction in by 25 percent are considering updating the and residents by city’s master plan developed June and completed within the year. 1,000, encouraging the by Lew Oliver in 2007, The city also received Downtown Development which is posted on the city’s grant funds for water system Authority to be more active website. improvements and acquired and continuing to work with “I believe it is important local civic organizations and we communicate to the resi- property at the corner of A. W. Roberts Drive and Highthe Ball Ground Business dents we have a plan and way 5, where the house that Association on having spewhat it entails,” Roberts once stood on the property cial events that would bring said. has been removed. City offipeople to Ball Ground from In 2012, Roberts said the cials plan to develop the site all over the region. city saw many accomplishBy Erin Dentmon


Mayor says Ball Ground is open for new business

Ball Ground



Cherokee Tribune/SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013

Cherokee Senate Profiles State Senate District 21

State Senate District 14

State Senate District 56

Sen. Brandon Beach

Sen. Barry Loudermilk

Sen. John Albers




Age: 51 Family: Wife Shuntel, one daughter and one son Occupation: President/CEO, Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce Committees: Economic Development, Government Oversight, Science and Technology, Transportation Phone: (678) 640-1811 E-mail: brandon.beach@

Age: 49 Family: Wife Desiree, three children Occupation: Business owner Committees: Public Safety, Science and Technology (chair), Transportation, Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Phone: (404) 656-0034 E-mail: barry.loud

Age: 40 Family: Wife Kari, two sons Occupation: Business owner Committees: Economic Development, Finance, Public Safety, State Institutions and Property (chair) Phone: (404) 463-8055 E-mail: info@senator

Cherokee House Profiles State House District 20

State House District 21

Rep. Michael Caldwell

Rep. Scot Turner


R-Holly Springs

Age: 23 Family: Wife Katie Occupation Regional sales manager Committees: Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight, Code Revision, State Planning and Community Affairs Phone: (678) 523-8570 E-mail: michael.caldwell

State House District 22 Rep. Calvin Hill

Age: 37 Family: Married with two children Occupation: Director of Field Services, Source Direct Committees: Science and Technology, Special Rules, State Planning and Community Affairs Phone: (678) 576-2644 E-mail: scot.turner

State House District 23 Rep. Mandi Ballinger



Age: 65 Family: Wife Cheryl, six children, three grandchildren Occupation: Business owner Committees: Appropriations, Banks and Banking, Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight, Code Revision (chair), Special Rules, State Planning and Community Affairs, State Properties Phone: (404) 656-7855 E-mail: calvin.hill@

Age: 37 Family: Husband Eric, one son Occupation: Office manager Committees: Information and Audits, Judiciary NonCivil, Transportation Phone: (404) 656-0254 E-mail: mandi.ballinger

State House District 46 Rep. John Carson R-Marietta Age: 41 Family: Wife Beverly, two children Occupation: Certified Public Accountant, SunTrust Committees: Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications, Insurance, Intragovernmental Coordination, Ways and Means Phone: (404) 656-0287 E-mail: john.carson

Progress 2013

The Cherokee Tribune SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013



Northside expands 2F

Promising Outlook 2F

WellStar growth


Outlet mall


Canton additions




Cherokee Tribune/SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013

Chamber of Commerce Population Trends for Cherokee County 1990 Census 2000 Census 2009 Estimate Cherokee County

2010 Census 2012 Estimate

















Holly Springs




























Ball Ground

Woodstock Georgia

2012 Housing Trends Median Household Income

Per Capita Income

Median Age

Total Dwellings

Owner Occupied

Renter Occupied







GA’s Fastest Growing Counties by Percentage County Name



Forsyth County




Paulding County













Henry County Newton County Cherokee County

Source: U.S. Census Bureau 2011

% Change

Top Employers

2012 Taxes Effective Property Tax

$12.02 per $1000

Millage Rate


Cherokee County Government Cherokee County School District

Local Sales Tax


Kroger Company

State Sales Tax


Northside Hospital-Cherokee Pilgrims Pride Corporation


% commute out of the county each day

Publix Super Markets Wal-Mart Associates, Inc. Staff/ file

Above: This graphic information was taken from the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce. Below: President and CEO of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce Pam Carnes speaks with Membership Manager Nichole Parks about improving the 2013 retention rate for Chamber membership.

Successful 2012 leads to promising 2013 outlook Special to the Tribune

For the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, a successful 2012 is leading to greater expectations for 2013. The Chamber of Commerce has a solid history of 40 years of leading the efforts of the business community to create economic viability, which encourages people and businesses to make their homes here, said President and CEO Pam Carnes. During 2012, Tom Heard, general manager of the Cherokee Water and Sewer Authority, led the Chamber as chairman of the board, in what he considers to have been “a humbling experience.” While serving as the 2012 Chamber chair, Heard said he “was able to be involved in almost all aspects of the Chamber operations to some degree or another, which only increased my respect for the Chamber staff along with

the many volunteers, who due to their time, efforts, and commitment, make the Cherokee County Chamber the organization it has become. “Our Chamber is the definition of community to me. Individuals from different backgrounds work together for a single purpose, which is to promote and enhance not only our local economy but the quality of our lives,” Heard said. The growth of Cherokee County has positioned the Chamber as the leading business organization in the community, Carnes said. “Organizations like chambers of commerce don’t lead themselves — they are directed by those who have the best interest of the community at heart. As the county grows, so does the Chamber,” Carnes said. The mission of the Cherokee County Chamber, which serves Canton, Woodstock, Ball Ground, Holly Springs and Waleska, is to promote business and

the community while expanding the economy and enhancing the quality of life. Through an increasing membership base, coupled with countless volunteers, the Cherokee County Chamber will continue to achieve its mission, she said. “The 2012 Chamber year concluded with a number of measurable accomplishments. Under Tom Heard’s leadership, the Chamber excelled in 2012 and is on course for another successful year in 2013,” Carnes said. Notable areas of excellence included the Chamber‘s education initiatives, including the Partners In Education program, which increased business and school partnerships by 10 percent. Outstanding business and school partnerships were highlighted while retired educators, administrators and teachers of the year were honored. As a part of the Chamber‘s environmentally friendly initiatives, a suc-

Staff/Todd Hull

cessful awareness event was held in conjunction with Earth Day while the First Annual Mayor’s Challenge recycling initiative was launched. The Mayor’s Challenge produced over 306,000 pounds of recyclables during a two-month

period with the city of Canton leading the effort with 240,543 pounds collected. The city of Waleska was recognized for the greatest weight per capita at 35 pounds per resident. As a part of the community’s Work Ready Certifi-

cation, the Chamber worked in conjunction with the Cherokee County School District to encourage high school students to participate in credit recovery programs which allows them to get back on track with their graduation requirements.

Northside to expand with 84-bed hospital From staff reports

Northside Hospital’s presence and health care services got an overall positive diagnosis in 2012, with plans to build a new replacement 84-bed hospital in Canton closer to becoming a reality after clearing the final hurdles to move forward. In April, the Georgia Department of Community Health issued its final decision regarding the Northside Hospital-Cherokee replacement hospital project. The new hospital will be located at Interstate 575 and Highway 20 adjacent to Canton Marketplace. The hospital is expected to cost about $250 million and to open by March 2015. Northside Atlanta spokesman Russ Davis said the company was “pleased with this outcome.” Along with the new 84bed hospital, the campus will eventually include a women’s center, a multispecialty medical office building and cancer center, a parking deck with 600 parking spots and a 300spot surface parking lot. Northside Hospital-

Cherokee’ broke ground in October on its new 100,817-square-foot, fourstory medical office building on Towne Lake Parkway at Interstate 575 in Woodstock. Billy Hayes, CEO of Northside Hospital-Cherokee, said the NorthsideCherokee Towne Lake Medical Office Building will provide accessible health care to area residents and complement its 75,000square-foot medical office building that opened on Sixes Road in 2010, which he called “very successful,” and the new 84-bed hospital behind Canton Marketplace. “As we see Cherokee County continue to grow — Woodstock, Towne Lake and all the county grow — we felt it essential that we put this building here and have this location where it is so that it’s convenient for all of the citizens of Towne Lake and Woodstock to come, and give them easier access to better health care,” he said. The new facility is scheduled to be completed in August. It will offer a variety of outpatient medical services and an array of physician

practices representing numerous medical specialties, including urgent care, primary care, pediatrics, radiology and cardiology. Hayes said the building, which is being developed by Indianapolis-based Duke Realty, is quickly being leased. Duke Realty Towne Lake Development LLC will own the building and lease exclusively to Northside. A 350-space, threestory parking garage is also being built by Duke Realty, in addition to a 159-space surface lot. Northside is committed to building medical office buildings throughout the county, said board member Billy Hasty, who is also chairman of the Cherokee Hospital Authority. “The hospital has purchased several properties in the county and Sixes (Road) is a good example of what Northside has done and what Northside will be doing in the future,” he said. Northside HospitalCherokee has advanced its robotic surgery services with the implementation of Single-Site™ surgery, using the da Vinci® Surgical System. The first procedure,

Special to the Tribune

Billy Hayes, CEO of Northside Hospital Cherokee, shows off the new robotic surgery equipment at Northside Hospital-Cherokee. an outpatient cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal), was performed Aug. 23 by Michael Williams, M.D., general surgeon, at Northside Hospital-Cherokee. Only a handful of hospitals in Georgia have performed this minimally invasive technique. “At Northside HospitalCherokee, we aim to pro-

vide the latest in state-ofthe-art and minimally invasive surgery procedures to offer better outcomes for our patients,” says Hayes. “We are excited about this latest evolution of our robotic surgery program.” Minimally invasive robotic surgery has given surgeons better tools to perform more complicated pro-

cedures with great precision and achieve better outcomes for their patients. In traditional laparoscopic and robotic surgery, surgeons make several small incisions for the tools and camera needed to perform the procedure. However, Single-Site (single incision) See Hospital, Page 5F

