EAST COBB RESTAURANT UPDATE: La Novia Taqueria hiring at Paper Mill Village

La Novia Taqueria

We drove by Paper Mill Village this afternoon and saw that the much-anticipated opening of La Novia Taqueria (by Chas D’Huyvetter and his Moxie Burger venture) is getting closer.

While there’s no specific date that’s been announced yet (we’re placing a call and will update with that information when we get it) there is a hiring sign that’s been posted. On the Moxie Burger Facebook page, the following message was posted on Monday:

“Moxie’s girlfriend La Novia is gearing up for their opening. We are looking for hardworking responsible applicants. Help us spread the word.”

The La Novia space is next to Camp’s Kitchen and was formerly occupied by Valentino’s and Caffé Fortunato. The exterior has been repainted from its previous charcoal look.

La Novia Taqueria will be the fourth restaurant for D’Huyvetter, a Pope High School graduate who opened his first Moxie Burger at Paper Mill Village in March 2012, and has expanded to Shallowford and Trickum Roads and to Founders Square in downtown Roswell.

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Bells Ferry Road cleanup project includes Cobb police chief

Bells Ferry Road cleanup
Cobb Police Chief Mike Register (third from left) and commissioner JoAnn Birrell (center) with members of the Bells Ferry Civic Association at Saturday’s Keep Cobb Beautiful project. (Cobb Police Department photo)

Press release:

Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, Police Chief Mike Register, and about a dozen of his officers joined a group pounding the pavement to clean up the Bells Ferry Road corridor on Saturday.
 
The county leaders joined members of the Bells Ferry Civic Association in the effort. The Association keeps tabs on the stretch of Bells Ferry near I-575 as part of the “Adopt-a-Mile” program. Keep Cobb Beautiful runs the “Adopt-a-Mile” program.
 
The group spent several hours cleaning up the shoulders and curbs, finding everything from cigarette butts to car parts to bottles and cans.  In the end, they filled nearly 30 bags of trash.
 
This was the second time Chief Register brought his officers to a community cleanup. “It’s not all about catching criminals,” Register said.  “It’s that partnership with the community that is very valuable and very precious and doing things like this brings us closer together as a community.”
 
“It means a lot to the community to keep our county clean, and we’re happy to show we’re willing to contribute to that,” said Commissioner Birrell.

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Former Mountain View Elementary School redevelopment approved

Mountain View Elementary School redevelopment

By a 5-0 vote Tuesday morning, the Cobb Board of Commissioners approved a proposal for the former Mountain View Elementary School redevelopment plan on Sandy Plains Road.

The applicant, Brooks Chadwick Capital, LLC, wants to raze the school to build a 103,000-square foot development to include restaurants, retail, a bank and supermarket (agenda packet here).

The plan calls for seven separate buildings on the 13.8-acre site, which is owned by the Cobb County School District, and would include and expanded buffer at the back property line that is adjacent to the Hunters Lodge neighborhood.

“I think we’ve made a lot of progress,” Northeast Cobb commissioner JoAnn Birrell said, explaining the multiple meetings between the developer and residents who had opposed the rezoning.

After the Cobb Planning Commission recommended rezoning approval from R-20 to CRC (previous East Cobb News post here), the developer’s attorney Kevin Moore, presented additional stipulations at Tuesday’s meeting to address nearby residential concerns.

Those stipulations, which were submitted in an Oct. 12 letter, include no automotive, convenience store, liquor, laundromat and dry cleaning services in the back three buildings.

A 30-foot undisturbed buffer between the back property line and the residential area would include an eight-high fence, plus an additional 20-foot landscape buffer. The fencing would be enclosed at either end of the property line, and would be inspected by a certified arborist, Moore said.

Moore also stressed that at no location within the development will amplified outdoor entertainment be allowed, a stipulation he said is similar to The Avenue at East Cobb.

The redevelopment was supported by the East Cobb Civic Association.

Birrell moved to approve the rezoning, subject to the latest stipulations and final site plan amendment, as well as a landscaping plan that she would approve as the district commissioner.

“There have been some long meetings, but I think it’s going to be a win-win-for the community,” Birrell said.

