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INSIDE:  Woodstock mayor

touts record-breaking year 2E  Ball Ground starts Main Street program 4E


GOVERNMENT

2E

PROGRESS 2014

‘RAISING THE BAR’ Cherokee continues to drive development By Joshua Sharpe jsharpe@cherokeetribune.com

C

herokee Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens says the county continued “raising the bar” in 2013.

Ahrens, in his 2014 State of the County address in February, told the crowd of the many developments and jobs that sprang up around the county in 2013, recalling it as another year of “raising the bar.” “We want Cherokee County to be the choice in metro Atlanta to live, work and visit,” Ahrens said. “It’s real simple. That’s our vision and we’re headed in that direction.” Ahrens said new business investment numbers in Cherokee County saw a

“big jump” in 2013. “We hope that’s the trend,” he said. “Economic development remains the No. 1 priority. We’re pushing hard.” The Cherokee Office of Economic Development reported staggering increases in potential business prospects and expansion of existing businesses. The county is also pushing for better infrastructure to improve the quality of life for Cherokee County residents, Ahrens said. In 2013, developments like the Cherokee County Aquatic Center, new fire and public safety training centers and an expansion of the county airport’s runway were important to that goal, and so far are getting the job done, Ahrens said. “We’re getting 500, 600 visitors per month (at the airport),” the chairman said. “Those are good numbers.”

Staff/Todd Hull

From left are Commissioner Brian Poole, Commissioner Jason Nelms, Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens, Commissioner Harry Johnston and Commissioner Raymond Gunnin. Other numbers also showed improvement in 2013. “Permits are up, licenses are up, foreclosures are

way down,” Ahrens said. The chairman said all these and many other factors, such as the county’s “outstanding” public

safety departments, add to make it so the developments in 2013 aren’t coincidental. Ahrens said the county

also needs to brace for growth, particularly for what he said is expected

See Cherokee, 8E

‘Record-breaking year’ Woodstock down on crime, up on development in ’13 By Michelle Babcock mbabcock@cherokeetribune.com

The city of Woodstock saw a decrease in violent crime and an increase in development in 2013, and the city’s mayor hopes 2014 is even better. Mayor Donnie Henriques said “2013 far exceeded our hopes, and dwarfed the successes of the previous year,” in his state of the city address given at the first city council meeting of 2014. “We live and work in a community that most cities want to become,” Henriques said. “I look back on the previous eight years that I have had the privilege of serving as your mayor, there are many things that come to mind that I am proud that we have been able to accomplish by working together as a team. Council, staff, residents, boards, authorities, business owners — it all happens because of the shared vision we have for Woodstock.” The city completed a number of projects in 2013, including the Ridgewalk Interstate 575 interchange, the Ridgewalk Parkway widening, the Woodstock Parkway relocation, the Rubes Creek Water Reclamation Facilities improvements and the overflow parking lot for Rope Mill Park. “We also saw construction started on the Noonday Creek and Downtown Spur Trails, which will be completed in April. On a side note, it took from 1976 until 2013 to get the Ridgewalk interchange from an idea to a reality. It just goes to show that persistence does eventually pay off,” Henriques said.

Public safety With violent crime down 57 percent in 2013 from 2012, and down 72 percent compared to 2011, Henriques said the Woodstock Police Department is committed to the community. “The Department continued its commitment to community policing through increased bicycle and foot patrol activities throughout the year, particularly in the downtown and retail areas of the city. During the year, officers conducted over 1,000 foot patrols and approximately 150 bike patrols,” Henriques said. The Woodstock Police Department responded to 31,000 calls in 2013, Henriques said. “We also conducted two self-defense courses for 30 citizens and six teen driving classes with 125 participants,” Henriques said. “In 2013, the Woodstock Police Department revamped the Citizens Police Academy, offering two sessions in partnership with the Woodstock Fire Department. The Fall Citizens’ Public Safety Academy course was the largest yet with 31 participants, bringing the total number of participants to nearly 300 since the inception of the original program.” Henriques also noted the Woodstock Police Foundation raised more than $82,000 in 2013, and purchased a used mobile command vehicle with the intent of donating it to the city. “The vehicle will be used as a multi-discipline forward command platform for incidents in the region and major events in the city,” Henriques said.

Special to the Tribune

The city of Woodstock held two ribbon-cuttings for the opening of Market Street and the Woodstock West apartment homes by Walton Communities. Above: Woodstock city officials and representatives with Walton Communities cut the ribbon in front of the leasing center. The city’s fire department responded to more than 4,300 calls for service in 2013, representing a 4 percent increase over 2012, Henriques said. “Of those calls for service, 72 percent were within the city limits of Woodstock and 28 percent were in Cherokee County,” he said. The Woodstock Fire Department conducted more than 1,600 life safety inspections, more than 450 construction inspections and more than 630 plan reviews in 2013, Henriques said. “A fire engine originally purchased in 1995 was replaced with a new 2013 model. A new rescue truck was also purchased and Fire Station 10 saw an addition completed to the building to add lockers for gear storage,” Henriques said. Specifications were completed for a new ladder truck, and the council voted to authorize the

department to go out to bid on the purchase at their first meeting of 2014, Henriques said. “We also completed a three-year plan to replace all of the firefighters’ fire gear in 2013,” Henriques added. “Chief Soumas and Assistant Chief Eley worked hard this past year to evaluate sites for a new fire station in the Ridgewalk area, narrowing the options down for council’s consideration.” Development Henriques said there were 501 new residences added to downtown in 2013, including 93 single-family homes and 308 apartment units added at Woodstock West by Walton Communities. In 2013, there were 301 new single-family residence permits issued in Woodstock, a 26 percent increase from 2012, and nearly three times the number of permits issued in 2011, Henriques said.

“Stalled projects that were started prior to the economic downturn are moving forward and existing subdivisions are quickly running out of inventory,” Henriques said. “With the increase in new residences, over $458,000 was added to the Parks and Recreation Impact Fee account,

which will help fund parks and green space facilities throughout the city.” Henriques said the Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta have also seen great success, with 100 of the 102 tenant spaces occupied. “Three outparcels are occupied and a fourth

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GOVERNMENT

PROGRESS 2014

3E

‘Ready to move forward’ Canton looking to make ’14 another banner year By Joshua Sharpe jsharpe@cherokeetribune.com

CANTON — New members of the Canton City Council are hoping to make 2014 another banner year. Council members Sandy McGrew, Bill Grant and John Rust took their seats on the council Jan. 2 after being sworn in by Mayor Gene Hobgood in front of a packed City Hall. During the ceremony, Hobgood expressed his optimism for the new council. “This council is ready to move forward,” the mayor said. McGrew is planning to take full advantage of her time in office. “As the council, new and seasoned members, gets better acquainted, and gains experience working together, I see us moving forward as a united group and doing great things for Canton,” she said. “We are a spirited group, and a hard working group, determined to make our great city of Canton even better.” McGrew also praised some actions of the last council. “The hiring of Meghan Griffin as Main Street Staff/Todd Hull Director and Matthew From left, Reservoir Operator Heath Lee and General Manager Glenn Page of the Cobb County-Mar- Thomas as Economic ietta Water Authority speak about the plans to open the Hickory Log Creek Reservoir via the Etowah Development Coordinator into Lake Allatoona. has injected our city with

FACING FORWARD ‘Tiny town’ of Nelson welcomes new mayor, council member, police chief available for development within the city limits as it stands right now,” Ray NELSON — In recent said in January of the town that measures less weeks, Nelson has welthan two square miles. comed a few new faces “If we can who are grow it hoping to with quality move the developtown of ment, I’d about 1,300 like to see residents There’s very little prop- it grow. But forward. erty that would be avail- we need to Mayor able for development preserve Larry Ray, within the city limits as what we’ve Councilit stands right now. If we got and man Thad can grow it with quality look out for Thacker Jr. and Police development, I’d like to the citizens Chief see it grow. But we need of the city.” ThackJimmy to preserve what we’ve Koury came got and look out for the er, another longtime on board in citizens of the city. Nelson 2014 to do resident, their part to — Larry Ray, has said he help Nelmayor of Nelson had plenty son. of plans Ray, to help the a former city move judge of forward. more than One way Thacker hoped 18 years and Nelson to see Nelson do well native, says he aims to was with the hiring of preserve Nelson as what Koury, a retiring sergeant he’s always known it to from the Cherokee Sherbe: a quiet and friendly, iff’s Office, who took albeit, tiny town without over the city’s one-offimuch room to grow. cer police force. “There’s very little “He’s very profesproperty that would be By Joshua Sharpe

jsharpe@cherokeetribune.com

sional. Probably the best police officer that Nelson’s had in decades. That’s my opinion of him right now,” Thacker said in January. Thacker said he only met Koury briefly, but he was impressed. “I’ve only listened to him about 15 minutes,” he said. “He carries himself very well, very professional. He has goals for the city.” The new mayor hoped Koury would be a good fit. “I think he’s going to make us a real good man,” Ray said before Koury’s swearing in. “I think he’ll be a great man.” Cherokee Sheriff Roger Garrison also thought the 25-year employee of the sheriff’s office would do good things in Nelson. “Jimmy Koury was an asset to the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office for over two decades,” Garrison said in January. “We wish him luck in this new chapter of his career and are confident his experience will benefit the citizens of Nelson.”

Local Lawmakers Cherokee legislators take to the Gold Dome in 2014. For more photos, see Page 7E. Rep. Michael Caldwell (R-Woodstock) listens closely during a session at the Gold Dome during the 2014 legislative session. 

Staff/Michelle Babcock

a much needed dose of energy and enthusiasm,” she said. “Etowah Park is impressive. The previous council should be very proud.” The new economic development coordinator has already teamed up with McGrew’s fellow new council member Grant to help encourage new business in Canton, which had been one of Grant’s platforms in his campaign. Grant worked with Thomas and department heads in the city to develop an A-B-C guide to starting a business in Canton, as part of the broader effort to promote commerce in the city. Thomas said he and the others hoped the start-tofinish guide, now available at City Hall and online, “will assist those aspiring to open a business here for many years to come.” For Grant, a business owner downtown, business in Canton has been a longtime passion. “We will continue to look for additional ways to make Canton one of the most business-friendly cities in Georgia,” he said. “And that will fuel economic development throughout the city. I am very excited about our progress in this area.” Another way Grant has pursued spurring com-

merce in Canton is a review of the city’s business license fees. “The study shows clearly that the city’s rates for small-to-medium businesses are far higher than most all other Georgia cities,” he said. “Our (Chief Financial Officer Nathan Ingram) and his department will be reviewing our rate structure and hopefully have a more attractive and updated system in place for 2015.” With developments like the long-awaited opening of the Hickory Log Creek Reservoir and a new road connecting Highways 20 and 140, officials say Canton also made strides in 2013. Residents were welcomed to enjoy the vast waters of the 414-acre reservoir in March, after years of waiting. The mayor, who had previously been concerned about the project, was glad to have made the investment in partnership with Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority to ensure the water system for future generations. Councilman Jack Goodwin agreed stock in the reservoir will be a benefit to Canton in the future. “Water is such a precious thing to have,” he said in March. “You can’t

See Canton, 6E

Newly elected Nelson Mayor Larry Ray was sworn into office in January. Ray, a former judge for more than 18 years and Nelson native, says he aims to preserve Nelson as what he’s always known it to be: a quiet and friendly, albeit, tiny town without much room to grow. ‘There’s very little property that would be available for development within the city limits as it stands right now,’ Ray said in January of the town that measures less than two square miles.  Staff/Todd Hull


GOVERNMENT

4E

PROGRESS 2014

‘WELCOME TO BALL GROUND’ Cherokee town begins Main Street program By Michelle Babcock mbabcock@cherokeetribune.com

B

all Ground was selected in 2013 as one of only 19 cities across the state to participate in the Georgia Department of Community Affairs’ Main Street start-up program, and city officials said they are excited for what will come next. Though Ball Ground’s Main Street program is in its infancy, Ball Ground City Manager Eric Wilmarth said joining the Main Street startup program falls in line with Ball Ground’s slogan. “It says ‘Welcome to Ball Ground, where we roll out the red carpet and not the red tape,’” Wilmarth said. The program just began, with a mandatory startup program conference that took place Feb. 24, Wilmarth said. “Once receiving the training, we will chart our course for accreditation,” he said. “I believe that if we take full advantage of everything this program has to offer that the downtown area will be a very different place in five to seven years.” Wilmarth said with the new incentives that come with being in the start-up program, Ball Ground is even more business-friendly than before. “Part of our district is

already an opportunity zone, which allows businesses to get tax credits for creating jobs within that zone. So if we can bring, on top of that, less expensive loans to buy or expand a building, it’s just one more tool that makes downtown Ball Ground more attractive than someplace else,” he said. Since being accepted into the program last year, Wilmarth said the city has appointed a Main Street Board and developed a list of items to complete this year in order to receive accreditation. “A number of things that the city of Ball Ground has already done in the past will be of great use in the accreditation process because they fit hand in hand with the program,” Wilmarth noted. “For example, one component of the program is to promote the historical significance of the main street area. We have actually done a tremendous amount of work in this area, and our downtown is actually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.” Wilmarth said another aspect to gaining Main Street accreditation is assisting in the planning and conduct of various downtown activities, and Ball Ground already helps coordinate the city’s Heritage Days Festival, the Annual Parade of Lights, the annual fireworks display, the street-long yard sale and more. “The next steps will be to attend the training and begin developing plans to complete the accreditation process. Most importantly it will be implementing some of the techniques we learn in training to make our existing events better

‘This is a tremendous opportunity to bring people and business to downtown Ball Ground.’ 