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013/Cherokee Tribune



Interchange, outlet shops excite Woodstock leaders By Megan Thornton


The much-anticipated Ridgewalk Parkway interchange on Interstate 575 and the forthcoming Outlet Shops of Atlanta are giving Woodstock city leaders much to smile about after a decade of work went into getting the exit opened. Progress continues to be made on the 370,000square-foot outlet center, with job fairs to fill both full and part-time positions and plans by the city of Woodstock to ensure safety Staff/Laura Moon and access to the new shopCandice Saunders, WellStar Executive Vice President and WellStar Kenne- ping destination. Now slated to open in stone Regional Medical Center President, stands outside of the newly renamed July, developers of WoodMarietta campus. stock’s Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta announced in December the mall would open sooner than originally scheduled and released an updated list of stores planned for the new center at Interstate 575 and Ridgewalk Parkway. The new date for grand From staff reports mary service area, and as the market opening for the initial phase leader for health care in that county, of the outlet mall put it WellStar Kennestone Hospital conWellStar is always evaluating opportuweeks ahead of its original tinues to grow in Cherokee County and nities to better serve those residents,” August opening, according across the region. WellStar spokesperson Keith Bowerto Horizon Group ProperAcross its service area, WellStar master said. ties Inc. The project is a added more than 100 physicians to its WellStar has recently been in talks joint venture of CBL and medical group in 2012. with the city of Holly Springs to possiHorizon. While both are To have its Marietta hospital named a bly build a facility offering a standdeveloping the outlet cenLevel II Trauma Center, WellStar added alone emergency center and other serter, Horizon is responsible a 24/7 neurosurgery team, which Wellvices in the future. Plans for the possifor leasing and manageStar officials say provides better access ble Holly Springs facility are still in the ment. to critical healthcare for residents of conceptual phase. Previously announced Cherokee and other neighThe hospital opened a brands included Nike, Saks boring counties. It is the health park in Acworth in Fifth Avenue OFF 5th, only Level II trauma cenJuly 2012. Brooks Brothers Cole ter in WellStar’s primary Also in July, WellStar Haan, Under Armour, service area. joined a group of 89 health Michael Kors and Talbots. Cherokee is part In 2012, WellStar Recent additions systems across the U.S. of WellStar’s prima- designated as accountable added geriatric medicine, include: Aéropostale, Asics, ry service area, and Berry & Berry Yogurt, radiation oncology and care organizations by the Bose, Charley’s Steakery, as the market leader Center for Medicare and hand surgery to its medCharlotte Russe, Claire’s, for health care in ical group and expanded Medicaid Services. As an Columbia Sportswear, that county, Wellhealth screenings to ACO, WellStar’s goal is to Dress Barn, Fox, Gold Toe, Star is always evalu- improve care while curbinclude colonoscopies, Gymboree, Haggar, Jos. A. ating opportunities lung cancer and cardiac ing growth in Medicare Bank, Journeys, Kay Jewelto better serve screenings. costs through enhanced ers, Kitchen Collection, those residents. The hospital continues coordination of care. Love Culture, Lucky to work with Kennesaw Throughout WellStar’s Brand, Maidenform, MothKeith Bowermaster service area, more than State University to eduerhood Maternity, OshKosh cate the next generation 200,000 community memB’Gosh, P.S. From Aéroof health professionals bers participated in health postale, Sbarro, Sunglass and also has partnerships fairs, safety seat checks and other health Hut, Taqueria Tsunami, with the University of West Georgia, education events. Ultra Diamonds, Waterford Georgia State University, Georgia HighWellStar employs more than 12,000 Wedgwood, Wilsons lands College and Chattahoochee Techpeople across its facilities, making it Leather and Zumiez. nical College. one of the area’s largest employers. The shopping center will WellStar has eight facilities in WellStar includes five hospitals, 113 feature covered walkways, Cherokee County offering cardiovasculandscaped courtyards and physicians offices, six urgent care cenlar medicine, family medicine, imaging, a children’s play area. The ters, 16 imaging centers and the site can accommodate an obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics Acworth health park. additional 30,000 square and urgent care. In 2013, WellStar will begin implefeet of shops and includes WellStar’s latest addition in Cheromenting new software to improve comkee County is the former Bridgemill munication across the entire health sysFamily Medicine practice, which the tem. The software should be fully hospital system took over in December implemented in 2014. It will allow for a 2012. single electronic patient record across “Cherokee is part of WellStar’s prithe care continuum.Get.

Ready to serve

WellStar continues growing in Cherokee

 DESCRIPTION: Phase I of the outlet center will include 370,000-square-feet of gross leasable area with expansion potential for an additional 30,000-square-feet. The site contains seven outparcels.  CO-DEVELOPERS: Horizon Group Properties, Inc. and CBL & Associates Properties Inc.  ARCHITECT: Adams + Associates Architecture  CONTRACTOR: VCC, LLC  CONSTRUCTION START: May 2012  GRAND OPENING: July 2013  AMENITIES: Open-air racetrack design with covered walkways, food court, courtyard, fountains, park-like atmosphere, customer service center, bus parking and tour group services.  LOCATION: Interstate 575 and Ridgewalk Parkway in Woodstock. seven out-lots for restaurants, service business and other retail uses. Horizon officials project the outlet shops to generate more than $130 million in annual sales and $3 million in sales and property taxes for the city of Woodstock. The development and operation of the center is additionally expected to provide $34 million in taxes to benefit the city, Cherokee County and the school system over the next 10 years “Strong tenant demand, ongoing support from the city of Woodstock officials and the speed of the construction permit the accelerated opening date of the center,” said Gary J. Skoien, Horizon’s president and CEO in a release. “The development and operation of the center will generate both substantial economic activity in and tax revenue for the city of Woodstock and Cherokee County. We appreciate the efforts of the city and county officials who helped make this development a reality.” Michael Lebovitz, executive vice president of development and administration for CBL & Associates Properties Inc., said sustained demand from retailers interested in having a storefront in the outlet mall demonstrates the tremendous strength of the project. “The outstanding retail names we have already signed up will deliver a shopping experience that everyone in the family can enjoy,” Lebovitz said. “We are looking forward to the early opening next July.”

Located off of the newly opened Ridgewalk Parkway off Interstate 575, the outlet center has more than 112,000 cars pass the site daily, Horizon officials said, adding they anticipate a draw of over 4 million visitors annually. In early February, the new section of Woodstock Parkway near the outlet mall opened to traffic. Drivers can now use the new roundabout at the intersection of Woodstock Parkway and Rope Mill Road. Also, the new signalized intersection at Woodstock Parkway, Ridgewalk Parkway and Meridian Drive is in full operation. The former Woodstock Parkway will be the entrance to the new shopping center. The intersection at the former Woodstock Parkway and Ridgewalk Parkway and Olde Rope Mill Road will temporarily be in “flash mode” until the entrance to the outlet mall, slated to open in July, is completed. A ribbon-cutting for the new interchange was Nov. 29. The event drew about 50 attendees to the northbound entrance ramp off Exit 9. During the roadside dedication and ribbon cutting, onlookers had a full view of nearby construction on the outlet center. The diamond-shaped interchange opened to the public just two weeksbefore, making the designbuild project over a month ahead of its Dec. 31 completion date and also within its $17 million budget. See Shops, Page 5F

More places open for business By Megan Thornton

With the Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta opening this year, downtown Woodstock will see many new businesses in 2013. But that will just be an improvement on an already successful year, according to city leaders. Kyle Bennett, Woodstock’s director of tourism and visitors center operations, predicts a dramatic increase in new businesses, as the outlet mall is in the Downtown Development Authority’s district. Billy Peppers, former economic development director and main street director, resigned his position in December to take a job with Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs. Meantime, Bennett is taking over his DDA duties until a new economic development direc-

tor is selected in late FebBennett said the success of downtown Woodruary. Bennett said 14 new stock the past few years business opened in down- has filled up the city’s town Woodstock in 2012, supply of vacant space. which is In 2013, Bennett said down from he expects an 25 in 2011. increase in “At first number of glance, The reason fewer the those numbusinesses businesses opened open in to bers would in 2012 compared downtown seem to to 2011 was that Woodstock, indicate that we ran out of including 2012 was a vacant space in slow year Woodstock downtown for for downretails and restau- West by Waltown comrants. Just a month ton apartment complex, pared to into the year, we have already had which will 2011, but businesses looking feature addithis was not to lease the few tional retail the case,” remaining empty Bennett space. retails spaces left “Just a said. “The month into reason fewer in our downtown area. the year, we businesses Kyle Bennett have already opened in had business2012 comes looking to pared to 2011 was lease the few remaining empty retails that we ran out of vacant spaces left in our downspace in downtown for town area,” Bennett said. retails and restaurants.”

Businesses that opened in downtown Woodstock in 2012:  Cupcakelicious  Gin Miller Fitness  Cross Fit Emerge  Swirl by Design  Dismero

 Threads  Salon Gloss  Sew Main St  The Velvet Cloak  Collective Co-Op

 Show Me Off Again  Dance Imagination  ICE Martini Bar  Century House Tavern

Staff/Samantha M. Shal

The Ridgewalk Parkway interchange on Interstate 575 and the forthcoming Outlet Shops of Atlanta are giving Woodstock city leaders much to smile about. Progress continues to be made on the 370,000-square-foot outlet center, with job fairs to fill both full and part-time positions.

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Cherokee Tribune/SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013/Cherokee Tribune

Hospital Continued from Page 1F technology allows surgeons to eliminate multiple incisions and place all the instruments through a single 2-to2.5-centimeter port, often at the belly button, to reduce the appearance of scarring. “Single-Site technology allows me to provide my patients with procedures equivalent to traditional multiple-incision surgery, but with the advantage of 3D and HD visualization of the surgical site, and the precision and versatility afforded by robotic instrumentation,” said Williams. Patients benefit from the advantages of minimally invasive surgery with less pain and blood loss, a quicker recovery and an almost invisible scar once healed. Dr. Williams’ patient on Aug. 23 reported minimal pain and required pain medication for only one day after surgery. Northside Hospital-Cherokee began using robotic technology in 2007, joining Northside Hospital-Atlanta, which performed its first robotic surgery in 2005, and Northside Hospital-Forsyth in 2008. Georgia’s first SingleSite™ surgery, using the da Vinci® Surgical System, was performed at Northside Hospital-Atlanta in February 2012. The hospital continues to lead the way in robotic surgery, performing more robotic procedures than any other hospital in the Southeast. Although Single-Site robotic surgery is currently only approved for cholecystectomy, surgeons are active-

Chamber Continued from Page 5F In partnership with the Cherokee Office of Economic Development, appreciation items were delivered to the 4,800 plus people who are employed by local industry and manufacturing firms through the Operation Thank You existing industry support effort. Over 375 attendees were educated during a Candidates Forum, held in conjunction with the Cherokee County Farm Bureau, while Chamber members were provided with legislative updates and call to action reports during the legislative session. New member recruitment is important to the Chamber‘s continued growth, yet retaining existing members is also vital. Member recruitment in 2012 resulted in 157 businesses, organizations and individuals joining the Chamber. The year-end member retention rate was 81 percent. In order to recruit and retain members, the Chamber‘s programs and services have to provide a value, Carnes said. Throughout 2012 members were provided opportunities to connect through almost 40 successful networking events including Good Morning Cherokee, Business After Hours, 12@12 Networking Luncheons, Picnic in the Park, Chamber Classic Golf Tournament, Knockdown Bowling Tournament, Annual Meeting and Business Expo. In keeping with the Chamber‘s $hop Cherokee initiative, the 4th Annual Jingle Bell $hop retail shopping extravaganza encouraged attendees to keep their local dollars local. The Workforce Development Council, through ResuMay Day, assisted 40 displaced workers with resume development and interview skills. New in 2012, the Young Professionals Recognition, known as Cherokee County’s Top 10 in 10, was designed to highlight rising stars in Cherokee County, ages 2540, who are the leaders to watch over the next 10 years. In 2013 the Chamber is being led by Randy Gravley, of WLJA 101.1 FM and Enjoy! Cherokee Magazine. “I look forward to working with the board of directors, staff and our Chamber members as we all work to make our businesses and county strong and vibrant,” Gravley said. “The Chero-

ly using robotic technology to perform procedures across a wide range of specialties. Many of the surgeons on staff at Northside are pioneers in laparoscopic surgery and are nationally and internationally recognized for their expertise in minimally invasive techniques, like robotic surgery and single incision. “We are pleased to add this latest technique to our Advanced Robotic Surgery Program and, more so, that the technology is now available at Northside HospitalCherokee,” said Vicki Barnett, RN, director of surgical services, Northside Hospital. “The achievement highlights the innovative expertise of the general surgeons at Northside Hospital.” Surgeons at all three of Northside’s hospitals are currently performing a variety of robotic and single-incision procedures. For more information, visit The Northside Hospital health care delivery system, a not-for-profit health care provider, has served north Metro Atlanta for more than 40 years. With more than 2,200 physicians and 7,400 employees, the hospital sees nearly 700,000 patient visits a year. Staff provide a full range of health care services, including women’s health, cancer care, emergency care, surgery, specialty medicine and a wide array of outpatient services at many locations. Northside Hospital offers high-quality health care at Northside Hospital-Atlanta in Sandy Springs, Northside Hospital-Cherokee in Canton and Northside HospitalForsyth in Cumming.



