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County to review jail-medical proposals
• Voters approved more than $7 million in sales tax funds to expand the clinic for inmates with mental and physical problems.

Floyd County Commissioners are poised to award a contract tonight for the jail medical wing expansion project.

Three companies submitted proposals by the Aug. 28 deadline and a committee of staffers has been reviewing the plans. The plan is to award an at-risk contract, which means the winner would assume full responsibility at a guaranteed maximum price.

Commissioners caucus at 4 p.m. and start their regular meeting at 6 p.m. in the County Administration Building, 12 E. Fourth Ave. Both sessions are public.

The 2017 special purpose, local option sales tax package contains $5.2 million for the project. Collections don't start until April 1, 2019, but officials have been drawing from a $2.2 million earmark in the 2013 SPLOST.

Peacock Partnership is handling the architectural designs and engineering. The construction cost was capped at $5.4 million in the request for proposals that went out July 25.

Plans are to first build a new training center for the Floyd County Sheriff's Office in the parking lot of the facility at 2526 New Calhoun Highway.

The current training room, clinic and an unused pod of the jail will be gutted and reconfigured as an internal medical facility for inmates with physical or men tal health problems.

FCSO Jail Administrator Maj. Bob Sapp said it's a complicated job that will require security experience, since the jail will be operating as construction workers demolish and rebuild the wing.

Seven firms attended a mandatory prebid meeting at the jail but just three submitted proposals: Caddell Construction Co. Inc., of Montgomery, Alabama; Balfour Beatty in Atlanta; and Carroll Daniel Construction in Gainesville.

Also on the Commission's agenda tonight is a proclamation recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and several appointments to citizen boards.

A public hearing on a rezoning application for the former South Winds Inn motel on Martha Berry Highway in Armuchee has been canceled.

Tonya Shepard had been asking for multi-family residential zoning to turn the dilapidated and vacant commercial property into apartments. However, Planning Director Artagus Newell said Monday that she pulled the application and may seek to rehabilitate the property under its existing zoning instead.

Floyd students take to the water

Fifth grade students from every Floyd County elementary school participated in the Cardboard Boat Challenge at Georgia Highlands College this past Friday.

The event was put together by the Instructional Technology Department of Floyd County Schools.

Nathan Medley, the Boat Challenge organizer, put forth a challenge to all fifth graders at each elementary school to build a boat with nothing but cardboard and duct tape. This is a STEM challenge that has been done many times before but Medley wanted Floyd County's students to have the opportunity to participate.

"With the number of growing jobs in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields, I feel like our students in Floyd County need to be prepared for those types of jobs," Medley said. "Problem-solving skills are at the heart of STEM challenges. What better way for students to work together to complete a project that allows them to see if their ideas will work than to build a cardboard boat, take it out on a hot day, and see if it will float."

The event called for students to build a cardboard boat with only using duct tape and whatever cardboard they could get. The challenge was to be able to paddle it 50 yards. About 20 percent of the boats made it the whole 50 yards. Even though the other 80 percent did not make it, the students enjoyed the project and didn't mind falling in the lake on such a hot day.

GHC, who was host to the event, also provided STEM and science activities for the students.

The students were able to dissect frogs and sharks, learn about different bones of wildlife, play with Sphero robots, and much, much more. The college's science department, organized by Jason Christian, brought all the activities for the kids to play with before or after their challenge.

General manager Travis Schlenk had a busy offseason, parting ways with coach Mike Budenholzer and trading away the team's top scorer, Dennis Schroder, to begin the rebuild with a largely unproven roster.

Young is the centerpiece. He struggled in the second half of his only season at Oklahoma with poor shot selection and getting open against double-teams, but still became first major conference player in NCAA history to have 800 points and 250 assists in a single season.

After a rough early going in the NBA summer league, Young settled down and improved his shot selection and passing. Defensively, though, Young has a reputation for taking plays off, so he wants to begin rewriting the narrative when training camp begins Tuesday.

The Hawks have five exhibition games before opening the season Oct. 17 in New York.

"I can play defense," Young said. "I played for teams before if I didn't play defense, I wouldn't be on the court, and I've always been on the court. So that shows I can play defense. I'm looking forward to showing that I can."

Bazemore, about to begin his fourth season with the Hawks, said Pierce has installed a scheme that won't put too much responsibility on one player.

"The offense is not so intricate that you really have to think a ton," Bazemore said. "It's the freedom to react. All five guys on the floor have the freedom to make a play. It's not any set plays or any one guy. It's free flow. And it eases to the defensive end as well. We're all on a string. We're all moving together."

Church members head to crime scene
• A prayer initiative is beginning in the north Rome area where a gunfight erupted Sunday morning.