Rick Roberts, mayor of Ball Ground

Staff/Michelle Babcock

Mayor Rick Roberts explains how one of the historic buildings in downtown Ball Ground was once a Coca-Cola bottling plant. in order to draw more peowill bring back some of the two years,” Wilmarth said. activity, where we’re startvitality of downtown. “The initial thing going into ing to see more interest, ple to support the district,” “When I was a kid, it it, is being selected, then where our downtown occuWilmarth said. our downtown merchants pancy rate is the best it’s Ball Ground Mayor Rick was very prosperous. Lots and property owners are eli- been in 15 years but we still Roberts said he was excited of business was going on, then everybody started to gible to apply for 3 percent have vacancies and we still to join the program. pull out,” he said. “It just loan money through the have buildings that aren’t “This is a tremendous takes time and it takes peostate of Georgia.” usable,” the Main Street opportunity to bring people ple. As population grows, But lower loan rates start-up program can offer and business to downtown are just one of the many important information to aid Ball Ground,” Roberts said. I don’t want people having advantages to cities that in the downtown area’s suc“It’s an honor to be selected to leave where they live to find shops, and restaurants are selected to participate cess, Wilmarth said. for this prestigious national and a fun time.” in the Main Street start-up Roberts said the Main program, which will allow Achieving Main Street program, the city manager Street program will also us to leverage our many designation usually takes added. help downtown offer resiexisting downtown assets. two years, Wilmarth said. From leadership and dents alternatives to big-box We’re looking forward But as a start-up program budget development, to and chain stores or restauto working with GDCA through the Department technical assistance and rants. toward full certification.” of Community Affairs, work plans, Wilmarth “When you look at our Roberts said the program Wilmarth said the process said the assistance from downtown, we still have has worked for many other could take as little as a year. the GDCA will help Ball a great potential. This is a cities’ downtown areas, and “They provide us with Ground join 96 other cities way to hopefully help us with hard work, it will payassistance to fast-track statewide that are in the reach the potential,” Roboff for Ball Ground, too. the process, and if we get Main Street Program. erts said. “I don’t want the Roberts said he thinks everything completed then “For cities like Ball city to ever be an obstacle the program will entice peo- we’re able to get the desigGround where we’re to promoting development ple who are thinking about nation in one year instead of already starting to see more and small business.” starting a business to do so, and he hopes the program

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GOVERNMENT

PROGRESS 2014

5E

WHOLE NEW WALESKA Waleska, Reinhardt grow during 2013 From staff reports

T

he city of Waleska saw some big progress in 2013, from the addition of a Reinhardt University football program, to the much anticipated Eagle’s Nest pizza venue opening within walking distance of the university, to the city council voting to allow restaurant alcohol sales.

Reinhardt’s football program kicked off in 2013, as did a great pizza restaurant just around the corner for students and residents. Jim Kelley opened the much anticipated pizza venue, Eagle’s Nest, Jim located within walking distance Kelley of Reinhardt University’s campus, just in time for the school’s first football season. “I’ve got this captive audience down the street,” Kelley said. The opening took place in September in the location of the former Front Porch Creamery off Reinhardt College Parkway. The restaurant saw Reinhardt’s first

For more ... Reinhardt University’s football program hit the field in 2013. For more on Reinhardt’s program, see Page 5H. football homecoming weekend, and anticipated more excitement from its convenient college location. The location was the only place in Waleska with an alcohol license in November 2013. Reinhardt students receive a discount with their student ID, and the opportunity to socialize and drink in a safe environment. Students may also take advantage of the free Wi-Fi that allows them to do homework or studying while they dine. The restaurant offers dining and take-out, and is working toward establishing deliveries. Subs, kids’ meals, soups, appetizers, calzone, and Stromboli are also offered. Beer and wine are available Monday to Saturday. The Waleska City Council voted to allow the sale of alcohol in restaurants in June, just before the football

Special to the Tribune

Above: A Cherokee family drops into Eagle’s Nest, a new pizza eatery that opened in Waleska near Reinhardt University in 2013. Below: Waleska Mayor Doris Jones is joined by members of the R.M. Moore elected mayors, council members and sheriffs, at a city board meeting as part of the third-grade mock election at the school. The winners are, from left, Daniel Green, Aiden Watkins, Kayleigh Albert Jaiden Krut, Autumn Spencer, Emma O’Bryant, Rachel Hagen and Katy Williams, who each received an official certificate. Not pictured was Joshua Wiegand.

season kicked-off, and resident and business owner Betty Callahan thanked the council after the decision. “I want to thank the

council for passing the pouring license, because if you had not, we were going to not even try to open the restaurant,” Callahan said. “We had

several people study for us and they said, ‘If you don’t get the pouring license you might as well not open the doors,’ and we will be very dis-

ciplined about it and we will have a code of ethics that we will follow. But there will be incidences. We can’t help it; people are people.”


GOVERNMENT

6E

PROGRESS 2014

Making plans Staff/Todd Hull

Holly Springs Mayor Tim Downing describes the plans for the future downtown area, which will include new City Hall, housing and retail spaces in 2012.

Holly Springs eyeing town improvements deal with all the time. When we can return monies to them, we do so.” Councilman Jeremy he city of Smith also said he was Holly Springs pleased the council could finally cut the rate. is working to “I’m glad we’re finally at keep improving for a place where we can actuits residents. ally roll it back this year,” Smith said. Among the progress In June, the council also made by the city in 2014 approved plans for a new was the City Council’s move park on Hickory Road and to approve a property tax then let residents help pick reduction, plans for a new the name for it. park and the J.B. city’s accepOwens Park tance into was one of the Georgia about 30 Department of different Community names This is a continuaAffairs’ Main residents tion of what the city’s submitted Street start-up always done. This is the to the city program. The council people’s money we deal in the pubvoted to lower with all the time. When lic naming the city’s we can return monies to process, millage rate them, we do so. but several from 6.055 suggested mills in fiscal naming the — Tim Downing, 2013 to 6 park for mayor of Holly Springs mills in fiscal Owens, and 2014, marking members the first true of the City reduction in Council several years. quickly jumped on board. Mayor Tim Downing said Owens was the last agent at the option to lower the rate the historic Holly Springs was good news for the city. Train Depot. “This is a continuation Councilman Kyle Whitaof what the city’s always ker said a name like that of done,” Downing said. “This Owens was exactly what the is the people’s money we city was going for with the By Joshua Sharpe

jsharpe@cherokeetribune.com

T

“ ”

project couldn’t have been done without the hard work of many. Beach praised the From 3E cooperation of the different entities. make any more of it.” “It was great to see Officials are how economic developalso pleased with ment and transportation Northside-Cherokee Bou- come together to build levard, new connector something that’s going to route between Highways be here for a long 20 and 140 that time and create opened in Octojobs,” Beach ber. said. “It wasn’t Construction hard for me to on the mile-long champion this, to road began in be honest.” August 2012 and Hobgood said had a final cost the city and the of $8.1 million region will benpaid by Cherokee efit. County, the Geor- Brandon “Every comBeach gia Department munity must of Transportation have a hospital, and Northside but a building is just Hospital-Cherokee, which a building. It’s what’s is building a new 84-bed inside that matters,” Hobhospital along the road. good told those in attenWhile speaking to dance at the ceremony. attendees at the open“We are fortunate here to ing, state Sen. Brandon have a hospital coming to Beach (R-Alpharetta), this location, along this who formerly served on parkway here, that makes the GDOT’s State Transquality care its highest portation Board, said the priority.”

Holly Springs city officials and planners take a tour of the land the city hope to turn into a new park off Hickory Road. new park. “While we’ve been working on the park design, one of the things we wanted to do was tie the park into Holly Springs,” he said. And considering Holly Springs’ reputation as a former railroad center, Whitaker said the name “J.B. Owens” makes a lot a sense. Members of Owens’ family were honored. Pearl “Butch” Owens, who was married to J.B.

before he died four years ago, said having her late husband’s name affixed to the park is a “wonderful” thing for the City Council to do. “I lived with my husband for 60 years and he loved Holly Springs and all the people,” Owens said. “Holly Springs was a special place for him.” Owens’ daughters, Sonia Carruthers, also said the city’s tip of the hat didn’t go unnoticed.

The park is being funded by a $1.5 million allowance from Cherokee County’s $90 million parks bond and will feature a walking trail, which will in part be handicapped-accessible, and several pavilions. With a record number of applications flooding into the GDCA’s offices, Holly Springs was picked in November to join the Main Street start-up program aiding cities wanting to improve

their downtowns, said Jennifer Stanley, Holly Springs spokeswoman. “This is a tremendous opportunity to bring people and business to downtown Holly Springs,” Stanley said. “It’s an honor to be selected for this prestigious national program, which will allow us to leverage our many existing downtown assets. We’re looking forward to working with GDCA toward full certification.”

Canton

Staff/Todd Hull

The public access area of Hickory Log Creek Reservoir officially opened in March 2013. The small lake is stocked with fish by the county and ready for public fishing. From left, Canton City Council member Hooky Huffman, Paul Michael of Technology Park Atlanta, Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood and Council member Jack Goodwin cut the ribbon.


PROGRESS 2014

GOVERNMENT

7E

In the HOUSE and COMMUNITY

Staff/File

Tom North of Woodstock talks to the group during a meeting with Michael Caldwell at Copper Coin Coffee in Woodstock in 2013.

Staff/Michelle Babcock

Above: Rep. Mandy Ballinger (R-Canton). Left: Scot Turner of Canton, listens as then-Sen, Barry Loudermilk speaks about the new districting lines in 2013. Below: Rep. Sam Moore (R-Macedonia).

Staff/Todd Hull

Staff/Michelle Babcock


GOVERNMENT

8E

PROGRESS 2014

Record From 2E

Staff/Todd Hull

From left are Commissioner Jason Nelms and Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens.

Cherokee From 2E to be a large increase in the aging population. “Cherokee County’s projected growth of 55-plus between now and 2030 is double the metro region,” he said. Today, Ahrens said Cherokee County has about 30,000 residents older than 55, about 15 percent of the total

population, but by 2030, about 25 percent of the county’s population is expected to be in that age group. “I think that spells opportunity,” he said. Other developments such as renovations to Hobgood Park, an overhaul of Towne Lake Parkway that came in way under budget, and the a brand new baseball complex at Kenney Askew Park also moved along in 2013.

Cherokee County’s projected growth of 55-plus between now and 2030 is double the metro region. — Buzz Ahrens, commission chair

outparcel is currently under construction,” Henriques added. Woodstock was awarded a grant through the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Livable Center Initiative to expand the city’s downtown area along the Highway 92 corridor from the Main Street intersection to Interstate 575, Henriques said. “This will enable the City to set forth a plan to revitalize the Highway 92 corridor, transforming this critical thoroughfare connecting Woodstock to the greater Atlanta region into a gateway more reflective of our award-winning downtown,” he said. The downtown Woodstock area saw 179 new businesses open in 2013, adding a net of 1,278 jobs, Henriques said. The mayor said “2013 was a record-breaking year for downtown Woodstock.” “Downtown welcomed many new residents during the past year, with 93 new homes constructed and Woodstock West by Walton Communities adding 308 apartment units to downtown for a total of 401 new residences,” he said. “The total of new houses and apartments, commercial construction and road improvements total over $97 million in new investment.” Henriques added that the first phase of the signage program, which will add signs marking available parking areas, is almost complete. “We also purchased the vacant lot across from the Park at City Center for the development of a new parking lot that will serve both the park and downtown Woodstock,” he said. Parks In 2013, Woodstock

Staff/Todd Hull

The retail and restaurant spaces are nearly filled, with only one vacant spot in all of downtown Woodstock in 2013. Parks were awarded national accreditation, becoming one of seven cities in the state to earn that level of recognition, Henriques said. “This achievement was the culmination of a four-year process that included a comprehensive review of all department operations, policies and procedures,” Henriques explained. “We are currently one of only 119 CAPRA accredited Parks and Recreation agencies in the U.S. and one of only seven in the state of Georgia.” The city also saw the opening of its first dog park in 2013 — Woofstock Park. “The new park, at 150 Dupree Road, opened on the Fourth of July weekend. The park features separate areas for large and small dog breeds, restrooms, shade structures and lighting. The park will also have a trail head with a boardwalk

connecting Woofstock Park to the Greenprints Trail System,” Henriques said. The mayor said the city’s Special Events Division also had a successful event season in 2013, noting that attendance for the annual Summer Concert Series is estimated at 40,000 people. “The 16th annual summer concert series was a tremendous success,” Henriques said. “The concert series included performances from Little Texas, Yacht Rock Review, Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project, the Dazz Band and the Marshall Tucker Band.” Henriques said, “On a sad note, we added the name of Woodstock’s own Sgt. Joshua J. Strickland, U.S. Army, to our Fallen Heroes Memorial. Sgt. Strickland was killed in action while serving our country in Afghanistan,” Henriques said.


