Friday, November 17, 2017



‘Unstoppable’: 10-year-old jujitsu student excels despite blindness


Reagan Waycaster stands in front of a class of kneeling 4- to 6-year-old jujitsu students, listening as the youngsters poke and prod each other, but unable to see them.
Her eyes are closed as she stands behind owner and instructor Derek Clark, and she doesn’t often open her eyes as he talks. But she hears every word. When it comes time to demonstrate for the class, she snaps to attention, the pair bow to each other, and one throws the other, with perfect form, onto the mat.
At 10 years old, the young pupil has adapted to life with a rare, congenital visual impairment called optic nerve hypoplasia, which leaves her with 20/250 vision in one eye and no sight in the other. Reagan was born with the condition, institutionalized for the first two years of her life and adopted by Lori and Kevin Waycaster of Canton in 2009.

“When she came home, she didn’t walk, she didn’t talk – she didn’t do anything,” Lori Waycaster, Reagan’s mother, said. “But in the last eight years, you would have no idea. She’s an amazing child. She’s the top reader in her class, she’s amazing at jujitsu, she’s been invited into company at dance – I mean, the girl’s unstoppable.”
Reagan Waycaster makes her way around new places with a cane, but once she’s been there only a few times, she’s mentally mapped it, her mother said.
Her visual impairment has meant that, throughout her life, the 10-year-old hasn’t been able to participate in sports, her mother said, so when her daughter asked about jujitsu, she was skeptical.
“I was not very keen on the idea at first,” she said. “My husband talked me into it because he thought it’s something she might need in the future to learn to protect herself. So that made sense to me, and I was willing to give it a try.”
With the help of family friends, Lori Waycaster said she began research into gyms around the county. Gracie Barra in Woodstock was highly revered, and when she found that another of the chain’s gyms had recently opened in Canton, the mother-daughter pair went in for a visit.
“I got the phone call first that I was going to have a girl coming who was blind, and I was excited,” Clark said. “That’s part of my game plan – the whole reason I opened up my school was to teach martial arts, but to be a mentor.”
Clark works full-time as a surgical assistant at WellStar Kennestone Hospital, and began teaching jujitsu three hours every night about three years ago, he said. Clark’s mother died when he was only 6, an event he said he felt stole his childhood from him. The mentoring and teaching of his students gives him the ability to give back and live a new childhood through those he teaches, he said.
“I live vicariously through the kids I teach,” Clark said. “And I was super excited about Reagan, because it just proves to me that at some point, it’s about the people.”
Expression of concern in her daughter’s ability to fully participate during the in-person meeting with Clark in July 2016 turned to emphatic and uplifting conversation in her expected accelerated ability in the martial art, Lori Waycaster said.
“He was very excited about it,” she said. “He said not only could he work with her, but it would be something that she could pick up very easily, because it’s not necessarily that you have to see the moves, but you have to listen to how they’re explained. And she listens very well.”
She hears about activities she might enjoy, and she wants to dive straight in, her mother said. She’s not afraid of new challenges or of failure, she said.
“I just wanted to do some kind of karate sport, and I chose jujitsu,” Reagan Waycaster said. “I like our [sparring] matches, and I like learning the techniques.”
Blindness is an advantage in fighting, she said, and it allows her to stay focused on the feeling of what her opponent will do next.
“I just try to feel what they’re gonna do before they do it,” she said. “Then if they take me down, I try to get in the best position where they can’t do anything.”
It’s an honor to have Reagan Waycaster as a student at the gym, Clark said, not only because she’s helpful and a star pupil, but because she’s an example of what a positive mindset and hard work can accomplish. She’s excelling just like he expected, he said.
“Oh man, it’s impressive. I’ll teach a technique, and my kids’ll look at me like I’m speaking a language that nobody’s ever heard of,” he said. “Then Reagan will raise her hand and come up and demonstrate it. And when she demonstrates, I’m like, ‘OK everybody, partner up, ‘cause there is no excuse at this point.’”
There are still obstacles that Reagan Waycaster has to hurdle in class, Clark said. But they’re temporary and easily overcome for the 19-year-old, he said.
“She might say, ‘What’d you do with your left hand?’ and then I have to either tell her or get close to her and show her,” Clark said. “But then she comes up, and she nails it every time. It’s impressive, man.”
Many of the other students don’t even know she’s blind, and when her hand shoots up at the end of classes to challenge other students to a “rolling,” or sparring match, nobody wants to challenge her, Clark said.
“She’s tough, and most of the time her main objective is to beat the boys,” he said. “She’s not scared of anybody.”
The fifth-grader has wisdom and patience beyond her years, and she’s an inspiration that stays at the top-of-mind, Clark said. Complaints about a bad day at work or a simple inconvenience melt away when he remembers Reagan Waycaster’s attitude, despite her life’s obstacles.
“It’s an honor to teach this girl, because she’s helping me,” he said. “She’s in my head on a regular basis. Sometimes I start thinking, ‘Man, I’m having a bad day,’ and then I think, ‘No I’m not. I’m having a good day.’ She brings a lot of things into perspective. She’s always smiling. She’s always happy.”
It’s been incredible to watch her daughter grow through her passion for jujitsu, Lori Waycaster said. She makes friends, appreciates encouragement from her coach and the sport comes naturally to her, she said. Now, when her daughter gets out on the mat, Lori Waycaster said she’s more concerned about the other student.
“All around it’s just built her self-esteem, her confidence and her physical ability,” she said. “I think it makes me more nervous now, because I’m afraid she’s gonna hurt somebody… Watching her is amazing, because she is all into it. And you can tell, even when she’s tired, when she is out there on that mat, she is 100 percent on.”
Anybody can perform at a high level in anything they do – it just comes down to commitment, Reagan Waycaster said. She said she looks forward to more challenges, like future tournaments in new locations and with new opponents that she’ll have to learn to map and predict.
Canton Elects Newcomer, Incumbent
Madison Hogan  11/8/17  Cherokee Tribune Ledger News

