Acts of green: Celebrate the planet this Earth Day
by Rebecca Johnston
April 18, 2015 04:00 AM | 459 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pam Carnes
Pam Carnes
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In celebration of Earth Day, two community events will give residents the chance to recycle and lend a helping hand to the environment. Marking its 45th anniversary Wednesday, Earth Day’s mission is to broaden, diversify and activate the environmental movement worldwide through a combination of education, public policy and consumer campaigns. Both the city of Woodstock and the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce are on board with recycling events. Woodstock’s Greenstock Day Celebration is today from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Park at City Center and the Chamber’s Earth Day Recycling Event is Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the organization’s parking lot. Each event allows residents to bring loads of recyclables, including old electronics, and get rid of them while putting them to a new use and not hurting the environment. The only charge is for old televisions and some monitors. Pam Carnes, CEO and president of the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce, said the event gives the community a free event to get rid of unwanted items, while helping to encourage and educate them about recycling. “We don’t want them to just recycle on Earth Day, but on every day. This is to educate the public, as well as provide a no-cost recycling event. It is easy, once you get started, to recycle,” Carnes said. “It is an easy way to impress upon the community the importance of recycling.” Woodstock hosts Greenstock Day The city of Woodstock teamed up with Waste Management and Reworx Recycling to bring a day of electronic recycling to the community. A citywide yard sale is also on tap for Woodstock Saturday and Sunday. Residents are encouraged bring in their old computers, monitors, and TVs to the park in downtown and volunteers will be on hand to unload. All equipment will be broken down by Reworx Recycling and processed so it can be re-used, thus lessening demands on local landfills and keeping toxins from leaking into the soil and waterways, the city said in a release. All disposals will be done free of charge, with the exception of CRT TVs and CRT monitors,which require a fee of $10 and projection TVs a $25 fee. Loose hard drives are shredded on site for a $5 fee. Battery, cellphone, hearing aid, eyeglass, magazine, newspaper and compact fluorescent light recycling is available free of charge. Light bulbs must be in a clear, plastic, sealed bag. The long tubular style of fluorescent light bulbs are no longer accepted. The citywide yard sale will take place at numerous locations, including the William G. Long Senior Center at 223 Arnold Mill Road, Woodberry Fields, Meridian subdivision sale, Cottages of Woodstock subdivision sale, Wellington Manor subdivision sale, Whitfield at Ridgewalk, Spicer’s Grove subdivision sale, Driftwood Forest Benefit Sale, Deer Run subdivision sale, Eagle Glen and Etowah Valley Estates subdivision sale. For more information visit www.woodstockparksandrec.com. Chamber encourages recycling The Chamber of Commerce recycling event will be held in conjunction with Earth Day and in partnership with Autumn Hill Nursery, Next Step Ministries, North Metro Waste, SAFE KIDS Cherokee County, Premier Surplus, and Georgia Document Destruction Inc. At the Earth Day Recycling Event the community will have the opportunity to recycle aluminum drink cans, smart phones, cell phones, used gardening pots and containers, car seats and electronics. Document and file destruction will also be available with shredding will be limited to six archive size boxes. This is a rain or shine event and is free to the public, however a nominal fee will be charged for television recycling. “Right after tax day is the perfect time to get rid of all those old documents that are no longer needed,” Carnes said. “Thanks to our community partners who are working with us on this event, our Earth Day event is free for the community.” For more information, including accepted items and restrictions, visit www.CherokeeChamber.com or call (770) 345-0400.
