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County board reviews annexation request
• Gordon County also covers the possible abandonment of Johnson Lake Road, the Sallacoa Creek watershed and bid awards.

An annexation notice from Shaw Industries Group Inc. to bring property on Union Grove Road into the city was brought before the Gordon County Board of Commissioners earlier this week.

County Administrator Jim Ledbetter notified the board of Shaw's intent during Tuesday night's board meeting.

Shaw applied through the city for an annexation of property located at 843 and 947 Union Grove Road on Oct. 5. The property is 86.31 acres plus existing Shaw Industries buildings — with 500 employees working at their — of 1,286,500 square feet and 860,400 square feet. The current value of the land is $22,501,770.

The City Council approved the annexation and zoning request from Shaw during its Oct. 8 meeting. The city's zoning advisory board will meet on Nov. 8 at 4 p.m. to further discuss the matter, to be followed by a public hearing on Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. At the public hearing, the applicant will likely be present to state reasons for their annexation request and anyone who is in opposition will be able to voice their point of view as well, Assistant City Administrator Paul Worley explained.

"I think their desire is to obtain sewer service in that area," said Worley. "Shaw is having issues with their septic tanks and there is sewer system available in that area."

City Utilities Administrator Larry Vickery stated charges for the sewer extension are calculated to be $208,000, which was approved by the City Council members on Oct. 8.

Shaw Industries Real Estate Manager Jeff Swanson released a statement regarding the request. "Shaw is interested in the opportunity to connect to the city sewer system that has recently been extended further down Union Grove Road. Connectivity was not previously a viable option because sewer lines were not in close proximity to our distribution facility," Swanson said. "With adjacent construction and infrastructure improvement projects nearing completion, the opportunity to transition to the city sewer system is appealing to Shaw and requires annexation into the city."

Also during Tuesday's meeting, county commissioners discussed possibly abandoning a closed portion of Johnson Lake Road, removing it from county control.

The Gordon County Road Department and the Georgia Department of Transportation both confirmed there is no public need to keep this portion of the road open, as it is no longer in use, Ledbetter said.

The two landowners of the property are currently working with a potential buyer, on the condition that the portion of the road is abandoned. No formal decision was made, as it was the first introduction of the issue and a public hearing must be held.

The Sallacoa Creek watershed was addressed, where a dam was declared a limestone sinkhole. Since this sinkhole threatened public safety, Ledbetter said, the dam was closed and decommissioned.

According to the earlier established National Resources Conservation Agreement, the only obligation of the county is to twice a year for the next ten years mow the surrounding lawn and make sure the sinkhole hasn't grown. There is a budget of $3,000 a year for this plan. The motion was approved by the board.

Also, American Tower Management requested for the cellular site lease with the county to be renewed for the Sonoraville cell tower. The current lease is about to run out, and the cell tower companies want long-term assurance that they'll have coverage in Gordon County, Ledbetter said.

As additional benefits for signing the lease, the county would receive a $30,000 signing bonus, an annual 3 percent rent increase, and a $200 revenue share on each subtenant that adds an antenna to the tower.

The commissioners approved the motion to sign the lease, which is renewable and would expire again in 2029.

Two bid awards were also announced and approved in the meeting.

The board approved the purchase of a heavy duty truck lift which would be used to service the new Gordon County fire trucks. The bid was awarded to A&H Auto Group, a local vendor with the lowest bid, for $36,940.

Another bid for two breathing and air cascade systems for the fire department was awarded to VITCO Fire and Safety for $40,895. This bid used money from the 2012 SPLOST fund.


Local Olympians
• The Gordon County Special Olympics celebrates the athletes and connects them with the community.

For as long as Alecia Segursky can remember, Special Olympics has been a part of the Gordon County community. She became involved in 1995, and has been working with the organization ever since.

Special Olympics is an international nonprofit sports organization that connects athletes with intellectual disabilities to coaches, volunteers and workers. In 2018, the movement celebrated its 50th anniversary, noting that it now consists of over 5 million athletes, 1 million coaches and volunteers, and 100,000 competitions yearly in over 170 countries.

On Tuesday, the Gordon County Special Olympics track and field events took place at the Gordon Central's Ratner Stadium. Though the location rotates, the year-round sports training and athletic competition remain consistent for participants. Students from both Calhoun City Schools and Gordon County Schools were represented this week, as well as staff and volunteers.

Segursky said the sporting events put on by Special Olympics are a great way to bring people of all ages and skills together.

"It gives the athletes an opportunity to feel included in our community," said Segursky, who serves as both the special education coordinator for Gordon County Schools and the director of Gordon County Special Olympics. "There are a lot of times our kids don't have the same opportunities as everyone else. This lets them feel celebrated."

Teresa Holcomb, a mother of two Special Olympics athletes, has been participating in the sporting events with her children for years. Her son Junior Adkins, 26, has been competing since he was little.

"I think it's a good program for the kids, I really do," Holcomb said, as her daughter Jennie was being awarded a first place ribbon. "It's nice to see them like that. It thrills my heart."