Newcomer Nick Estes won the Canton City Council Board 3 seat, capturing 63 percent of the vote. 

Incumbent Councilman Bill Grant secured another term on the Canton City Council for Ward 2. 

In the city of Canton, two business owners swept the polls in Tuesday’s municipal election.

Incumbent Councilman Bill Grant defeated challenger and former City Clerk Susan Stanton for the Ward 2 seat by a landslide on Election Day. With all six precincts reporting late Tuesday night, the owner of Grant Design Collaborative secured about 72 percent of the ballots cast in the municipal election.

During Election Night celebrations, Grant said he looked forward to getting back to work on the council, as he doesn’t enjoy campaigning or politics.

“I’m very excited and honored that the voters put their trust in me,” he said.

Canton City Council members have done a brilliant job of making the city vibrant, connective and active, Grant said. He looks forward to focusing on their efforts together during his next four-year term.

“I just really feel that we’ve been on a good track and moving Canton forward and doing strategic planning,” he said.

Of his opponent, Grant said he appreciates anyone who steps forward to take on public service and was happy Stanton gave voters a choice in the race.

Though disappointed in the results, Stanton said she believed her opponent deserved a gold star for winning the election and hoped he looked at his new term as a fresh start to represent the residents.

“Thank you to everybody who supported me and voted for me and please hold that thought,” she said.

Stout’s Growlers owner, Nick Estes, a newcomer to politics, became the youngest member to join the seasoned council in Tuesday’s election. Estes defeated Councilman John Rust, who held the Ward 3 seat, after securing about 63 percent of total votes in Canton.

Estes, who spent Election Night at his business with friends and family, said the win felt great and he was looking forward to making progress with current city council members.

“I’m just so excited with the amount of support that we got from so many people, so just really proud of what we were able to do to just get a spark for some really solid growth we can get for Canton,” he said.

Despite the election coming to a close, Estes said he’s ready to get back out into the community, conduct some town hall meetings and continuing getting his name out to residents.

“Now I’m going to be focused on what really…keeps (people) up at night and understand how we need to prioritize as a council,” he said.

Rust said Tuesday night he thought Estes was a nice, young man. He said he hoped council members do well in the next year and he was going to focus on starting a new chapter in his life.

“Unfortunately, it will not include Canton,” he said. “I was looking forward to four more years, but end of story. I hope they do well, the city deserves it, needs it and deserves it.”

Stanton said she was happy to hear the news of a new face coming to city council and Estes’ win.

“That’s at least one new face in the crowd, and I hope he remains an independent thinker,” she said.

Councilwoman Sandy McGrew was re-elected for her Ward 1 seat unopposed.

Voter turnout for the city’s election was close to the original number projected by Director of Cherokee County Elections and Voter Registration Kim Stancil.

Of the 14,202 registered voters in the city of Canton, 13.1 percent cast a ballot in this year’s election.



Stancil originally projected the city would see a turnout of 15 percent.

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NICK ESTES in Upset over incumbent Rust!