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Canton City Council votes to hire architect for Laurel Canyon Fire Station
by Rebecca Johnston
April 18, 2015 04:00 AM | 460 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gene Hobgood
Gene Hobgood
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Following two roll call votes and two tie breakers by the mayor, the Canton City Council finally voted 4-3 at Thursday’s meeting to hire an architect to go back to the drawing board on plans for a new fire station in Laurel Canyon. Discussion was tense at times, with council members John Rust, Hooky Huffman and Jack Goodwin voting to take the original low bidder to handle the project as a design build and Bill Grant, Farris Yawn and Sandy McGrew voting to hire an architect to design the fire station. The votes were taken by roll call, with each council member’s name called and their vote stated out loud for the record. Mayor Gene Hobgood broke the tie against the motion of taking the original low bidder, and then broke the tie to go ahead with hiring an architect during about a half hour of back and forth among several council members. Originally planned to be completed by July, the fire station project ran into delays in December when the city sent out a proposal for construction bids, but only received two that drastically varied in price. In February, the council decided an architect was needed to receive a clear picture of the building’s design and a more accurate cost estimate. City Manager Glen Cummins said at the April 2 meeting four companies submitted architectural services proposals, but he was advising the council to accept the original lower bidder, Castell Construction Co. Inc., for $617,406. The council decided Thursday, however, to award Sutton Architectural Services, the low bidder at $57,700, the job to design the fire station that will be turned over to Cherokee County to run. Other architects who bid for the design services were Pieper O’Brien Herr Architects at $99,750, Wiley/Wilson at $64,000 and Sizemore at $61,740. “To my mind, to take the risk, first of all, we are going to spend $50,000 plus on an architect and we have no idea in the world other that what that architect’s estimates are to construct that building, and they are going to estimate high, and that was, $888,000 was the lowest one,” Cummins said in his case to go with the original low bidder. “We are going to delay the project by five months, maybe longer. I don’t see the big risk.” Yawn questioned the wisdom of spending less and risking getting an inferior product. “I look at that we have six bids, four of them over a million, one of them is almost a million, five of six are significantly higher than the lowest bid you are asking us to accept,” Yawn said. “That tells me we are either going to have significant cost overruns or we are going to have an inferior product. You can always buy something cheaper. There is an expression: penny wise and pound foolish.” Yawn said his research showed the average cost of building a fire station was $1.2 million to $2 million. “In the pursuit of saving money, I am afraid if you take this bid you are going to wind up regretting it in the long run,” Yawn said. “What do they think they know that no one else knows?” The city manager, though, questioned Yawn’s facts. “I usually don’t like to rebut council members, but in this case, I would like to bring out a few facts,” Cummins said. “Four are architectural estimates, you might not realize, the lowest estimate came from the same one who designed the county fire stations.” Cummins praised Castell Construction, saying the company was a highly respected contractor in the top 30 percent in the state. Hobgood, however, questioned the wisdom of moving ahead without an architect. “We never have time to do it right, but plenty of time to do it over. I have little doubt that any one of them, (the architects) they could get the job done,” Hobgood said. Grant made the motion to hire Sutton, but Cummins questioned the architect’s reputation. “Before you vote on this, have we checked the references on Mr. Sutton?” Cummins asked. Rust asked Cummins to read any references he had, but the city manager declined, stating he did not think anyone should be hired whose references had not been checked. In the motion that passed, it was stated the architect would design and work with the county and the fire chiefs in the plans for the new station, and that his references would be checked before moving forward.
