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CANTON: Once thriving downtown is shrinking

CANTON, Ga. - Some folks are getting nervous about the economic future of downtown Canton.

The seat of Cherokee County was once a thriving textile town. You can tell from the historic photos hanging on the wall of the Bus Stop Barber Shop.

But after 42 years of cutting hair, owner Wayne Sutton is worried because so many businesses around him are disappearing.

"I think everything's leaving and it's going to hurt downtown," Sutton said Monday.

One of downtown Canton's two banks will close its doors in just a few weeks.  The downtown post office shut down earlier this year.

Cherokee County Commissioners abandoned their downtown headquarters just a few years ago.  Now there's talk the Cherokee County School System is thinking about moving its headquarters.

Canton's mayor admits it's been an uphill battle to fill the growing vacancies.

Woodstock restaurant, bank reach agreement to stay open

State tax credit program raises $50M for scholarships

State tax credit program raises $50M for scholarships

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Department of Revenue stamped its approval on $50 million in donations under the Georgia Scholarship Tax Credit Program.

The program lets people and businesses get tax credit for donations to scholarships for Georgia children to attend private schools.

Fifty million dollars is the most allowed under the program. In 2012, the statewide cap on donations will increase by the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index until 2018.

Individuals can donate up to $1,000, while married couples have a donation cap of $2,500. Corporations can donate up to 75 percent of their state income tax liability.

The American Federation for Children estimated more than 6,000 students last year got scholarships to attend private schools through the program.

Best out-of-the-ordinary Halloween events around Atlanta you don't want to miss

Best out-of-the-ordinary Halloween events around Atlanta you don't want to miss

Fernbank BOO-seum Trick-or-Treat

Saturday, October 29 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Get ready to have a screaming (in delight) good time! For one day only, Fernbank Museum is becoming Fernbank BOO-seum. Little Beat Music, Inc. will provide family-friendly tunes and face painting will inspire those who didn’t quite finish their costumes. Plus, enjoy a frightening-ly fun Halloween party featuring games, crafts, hands-on activities and special treats for kids in costumes.* (*Treats available while supplies last.)

Help name Woodstock's new amphitheater

Help name Woodstock's new amphitheater

WOODSTOCK, Ga. -- The city of Woodstock is preparing to break ground on a new amphitheater and is looking for a corporate partner to help name it.

Construction will begin early next year on the venue, which will host the Woodstock Summer Concert Series and other special events.

"This facility will be the centerpiece of downtown Woodstock, enabling the city to attract many new and larger and concerts and special events year-round," Woodstock Parks and Recreation director Preston Pooser said in a statement. "The amphitheater will be a premier facility in Georgia, bringing tens of thousands of visitors into Woodstock each year."

For more information about the amphitheater or to request a proposal package for becoming a sponsor, call Woodstock Parks and Recreation at 770-517-6788.

All proposals must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14.

$10 million in low interest student loans up for grabs

$10 million in low interest student loans up for grabs

ATLANTA -- State officials have re-opened the pool for $10 million in low interest student loans. 

Lawmakers had set aside $20 million to help families after an overhaul of the lottery-funded HOPE scholarship took effect this summer.

Only about 5,200 students applied for the loans during the initial application period, which ended in July.

The Georgia Student Finance Authority has now re-opened the application process for the remaining $10 million in available loans.

Students have until Oct. 31 to apply for the Student Access Loan Program. 

For applications and details, visit GAcollege411's website.

Georgia Lottery sales falling short

ATLANTA -- Turns out the budget for education expenses was richer than reality.

The Governor's Office says lottery revenues continue to fall short of expected revenue despite that fact that ticket sales are up in the first quarter of this year.

"We budgeted more revenue than we are now expecting to receive," said Governor Nathan Deal's spokesman, Brian Robinson. "We budgeted $903 million in the fiscal year 2012 budget. Fiscal year 2011 lottery deposits to education were $846 million."

11Alive started digging into lottery revenue because of cuts to the Pre-K program. $54 million was cut to make up for falling lottery tickets sales in fiscal year 2011, which ended in June. That caused an exodus of experienced educators from the program.

So how did we get here?

Things started going in the wrong direction in the fiscal year of 2011: Total revenue: $3,597,222,000, down $48,175,000 from the year before, or 1 percent.