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Alaina Palmer, a third-grader at Unity Christian School

Get it while it's hot: Coosa Valley Fair wraps up Saturday with circus, magician, chainsaw art and pageants

It’s the hottest fair around — literally.

“It was 100-plus yesterday,” Coosa Valley Fair Association President Mike Elliott said Friday. “It was in the 90s last year. This is the hottest year we’ve had to my knowledge.”

Elliott said that although the hot weather is affecting attendance a bit — causing Tuesday and Wednesday numbers to be down 10-15% from last year — folks are still coming out to enjoy the various offerings.

“We’ve got a lot of things for any age,” Elliott said. “We try to meet everybody’s interest. This year we have three new shows.”

During the last day of the fair Saturday, attendees can expect to be wowed by the new Los Moralitos Circus performers, Calhoun magician Michael Frisbee and the return of chainsaw carver Jeremy Smith, along with the Flower Show all day, the Miss Teen and Miss Coosa Valley Fair pageants at 7 p.m. and the WEdunit Band performing in the Livestock Pavilion at 7 p.m.

The circus shows are at 3 and 5 p.m. and feature a clown, motorcycles in a cage and two gentlemen balancing on a wheel together, Elliott said.

The Magic in Motion shows by Frisbee at 3:30, 6 and 8 p.m. on Frisbee’s mobile stage thrill him as much as anyone else.

“I’ve loved magic ever since I was a kid,” said the former Marine who served in Desert Storm and Desert Shield with an artillery unit. “Even when I was overseas, if there was a deck of cards, I’d do some kind of card trick for the guys in my unit. I do a lot of fairs and I just love seeing the reactions in the audience. It tickles my heart because I know they’re getting enjoyment out of it.”

He said his favorite trick involves color-changing handkerchiefs, but he is also in the process of training a couple of rabbits.

Special Events Committee Chair Wanda Whitten said she’s going to blame the hot weather for the fact that they had to cancel the Challenger Pageant involving women with special needs due to lack of participation, but the other two pageants are still a go with a combined seven contestants.

Pageant contestants will compete with an interview, casual wear, an on-stage question and an evening wear portion, Whitten said. The winner will go home with $1,000 and represent the Coosa Valley Fair in Greenville, South Carolina, at the Georgia Agricultural Fair.

“I can’t express how much we appreciate the community supporting us,” said Elliott, a member of the Exchange Club of Rome. “All the profit we make goes back to the community.”

Fair gates open at 10 a.m. and close at midnight Saturday.

Old caboose has a new home in Cave Spring

Downtown Cave Spring has a new addition to help illustrate the historical significance of the community.

An old caboose, which was donated to the Cave Spring Historic Society, was moved from the outskirts of town near the old railroad depot building to a new site adjacent to the Cherokee Vann Cabin on the square downtown.

Rome historian Selena Tilly said the caboose was originally used on Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad lines and was purchased by a local businessman to serve as a sign for his salvage business.

Cave Spring historian Billy Wayne Abernathy said efforts are underway to trace back its history. The old caboose will ultimately become a part of the display depicting the growth and importance of the railroad in Cave Spring.

Leaders in Cave Spring back before the Civil War formed a local corporation to start planning the railroad line. It was originally part of the Selma, Rome and Dalton Railroad, which wasn’t completed until after the war.

The old depot building in Cave Spring was finished around 1880.

By that time, the rail line was under the control of the Eastern Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad.

At one time the caboose was sold to someone in Alabama who ultimately returned it to Cave Spring. When a local businessman sold the depot building a number of years ago, he donated the caboose to the historical society.

It stayed on the depot property until last week because of the expense associated with moving it.

That was until Shane Miller Welding and Mechanical of Cedartown stepped in and agreed to assist with the move.

Abernathy said that the caboose definitely sticks out next to the historic cabin.

The cabin was discovered hidden away inside the remnants of the old Green Hotel building in 2010. Once the original cabin became obvious inside the hotel structure, an effort was made to learn more about its history and save it.

Plans call for the caboose to be refurbished both inside and out as funding is available.