INSIDE:  Northside Hospital-

Cherokee continues growth, construction 2F  Outlet Shoppes of

Atlanta draws crowd 6F


HEALTH & BUSINESS

2F

PROGRESS 2014

‘Just a taste of what’s to come’ Northside HospitalCherokee continues growth, construction From staff reports

While Northside Hospital-Cherokee continued to mark progress toward a new hospital planned at the intersection of Highway 20 and Interstate 575, the health care provider also charted other milestones and improvements in the last year. In October, the new Northside Cherokee Boulevard opened between Highways 20 and 140, which will bring the community to the new hospital planned to open in 2016, hospital officials said. Construction on the mile-long road began in August 2012 and had a final cost of $8.1 million. The construction costs were shared by Cherokee County, the Georgia Department of Transportation and Northside HospitalCherokee, which is building a new 84-bed hospital on the road. Site preparation is well underway for the project, which will include the hospital, a separate Women’s Center, a multispecialty medical office building and cancer center, and a 600-space parking deck and 300 surface parking spaces, hospital officials said in a release. “Construction will begin this summer and we expect to be in the new hospital in 2016,” said Katherine Watson, hospital spokeswoman. In September, Northside opened its newest state-of-the-art facility, the NorthsideCherokee Towne Lake Medical Campus, located at 900 Towne Lake Parkway in Woodstock. The 100,817-squarefoot, four-story medical office building houses a wide variety of outpatient

health care services and physician practices, representing numerous medical specialties. The NorthsideCherokee Towne Lake Medical Campus is located off of Interstate 575 in Woodstock, and Billy Hayes, CEO of Northside HospitalCherokee, said at the time of its opening that the new medical office facility is a big investment in Cherokee County. “I couldn’t be more proud of this building, and I think it represents Northside, it represents Northside-Cherokee, and this is just a taste of what’s to come as we move forward,” Hayes said at the opening ceremony. “We’re focused on making Cherokee County the strongest county we possibly can, and there’s more to come.” The Towne Lake facility is about four miles south of Northside’s Holly Springs Medical campus and around 11 miles south of the future Northside Hospital-Cherokee hospital in Canton. The new facility offers a range of physician practices and outpatient medical services, including urgent care, cardiology, surgery, primary care, urology, laboratory services and a full-service imaging center. Award-winning patient care In 2013, Northside Hospital-Cherokee was named a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures® by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in America, Watson said. “The hospital was recognized for its exemplary performance

Staff/Todd Hull

While Northside Hospital-Cherokee continued to mark progress toward a new hospital planned at the intersection of Highway 20 and Interstate 575, the health care provider also charted other milestones and improvements in the last year. In October, the new Northside Cherokee Boulevard opened between Highways 20 and 140, which will bring the community to the new hospital planned to open in 2016, hospital officials said. in using evidence-based clinical processes that are shown to improve care for heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care,” the spokeswoman said in a release. The Georgia Hospital Association also named Northside Hospital-Cherokee, Northside HospitalAtlanta and Northside Hospital-Forsyth to its Partnership for Health and Accountability Core Measures Honor Roll. The three hospitals are among 17 Georgia hospitals to be placed in the chairman’s category, the highest on the list, Watson said. The Honor Roll is based on clinical data provided by the federal Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services, which administers the nation’s Medicare and Medicaid programs. Consumer Reports rated Northside HospitalCherokee the highest in Georgia (tied with 6 other hospitals) in its annual surgical ratings in

September. The ratings examine how hospitals nationwide compare in avoiding adverse events in Medicare patients during their hospital stay for surgery. The hospital also achieved the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® STEMI Receiving Center Bronze Performance Achievement Award in 2013, recognizing commitment and success in implementing exceptional standards of care for heart attack patients. Other advancements In May 2013, Northside Cherokee added a second suite to its Cardiac Catheterization/ Interventional Radiology Laboratory. Northside HospitalCherokee is an accredited Chest Pain Center and was recertified as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center in 2013. Also in 2013, Northside HospitalCherokee and Northside Cherokee Cardiology

were accredited in nuclear cardiology by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission. During the last year, the local hospital expanded its cardiovascular services to include the latest in vascular surgery services, and Northside is the only program in the nation equipped to treat highrisk patients with custommodified endografts for thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm, Watson said. The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons granted Three-Year Accreditation with Commendation to the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute, as a result of surveys performed during 2013, she said. Also in 2013, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® Affiliate Research Project developed by the NCCN Oncology Research Program qualified the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute for the

project. The Northside Hospital Cancer Institute is a communitybased associate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center — one of the 23 NCCN Member Institutions. “Through this partnership and others like the National Cancer Institute and DanaFarber Cancer Institute, we are able to offer our patients access to the very latest cancer treatment and prevention advances, allowing them to receive state-of-theart clinical expertise and compassionate care close to home,” Watson said in a release. In 2013, Northside expanded its Spine Care Program to include a new location for services on the Northside HospitalCherokee campus. The hospital is also expanding parking at the site, adding 160 spaces, which is expected to be complete in April.

‘Truly a one-stop-shop opportunity’ WellStar Health System to start work on Cherokee County health park From staff reports

Construction is expected to begin later this year on WellStar Health System’s planned 150,000-square-foot health park in Cherokee County. WellStar in June finalized the purchase of more than 60 acres of property at Sixes Road and Interstate 575 in Holly Springs to serve as the location of its new facility. “WellStar is committed to the health of Cherokee County residents and is pleased to offer this convenient, comprehensive and high-quality care to our community,” said Chris Kane, WellStar senior vice president for strategic business development. “The purchase of this property ideally positions WellStar to address the needs of the residents in this rapidly growing county.” Plans for the health park include a wide array of comprehensive medical diagnostic testing services such as medical imaging, urgent care, lab and preadmission testing, cardiac and sleep diagnostics, physical therapy and sports medicine, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, pharmacy and community education, health screening and wellness services. Those services will be integrated with a multispecialty mix of physicians

Staff/Todd Hull

Construction is expected to begin later this year on WellStar Health System’s planned 150,000-square-foot health park in Cherokee County. WellStar in June finalized the purchase of more than 60 acres of property at Sixes Road and Interstate 575 in Holly Springs to serve as the location of its new facility. Plans for the health park include a wide array of comprehensive medical diagnostic testing services such as medical imaging, urgent care, lab and pre-admission testing, cardiac and sleep diagnostics, physical therapy and sports medicine, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, pharmacy and community education, health screening and wellness services. including primary care and specialists, such as cardiologists,

pulmonologists, ENT, gastroenterologists, surgeons, allergy/asthma,

endocrinology and others based on community needs. With outpatient health

care expected to grow 30 percent over the next five years, WellStar health parks

have been developed to deliver outpatient care in community-based facilities. WellStar health parks, currently open in Acworth and under construction in east Cobb, are tailored to provide innovative coordinated care to the local community. “By combining and coordinating services under one roof, Cherokee County residents will no longer have to endure long drive times, frustrating traffic congestion and multiple trips to numerous locations for health care,” said Joe Brywczynski, senior vice president health parks development. “The health park is truly a one-stopshop opportunity.” The health park’s services will be linked together with all other WellStar facilities via an electronic medical record. This will greatly improve patient convenience and allow for better care coordination for patients. The new health park will enhance the health system’s presence in the county including WellStar facilities in Towne Lake and Canton and many WellStar affiliated physicians and providers who practice in Cherokee County. WellStar opened the Acworth Health Park in July 2012. WellStar broke ground on its East Cobb Health Park, in April of 2013, and expects to begin seeing patients in September 2014.


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‘THINGS ARE LOOKING UP’ Cherokee development office sees huge business increase By Joshua Sharpe jsharpe@cherokeetribune.com

This past year was an award-winning one for the Cherokee Office of Economic Development, thanks to a huge increase in prospective businesses in the county. COED Chairman Marshall Day said 2013 was the busiest year he can remember in the last decade. “I think we’ve finally got some signs that we’ve got an improved economy,” he said. “There’s got to be a lot of pent-up demand, and hopefully, if the economy continues to improves, Cherokee County will benefit.” One development, Inalfa Roof Systems, even garnered the attention of Gov. Nathan Deal who presented the office with an award from the state economic development office. Day said economic development in Cherokee County is working in a domino effect, with big developments such as Inalfa and the announcement of a new location of outdoor gear retailer Cabela’s in the county, spurring other companies to be interested. “Cherokee County’s in a good position,” he

said. “All that was very positive for us. It’s building momentum and hopefully that momentum will continue.” Day said COED is working with quite a few prospects who may be coming to the county as well, primarily at the Cherokee 75 Corporate Park, where Inalfa is located. In addition to the improved economy, Day credited COED President Misti Martin and her staff with putting in the hard work to court developers. “They’re working very hard and very diligently, and things are looking up for Cherokee County,” he said. Martin also spoke highly of 2013 at Cherokee Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens’ “State of the County” address this month. It really has been an award-winning year, for many reasons,” Martin told the crowd. “A 340 percent increase in job creation from 2012 to 2013, over 2,000 jobs created or announced in 2013, over $220 million in investment, 730 percent increase in investment from 2012 to 2013,” Martin said. “As you can see, those are staggering numbers.”

Besides positive developments in 2013, such as the Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta, Martin said Cherokee County’s existing industries also had a good year, showing the “most optimistic results to date.” In 2013, existing industry announced or committed $67 million in capital investment and more than 300 new jobs, Martin said. She added that 87 percent of existing industry reported an increase in sales and 78 percent of existing companies have plans for expansion in the next three years. Martin said many TV shows and movies were filmed in Cherokee County in 2013, which was the highest ranking year to date for filming in the county. More positives were on the way, Martin said, with Northside HospitalCherokee’s plans to build a $250 million hospital near Canton Marketplace, Cabela’s work to build in Acworth and other coming developments. Like Day, Martin said things look particularly good at the Cherokee 75 park. “Our prospect activity has been unbelievable,” she said, although, “We are definitely chasing deals all over the county.”

Staff/Todd Hull

From left, Steve Holcomb, Misti Martin and Marshall Day. Day said 2013 was the busiest year for economic development in Cherokee County he can remember for the past decade.

Foreclosures down 46% in 2013 By Joshua Sharpe jsharpe@cherokeetribune.com

Staff/Todd Hull

Above: The Outlets Shoppes at Atlanta welcomed shoppers from all over metro Atlanta for its first Black Friday rush on Nov. 29. This past year was an award-winning one for the Cherokee Office of Economic Development, thanks to a huge increase in prospective businesses in the county, including the new outlet mall. Below: Chicago resident Vanessa Bordeaux and her friend Jennifer Hamrick of Woodstock load up on Black Friday deals at the outlets.