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Cosby files a complaint against West; Commissioner says accusations ‘completely baseless’
by Michelle Babcock
April 18, 2015 04:00 AM | 476 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Carolyn Cosby
Carolyn Cosby
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A Ball Ground woman facing six ethics complaints now says she has filed a complaint against Cherokee County Commissioner Steve West, claiming he failed to properly report contributions and expenditures. Carolyn Cosby, who ran an unsuccessful race for the Cherokee County Commission chair seat last year and faces six ethics complaints of her own, said she mailed her complaint against the District 1 commissioner Thursday. West said Friday the accusations are completely baseless and provided the Tribune with documentation he said shows he did disclose the correct information on his reports. “Rest assured that they will be dismissed, because they have no merit,” West said of the claims made by Cosby in the complaint. “My campaign disclosure is public and I would welcome anyone who desires to review them to do so.” Before running for commission chair as a write-in candidate, Cosby worked closely on West’s campaign for the District 1 commission seat, garnering an ethics complaint for reportedly sending out mailers as part of a political group that never disclosed contributions or expenditures. “It’s hard for me to witness who I once believed were friends, now turn against me as they have,” West said. “I guess that’s the part of politics that all of us really hate to see.” In the complaint, Cosby claims Chris Cowart — who made a $3 million deal with the county commissioners this week to lease purchase the Ball Ground Recycling property over 30 years — paid for signs for West’s campaign, which was not disclosed on his financial reports. West provided the Tribune with copies of the invoices for his mailers and signs Friday, printed by Lauren’s Direct Mail for a total of $11,591. The items and cost corresponded with an expenditure listed in his June 2014 campaign disclosure report, which is available to the public through the Cherokee County Elections and Voter Registration website, at voter.cherokeega.com. After Cosby’s latest ethics hearing in December, the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, formerly the State Ethics Commission, found probable cause Cosby violated ethics laws in five instances, and sent those cases to the Attorney General’s Office for further prosecution. A sixth ethics complaint against Cosby is set for a hearing in front of the state commission in June. Cosby’s complaint In her complaint letter against West which she shared with the Tribune, Cosby claims he failed to disclose the source of money that paid for campaign mailers and signs, and that he failed to disclose information about contributions or expenses for a campaign consultant. “I am particularly concerned as the amounts he has omitted are quite substantial. As a commission candidate myself, and as someone who initially worked closely on his campaign, I am aware that the cost of campaign mailings for his district would be substantial for approximately 16,000 voters,” Cosby wrote in her complaint. “I am also aware that based on the number of signs and size of signs purchased by Mr. West, the cost would be several thousand dollars.” West’s campaign disclosure reports, filed between March and December 2014, show he received a total of $17,138 in monetary contributions during the campaign cycle through both small and large donations, as well as loans. Contributions of more than $100 from a single contributor must be itemized and list the donor. At the end of the election cycle, on West’s final disclosure report, it showed he had a net balance of $35 remaining after expenditures, which is required to be itemized by receiving party and purpose if the cost was over $100. West said Cosby’s complaint saddened him “because Carolyn and her friends have been supporters of mine and we shared many common goals and Constitutional values.” “The TEA Party has been a great political movement that is needed in our great country and our county and this misguided but aggressive action by Carolyn discounts both,” West said. “I will admit to you all that I am a sensitive guy and seeing this sort of terrible action taken against me shocks me.” Cosby claimed West told her during his campaign that some of his signs had been paid for by Cowart, who this week entered into a $3 million agreement with the Board of Commissioners and Resource Recovery Development Authority to lease purchase the Ball Ground Recycling property. The deal Cowart’s business, Sugar Hill-based Cowart Mulch, had an outstanding lawsuit against the county after the county rejected a 25-year lease purchase for $4.2 million last year. A letter of interest accepted by the Board of Commissioners this week states Cowart would enter a settlement agreement resolving all claims currently pending through the lawsuit. The new agreement is for $3 million, down from $4.2 million last year, and Cosby accused the Board of Commissioners, on which West sits, of giving Cowart a “sweetheart deal” on the property. At the special called meeting Tuesday where the deal was made, West said he was in favor of the transaction because “it’s the best interest that we move forward and have Cowart create some jobs.” “We have to move forward and not backward,” West said at the meeting Tuesday. District 4 Commissioner Scott Gordon was the lone vote against the deal that stated Cowart would lease purchase the 36-acre tract for 30 years at $3 million. In 2007, the county backed $18.1 million in bonds to relocate the recycling business off county-owned property on Blaylock Road near Holly Springs to a site off Highway 5 near Ball Ground. Operator Jimmy Bobo later declared bankruptcy, leaving the county to foot the bill of $100,000 per month in debt service payments on the remaining $16 million loan.
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Kingston Clark, a veteran of coaching struggling basketball teams, will look to do the same for the Woodstock boys. He will do so in one of the state’s toughest regions.
Kingston Clark, a veteran of coaching struggling basketball teams, will look to do the same for the Woodstock boys. He will do so in one of the state’s toughest regions.
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