City of Canton Council Ward 2

Precincts: 6 / 6 (100% reporting)
 * Bill Grant
1,244 (72%)
Susan Stanton
478 (28%)

City of Canton Council Ward 3

Precincts: 6 / 6 (100% reporting)
 Nick Estes
1,113 (63%)
* John Rust
647 (37%)

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Penny tax sails through




Rodriguez Elections

From left, Anthony Rodriguez of Woodstock returns his voting card to Poll volunteer Danny Lawson after voting for the city elections on Tuesday afternoon. Staff / Erin Gray Cantrell
Of the 7.19 percent of registered voters who cast a ballot, 8,496 voted in favor of the plan and 2,288 voted against the sales tax extension in unofficial results.
The county’s SPLOST is expected to generate $253 million in revenue for various county and some city projects over the next six years.
“I am delighted, one, with the community’s response, two, underwhelmed with the lack of voter turnout but that’s a choice, and three, we look forward to the future of six more years of the current and now renewed one penny sales tax that will provide approximately $250 million over the next six years, for the project categories we outlined in the communications with and between the cities and as communicated to the citizens,” said County Commission Chair Buzz Ahrens.
About $95 million is budgeted to go toward county transportation projects, including resurfacing for $15 million, construction for roads and bridges estimated at $13.8 million and sidewalks and multi-use trails for $11 million. Other projects include an airport expansion, bridge replacements and traffic signal upgrades.
An estimated $58 million is projected to go to public safety, including $23 million to fund an expansion to the county’s jail, $12.9 million for replacement fire stations and $9.6 million for communication equipment.
An expansion of the county’s judicial facilities is budgeted for $18 million.
Sheriff Frank Reynolds thanked voters for their approval of the SPLOST renewal.
“We are very fortunate to live in a community where our citizens are well informed about real issues in our community,” Reynolds said. “I am very thankful to our citizens for continuing the SPLOST. 
This will allow our jail to expand as our community continues to grow. The citizens of Cherokee County trust and support our law enforcement, and for that I am very thankful. Although this SPLOST helps the overcrowding in our existing jail, we will have to unfortunately expand as soon as it is complete. As your sheriff, I am very thankful to our community for their support.”
While unincorporated Cherokee County has about 71 percent of the county’s population, cities will receive 29 percent of SPLOST funds to split among the county’s five municipalities, along with some funding for two cities that are partially in Cherokee.
Some people speculated that the vote could be a record for SPLOST renewals.
The SPLOST extension approved by voters in 2010 will expire next year.
Dennis Burnette, chairman of the Cherokee County SPLOST Committee, said he was happy with the nearly 80 percent vote in support of the SPLOST extension.
“I think it shows a tremendous amount of confidence the people have in county government and city governments. It says to me the people of Cherokee County are satisfied with that course and believe that we’re on the right track. What is so phenomenal about that is that from a national perspective, there’s a lack of confidence in government,” Burnette said. “There are two people that come to mind [to thank,] one is my vice chairman James Drinkard, he is a resident of Woodstock and he was responsible for our website and our Facebook page. The other person I would like to thank is Barbara Jacoby. Barbara was in charge of our communications and our messaging, and she helped us communicate what our mission was to the citizens and why that mission was justified.”
Burnette said his team of 22 people, 11 on the committee, put signs near each of the county’s 42 precincts Monday and Tuesday morning.
“I didn’t realize there were that many [precincts,] but we did it. I almost bit off more than I could chew,” he said.
Burnette previously told the Tribune that it’s important residents of the county understand what the SPLOST ballot question offers for them, and that it is not a new tax or a tax hike.
“If we have one huge problem, it’s getting across to people that this is not a new tax, nor does its renewal mean higher taxes,” said Burnette. “Frankly, it’s amazing that people do not know that the purpose is to lessen the load on property owners to pay for roads, projects and equipment, and that this tax has been renewed over the years since the state law was passed in 1985 to provide another source to fund infrastructure needs.”
An estimated 30 percent of sales tax revenue is projected come from outside the county, when non-residents come to Cherokee County to shop and do business.
Because cities’ SPLOST funds are based on municipal needs and populations, the city set to receive the most from the proposed SPLOST is Woodstock with 29,898 residents, which would receive about $28.9 million, documents show. Ball Ground with 1,720 residents is predicted to receive about $3 million for improvements, and Canton’s 25,469 could see about $25 million dedicated to the city.
Holly Springs, with a population of 10,719, is predicted to receive about $10.4 million from the proposed SPLOST and Waleska’s 800 residents could see about $2.5 million dedicated to city projects and improvements. Nelson’s 673 residents are predicted to receive about $1 million in city improvements.
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Holly Springs residents speak out against commercial rezoning





