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Payten Arrington, a second-grader at Unity Christian School

Floyd County Commission expected to sign off on water system extension to Ball Corp.

The Floyd County Commission is expected to sign off on several agenda items today, including one regarding the Ball Corp. expansion project.

Ball Corp. revealed plans last month for another expansion of its Floyd County plant off Ga. Highway 53 and East Hermitage Road. The company plans to invest $217 million and add 140 positions to their workforce.

A $134,440 extension and upgrade of the Floyd County water system to serve the new facility is one of the first agenda items to be looked over. If approved, the upgrade will include 500 feet of new ductile iron water lines, large meters and fire hydrants.

The county commission also is expected to sign off on the purchase of two pursuit vehicles, one for the police department and one for the sheriff’s office. The cost would total $51,313.40.

During the public participation section, a group of Rome residents has said it plans to propose a “tether ban” for dogs. Organizer Rachel Meier said in a Monday email that they “are tired of seeing the neglect and the death that comes from” people staking the animals outside.

Two rezoning requests will have their first readings at the meeting.

The first request is the rezoning of a lot from community commercial to heavy commercial at 4756 Calhoun Road.

The second request is the rezoning of a lot from office institutional to suburban residential located at 1606 Kingston Highway.

The public hearings and votes will take place on Nov. 26 at 6 p.m.

Also today, the first preview of the 2020 budget will take place during the board’s pre-meeting caucus at 3:30 p.m. in the County Administration Building, 12 E. Fourth Ave. The regular commission meeting will follow at 6 p.m. Both meetings are open to the public.

Rome Board of Education plans vote on red light camera at Rome High School

At today’s Rome Board of Education meeting, members will vote on whether or not to allow speed cameras to be installed in front of Rome High School.

There has been debate on the initiative, but police and school board members hope the cameras will help keep drivers at the speed limit in the school zone on Veterans Memorial Highway.

According to a one-mile impact study conducted by RedSpeed USA, the company that likely would install the cameras in front of Rome High School, 274 drivers exceeded the speed limit by at least 11 mph within 9 hours.

At an October meeting, school board members listened to both Rome police and a representative from RedSpeed USA, but put off a vote concerning the installation of speed cameras to discuss it further.

In that meeting, Greg Park with RedSpeed USA, along with Rome Police Department Chief Denise Downer-McKinney and Capt. Chris DeHart, had a 30-minute question and answer session with school board officials.

Tickets would only be issued during school hours, Park told the board, beginning an hour before school begins and ending an hour after it ends. And they would be only for violations of more than 10 mph over the speed limit.

When a possible violation is registered, it would be sent to RedSpeed USA — who would review it and then send the video footage and license plate photo to the police. The police would decide whether or not a ticket should be issued.

Along with the speed camera vote, the school board will also have the first reading of an alternative discipline plan. Superintendent Lou Byers said they hope to have the discipline plan approved by December’s caucus.

The school board will also discuss a proposal for a parking site for the new school buses.

Cave Spring Elementary celebrates Veterans Day

Students, teachers, and their families at Cave Spring Elementary celebrated Veteran’s Day through song this year.

Monday’s program began with Kyle Abernathy, the principal of the school, welcoming those who have served.

“Throughout the nation’s history, America’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guards have bravely answered the call to defend our freedom,” he said. “We can never fully repay our debt of gratitude to the more than 650,000 American service members who died in battle.”

After welcoming the veterans, the elementary school chorus, led by music teacher Erin Brooks, heartily sang “You’re a Grand Ole Flag.”

Brooks comes from a long line of military men in her family. Her grandfather, who served in the Air Force, was in attendance. She said honoring her family members who served is why organizing this event for the first time was important to her.

“It took a lot of practice, work, and dedication,” she said of the students who presented. “I think they were just excited to please me and the veterans, and they just had a good time.”

Then, the chorus members creatively used the alphabet to honor veterans by holding up patriotic-themed letters in a poem called “H is for Honor.”

“S stands for Sacrifice,” a student said to the crowd. “And the special American way of doing what’s right for freedom’s light to shine on the USA.”

Abernathy then sang “God Bless the USA.”

To honor the veterans in attendance collectively, the chorus saluted the veterans with the “Armed Forces Medley.”

Gene Vanhorn who served in Vietnam in the Army was invited by his daughter, Brittany Brown, who teaches at the school.

“I love to see students participate,” he said. “Patriotism isn’t really taught in schools anymore and we’re losing some of it. It has to start somewhere.”

Veterans Day by the numbers, from the heart

Longtime local law enforcement Chaplain Dave Thornton, who hails from a family with a long history of military service, paid special tribute to wounded warriors during his keynote address at the Rome Veterans Day service.

“Veterans Day, what it means to me, it means freedom,” Thornton said at Myrtle Hill Cemetery on Monday morning. “It means sacrifice, it means honor for those who served in the military. We should be thankful every time we meet a veteran ... Without you, we wouldn’t have freedom.”

Tracing military service all the way back through the Revolutionary War, Thornton said more than 41.8 million men and women have gone into war. Combat-related battle deaths numbered 651,031. Another 308,800 died in non-combat incidents while on duty and 230,200 made the ultimate sacrifice in incidents not directly related to in-service missions. Non-mortal combat wounds have numbered more than 1.4 million

As he addressed those who have been injured in battle, choking back tears, the chaplain reminded the crowd at Myrtle Hill that all battle scars would not be seen in the flesh.

“Some scars are from the pain and torment you see from a brother or somebody else falling,” Thornton said. “Your brothers and sisters believe in you, I want you to know that. We back you with our heart, soul, mind and spirit. When you need help, reach out.”

Thornton said America has more than 16.9 million living war veterans.

Thornton recalled skipping school with a friend one day to join the military at the age of 18.

His father, W.C. Thornton, fought at Utah Beach during the World War II D-Day invasion. After serving with the Army, and getting his discharge, it wasn’t long before he re-enlisted, this time with the Marine Corps, and served in Korea. After that he joined the Air Force. Years later Thornton recalls asking his father why he didn’t serve in the Navy.

“I can’t swim,” was the response.

“I knew it was my duty and my responsibility (to serve),” Thornton said. His service included a stint with the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army.

The Model High School band entertained the crowd with several patriotic numbers prior to the state of the ceremony.

Representatives from various veteran-related organizations laid wreaths around the Tomb of the Known Soldier, Rome native Charles Graves.

Bob Bennett, a 93-year-old World War II veteran who serves with the Shanklin-Attaway American Legion Post 5 Honor Guard, capped the ceremony with the traditional playing of “Taps.”