The city finished paving Waleska Street in 2012 and is nearly complete with the entire downtown streetscape renovation.  Staff/Todd Hull

Drawing people in New additions draw patrons to downtown Canton By Erin Dentmon

spaces for the renovated Riddle Barnes Office Supply location on West Main Street. MOJO Productions and Technical Resource Solutions now occupy the building. Brothers-in-law Joseph Guynup and Nick Vecchio purchased Fork and Tavern late last year and have reopened the renovated bar and restaurant as The Painted Pig Tavern. Guynup and Vecchio have added a downstairs bar to the two-story space and hope to host live music and community events. The Jones building, owned by the Cherokee County government, could possibly get a facelift soon. County leaders have discussed removing the building’s facade to expose the original brick. Downtown Canton has had some issues with parking availability, and the Canton City Council is currently seeking proposals for a parking study to evaluate parking problems and solutions. City leaders are also discussing a revamping of the city’s economic development efforts. The city improved sidewalks along North Street, West Main Street and Waleska Street in 2012. While sidewalks and paving are finished, city crews continue to work on constructing and landscaping an island area that will welcome visitors to downtown Canton. The city’s Main Street program launched First Fridays last year, set to return in March for 2013. “We added a car show and some other vendors, and it really did take off,” Roach said. The city’s Saturday morning farmers market and Taste of Canton also saw expanded interest. “The farmer’s market had a lot going on with it. It brought in a lot of vendors with a fun setup,” Roach said.

Economic developers hope to attract diversity in 2013

Things are looking up in downtown Canton, with business activity abuzz and the city making improvements to Martin said. By Erin Dentmon infrastructure, attractions and The Development events. Authority of Cherokee The Canton Theatre is set County, the board that govThe Cherokee Office of to add more spark to the erns COED, broke ground Economic Development downtown area with newly on the project in August. plans to continue attracting installed movie projection The budget for the businesses to Cherokee equipment. The theater, upgrades is $754,000, comCounty in 2013. owned by the city and maning from the DACC’s The office’s Cherokee aged by the Canton Downreserve funds. 75 business park is protown Development AuthoriThe county purchased gressing, with the first ty, showed its first movie in 42 of the 100 acres in the phase of construction set to 40 years, “Chocolat,” on business park in 2010 for finish in the first quarter of Valentine’s Day. $1.9 million, adding to land the year, COED President Wanda Roach, chair of already owned by the Misti Martin said. the DDA and a member of DACC. Cherokee 75 includes the Canton Main Street The office of economic 100 acres of light-industrial board, said she hopes the thezoned property with a small development will conduct ater improvements will draw an existing industry survey retail section. The developpeople into the theater and this spring. The survey, downtown as a whole. ment is two miles east of “We’ve added another Interstate 75 on Ga. 92. It is conducted every other year, dimension of attraction when located inside a state-desig- gauges the needs of busiit comes to getting people nated Opportunity Zone, so nesses operating in Cherointo the city,” she said. kee County. the state offers tax incenThe theater will likely Product development is tives for jobs created at the host themed movie nights another initiative COED site. and other film-centric events. staff will focus on this year, Any business that creSeveral businesses reloMartin said. ates at least two jobs inside kee County Chamber of cated downtown last year. “This is a must for an Opportunity Zone Commerce is one of the Audio Intersection, a growing businesses in receives a $3,500 tax credit most respected Chambers in home theater and integration Cherokee,” she said. “We per job created. Georgia, and I look forward business based in Canton, Martin said Cherokee 75 must have places to put to working with our memwill move from its current new and expanding busiis being marketed to combers, staff and board to con- location further up East Main nesses.” panies looking for a buildtinue that distinction.” Street into the heart of downCOED will also work to-suit property in metro In 2013 the Chamber town in the coming months. on diversifying Cherokee Atlanta. will launch a new $hop Audio Intersection will The property has earned County‘s economy. With Cherokee initiative just in occupy the space formerly Georgia Ready for Acceler- 78 percent of county resitime for the opening of The used by Yawn’s Books and ated Development certifica- dents traveling out of the Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta in More, which made its own county for work, Cherokee tion, making it the first July, to focus on connecting move in late 2012. County has more comproperty in Cherokee Counindustry and education Focusing more on pubmuters than anywhere else ty to do so. through business and school lishing, Yawn’s has moved to in the Atlanta area. The certification puts partnerships as well as a smaller space on North “Cherokee can become Cherokee 75 on a list of revamping the Business Street. Yawn’s has published a self-sustaining communisites that are suited for proExpo designed to showcase more than 100 books by at ty if the local economy is jects with accelerated timearea businesses to local con- least 50 authors. diversified and well paying, sumers, Gravely said. lines. Near Yawn’s is Salon 5, a “Encouraging companies full-service salon that relocatMartin said the certifica- quality jobs are created to prepare for disaster by through the expansion of tion means the economic ed to Canton from Holly developing Business Disas- Springs and opened its new existing businesses, new development office has ter Recovery Plans is also at location in January. business recruitment and already done the due dilithe forefront in the Chamgence on the site. Cherokee support of non-traditional Two other downtown ber‘s 2013 Business plan,” economic development,” 75 is one of 28 sites in Canton businesses made Carnes said. Georgia with GRAD status, Martin said. moves in December, leaving Always looking to the their former downtown future, the Chamber will be led in 2014 by Lewis Cline, community executive and senior vice president for thing’s open,” Henriques cil member Bill Long. Chairman Buzz Ahrens Bank of North Georgia in said. “In the transportation noted the economic boost the both Cherokee and Pickens Brandon Beach, Georgia world, projects like this don’t interchange will bring to the Counties. happen without vision and city and surrounding areas. “I am honored and hum- Continued from Page 3F Department of Transportation District 6 board memleadership. It takes a champi“Truly, from an economic bled to join such a strong ber, recognized the project as on to build a project like development standpoint, this group of community leaders Woodstock Mayor Dona “true partnership” between this,” Beach said of Long’s is terrific,” Ahrens said. who have served as past nie Henriques said the road GDOT, the county and the decades-long efforts to make A contract for the project Chamber Chairs. My desire project is a long time comcity. the interchange possible. was awarded by GDOT in is to live up to the expecta- ing, as the first correspon“We love to help with Long, who was first elect- 2010 to Marietta-based C. tions of our membership by dence regarding the interjobs and creation of jobs and ed to Woodstock City Coun- W. Matthews for $17.1 milcontinuing to promote busi- change dates back to 1976. getting people, goods and cil in 1988 and resigned in lion to include the construc“To say it’s a long time ness and the community, services moving through 2006, said he appreciated the tion of the interchange, coming is an understatewhile expanding our local your county so we are very recognition. replacing the bridge over Ieconomy and enhancing the ment,” Henriques said Henriques thanked every- pleased to have this road “Most of all I appreciate 575, realigning Rope Mill quality of life for all in our one in attendance and recog- open,” Beach said. the way it’s going to help Road to intersect with Ridgegreat county.” Beach also presented a Woodstock and help the traf- walk Parkway and building From small business and nized all stakeholders, including city council, staff road sign dedicating the fic situation around here,” auxiliary lanes between the entrepreneurial collaboraand residents. interchange to former Wood- Long said. new interchange and Towne tion to leadership develop“Boy, are we happy this stock Mayor and City CounCounty Commission Lake Parkway. ment, educational initiatives, governmental affairs and networking events of various descriptions, the Cherokee County Chamber prides itself on being a member services driven organization. The Chamber will be more focused than ever in 2013 on providing for those who seek success in Cherokee County. The array of opportunities provided to members, residents and potential newcomers are promoted online via m, providing individuals with the chance to become more readily connected with the Chamber and Compassionate care providers for the “We’re Watching Over You” Cherokee County as a elderly & disabled le whole. Available 24 hours ReaRsoanteasb Staying connected is Assistance with chores, light housekeeping, a day, 7 days a week now easier than ever; like personal care, companionship the Chamber on Facebook. Meal preparation, errands, shopping & “Motivator John C. Call Sherry for a Free Consultation: Maxwell once said that a transportation Live-in ‘leader is one who knows Care Respite for family caregivers the way, goes the way, and Availab le shows the way.’ For over Assistance with dressing & bathing 40 years those types of ple have led the Cherokee County Chamber. The future will be no different,” Carnes said.


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Cherokee Tribune/SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013

Progress 2013

The Cherokee Tribune SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013



Classroom expansion 2G

Reinhardt celebrates 4G growth SAT excellence


School board


Cherokee Charter




Cherokee Tribune/SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013

2012 SAT scores highest in district history, state By Megan Thornton mthornton@

The impact of Cherokee County School District’s graduating class of 2012 posting the highest average SAT score has reverberated throughout the county and puts Cherokee in the spotlight as a successful center of public education. Announced late September by school officials, the calculation came just a day after reporting that this year’s results were the highest SAT scores in Cherokee County School District history. The ranking is based on the district’s analysis of the statewide data released by the Georgia Department of Education and the College Board, as the state does not compare districts in its report. “While internal analysis had shown the CCSD score, a 28-point increase from the 2011 average total, was the highest in the district’s history, a review of the scores across the state reveals CCSD to have the highest district-wide average as well, with a total score of 1587,” said district spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby. “The next closest district average for 2012 is 1580 (Fulton County).” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo congratulated students, parents, teachers and administrators for their efforts in making Cherokee No. 1 in the state. “What is important about this distinction is that it shows our school district offers consistent academic quality throughout the county,” Petruzielo said. “Among our high schools, the difference from the highest to lowest SAT average this year is less than 50 points, which assures parents that no matter which high school their child attends, they are assured of having access to challenging coursework and academic rigor that will prepare them for the future.” All five CCSD high schools ranked in the top eight percent of the 450 high schools in the state of Georgia. Etowah High School topped the district’s list at 16th in the state, followed by Cherokee High School

at 23, Creekview High School at 25, Woodstock High School at 32 and Sequoyah High School at 35. The five schools had a total average increase over 2011 scores. River Ridge High School will have its first senior class graduate in May of this year, so the school was not considered in this year’s totals. At a recent Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce breakfast, Misti Martin, president of the Cherokee Office of Economic Development, said her office is touting Cherokee County School District’s achievement. “If you see the teachers, administrators and staff from our school district make sure you thank them because that has helped us do our job,” Martin said. “We had a marketing event in November and we mentioned this to statewide brokers and Atlanta area project managers and they broke out in a round of applause ... We shout that from the rooftops.” The average SAT score for the school district among its five high schools with a senior class jumped 28 points to 1587 from 1559 points — out of a maximum of 2400 — for 2011-12 graduates, according to data released by the district Wednesday. All Cherokee district high schools exceeded both the state average of 1452 and the national average of 1498, and every high school in the district saw improvement or remained constant in all three areas of the test: critical reading, mathematics and writing. Additionally, every CCSD high school outperformed the state and nation in each individual subject. The Cherokee school system reported 1,321 students, or 60 percent of the 2012 graduating class, took the SAT. That’s 50 more students taking the test compared to last year’s graduating class of 1,271 SAT takers. Since 2006, when the test was reconfigured to include a writing section, the CCSD average has climbed 21 points from 1566 to 1587. “The status quo in the Cherokee County School District is continuous