In other East Cobb items at Tuesday’s zoning hearing, an application to rezone 2.172 acres at Lower Roswell Road and Bermuda Drive from R-20 to R-15 was withdrawn without prejudice. The Planning Commission voted to recommend denial earlier this month after strong community opposition (previous East Cobb News post here).

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Relishing a lifetime of memories at the East Marietta Library

East Marietta Library
The East Marietta Library will reopen as the Sewell Mill Library and Cultural Center in December. (East Cobb News photos by Wendy Parker)

“It is now 5:30. The library will be closing in 30 minutes.”

When I heard the announcement over the intercom, I winced and fought back some emotion.

Because this closing wasn’t just for this one day. It was forever.

I had a half-hour to look around the East Marietta Library on Saturday, the last day the little block two-story building was open to the public after 50 years of dutiful service to a growing, and thriving, community.

East Marietta Library

The East Marietta Library, located at 2051 Lower Roswell Road, is within walking distance of the house where I grew up, in the Pioneer Woods neighborhood (directly behind Faith Lutheran Church). When I wasn’t at Sewell Park, playing softball or tennis or swimming, I was at the library.

These twin community gems were like a second home, a convenient place to slip away from younger siblings and after-school chores. I didn’t need a parent to ferry me to a place where I could let my imagination roam, whether it was in left field at Sewell Park or the rather roomy shelves of the children’s section of the library downstairs.

East Marietta Library

I can’t remember how many books I checked out, but I remember taking home more than once a book about “new” journalism featuring Tom Wolfe, and the Baseball Encyclopedia. These were the days when reference books could be checked out, and those volumes became de facto parts of my own library at home, at least for two or three weeks at a time.

East Marietta Library

The building had been obsolete for years, and it was the subject of a long lobbying campaign to be replaced. Finally, that came about, when Cobb voters included a new facility in the last SPLOST. While I was thrilled, I also knew I would have bittersweet pangs about the East Marietta branch closing.East Marietta Library

On Saturday, with time in my childhood time machine dwindling, I rummaged around the shelves of books, which were being labeled by category for their removal to the new $10.6 million Sewell Mill Library and Cultural Center, which opens up next door in early December.

Earlier this week, Cobb commissioners finally voted to fund additional staff needed for the new place, in what had become a testy and frankly disappointing turn of events. In their budget battles, we’ve seen both East Cobb commissioners fighting over library funding, pitting one branch against another, ignoring citizens’ pleas to do right by what many here think are underfunded, but popular community treasures.

East Marietta Library

It reminded me of the ugly budget incident a few years ago, when then-commission chairman Tim Lee threatened to shut down East Marietta and all but a few of the Cobb libraries in a stunt to get his colleagues to the bargaining table during the recession. While that ploy worked, it created a lot of community bad will, and not just from library diehards like me.

A few years later, the same commissioners approved a creative way to finance a nearly $400 million dollar bond issue for the Atlanta Braves’ new stadium, then declared it wasn’t going to raise property taxes. Libraries, on the other hand, continue to be nickel-and-dimed, considered a “non-essential” service by the commissioner who wanted to close the East Cobb Library (and who even once held a town hall at the East Marietta branch meeting room).

East Marietta Library

There seems to be no political will to open libraries before, say, 11 a.m. on a Saturday (or 1 p.m., as was the case with the East Marietta Library). No Sunday hours at all, unless it’s the main branch in downtown Marietta, but only during the school year.

Tiny little East Marietta has been a real workhorse during these past 50 years, built with money from the very first Cobb library bond, and opened when the area was becoming rapidly suburbanized. As it closes, it was serving a community in transition that was taking advantage of the modernized information and resource needs of the public.

East Marietta Library

Like my old Wheeler High School, though, I appreciate what’s contained in the walls of old buildings, even if they’re eventually torn down.

East Marietta’s grand opening on March 7, 1967, coincided with the opening of the Kennesaw, Acworth, South Cobb, Sibley, Powder Springs and Lewis A. Ray branches. They were all built from the bond issue; it was the dawn of a new era in Cobb County, in which quality-of-life concerns were beginning to be met.

I know the Sewell Mill Library is going to be fabulous, and I can’t wait to take a look inside. But as the last 30 minutes began to trickle down to the last 15 on Saturday, and as the librarians continued their packing, I got a little choked up.

