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Fairview BBQ tradition continues
• For nine years the Fairview/ES Brown Heritage Corp. has used barbecue to raise money.

Joyce Perdue-Smith

Joyce Perdue-Smith remembers when the Fairview ES Brown Heritage Corp. raised money by pulling a smoker into a parking lot of a Cave Spring funeral home to raise funds for a surveyor to evaluate the property of the historic school.

"We were trying to buy the property at the time," she said.

It has been 10 years since Perdue-Smith found out the first-grade building of the Fairview Colored School was still standing on the side of Padlock Mountain, and it took another year for fundraising efforts to get the restoration efforts up and running.

A large part of those fundraising efforts has been the Fairview Brown Annual BBQ, which will continue to be a yearly event even after the school is restored, Perdue-Smith said. The barbecue is provided by Cartersville's Johnny Mitchell's Smoke-house and beef brisket from Lyons Bridge Beef.

Most of the orders have been take-outs but there were some dine-in customers, Perdue-Smith said.

"It was a team effort," Bernice Jackson, coordinator of the barbecue said. "We still have a lot to do (at Fairview) but it has been great working on this project."

The inside work of the Fairview School is complete with exterior work and other projects the only things standing in the way of the school opening for the public access.

Perdue-Smith said the Fairview ES Brown Heritage Corp. is waiting to be added to Georgia's register of historic places.

The grounds also need to be handicap accessible, which is difficult based on where the historic school building is located, she said.

"We are hoping to be open by next year," Perdue-Smith said.

The first-grade building sat abandoned since the 1950s when, she said, and the building was only saved from falling in complete disrepair by the kudzu that grew over the building. Over the past nine years the Fairview ES Brown Heritage Corp. has raised money to purchase the property, stabilize sunken walls and more, to try to restore the school to its original state.

After the work is done partnerships between Floyd County Schools and the Alton Holman Heritage Arts Inc. to develop STEAM — science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics — curriculum at the school site. For more information about the Fairview ES Brown Heritage Corporation visit their website at fairviewbrown.org.


Downtown Rome will be full of graduates today
• Ambassadors with Downtown Development will wear yellow shirts and will help with parking and directions.

Four high school graduations will be taking place on Saturday, bringing friends and family to the downtown area throughout the day and into the evening.

Model High School was the first of the five high school graduations scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend, sending their graduates off Friday evening at the Forum River Center.

Rome High School will hold their commencement ceremony at Barron Stadium Saturday morning at 8:45 a.m. This is the system's second graduation held at the stadium, and Saturday morning's weather forecast shows sunny skies and a 78-degree temperature.

Across the river at the Forum, Floyd County Schools will have the rest of their graduations staggered throughout the day starting with Coosa High School at 10 a.m.

Pepperell High School will follow at 2 p.m. and Armuchee High School will round out the day at 6 p.m.

The Downtown Development Parking Office released a map Monday highlighting free parking areas for people attending this weekend's high school graduations.

Director Becky Smyth said Floyd County Schools has leased decks near the Forum River Center, so the staff has been reassigned as ambassadors to help people get around.

They'll be wearing yellow shirts.

Parking will be free at the parking decks on Third Avenue, Fourth Avenue and the corner of East First Street. There also will be free parking at the Fifth Avenue deck, the Midtown Transit Station and the Floyd County Courthouse.

Barron Stadium and the Downtown Tennis Center both have parking for Rome High graduation. There also will be spots available at the West Third Street lot, Heritage Park and Trinity United Methodist Church.

The free downtown shuttle, the Roman Chariot, will be running for those in need of assistance. It will run Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Text 706-413-2822 with your location for pick up.


Armuchee Bluegrass Festival continues through the weekend

Man shot by police released from hospital, booked into jail
• A Floyd officer is placed on leave during the GBI investigation into the incident.

Michael Lee Spears

The officer who shot a man after he reportedly barricaded himself in a Kingston Highway home and fired at police has been identified as a five-year veteran of the Floyd County Police Department.

According to Floyd County police:

Carlos Ribot, 31, was serving a search warrant with the SWAT team at 1933 Kingston Highway on early Thursday morning when 43-year-old Michael Lee Spears began shooting at police. Ribot returned fire and shot Spears.

Members of the SWAT team were able to give first aid and stabilize Spears until EMS could arrive and transport him to the hospital. No officers were injured during the shooting incident.

Spears was released from the hospital and booked in to the Floyd County Jail on Friday on seven counts of aggravated assault on an officer and charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was being held without bond in the medical cell block at the jail on Friday afternoon.

Floyd County police Sgt. Chris Fincher said Spears is a known gang member who was the subject of a search warrant by the drug unit.

Ribot was placed on administrative leave pending investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The GBI was called in to conduct an independent investigation, which will be provided to the Floyd County District Attorney's Office for review once completed.

In addition, an internal Floyd County Police Department review will be conducted to determine if training or policy violations exists, however this type of internal examination is common with incidents of this nature, Fincher said.

A Rome woman who was present at the time of the incident was also arrested. According to Floyd County Jail reports, Amanda Jean Nails, 34, of 1933 Kingston Ave., was charged with possession of a weapon by a convicted felon after the firearm was found inside her home Thursday morning.


TODAY'S YOUNG ARTIST

Today's artwork is by Bo Pilcher, a third-grader at Pepperell Elementary School.


Pool opens in time for heatwave
• Floyd County's EMA director says prepare for record-breaking temperatures.

Tim Herrington

The Northside Swim Center opens Saturday — just in time for an unseasonable heatwave going into the long Memorial Day weekend.

"We're looking at five or six days of just heat," said Tim Herrington, director of Floyd County Emergency Management Agency.

"We're not in the summer months yet, but they're talking about record-breaking temperatures in the month of May," he added. Friday's high of 95 degrees matched the record high set in 1960.

The swim center at 501 Kingston Ave. is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Admission is $5 for ages 4 and up, cash only. Children 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

The free play-in fountain at the Town Green in downtown Rome also is flowing from dawn to dusk, seven days a week, and the air-conditioned Parker Senior Center, 1325 Kingston Highway, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Daytime temperatures through Tuesday are forecast to be in the mid-to high-90s; sunny, hot and dry, according to the National Weather Service. Nights are expected to get down to around 70.

Herrington said Redmond and Floyd Medical Center will have medical personnel at the graduation ceremonies and some of the holiday events.

"They'll be out there with their cooling tents and misters, just in case," he said. "We'll play it by ear, but if we start having issues we're ready to open special shelters."

For now, he's urging people to hydrate. Drink more water than normal, he said, and wear sunscreen outside.

"If you have to work out in the heat, try to start early in the morning when the temperatures are cooler," Herrington said. "If you have to be out later, take frequent breaks in the shade."

While it's never safe to leave children or pets in a car — the first toddler death in 2018 happened in February — keep in mind vehicles will be heating up even faster now.

"No jumping out and running in stores, even for a minute," Herrington said. "Temperatures are already about 15 degrees above normal. It's not worth the risk."

The NWS has a heat advisory in effect into next week: The unusual heat this early in the season will likely break several daily high temperature records across the region and will put all-time monthly records in jeopardy over the Memorial Day weekend.

Today's high is forecast to be near 96, with a heat index value as high as 99. The heat index measures the level of discomfort based on a combination of the temperature and humidity.

Sunday's high is expected to be around 97 and it's likely to hit 98 on Monday and Tuesday.

The extended forecast gives a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms Wednesday night and Thursday, when the high could drop to around 94 degrees.

A free heat safety app is available from OSHA, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. It calculates the heat index, displays a risk level for outdoor activity and sends reminders about protective measures.