CANTON — If foreclosure numbers are any indication, 2013 was a good year for Cherokee County homeowners. The total number of foreclosures for the year was 2,198, a 46 percent reduction from 2012, when 4,101 properties hit the chopping block. That total was realized after many consecutive months of big, doubledigit percentage reduction. Dennis Burnette, president and CEO of Cherokee Bank, thought it was good news for Cherokee County and the homeowners. “I think that we are nearing an end to the foreclosure crisis,” Burnette said in December. “For the first time in several years, I am not fearful of foreclosures flooding the market and impeding the positive development in the housing market.” Burnette said the lack of properties hitting the courthouse steps has

driven values on homes in the county up. “With less foreclosures,” Burnette said, “there’s less distressed property on the market, (increasing prices).” Wanda Roach, a Realtor with ERA Sunrise Realty, said she saw home prices rising all the time, along with a lack of available houses on the market for sale. “Prices have increased, the inventory is still low, and we’re seeing multiple offers on homes,” Roach said in December. “Gone are the days when people say, ‘Can you find me something under $50,000?’ We’re not seeing that kind of a price anymore.” But while the lack of houses for sale impacts people like Roach each day, she said the decrease in foreclosures is good news for Cherokee County. “I think that’s just indicative of people being able to keep their houses,” she said. “People have gotten jobs and they’ve been able to stay in their

homes. When you start reading the job rate and (such), everything is definitely improving.” After 2013’s total number showed vast improvement, the numbers kept going down in January. In January, 112 foreclosed properties were advertised in the Cherokee Tribune, the county legal organ, reflecting a 61 percent fall compared to last January. Lewis Cline, senior vice president of Bank of North Georgia, said foreclosures were finally starting to stabilize after the Great Recession and it was “indeed a welcomed event.” “We are now just shy of pre-recession levels,” said Cline, who is also the 2014 chairman for the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce, in January. “With home prices increasing and low mortgage rates still available at this time, more people are no longer in a negative equity situation. I expect foreclosures to remain near or at prerecession levels for 2014.”

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Cherokee County by the numbers

Staff

The numbers in this graphic were provided by the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce.

ONE FOR THE ROAD Far left: State Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) spoke about the cooperation between city, county and state officials and representatives from Northside Hospital-Cherokee to build the road. Left: Local dignitaries from Cherokee celebrated the grand opening of the newly constructed Northside Cherokee Boulevard. From left, Waleska Mayor Doris Jones, Karen Bosch of Northside Hospital, Commission Chair Buzz Ahrens, Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood, County Commissioner Harry Johnston, Cherokee Chamber of Commerce Chairman Randy Gravely, County Manager Jerry Cooper, state Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) and Billy Hayes, CEO of Northside Hospital-Cherokee cut the ribbon to the new road.  Staff/Todd Hull

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PROGRESS 2014

HEALTH & BUSINESS

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HEALTH & BUSINESS

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PROGRESS 2014

Inalfa Roof systems brings 300 jobs to Cherokee with Acworth plant By Joshua Sharpe jsharpe@cherokeetribune.com

ACWORTH — Cherokee County saw one of the biggest job-creating developments in years with the construction of Inalfa Roof Systems’ new plant in Acworth in 2013. County officials and the Cherokee Office of Economic Development worked to get the Netherlands-based car parts manufacturer to bring its vast plant to the county, along with its projected 300 jobs, even garnering the attention of Gov. Nathan Deal. Deal gave the COED its due in October by presenting the office with the Georgia Economic Developers Association’s Deal of the Year honor. The governor said in a statement to the Tribune it was his goal to make Georgia the No. 1 state in the nation for business, and that couldn’t be accomplished without organizations like COED. “The Cherokee office obviously did a tremendous job in recruiting Inalfa Roof Systems, and this award shows that work earned the respect of the Georgia Economic Developers Association,” Deal said. “I congratulate the team there, and I look forward to working with them to bring more jobs to

Georgia.” Inalfa is a leading maker of car roofing systems for automotive giants like Ford, General Motors and BMW. Construction on the 165-000-square-foot facility began at the new Cherokee 75 Corporate Park near Highway 92 and Interstate 75 in the summer. After a brief few months of construction, the factory started operations late in the year and was expected to start sending out its first shipments at the end of January. “I think we’re going to be a good fit for the community,” said Daniel Twork, plant manager at the new factory. “We’re a proud company. We really take good care of our people. It’s quite a nice facility. We hope it makes the community very proud.” In December, the plant, the first at the Cherokee 75 Park, was employing about 85 people, with the goal of 300 workers likely to be realized by 2015, Twork said. COED Chairman Marshall Day remarked that the coup to get the company to come to Cherokee was “a testament of the strength and benefit of local and state partnerships.” Misti Martin, COED

MAJOR IMPACT Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta draws crowd from all over the area By Michelle Babcock mbabcock@cherokeetribune.com

The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta is making a major impact on the city and county, hiring hundreds of workers and attracting shoppers from near and far, after opening to record crowds on July 18, 2013. As many as 25,000 people visited The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta on opening day July 18, as shoppers from all over poured into Cherokee County to check out the new mall. Woodstock Mayor Donnie Henriques said the Outlets contributed to the total number of new businesses and jobs in the Downtown Development Authority District last year. “During the course of the year, 179 new businesses opened creating 1,291 new jobs in the Downtown Development Authority District,” Henriques said. “The net job creation for downtown for 2013 was 1,278 positions.” Gina Slechta, vice president of marketing for the mall’s developers, said the turnout for the opening of the mall was more than she expected. “People from all over the world were at the opening, including people visiting Atlanta right now for the Microsoft convention,” Sletcha said at the time. By noon on opening day, the 1,781-carcapacity parking lot was already full, following the official ribbon-cutting and opening event at 10 a.m. President and CEO Gary Skoien of Michigan-based Horizon Group Properties, who developed the mall along with CBL & Associates Properties, spoke to a crowd of hundreds at the ribbon cutting event and said the “$85 million project” brought together government officials, private contractors, retailers, bankers and more. The 370,000-squarefoot shopping center opened with fountains, covered walkways,

landscaped islands and about 90 stores, with space for an additional 30,000 square feet of expansion. By the end of 2013, Henriques said tenant space at the mall was nearly full. “Building Inspections and Development Services offices worked diligently to ensure that all inspections were completed and businesses were registered in time for the July 2013 grand opening of the Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta,” Henriques said. “One hundred of the 102 tenant spaces are occupied, three out parcels are occupied and a fourth out parcel is currently under construction.” Cherokee Chamber of Commerce Chairman Randy Gravely said the outlet mall opening was big for Cherokee. “I’ve lived in Cherokee County all of my life, and over the past 40 years there’s been times where I can remember when we had to drive outside of the county to either shop, go to the doctor or dine,” Gravely said. “Those days are in the rear-view mirror. Those are the past.” Gravely said the outlet mall would be marketed internationally, and the visitors would be spending money that would help the city, the government, the economy, the school system and the county.

Staff/Todd Hull

Cherokee County saw one of the biggest job-creating developments in years with the construction of Inalfa Roof Systems’ new plant in Acworth in 2013. County officials and the Cherokee Office of Economic Development worked to get the Netherlands-based car parts manufacturer to bring its vast plant to the county, along with its projected 300 jobs, even garnering the attention of Gov. Nathan Deal. president, who has received praise by many as one of those at the forefront of the deal, said the Georgia Department of Economic Development and others also worked to help bring the factory to Cherokee,

instead of Tennessee. Commission Jason Nelms, who represents District 4 where Inalfa’s factory is located, said he was proud for the company to choose Cherokee County for its newest United States facility.

“You bring that amount of employment numbers into the county, it’s very impressive,” Nelms said. “That’s pretty strong anywhere you go. Our citizens in Cherokee County, they’re smart, they’re very intelligent

and they’re a qualified work force. For us to be able to provide a place for them to work in our county and to not have to commute into Atlanta every day, that’s just an added bonus. That’s what we’re all after.”

Left and below left: The Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta under construction at the end of 2012. Bottom: A large crowd of shoppers and supporters gather waiting for the official grand opening of the Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta on July 18. Hull Horizon Properties announced at the end of 2012 the Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta would open 2013, weeks ahead of the originally announced August opening. Additionally, 30 new stores announced they would be part of the 370,000square-foot outlet center.  Staff/Todd Hull


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Chamber of Commerce reflects on ‘banner year’ Joshua Sharpe jsharpe@cherokeetribune.com

CANTON — The Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce celebrated 2013 as a banner year for economic development in the county and looked forward to what success might lie ahead in 2014 when it held its annual banquet in January. About 500 officials, businesspeople and residents turned out to the Cherokee County Conference Center for the chamber’s annual meeting to hear of the progress made in 2013 and witness the welcome of the 2014 chairman of the board. Former Cherokee High School teacher and tireless volunteer Joan McFather was also tapped for Citizen of Year. McFather taught English for 30 years prior to retiring, and has devoted thousands of hours to community service through dozens of organizations such as the Service League of Cherokee County, Cherokee FOCUS, the Cherokee Arts Center and Juvenile Court Citizens Review Panel. Cherokee Chamber President and CEO Pam Carnes said in making the presentation that in reviewing all the organizations McFather had helped, it was quite evident why the judges chose her. “Words that come to mind to describe this year’s recipient are kind, generous, honest, volunteer, teacher and parent,” Carnes said in the presentation. In accepting the award, McFather said it was an overwhelming

compliment and she appreciated it tremendously. “I am just so appreciative and this means so much to me,” McFather said. Before passing the gavel to new Chairman Lewis Cline, senior vice president of Bank of North Georgia, retiring Chairman Randy Gravley of WLJA radio remarked on what he said was another successful year for the chamber and the county. “Not only are the existing industries growing and adding jobs, we’re also bringing new (companies) into this county,” Gravley said. With other developments including the opening of the Cherokee County Aquatic Center and the county’s new fire services training center, Gravley said the county’s amenities were also improving. “To have a great county we have to have great infrastructure and we have that here in Cherokee County,” he said. “We live and work in one of the greatest communities in the country.” As for the Chamber of Commerce, Gravley said it had a strong year in 2013, with 83 percent of companies staying on as members and more than 4,600 people attending the organization’s events. But without the work of volunteers and staff, Gravley said the chamber’s success wouldn’t be as attainable. Gravley praised many of those volunteers and presented one of them, John West, of Express Impressions, with the annual Chairman’s Council Volunteer of the

Year award. Gravley was confident the new chairman would contribute to the success of the chamber and the county in 2014. Through the years, Gravley said Cline has given many hours to causes like Reinhardt University’s “A Day” campaign, the Cherokee County Historical Society, the Salvation Army and the Canton Festival of the Arts. “And it goes on and on and on,” Gravley said. “Now, Lewis, I’m not sure when you were able to do any work at the bank, but we thank you for your service to the county.” Cline also praised Gravley as an inspiration and for his work in the past year as chairman. “Randy has also been a good friend over the years and has been a great mentor this last year,” Cline said. “Randy is also one of the few who’s had the honor and privilege to chair this board twice.” Drawing inspiration from Gravley and with the help of staff and volunteers, Cline said he would work to make 2014 another good year for business in Cherokee County. “It is indeed a pleasure to work for a company whose values and beliefs are strongly focused on community service,” Cline said. “Through volunteers and support staff, the chamber will continue to connect businesses to businesses and businesses to the community. We are strongest when support each other and we create a united front to ensure all businesses succeed and grow in Cherokee County.”

Staff/Todd Hull

Above: The gavel was passed from Randy Gravley to the 2014 Chairman of the Board Lewis Cline, during the Jan. 23 annual Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce meeting. Below: Chamber Chairman of the Board Randy Gravley presents John West with the Volunteer of the Year award. Bottom: First Citizen Award winner Joan McFather speaks to the chamber mem-


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INSIDE: ► Cherokee schools excel in 2013 / 2G ► E.T. Booth opens its doors / 3G ► Construction moving along at Teasely and Dean Rusk / 6G ► Reinhardt’s expansion / 7G


EDUCATION

2G

PROGRESS 2014

Cherokee schools excel in 2013 F By Michelle Babcock

mbabcock@cherokeetribune.com

rom high SAT and AP exam scores, to nationally ranked high schools, the Cherokee County School District continued a long streak of excellence in 2013. The Cherokee County School District’s Class of 2013 tied with that of Fulton County for the highest average SAT scores in metro

Atlanta and the second-highest score in Georgia.

With an average score of 1,567 points on the college entrance and placement exam, Cherokee County’s Class of 2013 beat the national average SAT score by 69

points and the state average by 115 points, according to data from the Georgia Department of Education and the College Board. All Cherokee County high schools scored higher than the state average of 1,452, and higher than the national average of 1,498, Cherokee Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo said. “The number of CCSD students taking the SAT increased by 119 over the previous year, with 1,450 students in the Class of 2013 participating,” Petruzielo said. “These results are another example of what happens when you make outstanding academic achievement by every student your priority.” According to the Georgia

“The number of CCSD students taking the SAT increased by 119 over the previous year, with 1,450 students in the Class of 2013 participating. These results are another example of what happens when you make outstanding academic achievement by every student your priority.” — Dr. Frank Petruzielo, superintendent

Department of Education, 75 percent, more than 72,000 students, of the state’s 2013 senior class took the exam, compared to the national participation rate of 43 percent. The SAT exam has a total possible score of 2,400, and measures critical reading, mathematics and writing. Etowah High School scored highest on the SAT in the county for the fourth year in a row in 2013, with an average score of 1,595 points and 302 students who took the test. Etowah High School Principal Keith Ball said the school’s SAT scores reflected positively on the students who took the exam, their parents and the staff. “I think the kids, the staff, the community and the parents have to buy in to the expectation of being successful,” Ball said. “Albeit a collective shining star for the school, those individual kids who sat for the test, they sealed the deal; they did a great job. We don’t take it for them.” Cherokee schools also ranked high above both state and national passage rates on Advanced Placement college credit exams in 2013, data released in early 2014 showed.