East Marietta Library

For a moment, I thought about checking out one last book with the East Marietta branch stamped in the bank, a volume that’s survived since the days of physical card checkout. At least for three weeks, I could have a relic in my possession, and savor what those memories continue to provide.

East Marietta Library

But I decided it was time to move on, to let these memories assume their rightful place. They’ll always be there, but better days are ahead for this library, and I’m confident the new place will continue to serve and elevate its citizens well.

East Marietta Library

East Marietta Library

East Marietta Library

East Marietta Library

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PHOTOS: East Cobb Public Safety Appreciation Dinner

East Cobb Public Safety Appreciation Dinner
(East Cobb News photos by Wendy Parker)

More than 70 officers and staff from the Cobb Police Department’s Precinct 4 turned out Thursday night for the 5th annual East Cobb Public Safety Appreciation Dinner at the Olde Towne Athletic Club.

The event, sponsored by the East Cobb Business Association, featured a Western and casino theme, with line dancing and music, and tables with poker, blackjack, Texas Hold ‘Em and more.

Officers and staff received awards and gifts, including dinners and raffle prizes, and were invited to bring their spouses or significant others for a relaxing night away from the demands of their work.

East Cobb Public Safety Appreciation Dinner

East Cobb Public Safety Appreciation Dinner

While they were enjoying the evening, members of the Cobb Police Department’s Community Traffic Services Unit were holding down the Precinct 4 fort on Lower Roswell Road, and were served dinner courtesy of Sam’s BBQ-1 in East Cobb.

Maj. Jerry Quan, the Precinct 4 commander, said the appreciation dinner is eagerly anticipated by his officers. He also said the gesture by the ECBA and other groups and individuals who put on the dinner helps bolster strong community bonds with local police.

The ECBA is also organizing a similar dinner for all Cobb Fire and Emergency Services personnel next spring. For information, contact Susan Hampton: susan.hampton@lionbank.com or Kim Paris: kim.paris@wellstar.org.

East Cobb Public Safety Appreciation Dinner
Precinct 4 Commander Maj. Jerry Quan, left and field training officer Robbie New enjoying a meal and conversation.
East Cobb Public Safety Appreciation Dinner
Det. Paul Barnhill (center, with glasses), getting his East Cobb Officer of the Year award from Cobb Police Chief Mike Register.
East Cobb Public Safety Appreciation Dinner
Field training officer Tommy Burns, the East Cobb morning watch officer of the year, getting his sketch done.

East Cobb Public Safety Appreciation Dinner

East Cobb Public Safety Appreciation Dinner

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Cobb Police active shooter training session scheduled for East Cobb

In the wake of the Las Vegas shootings, the Cobb Police Department has announced it will be holding active shooter training classes for the public this month, in each of its five precincts.

The training session for East Cobb’s Precinct 4 is Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at Chestnut Ridge Christian Church, 2663 Johnson Ferry Road. The event is free and is open to the public.Cobb Police

Various Cobb public safety organizations held an event on Monday, and that was organized by Marietta first responders and Marietta City Schools, to remember the Las Vegas shooting victims and to instruct citizens how to respond to a mass shooting.

If you can’t attend the Precinct 4 event, the other sessions being held around the county are as follows:

Precinct 1
Thursday, October 26th at Precinct 1, 7:00 PM, please RSVP for Precinct 1’s Active Shooting Response Training, contact 770-499-4181 or 770-499-3967

Cobb County Police Precinct 1
2380 Cobb PKWY
Kennesaw, GA 30152

Precinct 2
Tuesday, October 24th at South Cobb High School Theater, 7:00 PM

South Cobb High School Theater
1920 Clay Rd SW
Austell, GA 30106

Precinct 3
Monday, October 23rd at Precinct 3, 7:00 PM

Cobb County Police Precinct 3
1901 Cumberland PKWY SE
Atlanta, GA 30339

Precinct 5
Wednesday, October 25th, at Harrison High School, 7:00 PM

Harrison High School
4500 Due West Rd NW
Kennesaw, GA 30152

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Proposed Cobb school calendars discussed by school board members

The proposed Cobb school calendars for the next two academic years were taken up by the school board Wednesday, with none of the widely diverging differences that have marked previous deliberations.