Holly Springs zoning sign

At least 49 residents signed a petition opposing the requests for the Holly Springs City Council to annex and rezone a home at 2361 Toonigh Road.
Special to Tribune
Homeowners in the Hickory and Toonigh Road area plan to attend the meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the Holly Springs Public Safety Building at 3235 Holly Springs Parkway to object to the proposed annexation and rezoning of a home in their residential neighborhood from Agricultural to General Commercial, according to a press release.
At least 49 residents signed a petition opposing the requests, according to city documents.
The home, located at 2361 Toonigh Road, is surrounded on three sides by residential homes, as well as Hickory Road Baptist Church.
“Diagonally from the property is a small tract zoned neighborhood commercial that was recently requested and recommended for approval by the Holly Springs Planning and Zoning Commission to be changed to residential zoning by the owner. That results in the subject property currently being completely surrounded by residential and agricultural property except the church,” residents Richie Kook, Gary Grant and David Howton wrote in the press release. “The Cherokee County Future Planning Map designates this property as “suburban living” so local residents consider this rezoning application a prime example of “spot” zoning of commercial in a residential/agricultural area.”
The applicant, Brandon Smith, is requesting to annex and rezone 1 acre from Agricultural to General Commercial, according to the meeting’s agenda. Smith proposes to use the existing home on the property as an office for a lightning protection company with three employees.
City staff recommended approval of the annexation and rezoning requests with several conditions, including screened dumpsters/trash compactors, environmentally sensitive lighting, coordination with the city’s community development director for any future development of the property and city arborist regarding landscaping, agreement to provide a plan for deliveries to the city’s community development department prior to the issuance of a business license and agreement to follow design guidelines outlined by the city’s zoning ordinance.
Cellular phone towers, outdoor amusement enterprises, animal hospitals/clinics with outdoor kennels and big box commercial retail structures would also be prohibited from the site, city staff recommended.
Residents claim in the press release there are a number of concerns with the requests. The ingress and egress to the home is on a residential dead-end street and access to the property is through a residential area of homes and small working farms, according to the release.
Smith, they stated, withdrew his rezoning request from Cherokee County and applied it to the city of Holly Springs, adding the annexation request in the process.
“Smith omitted this information from his application to the city of Holly Springs, which is a disclosure requirement,” the release states. “Smith’s business, Base Lightning Protection, currently operates at 130 Dodd Street in Marietta under office/warehouse zoning, so residents question the reasons for the applicant’s request for general commercial zoning when he claims he needs the Toonigh Road location only for an office for three employees.”
The only property in the area zoned General Commercial is Hickory Road Baptist Church, which was previously zoned agricultural, residents claim.
“Cherokee County zoning allows a church to be located on a parcel with agricultural zoning so residents have questioned when and why the church land was zoned General Commercial,” the press release states.
Prior to the meeting Thursday, Smith held a community input meeting Oct. 6 at Hickory Road Baptist Church to share his plans, according to residents.
“At the community input meeting attended by approximately 35 people, he was met with strong opposition and many unanswered questions, which residents believe is why he opted to change his plan to apply for annexation into Holly Springs where he felt re-zoning was going to be easier,” the release states.
A public information meeting was held Sept. 22 by the developer at Hickory Road Baptist Church with 24 residents in attendance, according to city documents.
“The majority of the residents were concerned about the future development/decline of the property, impact to the general area, and property values,” the documents state.
In addition, the city has not received any comment from the county, according to city staff. Staff did acknowledge in a summary report of the requests that given the surrounding, rezoning the property to Neighborhood Commercial District might be more appropriate.
The Holly Springs Planning and Zoning Commission will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Holly Springs Public Safety Building at 3235 Holly Springs Parkway.

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(More Comcast info further down the blog)

Comcast still sucks and probably always will -

Deidra H. from Comcast had requested verification info before discussing the issue, it was supplied that day, 2 days pass and I get another request for the same info, which was sent immediately, when I finally got a reply from her it was not satisfactory to me.

Below is the exchange of correspondence.  It is about what you would expect.  Readers having issues with Comcast might want to note the email and phone numbers for your own complaints.

The large format text is easier to read, but the actual emails are attached FYI.


From: consumer2014@aol.com
To: soumds_esl@comcast.com

Sent: 11/17/2017 3:16:08 P.M. Eastern Standard Time

Subj: Re: Comcast Executive Customer Relations Re: BBB Complaint

I note you did not address your own firms repeatedly violating of the 24 month contract, but did acknowledge repeated service interruptions that caused your own breach of contract. 

Your firm is the most complained about of any of the TV/Internet/Phone providers and as mentioned in my outgoing to your CEO there will be absolutely no payment of any further sum to your firm and any negative information to credit bureaus will result in legal action.

