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3 stops, 5 meth arrests
• Calhoun Police officers arrested five on methamphetamine and other charges in three different incidents.

Candace Cromer

Donald Hayes

Cody Wampler

Chad Watkins

Tamecia Watkins

Calhoun Police Department officers arrested five different individuals between Friday and Saturday on methamphetamine and other drug charges stemming from three unrelated incidents.

The first situation began at about 6:45 p.m. on Friday when a Calhoun police officer approached a pickup truck parked on private property behind an electric sub station on C.L. Moss Parkway.

According to police and Gordon County Jail records, Candace Annette Cromer, 37, of 2721 E. Hermitage Road, Kingston, and Donald Lamar Hayes, 56, of 476 Union Grove Church Road, Calhoun, were both charged with possession

of methamphetamine and possession of drug related objects.

Reports say an officer found the pair loading totes and boxes from the ground into the back of the truck. The officer also saw the two people approach the passenger side of the vehicle, which was out of his view.

Cromer and Hayes gave the officer different reasons for being parked in the area so far from the road. After Hayes refused to give the officer permission to search the truck, a K9 was called to the scene and alerted positively to the presence of drugs.

Officers then searched the truck and found a small plastic baggie with a white crystal substance and a glass pipe in the center of the truck near the gear shifter, as well a small baggie with residue inside a purse in the truck.

Hayes and Cromer both denied ownership of the objects and were arrested.

Just a couple of hours later, at about 8:45 p.m., Cody Christopher Wampler, 27, of 2896 Taylor Town Road, Resaca, was arrested and charged with possession of heroin, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, transactions in drug related objects, and driving on roadways laned for traffic.

Wampler was pulled over by a Calhoun police officer after crossing a double yellow line and nearly striking the officer's vehicle. The officer noticed an odor of marijuana coming from Wampler's car, and when Wampler opened his wallet the officer saw a hypodermic needle inside.

Wampler was then put in handcuffs and while searching his pockets the officer felt something inside Wampler's pants. Wampler was allowed to remove what turned out to be a bag containing two baggies of suspected marijuana and one baggie containing suspected methamphetamine.

While searching the vehicle the officer then found two baggies in the trunk that Wampler said contained heroin. He told the officer he sells heroin and forgot it was in his trunk.

The estimated weight of the drugs was: 2 ounces of marijuana, 8.5 grams of meth and 1 gram of heroin.

Just a few hours after that incident, a traffic stop at about 1 a.m. Saturday morning resulted in two more methamphetamine arrests.

Reports say Chad Watkins, 39, and Tamecia Watkins, 34, both of 263 Mountain Horse Drive, Calhoun, were arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine. Tamecia Watkins was also charged with possession of drug related objects.

The pair was traveling on Highway 53 when an officer stopped them due to a nonworking tail light. A K9 officer was called to the scene and alerted positively after an "free air sniff" around the vehicle.

A search of the vehicle then turned up a glass smoking device with residue inside the driver's purse, while the passenger admitting to having methamphetamine inside his sock.

Both were arrested.


Ideal Meals opens new location

Just over two weeks ago, a new prepared meal service opened its doors on downtown Calhoun's West Line Street. Ideal Meals' new location marks the first physical expansion of a business that began in Rome three years ago and has since won three consecutive Rome News-Tribune "Best of" awards for meal prep services.

The idea of turning meal prepping into a business was not something that seemed obvious to Ideal Meals co-owner Amanda DeWitt in the beginning. She prepared meals in advance for herself and her family, but it wasn't until others began to notice and ask her to do the same for them that she realized it was something she could do professionally. She teamed up with co-owner Casey Gray, who also had an interest in healthy cooking and meal prepping, and the two got to work making menus and finding clients.

Gray said everything grew by word of mouth in the beginning and that she and DeWitt were surprised by how quickly they developed a strong base of clients both in Rome and in other places, like Gordon County. Ideal Meals became so successful that they purchased a refrigerated van and traveled multiple days a week to Calhoun, Cartersville, Summerville and Cedartown.

"We were coming here all the time. I mean, we had 100 people ordering here," Gray said of Calhoun. "So, we decided that we should start looking for a space in this area."

That's how they found themselves moving into their new spot at 235 W. Line St., Suite 7.

"It really is perfect for what we need," Gray said. "We wanted it to be somewhere easy to find, but we knew we'd only be here a few days out of the week, so it didn't need to be on a main street or anything like that."

Open just two days a week, Ideal Meals in Calhoun is what Gray called a "pick-up location."