Scott Sweeney, Cobb school calendars
School board member Scott Sweeney of East Cobb. (CCSD photo)

Cobb County School District Superintendent Chris Ragsdale has proposed Aug. 1 start dates for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years. It’s his intention to establish an Aug. 1-3 range for the first day of classes further into the future, but acknowledged at a work session that “there’s not going to be a template is going to make everybody happy.”

This summer, some parents objected to this year’s July 31 starting date, a protest that included an online petition seen as a way to influence future calendar dates. (There’s an ongoing petition that advocates keeping frequent breaks in the Cobb school calendar, and has generated nearly 5,000 signatures).

In their discussion, board members were generally receptive to the proposed calendars (previous East Cobb News post here), especially a consistent range of starting dates, scheduled breaks and graduation dates.

The board considers and approves calendars in two-year cycles to avoid having to go through such a process every year. At Wednesday’s work session, Connie Jackson, executive director of the Cobb Association of Educators, suggested the board consider indefinite “rolling calendars” that would have the same date range for the first day of school.

Board member Susan Thayer said she would prefer keeping a two-year calendar approval process. “I don’t want to do any more than that,” especially if the state changes testing dates or other major changes come about, she said.

Board member Randy Scamihorn asked about syncing the Cobb school calendars to those in Cherokee County, which has a later starting date. Ragsdale said Cobb’s is currently synced with Marietta and Paulding, and that “we choose ours around grading schedules.”

However, the issue of starting the school year later in Cobb continues to come up with parents.

Scott Sweeney, who represents the Walton and Wheeler high school districts of East Cobb on the school board, noted that there’s no data showing differences in student achievement results and other metrics based on a school starting date.

But he did say that “there are a lot of people who favor a later start,” and that 76 percent of the e-mails he’s received since early September “want a later start.

“This is still very much a split issue,” Sweeney said.

The board is scheduled to vote on the calendar proposals at its Oct. 26 regular meeting.

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Roswell Road graffiti suspect charged for East Marietta vandalism incidents

Roswell Road graffiti suspect, Marietta Police
A Roswell Road graffiti suspect wanted for damaging several East Marietta businesses has been charged with 15 felonies by Marietta Police. (Photos courtesy Marietta Police)

A Roswell Road graffiti suspect police say vandalized several East Marietta businesses and public properties has been charged with 15 felonies.

According to Cobb Sheriff’s Office records, William Carswell, age 17 or 18, of Fawn Place in East Cobb, was arrested and booked into at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center on Oct. 5. He was released Oct. 8 on a $15,000 bond.

Of the felony charges against Carswell, 14 are for interference with government property and another for second degree criminal property damage, as well as a single misdemeanor count of criminal trespass.

Marietta Police allege the suspect carved the window of the Beats Barber Shop at 1476 Roswell Road on Sept. 19 with the lettering “WUSHU” and later spray-painted an ice machine the same way at a business at 1462 Roswell Road, in the East Marietta Shopping Center.

Police said as their investigation continued, and they strung together video evidence, “footage from several locations showed a young male tagging several locations in the Cobb County area.”

Those locations included bridges in the area, according to police.

Police said Carswell has a previous arrest history with similar charges of interference with government property, criminal trespass and criminal property damage.

Marietta Police said it has contacted other nearby law enforcement agencies about possible vandalism incidents that may be connected to Carswell as it continues its investigation.

“Graffiti may not seem to rank up there with violent crime, yet in terms of Community Policing, graffiti is exactly the kind of environmental crime that causes neighborhoods and business areas to deteriorate,” Marietta Police said in a statement. “If the police can reverse the environmental conditions that cause more serious social conditions and crime, we can prevent crime and promote public safety.”

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Northeast Cobb restaurant gets liquor license despite community opposition

Paprik'a, Northeast Cobb restaurant
The proposed Paprik’a restaurant is located at the former sites of a Pizza Hut and Donny’s Home Cooking on Sandy Plains Road. (East Cobb News photo by Wendy Parker)

The Cobb Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a request for a liquor license for a proposed Northeast Cobb restaurant that has been fought by nearby residents for the last two years.

