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Sale bringing beef to gourmet store
• Walraven and Moore of Lyons Bridge Farm are buying Riverside Gourmet and plan to expand their product sales to Broad Street.

Lyons Bridge Farm beef is coming to Broad Street as Wes Walraven and Brian Moore have contracted to purchase the Riverside Gourmet, 250 Broad St., from Kevin Dillmon. Moore said Tuesday he had always wanted a downtown location to be able to market the beef which is raised on the Lyons Bridge Farm outside Cave Spring.

Moore said pop-up sales of the beef and other products under the Lyons Bridge Farm banner had done very well in the downtown Rome district in recent months. He has looked at a number of locations in recent weeks, including one of the six retail slots in the new Lofts at Third and Broad, then the Ransom Floral Co. building on Fourth Avenue which Moore said needed a little too much work.

After making it known on Instagram that he was looking for a downtown site, Dillmon reached out to Moore about the Riverside Gourmet shop.

"We talked about it and the deal is going through now," Moore said. Walraven said the sale is expected to close Monday.

Moore explained that he and Walraven are only purchasing the business. The building is owned by Hal Ruland and Hans Van Eikeren.

The Rome News-Tribune was not able to reach Dillmon on Tuesday.

Moore said Dillmon will continue to operate the Honeymoon Bakery business in the same 200 block of Broad Street.

"I am so pleased Lyons Bridge Farm Beef will now have a storefront on Broad Street," said Amanda Carter, the Downtown Development Authority director for downtown Rome. "LBF Beef is known for their high-quality meats and I am thrilled they will fill this niche downtown. The owners take such pride in what they do and it shows. Everyone was so excited when they popped up in the Pop-Up Pop-In Shop at 401 Broad St., so I am happy to see they have secured a permanent location in the 200 block."

"No changes are planned for the business other than we will also sell our beef (and now lamb and pork), salad dressings, meat sauces and grilling accessories," Walraven said. Moore said all six of the part-time employees at Riverside Gourmet will stay on and Moore said he was excited to have some help marketing the beef.

Freezers are slated to be installed in the building Tuesday, however Moore said the small shop down on the farm will still be open on a very limited basis.

Moore and Walraven have applied for both wine-pouring and wine package sales licenses which will be considered by the Rome Alcohol Commission on Nov. 19 at 5 p.m. in the City Commission chambers at City Hall.

County voters choose their own
• While Republicans won all their races in Floyd County, local candidates had bigger margins of support than Brian Kemp.

Sen. Chuck Hufstetler

Rep. Tom Graves

Rhonda Wallace

Republican candidates swept Floyd County in Tuesday's elections but a precinct-by-precinct look at the votes shows varying pockets of support.

In the countywide contests, state Sen. Chuck Hufstetler was the clear favorite. He pulled 73.46 percent of the vote against Democratic challenger Evan Ross and was the highest vote-getter in 11 precincts.

There are six precincts within the city limits of Rome and 19 in the unincorporated area, for a total of 25.

Among Hufstetler's biggest areas of support were Cave Spring, three precincts in Rome and the Chulio precinct, where he won 83.41 percent of the votes cast in his race. His margin of support got as high as 90.58 percent in Floyd Springs — in the northern part of the county — but voters there chose U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, as their favorite.

Graves won 90.91 percent of the vote in Floyd Springs against his Democratic challenger Stephen Foster, which was higher by far than the 73.04 percent he drew countywide. He was the preferred Republican in 10 precincts, including Mount Alto North in Rome.

Floyd County Commission Chair Rhonda Wallace received the biggest margin of support in two precincts. She won her contest with Democrat Stephanie Wright with 72.54 percent of the vote countywide.

Vanns Valley, between Lindale and Fosters Mill, gave her 77.43 percent of their vote — a higher margin of victory than Hufstetler, Graves and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp received there. Town Rome, in the city of Rome, also backed Wallace with more enthusiasm than the other three.

Kemp, who won 71.06 percent of the vote countywide against Democrat Stacey Abrams, was the highest votegetter in just two precincts. He pulled 85.38 percent in Everett Springs, in The Pocket, and 87.27 percent in Fosters Mill near Cave Spring.

South Rome, in the city of Rome, was the only precinct to reject the Republican candidates. Voters there gave Hufstetler 24.49 percent; Wallace got 22.87 percent; Graves took 22.40 percent; and Kemp pulled just 20.34 percent in his race.

The rest of the city precincts gave even their preferred Republicans margins in the 50s and 60s, while votes in the unincorporated areas ranged from the low 70s to 90s.

Turnout, however, was generally lower in the city precincts than the 57.79 percent of eligible voters who cast ballots countywide. North Rome was the only one to top the average, at 58.18 percent, and turnout was as low as 47.05 percent, in Mount Alto North.

Cave Spring precinct had the lowest turnout rate, with just 12.26 percent of the eligible voters going to the polls.

In the other 18 precincts in the unincorporated area, turnout was as high as 72.65 percent in Texas Valley and as low as 47.55 percent in Vanns Valley.