Special Olympic events are a great opportunity for community involvement and are always open to the public.

For more information regarding upcoming events, visit the Gordon County Special Olympics Facebook page.


Fields of Faith proves huge success
• Student leaders share their faith with a huge crowd at the Calhoun-Gordon Fellowship of Christian Athletes event.

On Wednesday night, as Calhoun High School's Phil Reeve stadium was slowly filling up, Fellowship of Christian Athletes leaders were preparing for Fields of Faith, an annual event that always brings out a good crowd. The night is dedicated to gathering the community in one place to worship and pray, hear student testimonies, and participate in group activities.

This year, as opposed to previous years, students were primarily running the Fields of Faith event, with members of the Impact Team being the primary facilitators.

"The impact team is made up of students from all six schools," said Kelly Cohea, youth minister at Rock Bridge Community Church and member of the FCA leadership board. "They work to plan all of our events, but mainly Fields of Faith."

A small portion of both the FCA and impact leadership teams, students Bailey Brewer, Marcus Phillips, Kyndall Cain, Meegan Roberts, Ashton Ensley, Riley Triplett, Lindsey Lowrance, Kevin Jones, Zane Stewart and Brodie Matthews represented all of the local middle and high schools.

"Fields of Faith is like an outreach," Sonoraville sophomore Riley Triplett said. "It unifies us to give something for all of us to come together and do with each other."

"We're just a bunch of kids that are crazy for Jesus and we just want to share it with everybody," said Calhoun High senior Ashton Ensley.

Among these student leaders, many claimed to be part of both FCA and Fields of Faith since they were in elementary school.

The event began with an opening prayer before sunset, a group dance and a series of songs led by the all-student worship band.

Four testimonies were shared and afterward, a skit was performed where posters displayed descriptive words.

Sonoraville freshman Zane Stewart explained how the words on one side of the poster described a person before they were a Christian — using words such as "judged," "unworthy," "failure" — on the other side were adjectives describing a person after they became a Christian — using "accepted," "worthy," "difference-maker."

"When we came up with the idea of (this skit), I thought it was a good idea," said Sonoraville freshman Brodie Matthews. "We do it in our home church and it really impacts the people around us."

This year's Fields of Faith drew a sizable crowd and connected members of the larger community as well.

But Cohea said that this event is more than just a gathering, but a statement regarding how this generation of students wants to make a difference in this world.

"We're divided in so many areas," said Cohea, "but to be able to come together as Christians here at Fields of Faith is great to see."

Although Fields of Faith is one of their main events, Gordon County's FCA is in the process of planning other potential get-togethers for the 2018-2019 academic year.

For more information visit the local FCA group's website at cgfca.org or follow the group on Facebook or Twitter.


Spay, neuter clinic next month part of Girl Scout's final project

Anna Trantham has been in Girl Scouts ever since kindergarten. Now the Sonoraville High School senior is preparing to complete her final task as one, reaching the pinnacle of her time in scouts with her Gold Award project.

With a lifelong loves for animals and aspirations to be a veterinarian, it was natural for Trantham to draw inspiration for her project from them.

"It's always kind of been there," she said.

Since April, she has been working at Calhoun Pet Care in the kennels, after completing her work-based learning for school there.

Trantham got to talking with Dr. Keri Hogan about what she could possibly do for her Gold Award project. The idea for a low-cost spay and neuter clinic was shared, with Hogan and her staff helping a team of volunteers organized by Trantham. She called two clinics, one in Chattanooga and one in Dalton, to find out more about what she would need to do to make it happen, she said.

After developing a project proposal, Trantham had to speak before a review board to have it approved. With the go-ahead, she started sharing promotional and educational flyers to spread the news.

The clinic will be held Nov. 10 at Calhoun Pet Care, 202 Williams St. However, those wishing to participate must sign up during a registration day on Oct. 30, from 6-6:30 p.m., at Calhoun First United Methodist Church, 205 E. Line St. No walk-ins for the clinic will be allowed.

The cost of the clinic is $25, which must be paid in cash on registration day. The clinic has 15 spots open for sterilization, specifically nine male animals and six female animals.

"You can't go wrong with spaying and neutering," Trantham said, encouraging attendance by those with pets who haven't been sterilized yet.

Trantham said all animals must be no more than 50 pounds and no older than 5 years old. Animals that do not have a rabies tax or certificate will be vaccinated at a cost of $5.

As part of the requirements of her project, Trantham must further refine her project outline after holding the clinic to determine how her idea could be improved and how it could be sustained on a long-term basis, she said. She will have to go back before the board of review before she will achieve that long-awaited Gold Award.

"It feels awesome," she said of being so close to that final goal of Girl Scouts.

Trantham is looking at attending Auburn University, or perhaps the University of Georgia, after high school, she said.


Community Calendar

Week of Oct. 14

The Friends of the Calhoun - Gord on County Library, 100 N. Park Ave., will hold the last day of their book sale today, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be paperbacks and hardback fiction and nonfiction for children and adults. Prices range from $0.50 to $2. This sale includes a large children's selection. Friends members are eligible for a free book. All of the proceeds from the sale go to support programs at the library as well as the purchase of new books.