Before, when DeWitt and Gray were driving the van into town each week, clients had only an hour to meet up with them and get their food. There wasn't a lot of flexibility for people who might be busy during that time window. Now, clients order their meals online through the Ideal Meals website, www.idealmealsrome.com, and can come to the store to pick up any time during store hours.

"People really seem to appreciate it," Gray said. "We're working moms, so we knew from the beginning that opening our hours would really help parents or people who work really strict hours find us."

The process for ordering from Ideal Meals is simple. First, clients visit the website and take a look at the weekly menu options. They are prepared a week in advance so that customers can look them over and make decisions before orders are due. All orders must be in by Friday at 5 p.m. and can be completed on the website, under the ordering tab.

After ordering, all customers have to do is pick-up in store. Delivery is also available for those who can't make it in. Deliveries require a four-item minimum.

When asked whether or not Ideal Meals would accommodate specialty diets like gluten free, Paleo, or Keto, Gray said the business does not make meals according to those guidelines. Instead, she said they focus on creating nutritional meals and options that fit into a typical healthy diet. Some examples include zucchini-banana bread, Greek chicken and quinoa salad, and stuffed sweet potatoes.

"There are so many fad diets out there that we're not really able to accommodate every single one," she said. "So, we will work with customers if, for example, they're allergic to shrimp and we have that on the menu. We'll make sure to keep their meals completely separate from that, but we don't make specialty foods."

Gray also said that while weight loss is something many Ideal Meals customers have experienced, it is not a diet program.

"We have had a few customers who have lost a lot of weight by joining. One lady who comes in from Calhoun actually lost 30 pounds just by switching eating out at lunch for our lunches," she said. "But that's not really what we're about. We just want to help people save time and still eat food that is good for them."

Ideal Meals in Calhoun is located at 235 W. Line Street, Suite 7. Store hours are Sundays from 4 to 8 p.m. and Mondays from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 6:30 p.m. For more information, call 706936-0880. To access weekly menus, visit the Ideal Meals website or Facebook page. New weekly menus are posted every Sunday.


Council hosts Youth Leadership Class
Calhoun youth leaders gather for 26th year

Calhoun Mayor Jimmy Palmer and members of the Calhoun City Council welcomed the members of the current Calhoun Gordon Youth Leadership Class during their regular meeting Monday evening.

Seniors representing all four local high schools comprise the class in the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce's annual program. Palmer asked each of the several dozen students, and the program advisers, to introduce themselves during the meeting.

Palmer also recognized that the program is in its 26th year and that more than 1,200 students have participated over the years.

Nichol Linn with the chamber's Youth Leadership Committee said the students will, among other things, attend meetings of the Calhoun City Council and Gordon County Board of Commissioners, visit the state Capitol, learn about local emergency services, businesses, hospitals and participate in an outdoor adventure.

The students in the program include: Maggie Anderson, Ella Bennett, Carter Blackstock, Brooke Childs, Gage Darby, Lauren De- Foor, Kinsey Dennis, Drew Eickman, Tylor Einhellig, Vivianne Funes, Andrew Gallman, Yesenia Garcia, Lillian Glass, Katlyne Green, Aubrey Green, Ashley Hartness, Kaige Hegarty, Ariana Hernandez, Amelia Hunt, Cooper Hunt, Ann Fogle Jones, Mary-Kathryn

Kendrick, Aavyn Lee, Aurora Lopez, Jessica Lopez, Molly Mashburn, Carolina Morgan, Tripp Morrison, Valerie Narvaez, Riya Patel, Luke Peden, Florence Phillips, John Rainwater, Alex Repp, Andie Robinson, Jenna Santori, Sierra Scott, Zoey Stephens, Ben Stewart, Ashley Vasquez and Sarah Beth Vaughn.

In other business Monday the city council:

• Announced that the city will observe Halloween on Thursday, Oct. 31, from 5 to 9 p.m. for children 12 and younger. Downtown merchants and businesses will host Trick or Treat in Downtown Calhoun on that day from 4 to 6 p.m.

• Heard a second reading for a beer and wine package license for the Food City under construction at 225 Lovers Lane. That request will be eligible for public hearing on Oct. 28.

• Heard a second reading for a beer and wine package license for a store at 756 Highway 53. That request will be eligible for public hearing on Oct. 28.

• Heard a first reading for an annexation and zoning request for 6.31 acres along 1000, 1002 and 1004 S. Wall St. and 129 and 179 Kelly Court. The Zoning Advisory Board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 7 and the public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 11.