By a 4-1 vote, the commissioners granted the alcohol permit to Naseeb Rana of Kasbah Corp., who wants to open the Paprik’a Restaurant at 4674 Sandy Plains Road. The space has been empty since 2015, and is adjacent to the Sandy Plains Village Shopping Center, at Sandy Plains and Woodstock Road (Highway 92).

Only commissioner JoAnn Birrell, whose district included the area until last year, voted against Rana’s application. The commissioners took up the matter after Rana appealed a denial for a pouring license by the Cobb License Review Board.

Residents from the Chatsworth, Jefferson Park and Jefferson Township neighborhoods, located just south of the commercial area off Sandy Plains, have said Rana has not been forthcoming with her plans since trying to get the alcohol license.

Paprik'a location map
The star signifies the proposed Paprik’a restaurant site. Click for a larger view.

They said she hasn’t always communicated with the neighborhood about her plans and expressed concern about traffic and parking issues.

“This application has been denied twice, and there have been so many red flags,” said Lisa Hanson, representing the Chatsworth Homeowners Association. “We are all for a renovated building.”

Hanson said Rana initially had proposed opening a nightclub at the location that would be open very late, and a stop-work order was issued. Those events, Hanson said, “made us question whether this application was following law.”

Both Rana, a graduate of Lassiter High School, and her attorney, Lisa Morchower, denied there were ever plans for a nightclub. Rana said she wants to have valet parking for Paprik’a since there’s limited space around the building, and explained that she has revised her menu to reflect her business’ primary function as a restaurant.

Morchower said the proposed hours for Paprik’a would be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

Rana said she was being unfairly “targeted” by the community, and insisted that her restaurant is similar to others in the area. “I don’t see why my small restaurant will make such a big impact,” she said.

Sandra Richardson, the Cobb business license manager, said the Paprik’a site was originally a Pizza Hut that opened in 1998 and served alcohol. After that, a restaurant called Donny’s Home Cooking operated at the location until 2015 but did not serve liquor.

Hanson said nearby residents have also dealt with noise issues from the Movie Tavern, which opened in 2013, with garbage trucks making pickups late at night. She said there have been numerous violations of other stipulations by DDR Sandy Plains, the shopping center property owner.

But commissioner Bob Ott, who represents the area, said he was satisfied with the application and said that if traffic and parking ever become an issue, the community can raise them at that time.

“We have to let the restaurant open before we know,” he said, adding that Rana’s appeal hearing often felt like a zoning hearing. “Alcohol doesn’t increase traffic. Ms. Rana has her work cut out for her, but she’s made a tremendous effort to change her menu.”

Ott said that unlike a zoning, a liquor license holder has to satisfy all stipulations and be approved for renewals yearly.

Birrell said: “I’ve heard the concerns of the community, and I cannot support this.”

The Sandy Plains Village area has been in transition recent years. It was the location of a Kroger and Stein Mart before the Movie Tavern opened. A Walmart Neighborhood Grocery also opened there in 2013 but closed earlier this year.

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Sewell Mill Library funding approved; East Marietta branch to begin closure

Sewell Mill Library
East Cobb News file photos

After a brief but sometimes testy conversation Tuesday morning, the Cobb Board of Commissioners approved the completion of funding for the new Sewell Mill Library and Cultural Center on Lower Roswell Road.

The board voted 3-2 to spend $284,227 to fund five full- and part-time positions for fiscal year 2018 in order to proceed with the opening of the new facility on Dec. 4.

East Cobb commissioner Bob Ott, chairman Boyce and commissioner Bob Weatherford voted yes; commissioners JoAnn Birrell and Lisa Cupid voted no.

Operations at the East Marietta Library, located adjacent to the new Sewell Mill branch, are expected to wind down this week.

The funding includes the transfer of $94,491 from the budget for the East Cobb Government Service Center, which will move some of its business office functions to the tag office in the same building (previous East Cobb News post here).

Ott said he worked with staff from the Cobb library, parks and public services staff to pare down the price tag for the Sewell Mill Library funding from around $700,000 to less than $300,000. The funding source is from “one-time monies” that has become a touchy topic on the commission as it voted this summer not to raise the property tax millage rate and as it adopted the FY 2018 budget with nearly $20 million in contingency funding.