Staff/Todd Hull

Sequoyah High School senior Sarah Barth, 17, daughter of Kasey and Jim Barth of Canton, attends an afterschool SAT prep class in September. Announced late September by school officials, Cherokee County School District’s 2012 graduating class posted the highest average SAT score in the state, and also in county history, based on an analysis of data released by the Georgia Department of Education and the College Board. improvement and outstanding academic achievement, and these stellar SAT results are clear evidence that we remain on the right track for ensuring every student reaches his or her potential in our schools and in higher education,” Petruzielo said in the release. Petruzielo said the scores are a testament to the diligence and dedication of district students, teachers and administrators, as well as the strong support from the Cherokee County Board of Education, parents and the entire community to reach the district’s goal of college and career readiness success for every student. Both Cherokee and Woodstock high schools reported major leaps in average scores, with Woodstock reporting at 47-point jump to 1576 and Cherokee with a 38-point increase to 1597 over the previous year’s graduates. Among the highest average total SAT scores were Etowah, 1615; Cherokee, 1597; and Creekview, 1593. The lowest scoring schools were Woodstock, 1576 and Sequoyah, 1570.

As a whole, the district performed the best in mathematics with an average score of 536, up from 527 for the class of 2011. The highest average scores in the critical reading portion of the test were seen at Cherokee and Etowah, both with an average of 542. The lowest scores in that area were seen at Sequoyah and Woodstock, both reporting an average of 527. Etowah also saw the highest average mathematics score at 547, with Sequoyah having an average of 530. Creekview and Etowah tied for highest average score in the writing portion of the test at 526; while Sequoyah had the lowest at 513. Woodstock had the most seniors take the test at 329, followed by Sequoyah at 303, Etowah at 284, Creekview at 244 and Cherokee at 161. The SAT, a curriculumbased college entrance and placement test, is the most commonly recognized measure of achievement for high school students and is designed to measure three testing areas, each

English teacher Cathy Murphy uses her smart board to go over test-taking strategies for the SAT during a prep class offered at Sequoyah High School.

worth 800 points for a total possible score of 2400. These three sections are aimed at testing the subject matter learned by high

school students and are used by many colleges as a determining factor when making decisions on admissions.

District moves forward with construction on area schools By Megan Thornton mthornton@

School construction to meet the continued demand for classroom space in Cherokee County moved forward in 2012, with both the new Clark Creek Elementary and the replacement Ball Ground Elementary opening in the fall. The facilities are two of Cherokee County School District’s six new Cherokee Academies. The school system continues to move forward with two additional schools under construction this year, in addition to the new parent drive under construction at Holly Springs Elementary School scheduled to open this spring. TEASLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL Scheduled for completion this spring, the replacement $14 million Teasley Middle School on Reservoir Drive at Reinhardt College Parkway in Canton is designed by Manley, Spangler and Smith Architects of Griffin. Planned to hold 1,525 students, the school will be 239,750 square feet and have 94 instructional units. It is designed with metal roofing, brick and block masonry and a structural steel frame system. The building has a fourpipe chilled water and hot

water system which provides for a longer life expectancy of equipment without disruption to classroom activities. According to the school district, the building follows all current designs in providing state-of-the-art classrooms with smart boards, computers and technology included in each room, as well as a media center, computer labs, a gymnasium and art and music rooms. Additionally, Teasley will house a data recovery center for technology, which will provide a backup network system location in the case of a major disaster or power outage for CCSD. “This facility will allow the school district to save dollars by creating the facility in-house and not outsourcing this to an outside vendor,” Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo said. Purchased two years ago, the school site is located on about 47 acres and will allow for the separation of cars and buses. The facility will be funded through Education Special Purpose Local Sales Tax dollars collected following the SPLOST renewal in 2011 and with state capital outlay funding for a total of $14,026,400. The contractor, Choate Construction, has performed numerous projects with Kennesaw State University, the University of Georgia and other school systems throughout the Southeast.

E.T. BOOTH MIDDLE SCHOOL At the Board of Education’s Jan. 17 work session, district officials learned E. T. Booth Middle School’s replacement may not be completed by the contractors before it’s slated to open to students this fall, but Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo and district staff both believe the impact of a delayed opening will be minimal. A contingency plan introduced anticipated the school opening will be postponed from August to January 2014. The Woodstock school was the only school in the district deemed critically overcrowded, as it began the 2012-13 school year operating at a 112 percent capacity if portable classrooms are taken into account, according to district officials. Without them, the overflow would rise to 173 percent. Critically overcrowded schools are defined in the district’s Board of Education policy as when a school exceeds 140 percent of its enrollment capacity. Other criteria used to determine that designation includes the use of all existing portable classrooms. “It’s no coincidence that E.T. Booth Middle School is slated for replacement in the 2013-14 school year, with a larger, 1,500-student-capacity facility that will not only alleviate overcrowding

Staff/Todd Hull

Dr. Frank Petruzielo, superintendent for Cherokee County Schools, speaks with Construction Supervisor Steve Werner about the progress made at the site of the new Teasley Middle School. Planned to hold 1,525 students, the school will be 239,750 square feet and have 94 instructional units. It is designed with metal roofing, brick and block masonry and a structural steel frame system. there, but also at neighboring Etowah (High School),” Petruzielo said in a release last year. The replacement E.T. Booth is funded by Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenue. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Brian Hightower said all three principals at E. T. Booth, Chapman and Etowah are aware of the delay. Hightower said for the 2013-14 school year, the district plans to move forward with the consolidation of the Eagle Mountain

schools — where Booth, Chapman and Etowah are located in Towne Lake — to convert Booth into a sixth- through eighth-grade school. All fourth-graders at feeder elementary schools will stay at their respective elementary schools for fifth grade, as was determined in last fall’s public boundary hearings. He said Chapman Intermediate School, which will conclude services this year as a fifth- and sixth-grade intermediate school, will be used to house the sixth grade, while seventh and

eighth grades will remain at Booth. He added that the plan is still a contingency, as the general contractor has expressed that they believe they can get the project done before school starts. He said district staff will have a better idea of whether to move forward with the plan in March. According to the most recent capital outlay report, the facility is scheduled for occupancy in August 2013, but with a potential for opening midyear.


SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013/Cherokee Tribune


Voters elect first county-wide school board chair By Megan Thornton mthornton

After redistricting by the local legislature in 2012, Cherokee voters elected the first countywide elected board chair to take office in 2013. Janet Read, who has served on the board for the last nine years, was elected vice chair by her peers during her previous term. Changes to the way voters elected the board prompted her to run for the newly created board chair position after mulling a potential legislative run. Mike Chapman, general manager of Morrison Supply Co. and longtime member of the G. Cecil Pruett Community Center Family YMCA board of directors, served as the previous board chair until the changes last year, which left him without a district to run in. Chapman passed the gavel onto Read during the Dec. 6 board meeting. Read, along with newly elected District 1 board member Kelly Marlow and District 2 board member Patsy Jordan. “She is an awesome leader,” Chapman said of Read at the meeting. At the Feb. 7 meeting, first-term District 6 board

bers and the Cherokee Legislative Delegation in late January,” Read said. “I am focused on continuing to keep the dialogue movOur students continue to ing forward excel in academics, extra-cur- and working ricular activities and athletcollaboratively ics. I am going to continue to to improve the focus on programs that will state funding allow us to increase our grad- situation for uation rate. I am honored to our public be a part of a school district schools.” that reinforces the imporRead said tance of all those compoCCSD offinents in developing wellcials recently rounded individuals. introduced some new feaJanet Read, tures on its Cherokee School Board website that chairwoman will continue to keep the community updated about school disera of communication and trict opportunities. cooperation with the local “Our students continue legislative delegation. to excel in academics, Elected leaders from both extra-curricular activities bodies met in January at the Holly Springs Depot to and athletics,” Read said. “I am going to continue to discuss the continued focus on programs that impact of austerity budget will allow us to increase cuts on the school system. our graduation rate. I am Though little was prohonored to be a part of a vided in the way of soluschool district that reintions to making whole the forces the importance of $26.6 million in cuts from the state this year — just a all those components in developing well-rounded portion of the $78.6 milindividuals.” lion in cuts over the last Other board members three years — the leaders include Michael Geist of seemed to want to try to District 3, Rick Steiner of work together. District 4, Rob Usher of “I was pleased with the District 5, and Student dialogue between the Advisor Gabrielle Roth. Board of Education memmember Robert Wofford was elected vice chair. So far, the new leadership has ushered in a new

Above: Newly elected board member Patsy Jordan shakes Wood’s hand after she is sworn in at the beginning of a school board meeting. Holding the Bible is Jordan’s sister. Below: From left, School Board members Rob Usher, Robert Wofford and Jordan ask questions about this year's school budget during a Jan. 31 meeting. Wofford was recently elected as the board’s vice chair. Bottom: Newly elected Cherokee School Board Chairwoman Janet Read, who served on the school board for the last eight years, is sworn into office during a Jan. 17 board meeting.

Staff/Todd Hull

Disctrict 1 board member Kelly Marlow is joined on stage by her husband Mark and two children Eric, 10 and Morgan, 10, as she is sworn in at the beginning of a Jan. 17 school board meeting by Probate Judge Keith Wood.