But test scores are not the only thing the school district showed excellence in achieving in 2013. Four Cherokee County School District high schools were named to the list of top U.S. high schools published by the Washington Post, including Creekview, Etowah, Sequoyah and Woodstock high schools. Sequoyah High School was also named one of the “Best High Schools” in the U.S. in 2013, on a list published by U.S. News & World Report. The school was ranked at No. 18 in Georgia and No. 1,033 in the U.S. Four Cherokee district high schools were also named to a list of “America’s Best High Schools” in 2013 by Newsweek and The Daily Beast. Creekview, Etowah, Sequoyah and Woodstock all made the list. The accomplishments of 2013 are too many to name when it comes to the Cherokee County School District. A few honors in 2013 include: Carmel Elementary School was named a National School of Character; the district was nationally ranked for Expertise in Technology; the district was named a Georgia Green Schools winner;

a district employee was named the Georgia School Psychologist of the Year; Teasley Middle School was named a Distinguished Breakout School; Woodstock Elementary School won a Georgia Family Friendly Partnership Award; and the Free Home Elementary School principal won the School Bell Award. The Cherokee County Educational Foundation was also busy in 2013, giving out $6,000 in grants and announcing another $10,000 in upcoming awards for 2014.

I think the kids, the staff, the community and the parents, have to buy in to the expectation of being successful. — Keith Ball, Etowah High School principal

Teacher of the Year says she was called to teach By Michelle Babcock mbabcock@cherokeetribune.com

A fantastic Creekland Middle School teacher was selected as the Cherokee County School District Teacher of the Year in 2013 — a working representation of continued progress in the district. Lindsay Bowley an eighth-grade language arts and Georgia history teacher at the middle school was selected as the 2013 district-wide Teacher of the Year. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo said Bowley is an “insatiable volunteer: in her school, her community, her church … and our world.” “We’re proud to have someone like Ms. Bowley working in our system,” Petruzielo said. “She clearly has a calling to be a teacher, and she was born to work with teenagers.” Bowley was selected by her peers to be Creekland’s Teacher of the Year, and said she was humbled to be chosen as the district’s Teacher of the Year. “There’s just so many great teachers out there and it’s very, very humbling,” Bowley said. “I was very surprised.” She was hired seven years ago by Creekland Principal Dr. Deborah Wiseman, who said it was no surprise such a passionate and exceptional teacher like Bowley was selected. “When her peers voted for her (to represent the school) I was thrilled,” Wiseman said. “While Cherokee County has an array of exceptional teachers, Ms. Bowley stands out as the best of the best.” Wiseman said “it says a lot” about Creekland Middle School and the Cherokee School District to have such an awesome teacher representing the district as Teacher of the Year. “I am very honored to have her here at my school, and if I could clone her I would,” Wiseman said. “She gets to know her kids, and what they’re interested in, and takes a personal interest in each one and tries to develop lessons that are interesting and fun for each one.” Bowley teaches four classes of language arts and

one Georgia history class, Bowley said. “I’m really passionate about what I do,” Bowley said. “It’s my calling, it’s what I do, it’s what I was meant to do and it’s what I love doing. You can have 100 great strategies, but what I think matters to kids is, are you passionate about what you do?” From volunteering to teach Sunday school classes at church to gaining inspiration from her mother, who was also a teacher, Bowley said she learned her love for “designing lessons.” “I think I’ve always naturally gravitated toward teaching and it hasn’t always come in the form of being in front of a class. My heart is to help people find their strengths, and to guide and to mentor,” Bowley said. “It’s like an art form … I realized, ‘Man, I love doing this.’” One of the most influential assignments that Bowley gave her writing students was last year, she said. Bowley wore a masquerade mask and talked about personal experiences with not being herself, then had them write about the importance of taking off their own masks to “let people see the real you.” “Last year was a big deal because I spent several hours after school transforming my room into like a late-1800’s Parisian opera house. With white lights everywhere and battery operated candles,” Bowley said. “We went into, ‘What are masks that you wear?’ They each got a mask … and they decorated it to reflect what it is that they try to show people.” Bowman said explaining her own personal masks allowed students to feel comfortable with writing about their own identity. “Honestly, I think the thing that reaches them, is that I try to do what I ask them (to do),” Bowley said. “If I ask them to write, I try to write with them.” Bowley engages students with interesting and meaningful projects and fosters trust through honesty and fairness. Wiseman explained Bowley’s “Feather Circle,” a poem activity that gives students an opportunity to discuss their own challenges, and allows others to offer

encouragement. In Bowley’s application for Teacher of the Year, she explained how students are given notecards to write encouraging words and “I’ve been there” notes for their peers after listening to the poems. “I will never forget those moments when I see the kid who was obviously nervous to read being showered with notes of encouragement from students who normally don’t notice his existence,” Bowley wrote in the application. A few years ago, Bowley said she asked students what they should be able to expect from her, and had them write down rules. “I had them write, ‘If you could tell a teacher in the future what you wish they would do and what you expect from them, what would that be?’ They produced the most interesting responses,” Bowley said. “I took what my students gave … one of them is, ‘I won’t bring my bad mood from the class period before to your period.’” She chose the most commonly written responses and created a list of rules that she would follow in the classroom. “I want them to understand that their opinion has value. … They have valuable things to say,” Bowley said. Now, before she tells students what she expects of

them, she tells the students what they can expect from her. Petruzielo said Bowley gains her students’ respect by showing them respect. “She calls herself a ‘professional noticer.’… She’s looking for the kids’ talents, what makes them tick,” Petruzielo said of Bowley. “I love that language. I think it’s very powerful. It’s also very powerful that she not only tells them the rules for them in her classroom, she tells them her rules for herself. It shows that not only does she expect the kids to behave with respect, she will show them respect, too.” Wiseman said Bowley didn’t win “a popularity contest.” “She truly deserves this,”

Staff/Todd Hull

Creekland Middle School teacher Lindsay Bowley was the recipient of this year’s Cherokee County Teacher of the Year. Top, middle: Dr. Frank Petruzielo applauds Bowley after surprising her with the award for Cherokee’s Teacher of the Year. Above: Cherokee Deputy Superintendent Dr. Brian Hightower and Petruzielo congratulate Bowley. Wiseman said. Bowley grew up in Cherokee County, attended

Etowah High School and lives in Woodstock with her husband Paul.


PROGRESS 2014

EDUCATION

‘STATE-OF-THE-ART’

3G

Staff/Todd Hull

Above: The new E.T. Booth Middle School has been constructed on the same campus as the former facility. The projected enrollment is 1,621 students. Below: From left, Cherokee Assistant Superintendent for School Operations Dr. Brian Hightower walks with School Board Chair Janet Read and Board Member Rick Steiner during a tour of the new E.T. Booth Middle School.

Replacement E.T. Booth opened its doors in 2013 By Michelle Babcock mbabcock@cherokeetribune.com

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he Cherokee school system’s latest facility opened its doors in 2013 in efforts to better meet students’ needs. More than 1,600 students walked through the doors of the replacement E.T. Booth Middle School on the first day of the 2013-14 school year Aug. 5, after the new school was completed in July. E.T. Booth Middle School Principal Dawn Weinbaum said she was honored to get the opportunity that comes with a new building. “It is state-of-the-art; it is amazing,” Weinbaum said. “This facility will enable us to better prepare and better enable students.” Students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade attend the new, 223,856-square-foot building, built to replace the 32-year-old previous E.T. Booth Middle School. Assistant Superintendent for Accountability, Technology and Strategic Planning Bobby Blount said the new E.T. Booth building was equipped with about 1,700 computers. “Every classroom will have the standard five desktop computers. In addition, every classroom will get a 16-station laptop cart,” Blount said. “Every class is equipped with an interactive white board.” Each classroom was equipped with a wireless Internet access point, and teachers can access television channels on the computers, Blount said. The replacement school also included a “fully-loaded media center.” “What we’re trying to do with the media center, is we’re trying to create more of a 21st century atmosphere,” Blount said. “We’ve got cafe tables to make it a little more dynamic, so that kids can

What we’re trying to do with the media center, is we’re trying to create more of a 21st century atmosphere. We’ve got café tables to make it a little more dynamic, so that kids can interact and be a little bit more relaxed in here with all the great materials they’ll have — Bobby Blount, assistant superintendent for Accountability, Technology and Strategic Planning

interact and be a little bit more relaxed in here with all the great materials they’ll have.” With a standard classroom size of 750 square feet, and some rooms, like labs, with 1,000 to 1,200 square feet, the students attending the replacement E.T. Booth

have plenty of room. In addition, now science labs have storage closets and chemical storage ability, an upgrade from the previous building’s capacity. The new chorus and band rooms have walls and ceilings made from acoustic materials, specially designed for optimum sound during practice, the principal said. “This room is three times the size of the other chorus room,” Weinbaum said. “It is designed for sound.” The band room is also equipped with multiple practice rooms, a water fountain and a room for cleaning instruments. “Not only is it beautiful, it’s much larger,” Weinbaum said. Another upgrade from the previous building is a 1,400-square-foot art lab with tons of storage space, as well as a storage closet and kiln room. The new building’s cafeteria has a capacity for 1,083 students and has four serving lanes.

E.T. Booth Middle School has completed construction and welcomed students last fall. Bobby Blount, assistant superintendent of Accountability, Technology and Strategic Planning speaks to guests of a walk-through about the new 1,100 laptop computers the students will be able to use.

Deputy Superintendent for School Operations, Programs and Support Dr. Brian Hightower said two of the old E.T. Booth cafeterias could fit in the new cafeteria.

“We’re just thrilled,” Hightower said. “(The building was completed) on time and under budget.” The replacement building also has a school store and a gym area equipped

with two locker rooms for both girls and boys and a concession stand. “We thank Dr. Petruzielo and the board for this opportunity,” Weinbaum said.


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PROGRESS 2014

Private schools flourish in 2013 Athletic programs, tech development among advances By Michelle Babcock mbabcock@cherokeetribune.com

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yndon Academy, Cherokee Christian schools and Cherokee Charter Academy all saw advancement in 2013 and are looking forward to continued changes this year. Michael Lee, superintendent of Cherokee Christian schools, said the kindergarten through 12th-grade schools had a number of advancements and successes in 2013, many of which will flow into 2014.

Lee said one huge accomplishment in 2013 was raising funds for the 3-year-old Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program at the schools. “Our campaign to raise $375,000 for scholarships was met by Jan. 1,” he said. “Much of the scholarship money will be used to enroll new K-12 students interested in our three-year old STEM program.” The school’s first class of STEM graduates will move on to college and careers next year, as the school continues to cultivate relationships with both the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Georgia Aquarium, Lee said. Lee said high schoolers have been bringing their own laptops and tablets to school to enhance learning, and the program has been a success. “After significant upgrades in campus technology required enabling any student in any part of the campus to get online, there was concern that there may be potential challenges along the way. However, things have gone extremely well,” Lee said. Athletics at the school are also flourishing, Lee said, as the school got upgrades to their gymnasium. “Parents and student athletes have been thrilled with the upgrades made in our gymnasium this past summer. Our volleyball and basketball teams had a great winter sport season. We also began a new swim team and equestrian club,” Lee said. “Most important, we have just hired a new athletic director who will begin working for us March 1, 2014, and we expect that he will take the athletic program to new level.” Lyndon Academy also had a lot going on in 2013, said Peter Murdock, business manager for Lyndon Academy. “We are one of metro Atlanta’s fastest growing private schools,” he said. “In 2014, we are providing transportation to and from school in Fulton and Cobb counties. We are also offering a la carte classes in varying subjects from first grade through eighth grade to the home school community. We look forward to an exciting 2014-15 scholastic year.” The academy saw a lot of success in 2013, Murdock said. “In 2013, our enrollment increased by 15 percent. We expect an increase above 25 percent in the coming scholastic year,” Murdock said. “We completed construction of a new wing that included a state of the art science lab. For the sixth consecutive year, we achieved Stanford 10 Achievement scores within the top 10 percent in the nation.”

