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Braselton rejects townhomes project

Braselton leaders rejected a request this week for a townhomes project in an industrial section of town.

The Braselton Town Council voted Oct. 12 to deny a rezoning request for Johnnie Hastings for 21.5 acres off Broadway Ave. at the intersection of Josh Pirkle Rd. Hastings had requested a change from manufacturing-distribution to multi-family.

Developers proposed a project consisting of 161 for-rent townhomes.

The project faced criticism from the Braselton Planning Commission in May. The Braselton Town Council held a hearing on the matter in July, but a vote on the project was delayed in the months following.


Also at its meeting, the council approved:

•adopting its capital improvement element and short-term work program.

•a loan modification with the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority to allow a project time extension for a sewer line project in the Jesse Cronic Rd. area. The move extends the time period to October.

•a GEFA loan modification, allowing the town to use almost $100,000 on waterline improvements on Harrison St. (During work in the area, crews discovered the Harrison St. water line was one of the original water lines.) The move allows the town to use the nearly $100,000 from another project loan which was under-budget.

•a service delivery area swap with the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority.

•a sub-recipient agreement for Gwinnett County CARES Act funding.

•a $125,000 bid for a house the town previously owned on Reisling Dr.

•a pre-application for a Trails grant for the Mulberry Riverwalk.

Middle schoolers are shown at the groundbreaking for the new Cherokee Bluff Middle School which will open its doors in the fall of 2022. The school will be 209,000 square feet and will be located next to the high school where the middle schoolers are currently studying. The school address is 6603 Spout Springs Road, Flowery Branch.

Shown is the architectural drawing for the new Cherokee Bluff Middle School.

Parrish Construction Group held a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, October 1, celebrating the start of construction on the new Cherokee Bluff Middle School located next to the high school at 6603 Spout Springs Road, Flowery Branch. Shown here are school board members and officials at the groundbreaking for the new Cherokee Bluff Middle School.

'Team Ezra' fundraiser planned for county boy with brain tumor

The first annual Team Ezra event will be held Saturday, October 24, at 8 a.m. in downtown Hoschton. This year’s event is the Roar N Run 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run. This event is offering both in person and virtual options for runners and walkers to support Team Ezra.

Ezra King is a 4-year old Jackson County boy who was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was just 18 months old. Funds raised will support his medical needs as well as a donation to the Pediatric Brain Tumor foundation to find a cure.

To signup or to make a donation visit https://runsignup.com/teamezra.


Ezra’s parents, Ramona and Travis King, share his story below:

It was a typical, lively Saturday morning in our home on the day that our lives changed forever. Ezra was 18 months old and had been in what we believed to be perfect health. He was as boisterous and fun as any other toddler. Midmorning he took a tumble and we found ourselves at the ER in Braselton with a possible wrist injury where they performed a head CT scan in an over abundance of caution. We never could have dreamed that we would hear the words, "The x-ray was fine but the CT scan was abnormal. We found a very large mass in your son's brain." This was what they call an "incidental finding."

We were rushed to the ED of Scottish Rite where they were waiting for us. By early evening we were admitted and in the days following, we learned that Ezra had an extremely large tumor pressing into his brain stem and growing upward into the area of his optic nerves and basal ganglia. He had extreme pressure and a loss of space for typical spinal fluid so we were scheduled for an extensive craniotomy and partial resection (brain surgery) as soon as possible.

When Ezra awoke after surgery, we learned that the operation and trauma to his brain stem had caused a loss of speech, paresis of his right side and a loss of right sided field of vision in both eyes. We spent several weeks in intensive rehab and have been in therapy ever since to help him regain functions.

At his follow-up MRI, they found that the remaining tumor had aggressively grown and we immediately started a chemotherapy clinical trial. Exactly two years (24 months exactly) later, Ezra is still on chemotherapy, having failed the 68 week clinical trial with continued tumor growth, and he is now on a new treatment plan that is currently holding the large, regrown tumor stable.

There is no proven cure for his tumor type and cellular mutation.

The last two years have been filled with joy-filled memories and a wonderful quality of life despite persistent tumor growth and treatment. His speech improves everyday and he is currently in intensive robotic therapy to regain use of his right extremities. We are told that he will continue to be partially blind and that it could grow worse.