Read this story online for a link to the Floyd County Elections Office website.

Holiday rink ready for ice skaters
Forum on Ice

Like Santa Claus, Stefan Beck and Colin LaClair work seasonally. Unlike Santa's one night gig, LaClair and Beck get in about four months a year installing temporary ice rinks for Ice Rink Events all across the country. This week they've been busy setting up the 4,000-square-foot rink in the Forum River Center.

The Forum on Ice opens to the public Saturday morning at 10 a.m. but the rink will be ready Thursday night when Vargo Orthodontics has rented the rink for its clients to get a jump start on the holidays. Friday a special Taste & Toast event will be held at the Forum where guests who have bought tickets to enjoy samples from some of Rome's finest eateries will also be able to skate.

Once public skating begins, people will pay $10 and receive an armband that will be good for skating all day. Children 4 and younger can skate for $3. There will be times however when the rink is rented that it may not be available for public skating, depending on the size of the group renting the rink.

Thomas Kislat, the marketing assistant at The Forum River Center, said he got the idea for the rink while taking his family to skate in previous years at rinks in Atlanta and Chattanooga. He thought, why not Rome?

"I pitched the idea to Safari Hospitality (which manages the Forum for Floyd County) and to Lisa (Smith) at the convention bureau and they were all very supportive," Kislat said. "So we just made it happen."

The Forum will have 300 pairs of skates available in a wide range of sizes. Visitors can skate, then go Christmas shopping or out to enjoy one of the downtown restaurants, then come back and skate some more, all for that initial $10 fee, before they call it a day.

Kislat said that people who just want to watch people skate can do so for free, and enjoy some concessions while they're in the building.

For those who have never been to an indoor rink, make sure to bring a coat as the temperature in the building is cool so as to not slush up the ice.

The rink will be available for public skating seven days a week through Dec. 29, however it will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. The rink will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays.

Body found near Cave Spring
• Floyd County police are investigating the death. Officers closed U.S. 411 at Cunningham Road while investigators worked at the scene.

Floyd County police are investigating the discovery of a body off Cunningham Road near U.S. 411, between Six Mile and Cave Spring.

Police spokesman Jerome Poole said the body is that of a woman but details remained sketchy late Wednesday night.

Poole said a person, whom he didn't name, called 911 at around 4:30 p.m. after seeing the woman's body in a ditch by a fence across the service road to a water tower.

Detectives were called to what scanner traffic called "the crime scene" and both lanes of U.S. 411 were temporarily closed to vehicles. Police were scouring the area for clues until just before 7 p.m., when they headed back to headquarters to go over their findings.

Investigator Amy Nails, who is leading the probe, said more information would be released as it becomes available.

The coroner on duty could not be reached late Wednesday.

Staff writer Diane Wagner contributed to this report.

Read this story online to see a Google map of Cunningham Road at U.S. 411.

Sheriff's office looks to help prevent fraud, scams
• A retiree volunteers to serve as a scam and fraud prevention officer.

John Upton

The Floyd County Sheriff's Office has a new weapon to help prevent fraud and scams in the area.

On Wednesday, Sheriff Tim Burkhalter announced the appointment of John Upton as the agency's Scam and Fraud Prevention Officer, a position that will maintain online resources to "inform the public regarding current scam schemes in the Rome-Floyd County area," according to a release.

"He just happened to retire here in Rome," Burkhalter said of Upton. "He came to me and wanted to volunteer for something that could make a difference."

Recently retired as director of campus safety at Georgia Highlands College, Upton will also lead efforts to provide training to community groups and local businesses in the area of fraud prevention.

Upton had previously held other high level positions in law enforcement before moving to Floyd County to retire. Burkhalter said the agency is lucky to have someone with John Upton such an impressive resume in a volunteer position.

The sheriff said cases of online and phone scammers are on the rise and that there isn't much law enforcement can do about many of the cases once the money has changed hands. Often, the scammers will even pretend to be from the government or local law enforcement organizations.

"I've had them call me while I'm in church before begging us not to pick them up," Burkhalter said. "Every sheriff I've talked to seems to have this same problem in their county."

Burkhalter said the idea for a dedicated scam and fraud prevention officer now has legs and is ready to start walking.

"We have been targeting the locations with Money-Gram, Western Union and Ria money transfer desks inside and speaking with store managers to set up a program to train cashiers to indentify possible scam situations," Burkhalter said. "We plan to add signs at point of sale locations to serve as reminders that law enforcement will never solicit money by phone or online. We've got to remind folks that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

FCSO has already collected information from the Secret Service, FBI and GBI during the planning stages of their new fraud prevention efforts, even speaking with executives at some of the money transfer companies. Burkhalter said the program will only continue to evolve to help prevent fraud before it happens.

For more information on how to schedule a fraud prevention and identification program, contact Upton at or call the FCSO at 706-291-4111. Citizens may also visit the agency's website at or on Facebook for additional information about scams.


Today's artwork is by Lily Ivester, a Darlington sixth-grader.