Staff/Todd Hull

Above: Cherokee Charter Academy freshman Maddison Faulkner, 15, was selected in September 2013 as one of two Cherokee County Students of more than 700 applicants across Georgia to be appointed to a statewide student advisory council. Left: Teaching assistant Amy Peacock of Ball Ground walks her daughter Avery, 5, to her first day of Kindergarten at Cherokee Christian Schools in August 2011. Private schools and students in Cherokee have excelled in 2013 and continue to do so in the new year.

Murdock said there couple of kids go to their was so much progress churches, and a couple of and good news at Lyndon kids did a lemonade stand Academy, he wasn’t quite and brought me the money sure where to start. from that. They’ve brought Between taking first, in a ton of different money second and third on the for the cause.” National Spanish exam, Gapen said “it really lit to a sixth-grader being a fire” in her students. named the best Mandarin John Rogers, a CCA student in the state, athletics spokesman, gave Lyndon had a lot of suca report on the school’s cess in 2013. athletics at a meeting near “We hired Dr. Shelly the end of 2013, and said Boardman, director of the program is doing great. Student and Faculty Rogers said there were Development, to assist us more than 200 CCA basimplementing our pre-AP ketball players, including collegiate courses and 192 on recreation teams escort us into our upper and 23 competitive players. school. We are now offerCCA Principal Dr. Scott ing the equivalent or better O’Prey gave a report on in STEM courses,” he the school, and said staff said. “We provided fifthand team leaders worked through seventh-grade on creating a new vision students with laptops and and mission statement. armed them with e-books “Putting students first and acathrough demic softcharacter, ware. We challenge launched the and accountbeginning ability,” the courses new vision We are one of metro of coding read. Atlanta’s fastest growing and plan to O’Prey private schools. In 2014, said the build expewe are providing trans- mission ditiously on portation to and from education in statement school in Fulton and technology.” was updated Cobb counties. We are Murdock to include also offering a la carte said the classes in varying subjects leaderathletic profrom first grade through ship, as gram also eighth grade to the home the school saw a lot of hopes to deschool community. We success in velop future look forward to an 2013. leaders. exciting 2014-15 “We “CCA scholastic year. launched will develour athletic op in its — Peter Murdock, program in students a business manager 2013,” he passion and for Lyndon Academy said. “We curiosity also hired necessary to our first athbecome life letic direclearners and tor, David future leadAllen, and ers while we hired our first head instilling core community football coach, Brad values, strong character Lindamood, to assist us ethics and a commitment in building our first footto excellence,” the new ball team for the 2014-15 mission statement reads. scholastic year. Coach O’Prey said a newly Lindamood is a former installed fence, put in in 6A football coach from 2013, had almost tripled Roswell High School. He the space for students is also a former NCAA around the playground and NFL football player. area. In 2013, we have begun planning for the addition of an arts and physical education facility, as well as planning for the addition of additional classroom space. We are also in the development process for building a sports complex for our growing athletic program.” Cherokee Charter Academy, the county’s first and only charter school to date, also saw progress in 2013. One of the school’s third-grade teachers worked with children in Haiti and used the experience to teach her students about helping others. Teacher Sabrina Gapen said the mission Georgia’s Official Frontier and was arranged through Southeastern Indian Interpretive Center Charter Schools U.S.A., and Cherokee Charter Hall of the Ancients and artifacts Academy jumped on board Huge collection of historic hand tools • Native American art to help with the project of building a school in Haiti. Visit historic 1840’s log cabins Gapen said her student 7300 Reinhardt Circle got involved in the project, Waleska, GA 30183 and loved helping out. “They are super in770.720.5970 volved,” she said of her www.reinhardt.edu/funkheritage students. “I’ve had a

The Funk Heritage Center of Reinhardt University


EDUCATION

PROGRESS 2014

5G

Chattahoochee Tech continues upward By Michelle Babcock mbabcock@cherokeetribune.com

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ast year was a year of growth for Chattahoochee Technical College — from new administration, to beginning renovation on its Woodstock campus. The college’s enrollment remained steady between 11,000 to 12,000 students, said college spokeswoman Rebecca Long. The Canton campus saw steady growth, but overall numbers remained steady, Long said. “In terms of enrollment, Chattahoochee Technical College has hit a milestone of more than 1,000 students registered for classes at the Canton Campus,” Long said. “This campus, which opened its doors in 2011, has seen incredible and stable growth within the community.” Chattahoochee Tech’s Woodstock campus closed for renovations, starting Aug. 8, 2013, and is expected to reopen to students in 2015. The renovations include upgrades to the campus’s HVAC system, roof and windows, restroom and plumbing. Until renovations are completed sometime

next year, students are attending classes at the Canton and North Metro campus in Acworth. Chattahoochee Tech also introduced a new social media specialization in 2013 to its Marketing Management degree, which is available online and on many campuses. There were also new administrators added in 2013, Long explained. Dr. Trina Boteler, the former vice president for academic affairs, took on the role of executive vice president, Long said. Brenda White, the former dean of Arts and Sciences, replaced Boteler.

The Woodstock Lion’s Club held their annual Job Fair at the Chattahoochee Tech campus in Woodstock in August 2012. Above: Cynthia Martin speaks with representatives from Kelly Services at the job fair. Left: Chattahoochee Tech students head into the main building on Woodstock’s campus for an afternoon class.  Staff/ Todd Hull


EDUCATION

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PROGRESS 2014

Moving forward MORE CONSTRUCTION ► Construction began in September 2013 on Cherokee High School football field renovations. The field will get a new seating area along with new locker rooms for home and visiting teams, which will be used for physical education classes and athletics. A new softball field is also in the works, along with a press box, restrooms and a concession stand. Completion for the new Cherokee High athletic areas are scheduled for this September, and the project is being paid for with $5.8 million in Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. Pictured on the front of the section are Cherokee County School Board Chairwoman Janet Read and Steve Werner, construction supervisor for the Cherokee County School District.

Staff/Todd Hull

The new Teasley Middle will be able to house more than 1,500 students and is set to open fall 2014. Construction for the replacement school will cost $31.6 million, and is funded by Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and State Capital Outlay funding. Above: Steve Werner, construction supervisor for Cherokee County Schools, inspects the progress on construction for the new Teasley Middle School being built on Reservoir Drive North off Reinhardt College Parkway.

Teasely, Dean Rusk replacement plans on track By Michelle Babcock mbabcock@cherokeetribune.com

Plans for two replacement middle schools are moving forward, with the new Teasley Middle School on schedule to open for students this August and the new Dean Rusk Middle School set to start construction this month. Teasley Middle School Principal Dr. Susan Zinkil said the classrooms and hallways in the new school will be significantly larger, to accommodate about 1,200 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students next school year. Zinkil said Teasley’s seventh- and eighth-grade enrollment surpassed 850 students in 2013, and around 400 sixth-grade students are expected to join the middle school in 2014. “If you’ve been in a 27-year-old building, there were of course much smaller groups of students. Now, when we have 860 kids in the hallway it’s hard to maneuver, it’s hard to get into your locker, it’s just significantly different,” Zinkil said. “The current facility we have, we just can’t have sixth-grade here, which is the model we’re trying to reach across all middle schools in Cherokee County. So, this new building will allow us to incorporate sixth-graders at our site.” Residents in the Hickory Flat community can also look forward to a replacement Dean Rusk Middle School, scheduled for completion in time for the 2016 school year. The Cherokee County Board of Education voted to award a construction contract for the new school to Womack, Lewis and Smith Construction, at its meeting Feb. 6. The replacement Dean Rusk will cost $36.8 million, and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo said the school will have many of the stateof-the-art features built into the replacement E.T. Booth, completed in 2013, and the replacement Teasley, slated for completion later this year. “The facility encompasses 255,037 square feet,” Petruzielo said at the meeting. “The design

includes a cyber cafe, a media center, global learning center, computer labs, gymnasium, cafetorium, art and music rooms.” Construction for the replacement Teasley Middle School will cost $31.6 million, and is funded by Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and State Capital Outlay funding. “You can’t compare state-of-the-art 27 years ago to state-of-the-art today, so we’re just really excited that the superintendent and the school board put the plans in place so that we could open a new school,” Zinkil said. The new school building is designed by Manley, Spangler and Smith Architects, and utilizes the same prototypical design as the replacement E.T. Booth Middle School, which opened to students in 2013. Zinkil said the technology department has done a “great job trying to keep us as state-of-the-art as possible” at the old building, but said she’s excited to have a media center in the new facility, adding that “it’s going to be similar to the one (at E.T. Booth).” The E.T. Booth Middle

School media center has multiple collaboration areas, including a full computer lab, flat screen TVs for students to connect to their laptops, coffee-shop style and comfortable seating for students. School District spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said the new Teasley Middle School will have “all of the same technology as E.T. Booth.” During a walk-through of the new E.T. Booth last year, which Zinkil attended, the assistant superintendent for Accountability, Technology and Strategic Planning, Bobby Blount, said the café tables and relaxed seating were meant to be a more dynamic area for students to interact. Zinkil said the

technology classes that will be offered at the new Teasley will have more resources, and the new facility will greatly impact students. “I think it’s definitely going to enhance our academic programs, our accelerated program,” Zinkil said. “Right now we have five elementary schools that feed into us and some of those elementaries are small, so providing a variety of academic and connections activities at an elementary school is more difficult to do, they do a great job.” Canton STEM Academy, Clayton, Hasty, Knox and R.M. Moore elementary schools feed into Teasley Middle School. “We’re excited to have

the sixth-graders here with us so we can offer more opportunities to them,” Zinkil added. The new Teasley facility will be 239,750 square feet, and accommodate a capacity of 1,525 students, according to Jacoby. “The school features 94 classrooms, art and music rooms, media center, computer labs, cafetorium, gymnasium (and a) mechanical mezzanine to allow for the service of equipment without disrupting teaching and learning,” Jacoby said. In case of a major power outage or disaster, Jacoby said the new facility will also house a Data Recovery Center for the Cherokee County School District Technology Department.

“The biggest differences are the classroom sizes are significantly different, the halls are significantly different,” Zinkil said. “Our P.E. Department, I think they’re going to see a huge change, because the gym we have isn’t air conditioned, during the summer months it gets a little warm in there.” Zinkil said that she’s happy to be part of a school system that can provide these opportunities for students, and said “we have an exciting year ahead of us.” Both the replacement Teasley and Dean Rusk middle schools are part of the district’s Five-Year Facility Plan for new/ replacement schools, additions and renovations.


EDUCATION

PROGRESS 2014

7G

Reinhardt welcomes 2014 with expansion

Staff/Todd Hull

Reinhardt University added a new 12,000-square-foot addition to the Dobbs Science Hall, which welcomed its first classes on Aug. 19, 2013 — Reinhardt’s first day of classes for fall semester. Above: One of the new science labs with a panoramic, second story view of the school grounds. The new Science Center emphasizes undergraduate scientific research. As Reinhardt expands its scientific instruction, university planners began to consider health professions such as nursing and medical technology. ‘By 2018, Georgia will need to fill 211,000 science, technology engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-related jobs. This structure will provide our students with the capabilities and resources to be successful in the classroom while they attend Reinhardt, and then transfer those skills and strengths into their future career in the science field/s,’ says media relations coordinator Lauren Thomas.

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n addition to having its first football season, Reinhardt University saw a number of improvements and advances, including a new 12,000-square-foot addition to the Samuel C. Dobbs Science Hall and a new School of Performing Arts program. The new Dobbs Science Hall welcomed its first classes on Aug. 19, 2013 — Reinhardt’s first day of classes for fall semester. In addition to the Dobbs Science Hall’s recently renovated facilities, the new structure includes three additional labs plus two advanced research labs, four classrooms and four office spaces. Expanding scientific instruction The new Science Center emphasizes undergraduate scientific research. As Reinhardt expands its scientific instruction, university planners began to consider health professions such as nursing and medical technology. “By 2018, Georgia will need to fill 211,000 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-related jobs,” said Lauren Thomas, media relations coordinator, citing the Alliance for Science and Technology Research in America. “This structure will provide our students with the capabilities and resources to be successful in the classroom while they attend Reinhardt, and then transfer those skills and strengths into their future career in the science field/s.” Science faculty members are already enjoying having the additional space that was designed with their needs in mind. Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Irma Santoro said the new science center “is allowing us ... to finally undertake laboratory experiments that we have not been able to do because of very little space ...We finally are able to separate lab and lecture so that we can set up for the lab prior to the class.