We pray every day for a new drug to be developed that will shrink his brain tumor and put him on the cancer survivor list. As his tumor grows, he loses more functions and develops more issues. He teaches us everyday how to be strong, how to persevere and how to have fun doing it.

Hoschton to host fall festival

Hoschton plans its fall festival on Oct. 16-18.

There will be over 160 craft and food vendors, a kids zone, live entertainment throughout the festival, a 5K run, Dixie Dock Dogs show, a car show and a barbecue competition.

Parking is free and a shuttle is available.

The parade will be held Saturday, Oct. 17, at 10 a.m.

See updates on the city’s website or on the Hoschton Fall Festival Facebook page.

Braselton farmers market open Oct. 16

Downton Braselton’s fall farmers market series continues Friday, October 16, from 4-7 p.m.

Farmers, bakers and makers will offer an array of goods for families and friends.

Staged on the patio of the Braselton Brothers Store at 9924 Davis Street in downtown Braselton, the monthly market features farm-raised meats, local honey, prepared foods, breads and baked goods, small-batch canned goods, roasted coffees and plants.

Presley’s Farm and Garden offers beef and pork products as well as collard greens. Roberts Family Blueberry Farm presents squash, lettuce and berries. And Struggleville Acres Farm has seasonal vegetables for market patrons.

Free parking is available at the town’s parking deck.

For updates, follow Braselton Farmers Market on Facebook.

Braselton plans Zombie Run on Oct. 17

Braselton will host its Zombie 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, Oct. 17, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Both in-person and virtual options are available.

The run will be held in downtown Braselton, starting at the Braselton Brothers Department Store at 9924 Davis St. Parking is available around the town green, Braselton Brothers Department Store and in the parking deck across Davis St.

Race day packet pickup begins at 7:30 a.m. An advanced packet pick-up option will also be available on Wednesday, Oct. 14, from 3-6 p.m. or Friday, Oct. 16, from 1-6 p.m. at the Downtown Development Office, 9924 Davis St., Ste 8, Braselton.

Awards will be presented to the top male and female runner and in the following age groups: 10 and under, 11-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70 and better. Awards will also be given for the best-dressed zombie runner.

For more information and to register, visit runsignup.com/Race/GA/Braselton/Zombie5KRun.

The Braselton Zombie 5K Run/Walk is hosted by the Braselton Downtown Development Authority.


Those who have symptoms or feel ill are asked not to attend. Those who've been exposed to COVID-19 are asked to choose the virtual run option.

The town will also implement a number of safety precautions this year, including:

  • All event attenders are encouraged to wear a mask
  • Registration and awards area will be frequently wiped clean
  • All event attenders are encouraged to practice social distancing as best as possible
  • All event attenders are encouraged to use hand sanitizer
  • Runner bibs will be chipped and starts will be in waves to spread everyone out
  • Award ceremony will be socially distanced – weather permitting
  • Advance runner packet pick-up will be offered for those registering by Oct. 5
  • Virtual runners will receive shirts by mail (for those registration by Oct. 5)

No new COVID deaths reported last week at the Oaks

No new COVID-19 deaths were reported at a Hoschton personal care home last week.

According to the Department of Community Health’s Oct. 9 update, the Oaks at Braselton was still reported six resident deaths due to COVID-19. An update had not been posted by press time.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 11 residents and 13 staff members have tested positive at the Oaks. Six residents have recovered.


The number of positive COVID patients being treated at Northeast Georgia Health System trended upwards over the week.

As of Oct. 12, the hospital system was treating 86 COVID patients at its various locations, up from 70 on Oct. 5. At Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton, the number of patients went down (from 14 on Oct. 5 to 10 on Oct. 12).

Ventilator usage is currently at 40%.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the hospital system has discharged 2,398 patients.

There have been 334 deaths.


According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, there have been 332,311 positive cases across the state since the start of the pandemic, with 29,656 hospitalizations and 7,429 deaths.

In Braselton’s four-county area, there have been:

•Barrow: 2,385 cases; 253 hospitalizations; and 47 deaths

•Gwinnett: 28,861 cases; 2,786 hospitalizations; and 424 deaths

•Hall: 9,985 cases; 1,018 hospitalizations; and 162 deaths

•Jackson: 2,155 cases; 175 hospitalizations; and 38 deaths