That approved budget didn’t include Sewell Mill Library funding. Ott and Boyce said the county was obligated to move ahead with the transition now due to contractual obligations in demolishing the East Marietta Library building, creating a parking lot for the new library and rebuilding the road that leads into the adjacent Sewell Park.

“The reality is we have a $10 million investment the board has known about for years, and it’s been dropped in my lap,” Boyce said, then veering into a philosophical statement.

“Libraries reflect the culture of our society,” he said. “It is important to open up this facility that residents have been expecting for a long time.”

East Marietta Library
The East Marietta Library opened in 1967.

Birrell and Cupid objected to funding the Sewell Mill Library now, saying they wanted take up the matter at a commissioners retreat later this month. Birrell suggested a delay in opening the new branch until January.

“I understand that we can’t build things like this and then leave them empty,” she said. “My concern is the timing.”

Cupid concurred: “Why this can’t wait another 20 days is beyond me.”

She cited other unmet funding requests—including Cobb non-profits, the purchase of police body cameras and wish lists from other government agencies—as equally valid, and questioned the wisdom of using contingency funding for sustained expenses.

“There’s no way of knowing if we’re going to have this money year after year after year,” Cupid said.

Ott, who had suggested closing another library in his district, the Lewis A. Ray branch in Smyrna, to solve the contingency problem, became visibly upset.

“Don’t sit here and make inaccuracies,” Ott snapped, demanding that Cupid not interrupt him. “You did not reach out to address your concerns.”

Cupid said the finalized agenda item for Tuesday’s meeting came to her late.

Boyce said the vote over Sewell Mill Library funding is “the first of many battles we’re going to have” because the board voted against his proposal in July to raise the millage rate 0.13 mills (previous East Cobb News post here).

Weatherford said that amounts to just $4 million, or one percent, of the overall county budget, so “blaming everything on that vote is erroneous.”

Birrell, who had suggested closing the East Cobb Library during the budget process, reiterated her concerns of getting into a habit of dipping into contingency.

“We’re going to be digging a deeper deficit that we’re never going to overcome with one-time money,” she said.

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Proposed Cobb school calendars for 2018-20 call for Aug. 1 start dates

Draft proposals for the 2018-19 and 2019-2020 Cobb school calendars have been released, and they will be discussed at Wednesday’s school board work session.CCSD logo, Cobb 2018-19 school calendar

The two proposals submitted by the Cobb County School District administration for board consideration both include Aug. 1 start dates. Those dates are on a Wednesday for 2018-19 and a Thursday for 2019-20. This would be a departure for Cobb schools, which typically have had the first day fall on a Monday.

After some parental outcry this year, when classes began on July 31 and prompted a petition drive (previous East Cobb News post here), the proposed Cobb school calendars for the next two academic years would revert to starting in the first week of August, which has been the case in recent years.

Both proposed calendars have generally the same scheduled breaks—late September in the fall, mid-February in the winter and early April in the spring—as well as the usual Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s holiday breaks.

For the 2018-19 proposed calendar, the last day of school would be May 22, and for 2018-19, the final day would be May 20.

The school board adoption of the calendars is expected at their Oct. 26 business meeting.

The work session (full agenda packet here) on Wednesday begins at 8:30 a.m. in the board room of the CCSD Central Office, 514 Glover Street. The meeting also can be seen live on Comcast Cable Channel 24 and Cobb edTV.

Proposed 2018-19 Cobb school calendar

CCSD 2018-19 Calendar Proposal

 

Proposed 2019-2020 Cobb school calendar

CCSD 2019-20 Calendar Proposal

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CCSD-Marietta marching band exhibition postponed to Oct. 23

Because of rainy weather, the Cobb County School District-Marietta Marching Band Exhibition scheduled for tonight at McEachern High School has been pushed back to Oct. 23.

The Wheeler, Sprayberry and Lassiter bands were scheduled to take part in the event, which also has an Oct. 16 slate at McEachern that includes the Kell, Walton and Pope bands.

Here’s more from the CCSD on the exhibition, which includes guest performances from the Kennesaw State and UGA band.

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