A benefit to support Peggy McGuire will be held at Oostanaula School today, from 5-9 p.m. The funds raised from the breakfast will be used to cover costs related to McGuire's kidney transplant not covered by her insurance, specifically the cost of anti-rejections medication which she must take twice a day to keep her kidney healthy and functioning. There will be hamburger and hotdog plates with sides along with dessert for purchase. There will also be an auction, cake walks, singing and other activities. Tickets will be sold through Oct. 19 for

a change to win a Yeti cooler and a Marlin .22-caliber rifle — winner does not have to present. To make a donation or purchase tickets call Peggy at 706-879-0614 or Tammy at 678-986-0869. Donations can also be mailed to Georgia Transplant Foundation at 2201 Macy Drive, Roswell, 30076, — include "Peggy McGuire in the memo field on your check.

Week of Oct. 21

A benefit pancake breakfast will be held Oct. 27, from 7-10 a.m., at Long-Horn Steakhouse, 1301 Lovers Lane Road, to support Peggy McGuire. The funds raised from the breakfast will be used to cover costs related to McGuire's kidney transplant not covered by her insurance, specifically the cost of anti-rejections medication which she must take twice a day to keep her kidney healthy and functioning. The cost of the breakfast is $5, for pancakes, sausage, juice or coffee. For more information call Tammy at 678-986-0869 or 706-624-5308.

The Fairmount City Library will hold a meet and greet for local author Anita Roper Foster on October 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. She will have copies of her book "In the Pines: Short Stories and Poems" available. If you need directions or have questions call the library at 706-337-3110.

Week of Oct. 28

First Thursday Book Club will meet on Nov. 1, at Shoney's on Red Bud Road at 7 p.m. We will discuss "The Buried Giant" by Kazuo Ishiguro. From the winner of the Nobel Prize in literature and author of the Booker Prizewinning novel "The Remains of the Day" comes a luminous meditation on the act of forgetting and the power of memory. Arrive a little earlier to enjoy dinner. For more information contact Roberta Charbonneau at 678-773-5655.

Pleasant Valley Baptist Church will hold its third annual Christmas Bazaar Craft Festival on Nov. 3, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 3882 Red Bud Road. There will be food, local music and crafty vendors. The proceeds will be put toward maintaining the church's community playground.

Week of Nov. 4

The Calhoun-Gordon Retired Educators Scholarship Auction will be held Nov. 7 at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, 1151 Ga. 53 Spur. A silent auction will be from 10 a.m. to noon, followed by a live auction after lunch. The cost of lunch is $15. Sheriff Mitch Ralston will be the auctioneer. Check out after the auction is at 2 p.m.

Week of Nov. 11

Calhoun First Presbyterian Church will hold its Mistletoe Market on Nov. 16-17 at 829 Red Bud Road. The hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $1 at the door. There will be entertainment and homemade treats along with arts and crafts to shop.

Ongoing

The Gordon Central High School Class of 1993 will hold its 25-year reunion on Saturday. Please send your updated contact information to gchs1993calhoun@gmail.com to receive your invitation.

For information on holding or supporting a benefit at the Oostanaula Community Club in Calhoun, call Barbara Talley at 770-608-2050. The club is located at 1595 Oostanaula Bend Road Southwest in Calhoun.

Gordon County Democrats meet the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the McConnell Community Center, 115 McConnell Road, Calhoun. All Democrats are welcome.

The community is welcomed to the Southern Cruisers Riding Club in Rome. Gordon County is part of our chapter's catchment area. We are a group of fun loving motorcycle enthusiasts who enjoy getting together to ride, eat and generally enjoy each other's company. We generally ride twice a month in Northwest Georgia and Northeast Alabama area and most rides are less than 500 miles. We meet every month for dinner to discuss upcoming rides. We are a group of all makes and models of bikes. It's not what you ride, it's that you ride. We have no dues and no commitments. All we ask is that our members help support our chapter by being actively involved in our rides and events. We ask that everyone remember that safety is paramount; ride safely and live to ride another day. We are a family-oriented riding group and do not permit any alcohol or drugs at any chapter ride. If you like to ride, we would like to have you ride with us. We look forward to riding with you. Jon Benson, Chapter Leader; Crank.scrc002@yahoo.com or 678-901-7445.

Grief Support Group to help and encourage after the death of a loved one. GriefShare is a special weekly seminar and support group designed to help you rebuild your life. Mondays, 7-9 p.m., until Nov. 26 at the Calhoun Seventh-day Adventist Church, located at 1411 Rome Road Southwest in Calhoun. For more information visit calhounsda.com or call 706-629-5470 or 706-383-5661.

The Calhoun Area Writers meet every third Friday of the month at 343 S. Wall St. from 6-7:30 p.m. The club exists to support writers, from published authors to those who simply enjoy writing down their thoughts.