Staff/Todd Hull

Top: University President Dr. J. Thomas Isherwood welcomes guests to the dedication of the new Science Center at the Samuel C. Dobbs Science Hall and speaks about the importance of building a better science facility for the students. Above left: The new Science Center at the Samuel C. Dobbs Science Hall at Reinhardt University. Above right: Barbara Manous, Director of Annual Giving & Church Relations, stands in the new Science Center and examines the exposed former exterior of the original building.

This will, in the future, allow us to incorporate more involved labs into the curriculum.” The $4.5 million needed for the state-of-the-art building’s construction was initially funded with $2 million from the George Lawson Estate. Reinhardt trustees and the Northside Hospital Foundation pledged or donated almost $1 million, and the Woodruff Foundation completed the remaining needed funding with a $1.5 million gift. President Dr. Thomas Isherwood recognized the generous supporters who made this new science center possible. “It’s inspiring to look back and see how this

building project has come together. I’m thankful for all our donors for believing in Reinhardt, and for the two foundations for agreeing to help us meet this need,” he said. New performing arts emphasis Music and theater have become increasing popular majors at Reinhardt University, administrators said, so they have taken steps to keep the programs prospering. In September the institution’s Board of Trustees changed the name of the School of Music to the School of Performing Arts, and moved the theater program into the new school.

Now undergraduate programs in theater, music performance, music education, sacred music, and musical theater and a master of music are all housed in the School of Performing Arts, the only one of its kind in Georgia, and approximately 180 students are majoring in one or more of these program offerings “The School of the Performing Arts combines our excellent programs in music with the University’s theater degree program and the new musical theater degree program,” Isherwood said. “It brings together all the university’s performing arts and combines the resources of these programs

to further support and encourage them. Reinhardt has a well-earned and growing reputation for the performing arts, and this change further enhances those activities at the University.” Putting the two popular majors together in one school was a logical step, Dr. Dennis K. McIntire, dean of the School of Performing Arts, said. Musical theater and theater “share faculty, staff, students, space and resources,” he said. “It … made sense for them to be together. We had the School of Music, which had established a presence in Georgia. We had the School of Arts & Humanities, but theater

was kind of lost in it. With the School of Performing Arts, they are all on the same plane, together in one place. The new name and combination of programs better describes more fully who we are.” Being the only School of Performing Arts on the college or university level in all of Georgia makes Reinhardt unique, and the many high school students who attend these type schools can better relate to what Reinhardt offers, McIntire said. Reinhardt graduates will be more well-rounded because they graduated from a school that offers an intensive focus in both music and theater.


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PROGRESS 2014

Cherokee elementary schools Arnold Mill Elementary

Principal: Kerry Martin 710 Arnold Mill Road Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (770) 592-3510

Principal: Joey Moss 105 Othello Drive Woodstock, 30189 Phone: (770) 924-6260

Clayton Elementary

Principal: John Hultquist 221 Upper Burris Road Canton, 30114 Phone: (770) 479-2550

Canton Elementary Avery Elementary

Principal: Dr. Pam Smith 6391 East Cherokee Drive Canton, 30115 Phone: (770) 479-6200

Principal: Beth Long 712 Marietta Hwy. Canton, 30114 Phone: (770) 720-6100

Free Home Elementary

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

Carmel Elementary Ball Ground Elementary

Principal: Doug Knott 321 Valley Street Ball Ground, 30107 Phone: (770) 735-3366 Bascomb Elementary

Principal: Ruth Flowers 1335 Wyngate Parkway Woodstock, 30189 Phone: (770) 592-1091

Boston Elementary

Principal: Dr. Keith Bryant 2275 Bascomb Carmel Road Woodstock, 30189 Phone: (770) 926-1237 Clark Creek Elementary

Principal: Dr. Jennifer Scrivner 3219 Hunt Road Acworth, 30102 Phone: (770) 721-5800

Hasty Elementary

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

Holly Springs Elementary

Principal: Dr. Dianne Steinbeck 1965 Hickory Rd. Canton, 30115 Phone: (770) 345-5035

Phone: (770) 664-9708 Liberty Elementary

Principal: Dr. Nicole Holmes 10500 Bells Ferry Rd. Canton, 30114 Phone: (770) 345-6411

Oak Grove Elementary

Principal: Les Conley 6118 Woodstock Road Acworth, 30102 Phone: (770) 974-6682

Little River Elementary Indian Knoll Elementary

Principal: Dr. Ann Gazell 3635 Univeter Road Canton, 30115 Phone: (770)-721-6600

Principal: Christian Kirby 3170 Trickum Road Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (770) 926-7566

R.M. Moore Elementary

Principal: Jan Adamson 1375 Puckett Road Waleska, 30183 Phone: (770) 479-3978\\

Macedonia Elementary Johnston Elementary

Principal: Kathleen Chandler 2031 East Cherokee Drive Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (770) 928-2910

Hickory Flat Elementary

Knox Elementary

Principal: Dr. Keith Ingram 2755 East Cherokee Drive Canton, 30115 Phone: (770) 345-6841

Principal: Tammy Sandell 151 River Bend Way Canton, 30114 Phone: (770) 345-4307

Principal: Tammy Castleberry 10370 East Cherokee Drive Canton, 30115 Phone: (770) 479-3429

Sixes Elementary

Mountain Road Elementary

Woodstock Elementary

Principal: Jennifer Landry 615 Mountain Road Woodstock, 30188

Principal: Deborah Kelly 20 Ridge Road Canton, 30114 Phone: (770) 345-3070 Principal: Kim Montalbano 230 Rope Mill Road Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (770) 926-6969

Cherokee middle and high schools Creekland Middle

Principal: Dr. 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

Woodstock, 30189 Phone: (770) 721-5500 Freedom Middle

Principal: Sheila Grimes 10550 Bells Ferry Road Canton, 30114 Phone: (770) 345-4100 Mill Creek Middle

E.T. Booth Middle

Principal: Elaine Daniel 442 Arnold Mill Road Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (770) 924-5489

Principal: Dawn Weinbaum 6550 Putnam Ford Road

Teasley Middle

Principal: Dr. 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 2450 Holly Springs Parkway Canton, 30115

Phone: (770) 345-2005 Cherokee High

Principal: Debra Murdock 930 Marietta Hwy Canton, 30114 Phone: (770) 479-4112 Creekview High

Principal: Dr. 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: Dr. Curt Ashley 2010 Towne Lake Hills South Drive Woodstock, 30189 Phone: (770) 926-1662 River Ridge High

Principal: Darrell Herring 400 Arnold Mill Road

Cherokee private schools Cherokee Charter Academy

Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (678) 494-5464

Principal: Dr. Scott O’Prey 2126 Sixes Rd. Canton, 30114 Phone: (678) 385-7322

Cherokee Christian Academy Middle School

Cherokee Christian Academy Elementary School

Principal: Robert Lester 3075 Trickum Rd.

Principal: Richard Goff 3075 Trickum Rd. Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (678) 494-5464

Cherokee Christian High School

Principal: Dr. Rod Kirby 3075 Trickum Rd. 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 Rd.

Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (770) 926-0166

Woodstock, 30188 Phone: (770) 591-8450 Sequoyah High

Principal: Elliott Berman 4485 Hickory Rd Canton, 30115 Phone: (770) 345-1474 Woodstock High

Principal: Dr. Paul Weir 2010 Towne Lake Hills South Drive Woodstock, 30189 Phone: (770) 592-3500


INSIDE:  Cherokee welcomes its

first fire training center 2H  Reinhardt Eagles go 6-4 in an ‘impressive’ first season 5H


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PROGRESS 2014

Cherokee welcomes its first fire training center By Michelle Babcock mbabcock@cherokeetribune.com

Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services opened Phase One of the county’s first fire training center in 2013, with Phase Two slated for completion this summer. The new, $5 million, state-of-the-art training center, which opened in November, welcomed county fire leaders, residents, elected officials and dozens of firefighters for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and demonstrations on the new training structures in December. Cherokee County Fire Chief Tim Prather marked the facility opening as one of the biggest milestones for county fire services and called it a “great achievement.” “This is probably one of the greatest days of my career here in Cherokee

This is probably one of the greatest days of my career here in Cherokee County. — Tim Prather, Cherokee County fire chief

County,” Prather said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Prather said before the training center opened, firefighters had to travel to other centers to train. “Not only do we cut those miles out, now, we can do it more,” Prather said. “I’m a happy chief.” Cherokee firefighters demonstrated house fire rescue and tower rescue situations, relating them to

possible rescue operations in the area. Cherokee County Assistant Fire Chief Eddie Robinson said he is “proud of the community, really proud of this facility, and even more proud of the men and women of the Cherokee County Fire Department.” Between Nov. 1 and Dec. 9, firefighters participated in 3,800 hours of training at the new facility, Robinson said. Robinson explained the facility is built next to a pond, and the pond water is pumped up to the fire hydrants at the training center, allowing the firefighters to train without spending money on water. Retired former Cherokee County fire chief and Cherokee County District 2 Commissioner Raymond Gunnin said this was a

See Fire, 3H

Staff/Todd Hull

Above: Firefighters emerge from the smoke- and flame-filled burn building during a training demonstration at the grand opening on Dec. 10. Top left: Firefighters demonstrate a secondstory home fire rescue. Bottom left: Lt. Ric Mitchell of the Cherokee Fire Department demonstrates how he rappels down a building with a person in the stretcher.

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Greenprints trail system gets another mile By Michelle Babcock mbabcock@cherokeetribune.com

Officials with Woodstock’s Greenprints trail system said they expect to open new trail segments soon, adding about a mile and a half to the network. The Greenprints trail network is a long-term, 60-mile trail project, aimed at creating a citywide system of multi-use trails. Brian Stockton, director of Woodstock’s Office of Economic Development and a Greenprints Alliance board member, said the Downtown Spur — or Town to Creek — and Noonday Creek trails are nearing completion, and are expected to be completed before May. “The bridge that goes over Noonday Creek to connect to Woofstock Park will happen later in 2014,” he added. Weather will play the largest role in determining when the trails are finished, said Tal Harber, Woodstock capital projects manager.

“The contract goes through May. Depending on the weather, it may require the extent of the contract,” he said. When completed, the Downtown Spur trail will travel south from downtown Woodstock, at the intersection of Market Street and Elm Street, to the Noonday Creek trail. The Noonday Creek trail will follow the creek toward Highway 92, nearly reaching Woofstock Park, Stockton said. A bridge will be built later in 2014 to connect to the dog park, he said. With these two portions of the project finished, the trail system will have about two miles of completed multi-use trails. Along with the Trestle Rock trail, a paved halfmile of the Greenprints system, there are also multiple miles of mountain biking trails at Old Rope Mill Park — the Taylor Randahl Memorial Mountain Bike Trails. Stockton said the next

projects will get underway soon, hopefully in 2015. “In early 2015 we will get the money to do the Towne Lake Pass, which would connect Woofstock Park over to Towne Lake,” Stockton said. The Downtown Spur and Noonday Creek trails are funded by county park bonds, and Harber said the next trail section to be constructed using the county funds will likely be the Towne Lake Pass trail. “The next allocation from that bond will come in 2015, so that’s when the next section will most likely begin, and right now it’s intended that section will be the Towne Lake trail, which is going to pick up in the vicinity of the city dog park on Dupree Road, and will extend up into the Towne Lake area,” Harber said. After the Towne Lake Pass trail, the next Greenprints project will use transportation grant money from the Georgia Department of Transportation and federal government to construct the

Rubes Creek trail, a section that will come off Rope Mill Road near the city’s wastewater treatment plant and run toward the Springfield Park area, Harber said. Harber said the existing trails in Woodstock continue to see great success. Though he has not received updated counts on visitors lately, Harber said he’s positive the trails are continually enjoyed by residents and visitors. “It’s getting a lot of use. It’s popular, not just locally, but regionally and has some national notoriety among the mountain biking community,” Harber said. “I’m positive the trails are being used year-round.” The Greenprints Alliance is a nonprofit organization started in 2007, with the goals of increasing awareness, raising funds and helping to complete the trail network. More information on the Greenprints Trail system is available online, at http:// www.greenprintsalliance. org.

Staff/Michelle Babcock

The Greenprints trail network is a long-term, 60-mile trail project, aimed at creating a citywide system of multi-use trails. Officials with Greenprints said they expect to open new trail segments before May , adding about a mile and a half to the network.