Cherokee Tribune/SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013

Reinhardt University celebrates latest additions From staff reports

have deep trust in Reinhardt and have backed us by funding the construction of this facility.” Named after loyal alumni Glenn H. and Marjorie Humphrey Hubbard (’36, ’37) Hubbard Hall houses 72 male students with four students to each two-room suite. The building is located next to the Fincher Visual Arts Center overlooking the Falany Performing Arts Center and Lake Mullenix. Plans are already under way for adding a second 72-bed wing to open fall 2013. The Ken White Music Center was named after C. Ken White ( ’61) for his longtime dedication and loyalty to the University as an alumnus, donor and Reinhardt Trustee. The Ken White Music Center is a welcome addition to Reinhardt’s growing music program, now the largest at any private institution in Georgia. The 4,000square-foot space connects with the west wing of the University’s Falany Performing Arts Center and includes six faculty studios, eight practice rooms and a classroom. The year 2013 will bring many changes to Reinhardt University. From expanding degree offerings to adding a new sports program to improving the campus landscape, positive changes are happening in and around the university for 2013. “I believe Reinhardt University is the most dynamic institution of learning in the State of Georgia,” said Isherwood. “With our largest enrollment ever, three new residence halls, new music and science buildings, new sports programs, and new and expanding academic programs, we are moving forward in such a positive direction, and that’s very exciting.” Several new degrees programs will soon be offered to students. The Bachelor in Healthcare Administration is an online program designed to meet the needs of the non-traditional student. Classes were set to begin in January. “Reinhardt’s program in health care administration responds to those needs by preparing students who already have an associate degree or the equivalent college credit to move up within their current organization to administration positions,” said Phil Unger, program coordinator. “It also allows those working or moving into the health care field to earn a bachelor’s degree in health care.” For more information about this program for working adults, visit www.reinhardt. edu/workingadults

Reinhardt University continued to expand and grow in 2012 and to prepare for 2013 and beyond with several new additions and programs. As a private comprehensive university affiliated with the United Methodist Church, Reinhardt offers graduate and undergraduate programs. More than 1,157 students are enrolled in Reinhardt’s five graduate programs in business administration, music and education and 41 undergraduate majors, which range from business, communications and education to political science, theater and math. Reinhardt has two locations — a residential campus in Cherokee County in Waleska, and a center focused on adults in Alpharetta, and it offers selected programs in Cartersville, Marietta and Woodstock. Additional attractions on the Waleska campus Special to the Cherokee Tribune include the Falany PerAbove: Athletic Staff, including Bill Popp, holding bow, athletic director, and Dr. J. Thomas Isherwood, forming Arts Center and president, holding scissors, gather to cut the ribbon to officially open the Athletic Field House. The 22,000the Funk Heritage Center. square-foot building sits between a new artificial turf field and grass practice field. Below: Students and resIn October the school idence life staff gather to celebrate the grand opening of Hubbard Residence Hall with Marjorie Hubbard, celebrated the campus’ latest facility additions, next to table, for whom the building is named, her daughter, Elaine Hubbard to Marjorie’s right, and Presiincluding the Athletic dent Isherwood, holding scissors, and Vice President for academic affairs Dr. Roger Lee, holding bow. Field House, Glenn H. and Marjorie Humphrey Hubbard Residence Hall, and the Ken White Music Center were each highlighted and introduced with a ribbon cutting and open house/dedication. The 22,000-square-foot Athletic Field House sits between a new artificial turf field and grass practice field. Located among the Ken White Fields, the building features a 4,800square-foot weight room; locker rooms; coaches offices; an athletic training area; meeting and storage space; public restrooms; a concession stand; an outdoor plaza and a garden area. In January, Reinhardt University broke ground on its new Athletic Field House. Students, faculty, staff, trustees, community members and distinguished guests were in attendance for this exciting event on the University’s campus in Waleska. “This is a very positive day for Reinhardt University; one of many to come,” said Dr. J. Thomas Isherwood, the universivisit ty’s president, during the /graduate/MPA. groundbreaking ceremony. Reinhardt’s football “The field house will give program began this year us the opportunity for with 140 players, and every sport in Reinhardt although not in official athletics to have a home; competition untilthis fall, every student athlete will the team has begun pracnow have a place to call ticing and scrimmaging.. their own. For more details about “We will also have the Reinhardt Athletics, visit addition of a new turf field www.reinhardteagles. where we will play footcom. ball, soccer and lacrosse,” Also taking the field he continued. “In my opinnext fall is Reinhardt’s ion, we are going to have inaugural marching band. the best athletic Marching Band Direcfacilities to go tor Freddie Martin along with the best “I believe Reinhardt University is hopes to recruit 85 athletic teams in to 100 instrumentalthe most dynamic institution of the Appalachian ists for the fall 2013 learning in the State of Georgia. Athletic Conferstart, with those With our largest enrollment ence.” numbers increasing The facility will each year. In early ever, three new residence halls, have locker rooms spring a “Marching new music and science buildings, and coaches Eagle Day” will new sports programs, and new offices for basewelcome potential and expanding academic proball, football, softstudent musicians ball, and men’s grams, we are moving forward in who are interested and women’s socin being part of the such a positive direction, and cer. band program. Look that’s very exciting. “There are for more informamany people that tion to be provided Dr. J. Thomas Isherwood soon on www.rein The Ken White Music Center is dedicated by presenting Ken White, class of ’61, far made today possileft, the plaque that will hang in the Music Center in his honor. Presenting the plaque Reinhardt University ble, and that we President need to thank,” Many construc- are Isherwood, center, and Dean of the School of Music Dr. Dennis McIntire. White’s wife, Myra, watches the presentation. said Isherwood. tion projects are “First, our Board of A proposal for a master underway to improve the Trustees. They have of public administration Construction will begin construction at the intersec“The goal is to create a learning environment and backed us with their ‘allprogram with a concentra- enhance the beauty of soon for two new residence tion of 108 and 140. The plan from which a drawing in’ attitude. We have the tion in criminal justice is halls that will be part of the project is being funded by can be done so we can Reinhardt’s campus. In its strong commitment, dediunder the review of ReinHubbard Hall complex. The Community Foundabegin the process of beginning stages, an addication and energy of the hardt’s regional accreditThese two halls will add tion of Northwest Georgia, fundraising,” said Ishertion to the Samuel C. Board, and we are very ing body, the Southern bed space for 92 more stuand will be completed for wood. Dobbs Science Hall is thankful for what they Association of Colleges dents and bring Reinhardt’s the return of students in “It is part of our present under construction. The have done.” and Universities, for on-campus housing capaciJanuary. capital campaign and, more than 12,000 square“We also have many accreditation. If approved, ty to 692 students. Architect Reynolds has hopefully, in the next coufeet of additional space, friends that have made this the MPA program is slated the renovation of the existThese premier housing worked with theatre faculty ple of years, we will be possible: Garland to begin fall 2013. rooms are done in the same and school deans to design successful in raising the ing space and the new Reynolds, the architect of Prospective students are equipment and technology design as Hubbard Hall and a building to house the approximately $4 million this new facility and many encouraged to begin subReinhardt Theatre Program. we will need for the thewill make the Dobbs com- should be available for stuother buildings on cammitting application materi- plex a current and effecdent occupancy in August. Located adjacent to Lake ater’s construction.” pus; Brasfield & Gorrie, als, and the $25 applicaTo better represent the Mullenix, the facility would For more information, tive environment for the who are our general contion fee will be waived for instruction of science. The beauty of our campus and contain a black box theater contact Reinhardt at (770) tractors for the project; applicants who have subthe dynamic nature of what that would hold approxi720-5526 or 1-87-REIN$4.2 million needed to and United Community mitted all their application construct this building was the University has become, mately 120 guests, and HARDT or see the univerBank, under President materials before May 1. a new Reinhardt University instruction and workshop sity website at raised from donors and Steve Holcombe, who For more information, monument sign is under space. foundations.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013/Cherokee Tribune



State approves 5-year renewal of Cherokee Charter Academy By Megan Thornton mthornton@

Along with 13 other charter schools in Georgia, Cherokee Charter Academy received approval Jan. 18 from the state Board of Education for a five-year charter renewal. Cherokee Charter Academy’s petition included the addition of a high school, so the charter will soon be able to serve kindergarten through 12th-grade students. As a state-chartered special school, Cherokee Charter Academy’s five-year term will run from July 1 to June 30, 2018. Lyn Michaels-Carden, chair of the board of directors of the Georgia Charter Educational Foundation, the governing body of the school on Sixes Road in Canton, said she and the rest of the board are “thrilled” to have received approval, including the additional expansion. “Our parents expressed their desire to continue their children’s education at CCA and we are glad to be able to help facilitate the process,” Carden said. “Now the real work begins

as we strategize with our teams to develop a solid plan for the future.” Regarding the charter school’s high school expansion, the school’s Local Governing Council and Georgia Charter Educational Foundation, the nonprofit board of directors that leads the school, have released few details. According to the petition filed with the state, the school received approval to add additional square footage for the high school — whether that is an addition to the school’s building on Sixes Road or another facility has yet to be announced. “Just know that we are working on it and we are very excited,” Local Governing Council Chair Heather Blevins said at the council’s January meeting. New members on the LGC are Dudley Wass, a Canton resident, and Jonathan Pfohl, a Towne Lake resident. Enrollment for December totaled 1,008, which tops the school’s budgeted enrollment of 995 students with 99 percent in attendance. So far, 875 students have recommitted to attending the school next

fall and 212 students are on the waiting list. November financials were also presented, with CSUSA financial analyst Hillary Daigle forecasting the school will finish off the year with approximately $80,000 more than budgeted. “We still have six months to go but it’s looking like the school is doing well,” Daigle said. At a meeting in Atlanta, Carden discussed what the next steps are for the board moving forward to help the direction of both CCA and Coweta Charter Academy. “We are thrilled for our stakeholders and for the continuation of the development of the board,” Carden said. “Now the real work begins for those two schools.” Carden said the petitions included the addition of a high school for Cherokee and expansion of Coweta. “We are working toward that with our management partner and our development partner,” Carden said. “As well as now identifying a facility and determining what that facility is going to look like for Cherokee.” She said the petition process involved working

Chattahoochee Tech to add nursing program From staff reports

Chattahoochee Technical College’s two Cherokee County campuses continue to thrive and expand, with the Canton campus adding a registered nursing bridge program in 2014. The college’s Canton campus reported 972 enrolled in January and 467 at the Woodstock location. Students at these campuses make up the approximately 11,600 students on the rolls for the school’s diploma, certificate and degree programs. The numbers are in line with recent enrollment numbers from the past year, which have held between 11,000 and 12,000 students. The Registered Nurse program will be the second health science program to be based at the Canton campus, which opened in 2011. The college’s clinical laboratory technology program, also housed at the Canton Campus, welcomed its first students in August 2012. As the demand for registered nurses in Georgia continues to grow, Chatt Tech will launch its first nursing bridge program to enable licensed practical nurses to become registered nurses in approximately 16 months. Set to begin in January 2014, students interested in the program must have completed all admissions requirements for the college by summer semester 2013, including having

all transfer credits assessed and pre-admission general education courses completed by Aug. 13. Dean of Health Sciences Ron Webb said the program is a great addition to the nursing education programs at Chattahoochee Tech. “Our associate of science in nursing program recently graduated a second cohort of new nurses, but the demand is so great that we knew we needed to do more,” Webb said. “The college also offers practical nursing and nurse assistant programs. These programs are very important to us because our goal is to prepare students to move directly from the classroom into careers that are most in demand and needed in our communities.” Admissions to the program will be based on a competitive standard. Candidacy will be evaluated using applicants’ TEAS scores, grade point average in required prerequisite science courses and, if selected, a letter of recommendation from an immediate supervisor and human resources at the applicant’s current job and interview. Additional points are also offered to graduates of Chattahoochee Technical College’s practical nursing program. All applicants must hold a current practical nursing license and are required to attend an application session during the summer term at the Canton

campus. Dates and times for the required session have yet to be announced. “We are especially looking for practical nurses who are currently working and are recommended to complete the program by his or her current employer,” Webb said. The new program will allow students to earn an associate’s degree and sit for the NCLEX-RN exam, the national licensure examination for registered nurses. Upon successful completion of the exam, students will then become registered nurses. A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, Chattahoochee Technical College is the largest technical college in the state with more than 17,000 students enrolled in the past academic year. The college has eight campus locations serving the counties of Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Gilmer, Paulding, and Pickens counties. Chattahoochee Technical College awards more than 70 certificates, diplomas and associate degrees in 45 programs of study through traditional classroom courses as well as online training. The college also provides the community with learning opportunities, including customized workforce training, adult literacy and continuing education programs. For more information, visit www.chattahoochee

Chattahoochee Tech also has equipment for its new healthcare training in certified nursing assistant program, which will enable licensed practical nurses to become registered nurses in about 16 months. The program is slated to begin January 2014.