Jury finds Orr guilty of felony murder

A Floyd County jury found a 19-year-old man guilty of felony murder but could not come to a resolution on the charge of malice murder in a 2018 Maple Avenue shooting.

Superior Court Chief Judge Bryant Durham ordered a pre-sentencing investigation for Keilan Laron Orr. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 19.

A judge can sentence a person convicted of felony murder or malice murder with up to a life term or a life term without parole. The difference between the two charges, basically, is intent. To prove malice murder a prosecutor must prove the intent to kill, but to prove felony murder they must prove the victim’s death occurred during the commission of a felony.

Prosecutors say Orr went into the home of 37-year-old LaMario Majors on Maple Avenue and gunned him down.

Orr admitted he shot Majors in a videotaped interview with Rome police detective Kyle York, presented Thursday by Assistant District Attorney Mary Beth Gregoire. His attorney David Lee Lumpkin of the public defender’s office claimed the act was one of self-defense.

Orr told police he was afraid the older man was going for a gun.

“I pulled my gun out. He started reaching, so I shot him,” he’s heard saying on the videotape.

He did not testify in his defense.

Majors was unarmed and two women — one who was at the home and another on a video chat with Majors — testified in the case.

But two witnesses testified that a gun was found nearly three months later, tucked deep into the underside of the sofa bed where he had been seated.

“It was Keilan who entered Mario’s place of residence and started this fight ... Keilan barged right in there, opened the door and shot him. He didn’t have to do it,” Assistant District Attorney Luke Martin told the jury on Thursday.

During the trial, Dr. Natasha Grandhi, an associate medical examiner with the GBI, testified that her autopsy showed two bullets entered Majors’ body. One ended up in his thigh. The other went through the back of his arm into his chest — indicating that he was turning away from his attacker — and passed through his lung and part of his heart before stopping in the other lung. He died in the hospital five days later.

There was testimony during the trial showing Orr believed Majors had stolen something from him.

A Floyd County Superior Court jury started deliberations at around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday but was unable to reach a verdict until just after noon on Friday.

In addition to felony murder Orr was convicted on charges of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and possession of a firearm during a crime.

It’s been hot one, but is it the hottest?

Not only has it been a long, hot summer, it has been an unusually hot fall so far.

In fact, only four days into the month Rome has had three record-breaking days in October — Tuesday and Wednesday broke the 1933 and 1954 records with 98 degrees and 100 degrees respectively, according to data from the National Weather Service.

Then Thursday topped the streak with 101 degrees, beating the 1954 record of 97 degrees. Friday failed to continue the trend of October 2019 record-breaking days. The record was 99 degrees from back in 1911, but Friday topped out just two degrees shy of that high at 97 degrees.

But has it been the hottest October on record for Rome, as Atlanta news stations are touting for the metro-area? Well, yes and no.

1954 still holds the record of most record-breaking days over 90 degrees in October — seven total — with the last one occurring on Oct. 14, 1954. However, in 1954 the hottest record-setting temperature for October was 99, which 2019 has beat with the 100 degrees on Wednesday and the broiling 101 degrees on Thursday. So this isn’t the longest spell of hot October temperatures. But, as for highest temperatures reached in the month, this is the hottest October Floyd Countians have witnessed.

The good news is, it doesn’t look like Romans are facing any more heat records this year. Starting Saturday, with a predicted high of 85 and a slight chance of storms, a cooling trend begins that should continue with highest highs only in the 80s and even dropping into the low 70s near the end of the month, according to the AccuWeather extended forecast. This makes the record for the latest over-90 degree record-breaking day in October, that being Oct. 25, 1931, most likely out of reach.

To continue the new, cooler forecast, Sunday is expected to have a high near 86 degrees and a 20% chance of rain, and Monday drops a bit further thanks to a 70% chance of rain to a high near 82 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Tuesday and Wednesday will finally start to really feel like fall, with predicted highs dipping just below the 80-degree mark for the first time this month. The lows will also take a nice dip into the high 50s by mid-week.