C W Harris 
Citizen Journalist 
http://comcastgeorgia.blogspot.com/ 

===========================================

In a message dated 11/17/2017 3:04:53 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, 

soumds_esl@comcast.com writes: 
Dear C Harris, 

I did not receive the email response dated 11/15/17 and I apologize for the resolution email delay. However, I reviewed your BBB complaint and understand that your reason for cancelling your account, and 2 year service contract, was due to service interruptions and billing adjustments that were not applied to your account. I also understand that the period in which you experienced the intermittent service outage was October 16, 2017 through October 28, 2017. You mentioned there were approximately 8 credits offered to you and approximately 5 credits were not applied, therefore resulting in the disconnection of your account.

I reviewed the outage history in your area for the dates of October 16, 2017 through October 28, 2017 and confirmed the following service outage dates and contacts to customer service to report an interruption of service: 

· 10/16/17 – contact to customer service confirmed 
· 10/17/17 – contact to customer service confirmed
· 10/18/17 – documented outage in area per Comcast records
· 10/20/17 – contact to customer service confirmed
· 10/23/17 – contact to customer service confirmed
· 10/26/17 – documented outage in area per Comcast records 
· 10/27/17 – contact to customer service confirmed
· 10/31/17 – called to cancel account 
I also reviewed your billing and credit history to confirm that the X1 Starter Double Play was accepted on March 31, 2017 at the 24 month contractual rate, effective March 31, 2017 through March 31, 2019. The daily rate for your services, including taxes was $4.64.

The total credit for 8 days of service related issues is $37.12 and your account was credited $50.30 for the dates covering October 16, 2017 through October 28, 2017. 

Our records indicate adequate compensation has been applied to the account to compensate you for the temporary service outages. The request to waive the early termination fee is respectfully denied because all applicable credits were applied to your account and the service outages you experienced were repaired. Your final balance is currently $101.01 and as a one-time courtesy, I am willing to offer you a one-time credit of %50.00 for customer satisfaction. In order to prevent collections activity, the remaining $51.01 must be paid in full. 

Best Regards,

Deidra H.
Executive Customer Relations 
Comcast | Corporate Escalations – Big South Region
Fax: 615-514-4897
 Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-5pm(CST)





11/14/17
FYI: 
Got this incoming, probably having an anti-Comcast blog site got their attention - (minor info redacted below).

Other dis-satisfied users might find the phone and email address of some use with your own issues:

--------------------------------------------------------------

From: soumds_esl@comcast.com
To: consumer2XXX@aol.com

Sent: 11/14/2017 7:35:47 P.M. Eastern Standard Time

Subj: Comcast Executive Customer Relations Re: BBB Complaint

Dear C H,

Thank you for contacting the BBB and our Executive Office with your early termination fee dispute credit request. I would like the opportunity to discuss your concerns and resolve this matter. I will review your account and billing statements to determine what you have experienced and received compensation for. I will make an attempt to reach you by phone on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 to discuss findings and recommendation to resolve this matter.

If you prefer to communicate via e-mail regarding any non-data related concerns, please reply back to this email thread and I will assist you accordingly within 24 business hours.

Please be advised that if you elect to communicate via email, you will be required to authenticate the account by providing the full service address and last four digits of the social security number on the account associated with this complaint.

Thanks in Advance,

Deidra H.
Executive Customer Relations
Comcast | Corporate Escalations – Big South Region
Office: 256-922-6512
Fax: 615-514-4897
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-5pm  (CST)



(Misc Info:   Area Code 256 is primarily servicing the city of Huntsville (population: 194871), area code 256 covers 22 counties of Alabama, my location is near Atlanta)





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11/13/17
The Comcast Final Bill arrived and I am dropping the CEO a line to let him know my opinion of his firm.  

Also complaints are outgoing to the BBB and local franchise authority.


Xfinity is a brand of Comcast Cable Communications, LLC, a subsidiary of the Comcast Corporation, used to market consumer cable televisioninternettelephone, and wireless services provided by the company. The brand was first introduced in 2010; prior to that, these services were marketed primarily under the Comcast name.
Its CEO is Dave Watson, its chairman is Brian L. Roberts, and its CFO is Catherine Avgiris.  Xfinity went from $23.7 billion in revenue in 2007 to $50.04 billion in 2016

Misc:  The Complaint to the BBB's Philadelphia office has a case # of 12502483
The above was sent with 4 pages of attachments to provide further information on the issue.

NOTE:  This blog Continues, click
on the 'OLDER POSTS' below.