‘Raising the bar’ Garrison Law Enforcement Training Center opens in Canton would help officials like Garrison keep “raising the bar” for public safety. “We’re really proud CANTON — Law offiof all our public safety cers from around Georgia (departments), who receive got a brand new state-ofstate and regional recognithe-art place to hone their skills in 2013 — and it’s in tion,” he said. Garrison said the facilCherokee County. ity would have a “regional The Roger D. Garrison impact on law enforceLaw Enforcement Training ment to be felt for years to Center on Chattin Drive opened its doors in Novem- come.” The sheriff said he was ber to offer police a wealth proud for of training Cherokee resources County to including be the home shooting of such a ranges and 11,000 The state plays several resource. “We’re square feet roles in government, but very proud of of classthere’s no role that’s the accomroom space. Many in more important than pub- plishment. It’s lic safety and keeping our a beautiful attendance citizens safe. I will just facility,” at the mastell you, we are glad to Garrison said. sive facili“The taxpayers ty’s opening be part of this. of Cherokee ceremony County have remarked — Sen. Brandon Beach, always been on just how (R-Alpharetta) great supportmuch it ers of public meant for safety, and this Cherokee is a testament County and to that.” the state. He was also honored “The state plays several to have it bear his name roles in government, but — especially because its there’s no role that’s more important than public safety purpose was one of his passions in law enforcement. and keeping our citizens “My entire 21 years has safe,” state Sen. Brandon been about training and Beach (R-Alpharetta) said. education,” said Garrison, “I will just tell you, we are who is serving his sixth and glad to be part of this.” final term in office after Beach also praised first being elected in 1992. Garrison and said the state “I was so blessed a couple hoped the training center months ago for the (Board would be a tool in the toolof Commissioners) to box of public safety workdecide to actually name this ers across Georgia. facility (after me).” Cherokee Commission The board of commisChairman Buzz Ahrens said the new training center sioners surprised Garri-

By Joshua Sharpe

jsharpe@cherokeetribune.com

“ ”

Fire From 2H facility the county had “dreamed of for years, and years and years.” “I don’t think you could find a better facility

anywhere in the United States,” Gunnin said at the ceremony. Randy Gravley, chairman of the 2013 Chamber of Commerce, said the county has the best schools, the best health care and the best fire services. “We have the best pub-

Staff/Todd Hull

Above: Members of the Cherokee SWAT team charge into the rooms during a tactical demonstration at the new facility. Below: Cherokee Sheriff Roger Garrison welcomes guests to the grand opening of the new Roger D. Garrison Law Enforcement Training Center. Bottom right: Lt. Chris Sims of the Cherokee Sheriff’s Department rappels down the tower built as part of the new Law Enforcement Training Center. Bottom left: Members of the Cherokee SWAT Team wait to give a tactical demonstration in the new facility. son in May, naming the multi-million-dollar training hub after him during a commission meeting. The sheriff appeared moved by the gesture and thanked the commissioners at the time. Garrison’s chief deputy, Vic West, was on hand when commissioners named the center for Garrison and said it was a perfect fit. “I am very proud for him; he wanted training to be his legacy and he has made that one of the major focuses of his administration, through training and education,” West said. “I can’t think of anything more fitting than having the training center named for Sheriff Garrison.”

lic safety in the state of Georgia,” Gravley said. “Training has been paramount to the fire services and the opening of this facility will continue the training to make sure that each and every one of our brave men and women in our fire services stays safe

as they’re trying to make sure the residents of Cherokee County stay safe, as well.” “No matter what it costs, no matter what people say about it, it’s worth every penny that we spent on it if we can save one life,” Gunnin said.

The second phase of construction is expected to be completed sometime this summer and includes additions of an administration building and classrooms. The training center is at 3985 Holly Springs Parkway in Holly Springs and sits on 14.5 acres that was

formerly Pikes Nursery property. The facility was designed by Pond and Company and constructed by Cablik Enterprises, and the $5 million price tag for the training center was funded by Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.


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Water Building gets a facelift

Staff/Todd Hull

Renovations continue on the Cherokee Water Authority building in downtown Canton 2013. Top: In October, the nearly completed rear of the building showed the new stone work, and paint colors of the renovated Cherokee Water Authority building. Above: The front facade gets new stucco and paint, and the water fountain is nearly complete.

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PROGRESS 2014


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PROGRESS 2014

5H

Reinhardt Eagles go 6-4 in an ‘impressive’ first season By Emily Horos ehoros@cherokeetribune.com

WALESKA — While football fans around Georgia had their eyes focused on upstart Division I programs such as Mercer and Kennesaw State, the residents of Cherokee County were able to get a taste of collegiate football without traveling too far as Reinhardt played it first football season — and did it with stunning success. The Eagles, who compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, opened the season 0-2 before stringing together a series of wins, which gave them national recognition in the NAIA Coaches Poll. While a couple of losses down the stretch prevented them from reaching the playoffs, Reinhardt (6-4) was able to pick up a few awards along the way, including the Mid-South Conference Western Division Title. At the end of the season, Coach Danny Cronic was named the Ron Finley Mid-South Conference West Division Coach of the Year, while seven different Eagles were named to all-conference teams. Cronic, a longtime high school coach, had never before been a head coach at the college level — making the honor even more impressive. The Eagles were ranked in the NAIA coaches’ poll for a portion of the season and received votes in the final edition of the poll. Cronic considered the honor a reflection of his entire staff, some of whom are volunteers. “It’s real impressive,” Cronic said. “They had to recognize what we are doing and how hard we were working. I think they honored us greatly. It’s a staff award, too. It’s not just Coach Cronic. It’s the summing up of the staff. I

guess they are recognizing that we have some good people to work with.” Running back L.J. Stegall earned the Offensive Freshman of the Year honor for the division after scoring a conference-leading 17 touchdowns, including three on kick returns. He also led the Mid-South in all-purpose yards per game with 162. Stegall was named to the all-conference team for the West Division, along with linebacker Jarred Johnson, offensive lineman Clay Swint and defensive lineman Tevin McCoy. Johnson led the Eagles in tackles (81) and McCoy finished with 151/2 tackles for loss and four sacks despite missing two games. Swint was a key part of the offensive line, allowing just one sack and helping Reinhardt’s running backs tally more than 2,600 yards on the season. Among the players named to the second team were tight end Chris Johnson, who also played a key role as a blocker, offensive lineman Nick Lawson and defensive back Travis Nunley. Nunley had two touchdowns on the season — one on a kickoff return and the other on an interception return. Cronic said he was surprised by how many of his players were recognized — not because they weren’t talented, but because they were young and new to the conference. “I was surprised by the amount of respect the other coaches showed us,” Cronic said. “That made us feel awfully good.” Looking back on the first year, Cronic said he was most struck by the number of injuries the players suffered, and how Reinhardt still found ways to win. The Eagles used nine different fullbacks during the season because they

Staff/Todd Hull

Above: Reinhardt Coach Danny Cronic charges onto the field with his players at the start of their home opener in September 2013. ‘It’s real impressive,’ Cronic said of being ranked in the NAIA coaches’ poll. ‘They had to recognize what we are doing and how hard we were working. I think they honored us greatly. It’s a staff award, too. It’s not just Coach Cronic. It’s the summing up of the staff. I guess they are recognizing that we have some good people to work with.’ Below: Eagle fans cheer as Reinhardt scores its first touchdown of the home opener. were injured so often. More than half of the players projected to start at the beginning of the season missed at least one game with injury. Several missed the majority of the season. At one point, Reinhardt was forced to start third-string quarterback Dylan Haynes, the former Cherokee High School starter, after the two quarterbacks ahead of him in the depth chart were both injured. Haynes also lined up at running back when injuries to other players required it. “Generally, someone stepped up and pulled at the slack,” Cronic said. “Someone stepped up to the plate and did well. That was really great.” Looking toward the 2014 season, the Eagles

hope to play 11 games, as is permitted in the NAIA, but just four of them would be at home. Reinhardt released a tentative schedule in early

January that featured 10 games, including another season-opener against Mercer in Macon. At that time Reinhardt spokesman Jason Hanes said the uni-

versity was looking for a team to serve as the 11th opponent. The 2014 season will kick off at Mercer on Aug. 28.


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Hobgood Park’s baseball complex to open in March By Joshua Sharpe jsharpe@cherokeetribune.com

WOODSTOCK — What does progress look like? If you asked Cherokee Commissioner Jason Nelms, he might point to what’s been done to Woodstock’s Hobgood Park. The county’s youth can Staff/Todd Hull soon take the field there The Cherokee Chamber of Commerce and the Canton Downtown Development Authority cele- with improved facilities brated the grand opening of the movie theater inside the Canton Theatre in April 2013. Above: after substantial upgrades to the park’s baseball The group stands on the theater’s stage to cut the ribbon. complex. The $1.3 million renovation project began in summer 2013 and is planned to be complete just in time for the beginning From staff reports of Hobgood Baseball’s installed it over the span DDA member Lewis season, said Bill Echols, of about three weeks. Cline said Seguin was Cherokee’s capital projects Michael Buckner, offered the job “because CANTON — Another of his communication and manager. banner year for the Canton owner of Audio IntersecThe renovations, paid tion, said he was excited marketing skills with other Theatre took center stage groups who share the same for by the countywide in 2013, as new equipment to work on the project because the Canton Thevision of promoting down- parks bond, include new made it possible to show lighting and protective foul atre, as a community town Canton.” movies for the first time theater, can be used for Cline also noted Seguin ball netting for the ball in decades and the theatre fields, a concession stand special events and themed will focus on assessing manager became full time makeover and a substantial nights, unlike a corporate whether the theater has to carry programming to amount of concrete work theater. adequate technology, a new level for the downto replace the aging sur“I think it’s turned out building up a volunteer town. face already at the park off Manager Robert Seguin really well,” DDA member base and use his netBells Ferry Road. work of contacts to book joined the theater in down- Stan Rogers said. A ribbon-cutting is set The Canton Theatre upcoming performances. town Canton in 2012 and for March 7 at 10:30 a.m. previously showed movies “Mr. Seguin will be became full time in 2013. to officially re-open the until the 1970s. able to carry the Canton The theater is operated complex. Wanda Roach, chairTheatre to another level by the Canton Downtown Echols said recent cold person of the DDA, said of success in which all Development Authority. snaps and heavy rains have the group first looked at businesses in downtown “I love Canton, and I reviving movies at the the- Canton can be direct bene- slowed the project at times, love the area,” he said. but thanks to the contracater in 2009. At that time, factors of,” he said. “Mr. Seguin, who lives in the DDA formed a movie Seguin shares in the belief tor, Georgia Development Macedonia, has increased Partners, and Nelms, who committee, solicited equip- that the theater can be a theatrical offerings, and ment bids and surveyed strong economic engine of has worked extensively on built up a volunteer base residents regarding their success that other commu- the undertaking, it’s still to help with ushering or on track and just under interest in a downtown nities do not have.” serving refreshments. theater. Seguin said a Patsy Cline budget. He also has the theater Echols said the con“At that time, we had tribute show performed by opened regularly throughstruction company has Katie Deal, daughter of out the week so people can no staff and no money, found “masterful” ways Gov. Nathan Deal, was a see what a “beautiful place so that was put on hold,” Roach said. successful event for the the- around the setbacks, and we have in Canton.” Now that the Canton ater. He estimated about 60 Nelms has been one of The theater now shows the driving forces behind Theatre is capable of percent of attendees of the movies on a 275-inch showing movies, the thetwo nights of the show were getting the project done in screen with a professiongeneral. ater may present special coming to the Canton Theal sound system, funded “He was a very strong, events such as film fesatre for the first time. through the downtown. very positive force in get“I’m just amazed at the Canton business Audio tivals, video game tourting the work done and sort naments or showings of new people coming,” he Intersection installed the of encouraging us to get said. equipment. A staff of eight sporting events.

Canton Theatre goes full time

Staff/Todd Hull

Top: Cherokee Commissioner Jason Nelms and Brian Reynolds, director of Cherokee Recreation and Parks take a closer look at the renovations to the concessions area, currently underway at Hobgood Park in Woodstock. Above: The improvements to the Hobgood baseball complex include new lighting, a renovated concessions area, new walkways and foul ball netting. it done this year,” Echols said. “We’re all enthusiastic about it, but there has been no greater cheerleader for that project than (Nelms).” For Nelms, improving safety at Hobgood Park has been a goal since even before he was elected in 2010. “When I took office, I told the people in this post, this county that I was going to work on fixing our Hobgood Park baseball and softball fields up,” Nelms said. “Our citizens here, they have children that play sports, they have grandchildren that play sports and they want a safe place.”

Nelms said work was needed for safety’s sake, partly because of foul balls that have flown through the air and hit bystanders. “Having two kids that play down there, it’s always concerned me from a safety standpoint,” he said. With the new netting and lights being installed, though, Nelms said things at the park will be improved greatly — not just for his kids, but for the many others who play there as well. “This spring, this will impact 1,200 kids on a little over 100 teams,” he said. “I think it’s safer for everybody. I just love doing this.”


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2014 Cherokee Progress