Staff/Todd Hull

From left, Cherokee Charter School Assistant Principal Dana Burton, Dean of Students Tanya Robson and Principal Vanessa Suarez stand in front of the newly constructed sign in front of the school. In January, the state Board of Education renewed the school’s charter for five years and approved the addition of a high school. closely with the state special schools division of the DOE, which led to Cherokee Charter’s middle school students taking a survey about which Career Pathways they wanted to potentially participate in so the school could plan accordingly for high school curricula, plans and strate-

gies. Career Pathways is part of the state’s new College and Career Ready Performance Index, which will replace Adequate Yearly Progress as the system the state uses to measure student success. “As you know from the last three years, this is an incredibly hard thing to do

... so I think it should be hard to get the approval,” Carden said. Carden said the board has signed letters of intent signifying the continuation of its partnership with Florida-based Red Apple Development LLC, per the request of the state Department of Education.

Left: Robin Aiken, clinical laboratory technician program director for Chattahoochee Technical College in Canton discusses some of the new equipment for students to use as part of the new clinical laboratory technician program, which began in August. 

Staff/Todd Hull



Cherokee Tribune/SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013

Cherokee elementary schools Arnold Mill Elementary Principal: Kerry Martin 710 Arnold Mill Road Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (770) 592-3510 Avery Elementary Principal: Pam Spencer 6391 East Cherokee Drive Canton, 30115 Phone: (770) 479-6200 Ball Ground Elementary Principal: Doug Knott 321 Valley St Ball Ground, 30107 Phone: (770) 735-3366 Bascomb Elementary Principal: Ruth Flowers 1335 Wyngate Parkway Woodstock, 30189 Phone: (770) 592-1091 Boston Elementary Principal: Joey Moss

105 Othello Drive Woodstock, 30189 Phone: (770) 924-6260 Canton Elementary Principal: Gwen Lince 712 Marietta Highway Canton, 30114 Phone: (770) 720-6100 Carmel Elementary Principal: Keith Bryant 2275 Bascomb Carmel Road Woodstock, 30189 Phone: (770) 926-1237

Phone: (770) 721-5800

Phone: (770) 345-6841

Clayton Elementary Principal: Beth Long 221 Upper Burris Road Canton, 30114 Phone: (770) 479-2550

Holly Springs Elementary Principal: Dianne Steinbeck 1965 Hickory Road Canton, 30115 Phone: (770) 345-5035

Free Home Elementary Principal: Karen Carl 12525 Cumming Highway Canton, 30115 Phone: (770) 887-5738

Indian Knoll Elementary Principal: Ann Gazell 3635 Univeter Road Canton, 30115 Phone: (770)-721-6600

Chapman Intermediate Principal: Susan McCarthy 6500 Putnam Ford Drive Woodstock, 30189 Phone: (770) 926-6424

Hasty Elementary Principal: Izell McGruder 205 Brown Industrial Parkway Canton, 30114 Phone: (770) 479-1600

Clark Creek Elementary Principal: Jennifer Scrivner 3219 Hunt Road Acworth, 30102

Hickory Flat Elementary Principal: Keith Ingram 2755 East Cherokee Drive Canton, 30115

Johnston Elementary Principal: Kathleen Chandler 2031 East Cherokee Drive Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (770) 928-2910 Knox Elementary Principal: Kelly Jo Page 151 River Bend Way Canton, 30114 Phone: (770) 345-4307

Liberty Elementary Principal: Nicole Holmes 10500 Bells Ferry Road Canton, 30114 Phone: (770) 345-6411 Little River Elementary Principal: Christian Kirby 3170 Trickum Road Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (770) 926-7566 Macedonia Elementary Principal: Tammy Castleberry 10370 East Cherokee Drive Canton, 30115 Phone: (770) 479-3429 Mountain Road Elementary Principal: Tammy Sandell 615 Mountain Road Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (770) 664-9708

Oak Grove Elementary Principal: Les Conley 6118 Woodstock Road Acworth, 30102 Phone: (770) 974-6682 R.M. Moore Elementary Principal: Jan Adamson 1375 Puckett Road Waleska, 30183 Phone: (770) 479-3978 Sixes Elementary Principal: John Hultquist 20 Ridge Road Canton, 30114 Phone: (770) 345-3070 Woodstock Elementary Principal: Christy Bowling 230 Rope Mill Road Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (770) 926-6969

Cherokee middle and high schools Creekland Middle Principal: Deborah Wiseman 1555 Owens Store Road Canton, 30115 Phone: (770) 479-3200 Dean Rusk Middle Principal: Cindy Cooper 4695 Hickory Road Canton, 30115 Phone: (770) 345-2832 E.T. Booth Middle Principal: Dawn

Weinbaum 6550 Putnam Ford Road Woodstock, 30189 Phone: (770) 926-5707 Freedom Middle Principal: Karen Hawley 10550 Bells Ferry Road Canton, 30114 Phone: (770) 345-4100 Mill Creek Middle Principal: Elaine Daniel 442 Arnold Mill Road Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (770) 924-5489

Teasley Middle Principal: Susan Zinkil 8871 Knox Bridge Hwy Canton, 30114 Phone: (770) 479-7077 Woodstock Middle Principal: Mark Smith 2000 Towne Lake Hills South Drive Woodstock, 30189 Phone: (770) 592-3516 ACE Academy Principal: Richard Landolt 3921 Holly Springs

Parkway Holly Springs, 30142 Phone: (770) 345-2005 Cherokee High Principal: Debra Murdock 930 Marietta Highway Canton, 30114 Phone: (770) 479-4112 Creekview High Principal: Adrian Thomason 1550 Owens Store Road Canton, 30115 Phone: (770) 720-7600

Etowah High Principal: Keith Ball 6565 Putnam Ford Road Woodstock, 30189 Phone: (770) 926-4411 Polaris Evening Program Principal: Curt Ashley 2010 Towne Lake Hills South Drive Woodstock, 30189 Phone: (770) 926-1662 River Ridge High Principal: Darrell Herring

400 Arnold Mill Road Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (770) 591-8450 Sequoyah High Principal: Elliott Berman 4485 Hickory Rd Canton, 30115 Phone: (770) 345-1474 Woodstock High Principal: Paul Weir 2010 Towne Lake Hills South Drive Woodstock, GA 30189 Phone: (770) 592-3500

Cherokee private schools Cherokee Christian Academy Elementary School Principal: Robert Lester 3075 Trickum Road Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (678) 494-5464

Cherokee Christian Academy Middle School Principal: Hal Scripka 3075 Trickum Road Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (678) 494-5464

Cherokee Christian High School Principal: Rod Kirby 3075 Trickum Road Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (678) 494-5464

Community Christian School Principal: Brian Priest 152 Rolling Hills Ave Canton, 30114 Phone: (770) 479-9535

Furtah Preparatory School Headmaster: Frederick J. Furtah 5496 Highway 92 Acworth, 30102 Phone: (678) 574-6488

Lyndon Academy Headmaster: Linda Murdock 485 Toonigh Road Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (770) 926-0166

Four Cherokee private schools continue with expansion plans By Dylan Galbraith dgalbraith@cherokee

Despite a continued lackluster economy, four Cherokee County private schools have major plans to expand their facilities. Lyndon Academy has an ambitious, multi-phase project for its future. Located

at 485 Toonigh Road in Woodstock, the school hopes that Phase I will ultimately take Lyndon to the 12th grade within the next decade. Phase II involves making another campus with new classroom buildings and a gymnasium. “It’s day by day,” Headmaster Linda Murdock says

about the gym’s progress. “It’s still in the development stage, and we’re hoping to get that process ready to go in the next school year.” Also located in Woodstock, Cherokee Christian Schools is looking to acquire more land and has a strategic five-year plan. The plan includes a

baseball field, softball field, tennis courts and a gymnasium/fine arts building. Furtah Preparatory School also has a five-year plan to expand its programs and facilities. The school is located at 5496 Highway 92 in Acworth. “It depends on the number of students that we get in the next few years,” says

Director of Education Louis Manzella. “The school has been looking to expand to a different campus which would be a little bit more suitable to our needs.” Community Christian School is currently in the process of raising funds in order to implement campus changes. The school is not looking for immediate

results, as it is debt-free right now. But the school is planning to build a new educational facility, which Principal Brian Priest hopes will be completed in two years. “We’re constantly working on space,” said Priest. “My hope would be two years (for the educational facility’s completion).”

Progress 2013 COMMUNITY

The Cherokee Tribune SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013


It takes a village 4H

All fired up Groundbreaking Cherokee training center on track 2H

Sheriff’s office


Parks & Rec


Aquatic center




Cherokee Tribune/SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013

ALL FIRED UP Staff/Samantha M. Shal

Above: Elected officials and those involved with the project take part in a ground breaking ceremony for the new training center for Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services in October 2012. Below left: The audience of more than 60 people, including dozens of firefighters, applauds the efforts taken by local officials to make the new facility a reality. Below right: Cherokee County Assistant Fire Chief Eddie Robinson welcomes attendees to the ceremony.