• Heard a first reading for an annexation and zoning request for .45 acres at 196 Davis Drive. The Zoning Advisory Board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 7 and the public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 11.

• Heard a first reading for an annexation and zoning request for 22.28 acres at 250 Johnson Lake Road. The Zoning Advisory Board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 7 and the public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 11.

• Heard a first reading for several sign variance requests. The Zoning Advisory Board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 7 and the public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 11.

• Approved a request from Calhoun Utilities to declare as surplus three vehicles: a 1997 Ford F350, a 2002 Ford F150 and a 2005 Ford Explorer.

• Approved a low bid by Signature Tennis Courts to repair and resurface tennis courts at a cost of $35,100 for resurfacing and $16,632 for repairing cracks. The project will be funded by the hotel/motel tax.


Locals pay tribute to Meadows

The Gordon County Republicans honored former Calhoun mayor and Georgia House of Representatives member John Meadows, who served on behalf of the 5th District before his death in 2018, at their meeting on Thursday evening.

Meadows' wife, Marie, his son-in-law, brother, and sister-in-law were present at the recognition ceremony, as were Representatives Matt Barton, Jason Ridley and Rick Jasperse, who spoke about the man they remembered for his humor, love of golf, dedication to family, and ability to "use reason to be effective."

Dianne Kirby, who knew John when they were children because he was friends with her older brother, also spoke about her memories of him. She recalled times they spent together in their youth and the way she was always able to get the boys to let her play with them by threatening to tattle on them. One story in particular, about lifting weights when they were children, brought a round of laughter.

"They were nine years older than I am, so I learned real fast that all it took was me saying, 'Guys, I'm gonna go tell Daddy what you're

saying if you don't let me lift weights with you,' and they'd let me do it," she said. "They'd start me on little weights and say, 'When you can't lift them no more, you have to leave.' One night, they decided Johnny was going to lift first, and he couldn't lift them. I did. They didn't let him live that one down."

Meadows took the jokes in stride, Kirby said, and the others who spoke about him told similar tales, revealing the former politician as a man of truly excellent humor — even in the workplace, where he worked on serious legislation like the colloquially known 'Campus Carry' bill.

Representative Jasperse worked on gun bills with Meadows said that though working on anything related to guns is always a stressful process, Meadows never let it get to him. Instead, he took opportunities to lighten up the stress of their job.

Once, Jasperse said Meadows sent him to get a gun bill reviewed by Stacey Abrams in an effort to be "more bipartisan."

It was Valentine's Day, and he said that when he asked Abrams about the bill, she looked at him like he was crazy. She agreed to do the work and returned it to him, marked all over with red ink. When Jasperse told Meadows about it, the older man had a laugh about his naivete.

"I went to his office and said, 'I want you to look what she did,' and he burst out laughing," Jasperse said. "Then he took it down to the Speaker's office to show him what I'd done!"

Jasperse also read out a speech from Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, who couldn't make it to the event on Thursday night, but wanted to share a few kind words about Meadows and his successful career in the state legislature.

"In the 11 months since Johnny was called home, not one day has gone by that I have not thought of him. His counsel was solid. His friendship was like a rock to lean on and a hand to hold when I grew weary. Unlike many others, he was never shy about telling me no or what I didn't want to hear. I know his memory will be with me until I see him again," Ralston's message read. "The tribute tonight is very appropriate. John Meadows loved Gordon County. From these hills, he cast a shadow that extended from one end of the state to the other. Georgia was blessed to have him for a time. For those of us who had him in our lives, we are better for it. May his legacy live on and God continue to bless his memory."

Barton recalled times when he lived in Gordon County and witnessed first hand Meadows' dedication to community service. Once, he said, he came home at eleven at night to find the former Mayor outside investigating a water issue his neighbors were having in the middle of a rainstorm.

"Johnny hadn't been mayor for 10 or 15 years, but there he was at night checking on the houses in front of him," Barton said. "He always cared about our community and he continued to care no matter how long it had been."

Ridley remembered Meadows as both the joker and legislator, but also as a mentor who taught him "not to back down and to put his family first."

"He was always straight with you. He might hurt your feelings a little bit, but he'd say, 'But I still love you.' That was his favorite thing to say to somebody," Ridley said. "That's something I have a lot of respect for, someone who will come at you straight like that."

After all of the representatives shared their stories, the Meadows family was presented with a tribute plaque honoring John Meadows for his service, commitment to community, and lifetime of work.