Construction on track for new Cherokee Fire and Emergency training facility By Megan Thornton

With a new fire training center under construction and slated to open this year, awards received for community programs and new equipment for fire and rescue efforts, Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services is providing a high level of protection for county residents. Assistant Fire Chief Eddie Robinson with Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services said construction is on track to open the new fire training facility later this year. A groundbreaking for the facility, located on Highway 5, just south of Holly Springs on the site of the old Pike Nursery, was in early October. Cherokee Fire and Emergency Services Chief Tim Prather said the facility will provide a closer location for firefighters to receive required training as there is no training center

the project’s engineer. located within the county. County officials hope “We’ve grown so large the facility will lower the now that the trip to the fire county’s Insurance Service academy in Forsyth has Office, or ISO, rating from started to become an a class 5/9 to a class 4. The impact, financially,” ISO system is used to rate Prather said at the groundhow well fire departments breaking. serve their area and to calPrather said he is excitculate ed about homereducing With the furnishings we owners’ costs by have today, homes are insurance keeping burning much hotter costs. training and faster and creating The within the much more toxic and training county flammable smoke than complex for the from 20 or so years ago. will departhouse a ment’s Eddie Robinson, burn approxiAssistant Fire Chief building, mately an 250 fireadminisfighters trative who will building with classrooms, a use the facility. multi-floor training tower, On Sept. 18, commisan outdoor classroom, a sioners unanimously driving course and a rescue approved awarding a conpad. struction contract to Prather credited RobinAtlanta-based Cablik Enterson with spearheading the prises to build the Fire Training Complex at a total project from the beginning. Misti Martin, president cost of $3.2 million. Pond of the Cherokee Office of & Company of Norcross is

Economic Development, said a survey of businesses and industries completed by her office last year revealed that fire protection and safety were rated “as high as you possibly can get.” Robinson said the new facility will help with the department’s training priorities, which focus on fire in the modern environment. “With the furnishings we have today, homes are burning much hotter and faster and creating much more toxic and flammable smoke than from 20 or so years ago,” Robinson said. He added that new department purchases, including a rescue boat and and all-terrain vehicle, assist the department in emergencies occurring on the lake and on bike trails, horse trails and in parks throughout the county. “(The boat) will be placed in service on (Lake) Allatoona and will greatly enhance our response to emergencies not only on the lake, but also help us

provide water supply in the event there is a fire in one of the homes around the lake,” Robinson said. In July, the board of commissioners approved the award and purchase of a rescue boat and trailer., in the amount of $77,275.94 along with associated items for a total of $80,000. The department is also using a repurposed technical rescue truck housed at the Waleska fire station, which Robinson said is greatly enhancing firefighters’ technical rescue abilities. Cherokee Fire EMS also received several grants and sponsored purchases last year to help the agency better serve the community, including five new cardiac monitors purchased by Northside Hospital-Cherokee and a car seat minigrant from the Georgia Department of Public Health, which over the last two years has provided 276 car seats to Cherokee fami-

lies through SafeKids Cherokee County. SafeKids Cherokee County was also named lead agency of the year by Georgia SafeKids in May. SafeKids Cherokee County, led by Capt. Chad Arp, is geared at preventing accidental childhood injury through various programs that focus on child passenger safety, animal bite prevention, bike and pedestrian safety and water safety. The department also participated in the first ever Firefighters vs. Faculty basketball games sponsored by Cherokee County Council of PTAs to raise money to purchase tablets for both schools and fire departments. Another new effort by the department over the holiday season was collecting toys for U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s annual Toys for Tots drive. The department collected enough toys to fill a 12foot trailer, according to spokesman Tim Cavender.

Cherokee Sheriff’s Office poised for regional draw By Megan Thornton

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office is poised to become a destination for law enforcement throughout the region with the addition of a new training facility. Sheriff Roger Garrison said his department was able to secure funding through Cherokee County’s latest Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax to break ground early this year on a training facility that will be called Georgia Public Safety Training Center Cherokee and house a regional police academy. The 11,300-square-foot facility will be located behind the Cherokee County Public Safety Center. Once completed this summer, the facility will allow deputies to train with live ammunition in a variety of settings, as the training rooms can be converted to look like places deputies might encounter during a live fire situation, such as a classroom or house. “I’m very excited about our partnership with the state and becoming a regional police academy,” Garrison said. Initiated by his department in 2012, Garrison said the project will cost about $2.2 million with the state contributing approximately $700,000 toward the total cost. Chief Deputy Vic West said two of the facility’s classrooms will be designated for the police academy while the others will be used for defensive training, including floor exercises and practicing handcuffing and batons. The facility will also house about eight offices for Cherokee instructors and three for those with the state.

Staff/Todd Hull

Cherokee Sheriff Roger Garrison speaks to the press in July 2012 about a child pornography bust made in Woodstock. The Sheriff’s Office is now poised to become a destination for law enforcement throughout the region with the addition of a new training facility. “The state approached us last year when realized we were building a training center and asked if we could build space for them,” West said. West said the facility will provide another option for deputies who might otherwise attend Cobb or Dalton police academies. Presently, the sheriff’s office shares training rooms with Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services, where they have been housed for about the last 10 years. The only other available training facility is the 25-yard firing range across the street. “This would give us the needed classroom space,” West said. “We conduct a lot of training — 40

hours each year for officers — and host other specialized training. It would give us the space to not have to send folks somewhere else to train.” Adjacent to the facility will be a separate building that will house a 3,000-square-foot live fire shoot house. West said the facility will have impact walls that can absorb rounds from pistols and rifles and will be used for room clearing training. Enclosed in large metal fabricated building, the shoot house will also have a raised walkway for instructors to watch deputies as they perform training. Additionally, the facility will house a four-story tower to train

officers on how to clear stairwells, perform repelling exercises and long-distance firearms training with patrol rifles and long guns. “It should be a training center we’re all very proud of,” West said. “And not just for us. All deputies that come here to train will be able to benefit.” Garrison said the department plans to hold its first police academy in the facility later this year. Garrison also said the agency added 40 Tasers and trained every deputy to use them as a non-lethal law enforcement option. The department also signed on with a telecommunications company to allow video visitation for inmates that is slated to be imple-

mented in the next few months. “It will allow families a secure visitation option and cut down on traffic at the jail,” Garrison said. In the last year, Garrison said his agency refined its missing child standard operating procedures in response to the Jorelys Rivera case to ensure his deputies were prepared for similar incidents. Almost all department employees worked together twice last year to complete the agency’s biannual sex offender verification, where deputies are dispatched to a registered sex offender’s home to verify his or her residence. “I’m very proud we conducted more verification than the law requires,” Garrison said. “It’s a very important issue to the community.” Garrison said the department also helped conclude a two-year, $9 million identity fraud investigation which resulted in multiple federal arrests. The sheriff’s office also implemented employee tracking software to document commendations, evaluations and corrective actions for all employees to track both positive and negative performance throughout an employee’s career; added 14 new vehicles to its fleet and restructured field operations back to neighborhood precincts to encourage community involvement and connectivity with the sheriff’s office. Moving forward, Garrison said he’s looking at ways to address employee retention to reduce turnover. “We’re continuing to identify ways we can be more efficient as we continue to struggle with funding because of the economy,” Garrison said.


SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013/Cherokee Tribune


WATER WORKS Staff/Todd Hull

Badger Creek Park on Blalock Road in Woodstock is one of the biggest recent additions from The Cherokee Recreation and Park Agency. The park features 14 soccer fields of various sizes.

Recreation and Parks nurtures growth spurt in projects, upgrades By Emily Horos /

he Cherokee Recreation and Park Agency, whose origins can be traced back 40 years, continues to find new ways to meet the changing needs of the community.


The Cherokee Recreation and Park Agency, whose origins can be traced back 40 years, continues to find new ways to meet the changing needs of the community. The CRPA, which operates more than 25 parks and recreation centers in the county, is in the midst of a major growth project. According to CRPA director Bryan Reynolds, the community likes the changes. “I think our attendance says that (people like the changes),” said Reynolds. “We had a 16 percent increase in attendance through the first nine month of last year over 2011.” Figures were only available for the first nine months of 2012. In addition to the construction of the Cherokee County Aquatic Center, several parks in the county received upgrades. Cline Park in Waleska, which already featured a playground, basketball courts, tennis courts, pavilions and a walking trail, saw the addition of a splash pad. The splash pad features a variety of water fountains for kids and adults alike to play in and stay cool during the summer. Under the capital improvement program, Hobgood Park is receiving a major renovation. With Phase I completed in the past year, Phase II has entered the design stage with construction likely to begin before the end of 2013. Phase I including widening the walking path to 10 feet and converting it from asphalt to concrete. New entrance plazas, restrooms, concession stand, maintenance build in and central plaza were constructed. The existing parking lot was also upgraded. The two existing pavilions at the location were replaced and a new one was built. New park signage and landscaping was also added. One of the biggest additions was Badger Creek Park on Blalock Road in Woodstock.

The park features 14 soccer fields of various sizes, a concession stand and restrooms. It is the home of Cherokee Soccer Association. According to Reynolds, the addition of the soccer fields took a lot of pressure off the county’s multi-use fields. The facilities opened last spring “They had been squeezed in at other county parks such as Boling Park,” said Reynolds, who said the soccer organization also makes use of church and school fields. “This really took a lot of pressure off our existing fields and gives them more options to play.” Construction began at Blankets Creek. The park, which features five mountain bike trails, will have the size of its parking lot tripled and restrooms and a bike-washing station will be added. Reynolds said construction on that began in the fall of 2012 and will be competed this spring. “We have a lot of work still to come in terms of parks still in the design phase,” said Reynolds. “A lot of work took place on designing last year, but those were our shovel-in-theground projects last year.” The director said it can take anywhere from a few months to a year for a project to move from the design phase into actual construction, based on the size of the project. After a project is designed, it is then send out for bids before construction begins. “Several projects that were in the design phase last year, will go into construction this year,” said Reynolds. Among the projects he cites was the addition of the Etowah River Park in Canton at the end of Brown Industrial Parkway as well as the construction of baseball fields next to Kenney Askew Park on Univeter Road in Canton. Reynolds said both projects should be breaking ground this spring.

Staff/Samantha M. Shal

The Cherokee County Aquatic Center is set to open in late April or early May. Top: The aquatic center will have an Olympic-size swimming pool. Above: From left, Commissioner Raymond Gunnin, Commissioner Brian Poole, Chairman Buzz Ahrens, Commissioner Jason A. Nelms and Commissioner Harry Johnston visit the facility.

Aquatic center slated for spring opening By Erin Dentmon

The Cherokee County Aquatic Center is set to open in late April or early May, just in time for families to spend the summer splashing around in the sun. The aquatic center is one of the most anticipated projects to come out of the county’s $90 million parks bond. Construction began in December 2011 and is now in the final stages. Cherokee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Buzz Ahrens said the center has been in the works since 2004. “When we reach back to when we were looking at what the county didn’t have as far as parks and amenities when we did the bonding, this was an integral part. There was clearly a need,” he said. County leaders budgeted $19.8 million for the center, all coming from the park bond approved by voters in 2008. Bill Echols, capital projects Special to the Cherokee Tribune manager for the county, said An arial view of the aquatic center, top, shows how its constructhe project should come in at tion’s progress compares to the project’s conceptual rendering. least $500,000 under budget. The Sixes Road facility tice,” Ahrens said. people of all ages and skill encompasses 48,000 square Ahrens said he expects that levels. feet of indoor space and the center will bring increased In addition to providing 18,000 square business for space for competitive teams, feet of outrestaurants the aquatic center will be When we reach back to door space. and shops home to individual exercise when we were looking The center nearby when and group fitness classes, as at what the county sits on six teams comwell as swimming lessons and didn’t have as far as acres of a 37pete. recreation. parks and amenities acre countyA smaller “It’s not just competitive or when we did the bondowned plot. indoor pool just recreational. We’re bringing, this was an integral Inside, the will be home ing so many different things,” part. There was clearly a to swimming aquatic cenBaker said. need. We have a lot of ter will fealessons and Various user fees and memhigh school swim teams, fitness classes. berships are expected to cover ture a 50but they don’t have meter comOutside, the operating costs of the cenanywhere to practice. petitive pool families look- ter, even within the first year, that can be ing for county leaders have said. Buzz Ahrens, leisure can divided into Use of the outdoor recreCherokee County Board of two 25-yard enjoy an outation pools will be a big factor Commissioners Chairman swim areas. door pool, for revenue, Ahrens said. A 700-seat waterslides Daily passes, yearly memspectators’ area and a lazy river. berships and three-month will overlook the main pool. Kim Baker, aquatics manmemberships will be available. “We have a lot of high ager for the center, said one of The aquatic center will school swim teams, but they her main priorities is providemploy more than 70 people, don’t have anywhere to pracing fitness opportunities for many part time.

The Badger Creek Soccer Complex in Woodstock is the home of the Cherokee Soccer Association.



Cherokee Tribune/SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013


Fledgling arts initiative lifts off with Elm Street From staff reports


lans to have a cultural arts village in downtown Woodstock are taking center stage for the Elm Street board of directors.

One of the major components of Elm Street Cultural Arts Village’s new campus is now completed, marking the beginning of development for the nonprofit theater and arts organization’s new fouracre campus. Members of the Elm Street board include Shawn McLeod, president; Cindy Freking, treasurer; Debbie Ruda, secretary; Pat Tanner; Joe Lemmo; G. Lora Grooms; Ron Debranski; Linda Lee Martin; Ann Litrel; Tony LaRicci; Dana Ashby;

Cindy Flanders; Erin Wilson and Elaine Heinisch. Litrel, director of fundraising for the board of directors, said final touches were put on Elm Street’s new event green space last week. So far, the fundraising for the entire Elm Street Campus project has reached over $750,000, she said. Elm Street, a collaborative effort by local arts enthusiasts to bring an arts center to Woodstock, is temporarily housed in the city-owned City Center

building on Main Street. Litrel said the event green will have multiple uses for the community, serving to host outdoor festivals and markets, offering a recreational space along the Greenprints Trail system, and providing a venue for outdoor performances and classes for the Elm Street Theater and local businesses. “There’s a possibility for open-air drawing classes and space for groups that may want to come and practice yoga, or any other group activity,” Litrel said of her many ideas for the space. Plans for the new Elm Street campus include a theater, the former Reeves House converted to a studio and gallery space, a woodland garden, a culinary and

Staff/Todd Hull

Top: Lauren Hassett, who plays the part of Meg, sings a solo during the opening number of ‘Brigadoon’ Feb. 8 at the Elm Street Cultural Arts Center. Above: Members of the Elm Street Cultural Arts Center Board are, from left, Ron Debranski, Pat Tanner, Board President Shawn McLeod, Artistic Director Gay Grooms and Ann Litrel.


instructional garden center and the recently-completed events green. Purchased by the county in 2010, the Reeves House, which sits on Elm Street, is about 2,500 square feet and was built between 1897 and 1906 by Luther Reeves. Litrel said plans are in place for the century-old building to be restored later this year. “Structurally, it’s in very good shape,” she said. The new location puts the Elm Street campus at one spur of the 60-mile trail network that runs through downtown Woodstock, known as the Greenprints Trail. Litrel said Floridabased Austin Outdoor and Highland Water-

works of Atlanta donated effort. Walton Communities, nearly $20,000 worth of developer of the Woodmaterials and labor to stock West by Walton complete the new event apartment complex, also green. donated materials and “Elm Street fit in perlabor for the overall site fectly with the type of grading projects and we like There’s a possibility infrato for open-air drawing structure assist classes and space for earlier in our groups that may want in 2012, corpoto come and practice Elm rate yoga, or any other Street outgroup activity. Board of reach proAnn Litrel, Directors gram,” Elm Street board member Shawn said McLeod Brian said. Wester, Additionally, Melissa regional vice president Casteel, principal landfor Austin Outdoor. scape architect of Mondo Jim Hester, president of Highland Waterworks, Land Planning + Design, continues to donate site said his company was services on an ongoing happy to be involved basis. with the community

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013/Cherokee Tribune

The Canton Theatre recently installed a 275-inch screen with a professional sound system in order to show movies.



Falany to broaden range of concerts for programming


From staff reports

Staff/Todd Hull

Canton Theatre invests in future with additions From staff reports

CANTON — The Canton Theatre saw a banner year with the hiring of a manager for the historic facility and the addition of movies for the first time in decades. Manager Robert Seguin joined the theater in downtown Canton in March 2012. The theater is operated by the Canton Downtown Development Authority. “I love Canton, and I love the area,” he said. Seguin, who lives in Macedonia, has increased theatrical offerings, and built up a volunteer base to help with ushering or serving refreshments. He also has the theatre opened regularly throughout the week so people can see what a “beautiful place we have in Canton.” While the theatre is in terrific shape, he noted immediately the theatre needed “better” sound equipment. That wish was realized when in November the Canton City Council gave $50,000 for movie projection equipment at the theater.

The theater will now show movies on a 275-inch screen with a professional sound system. Canton business Audio Intersection installed the equipment. A staff of eight installed it over the span of about three weeks. Michael Buckner, owner of Audio Intersection, said he was excited to work on the project because the Canton Theatre, as a community theater, can be used for special events and themed nights, unlike a corporate theater. “I think it’s turned out really well,” DDA member Stan Rogers said. The Canton Theatre previously showed movies until the 1970s. Wanda Roach, chairperson of the DDA, said the group first looked at reviving movies at the theater in 2009. At that time, the DDA formed a movie committee, solicited equipment bids and surveyed residents regarding their interest in a downtown theater. “At that time, we had no staff and no money, so that was put on hold,” Roach said. Now that the Canton Theatre is capable of show-

ing movies, the theater may host special events like film festivals, video game tournaments or showings of sporting events. DDA member Lewis Cline said Seguin was offered the job “because of his communication and marketing skills with other groups who share the same vision of promoting Downtown Canton.” Cline also noted Seguin will focus on assessing whether the theater has adequate technology, building up a volunteer base and use his network of contacts to book upcoming performances. “Mr. Seguin will be able to carry the Canton Theater to another level of success in which all businesses in Downtown Canton can be direct benefactors of,” he said. “Mr. Seguin shares in the belief that the theater can be a strong economic engine of success that other communities do not have.” Seguin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Walsh College in Canton, Ohio. He taught for three years and entered into a career of retail sales.

He acted in theater throughout college and has been with many theater companies in Florida, including the Lake Worth Playhouse, Stonzek Theatre, Palm Beach Players, Delray Beach Players, Coastal Players, Harlequin Players and Stage Company. Some of his performances are “Oklahoma!,” “Funny Girl,” “Once Upon A Mattress,” “Guys and Dolls,” “Dial M For Murder,” “Count Dracula,” “Amadeus” and “The Good Doctor.” He’s directed plays such as “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “Sweet Revenge,” “Bedroom Farce” and “Down the Road.” The new theater manager is a recipient of the Oakley Lifetime Achievement Award. Seguin and his wife moved to Macedonia four years ago. They have two sons and six grandchildren. Seguin said he’s excited be at the Canton Theatre. “We are very, very fortunate to have a theater downtown,” he said. “This is a gorgeous theater and I’m so pleased to be able to manage it.”

The Falany Performing Arts Center at Reinhardt University is playing a popular tune with musical performances throughout the year by both professional groups and the university’s school of music. The 350-seat concert hall features a tuneable, thrust stage that measures 45 feet deep by 65 wide, which makes the venue ideal for large orchestras and choirs. In the past year, the Falany Performing Arts Center has hosted the Vienna Boys Choir, Preservation Hall Jazz, and Celtic Crossroads at the venue. Each year they provide more than 55 professional/School of Music Ensemble concerts to the community, said Jessica Akers, director at the center. The goal of the Falany

Center is to provide a wide range of programs that will appeal to varying interests in the community. “We host the School of Music performances as well. On top of that the School of Music students have their solo/studio recitals at the venue as well,” Akers said. “Next year we’ll be starting a Children Series, trying to fill the need for the community to have engaging fine arts for youth.” The Falany center will also be starting a series call “From the Stage” which will feature music theater, opera, dance, theater, and cinema over time, she said. To purchase tickets for upcoming performances, or for more information, call the Falany Performing Arts Center box office at (770) 720-9167, or go on-line to

Special to the Tribune

In the past year, the Falany Performing Arts Center has hosted the Vienna Boys Choir, Preservation Hall Jazz, above, and Celtic Crossroads at the venue.

Cherokee Arts Center plans for a bigger and better year By Dylan Galbraith dgalbraith@

The Cherokee Arts Center in downtown Canton expects an even bigger and better year than the last. For starters, the arts center is already booking showings for next fall, and its art gallery is up and running with exhibitions, said Executive Director Mary Akers. The arts center is also rapidly adding classes and members. Akers hopes to continue to increase its classes and membership with such perennial programs as the famed Camp Imagine. “In Camp Imagine classes, children get to experience different mediums such as clay, painting, drawing, and 3D designs,” she said. Camp Imagine classes are available for children ages 5 to 8 and 8 to 12, with a 10 percent discount for Cherokee Arts Center members. The arts center also has a full educational program in theater and visual art to complement its new theater program. In addition, the arts center’s art department has welcomed all of the Cherokee County schools to exhibit with the arts center again this year. U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) sponsors a high school show, and his office has been setting up a show to do with the arts center as well. The arts center is also looking for an even bigger and better Canton Festival of the Arts this year, which will be May 18 and 19. Events at this year’s festival will include an artist’s market featuring more than 60 exhibitors from nine states and a gardening event to promote sustainability. The festival will also have a literary celebration with panels and book signings of Southern writers and interactive art activities for


August Homan, 8, daughter of Dawn and Preston Homan of Woodstock, paints a hot-air balloon on a mural at last year’s Canton Festival of the Arts. The Cherokee Arts Center is looking to expand the festival. children such as mural painting, photography, drawing, dance, and drama. Funds received from the festival will go to helping the Cherokee Arts Center improve its artistic services to the community. The North Georgia Art Ramble also returns this year. This past December’s ramble, which was headquartered in Cherokee County, featured 36 artists, 20 studios and 11 art galleries. Almost every type of medium was represented in the ramble, including glass, textiles, stone carving, clay, oils and watercolor. For those who want a preview of an artist’s work before heading out on the ramble tour, the arts center provides a sample of each artist’s work. Akers has been immersed in arts since she was in high school. Now, Akers wants to bring that same opportunity to more Cherokee County residents. Akers, who lives in east Cobb, officially took over the executive director post one year ago on Feb. 17, 2012. She has a background with performing arts, which stems from her time at the former Northside High School in Atlanta. She has taught art class-

es off and on in the community and has also shown her own work at outdoor arts festivals. Akers attended Georgia State University and studied under artists such as Cledya Curtis-Neal, James Sulkowski, Coe Steinwart, Kathy George and Beverly Harding. In addition to the positive changes Akers has brought about for the arts center, she also credits its members for its success. “We are getting such support from our new members and old members. We have a good volunteer list of people just waiting to be called to help us out,” Akers says. Akers believes the arts center can serve as a place where everyone from children to teenagers and adults can participate in various forms of selfexpression. The arts center will have receptions, plays, and musicals, to name a few upcoming events that Akers is excited about for the arts center’s happening future. “Who knows what’s next,” she says. The Arts Center is located at 94 North St. in Canton and can be reached at (770) 704-6244 or by email at info@cherokee



404-663-1828 5598 Bells Ferry Road Acworth, GA 30102 Behind the McDonalds at Bells Ferry & Hwy 92

Cherokee Corners Shopping Center



Cherokee Tribune/SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013

CT Progress Edition 2013  

CT Progress Edition 2013

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