As Rome police are questioning the surviving victims of a Calhoun Avenue gunfight that left one man dead, members of a nearby church are preparing to walk the neighborhood in prayer tonight.

"The wellness of the community is the responsibility of the local church," Lyle Morris, who runs an outreach program at The Place Global, said Monday. "If there are murders, drugs, prostitution or other problems, a lot of times we're waiting on Jesus to act. But he gave us the authority; he told us to go into the world and make disciples."

Tamaine Deshaun McKnight, 35, of Rome was killed in a hail of bullets just before 4:20 a.m. Sunday in the parking lot of a vacant building at 510 Calhoun Ave. Three other men were also shot.

Evanda Spivey, 38, of a Beverly Drive address, and Sammy Riles, 33, of Columbus, were treated at Floyd Medical Center and released. Police Capt. Roy Willingham said Monday that investigators were questioning them about the incident.

"Supposedly it was a party of some kind, but we don't know yet how many people were there," he said.

Willingham said Ladory Robinson, 29, of a Burnett Street address, was still hospitalized with "multiple" gunshot wounds. FMC spokesman Dan Bevels said Robinson was not listed in the facility's public directory.

Morris said congregants Sunday were shaken by the killing that happened less than a quarter-mile from their meeting place. They went out from the church — in a half-vacant strip mall at 1107 Calhoun Ave. — to pray at the crime scene, stopping in at shops along the way.

"It was well-received," Morris said. "Especially by the older people in the community who have seen it go from a good area to a more crime-ridden place."

Plans are to become more of a presence, more of an influence, in the neighborhood. They'll go out to pray again tonight at 6 p.m. and, on Wednesday at 6 p.m., they'll talk about what's next.

"Our pastor, Shaun Davis, has a strategy," Morris said. "We will be discussing that — how we're going to impact the community for the kingdom of God moving forward."

Willingham said investigators are getting a clearer picture of the morning's events but it's slow work.

"The houses around that place ... They know what's going on, but nobody wants to talk to us," he said.

Stumbling into a writer's life
• Georgia author Karen White will be featured at the One Book Many Voices event next month.

At a time when she transitioned from a career in the business world to being a stay-at-home mom, Karen White kept hearing the voice of her sixth-grade teacher Mrs. Anderson.

This voice told her to be a writer, something plenty of teachers in her youth had encouraged her to do, whenever her face was not buried in a book. But at that moment 18 years ago, suffering from a "book hangover" and just not being able to pull herself into the next read, White did what she never wanted to do with her life — she sat down and started writing.

"To be honest, I had no goals," she said of writing her first book, "In the Shadow of the Moon."

With the benefit of not having a family reliant upon her income and the ability to stay at home and focus, White said the pressure that other writers feel was relieved. And without expectations for what her book would become, if even it would become that — she set out page by page, turning those into a chapters and eventually a final product.

"I just can't believe this is my life," she said.

Now with 25 books to her name, including two collaborations with other authors, and carrying the distinction of New York Times bestselling author, White will be the featured author for the 12th annual One Book Many Voices event in October.

The featured event will see White take the stage at the Rome High School auditorium, 1000 Veterans Memorial Highway, on Oct. 16, starting at 7 p.m.

"We're extremely excited to welcome Karen to Rome, and we hope we have great turnout," said organizer Tina Rush. "The book clubs in the area have been so excited."

Tickets for the event will be sold at the door for $5. They can also be purchased in advance from Dogwood Books, where owner Kenneth Studdard will have White's books available for purchase, just in time for her to autograph them after her speech.

In choosing White as the featured author, Rush said the event is turning its focus onto adult writers, after inviting children's and young adult authors for the last several years.

White is also a Georgia author, residing in Milton, and uses the South as the setting for her mystery-entwined books, writing about the places many locals have seen firsthand, like Charleston and New Orleans.

White will also meet with the winners of the One Book Many Voices essay contest during a reception in the high school media center before the event. These young writers were asked to write about a time in their life which lead to unexpected consequences and in retrospect what they would change, a prompt inspired by White's book "The Night the Lights Went Out."

The winners of the youth essay contest will be announced Sept. 29. The top three overall winners each receive a cash prize. A winner from each local school will also be chosen.

But before she meets with these young authors, White shared some advice for them to keep in mind. Though, she is reluctant to give writing advice because there is no clearly defined method which applies to every writer.

"Don't listen how to write," White said. "Just write your book."

For White, even after writing more than two dozen books, the process is still as hard as it was the first time, she said. But having that first-time mentality for each piece of writing is important to keep in mind, to not become dogged by the reception of previous books or the expectations of those to come.

"You need to put your butt in the chair," White said, adding that writing is not a hobby, it's work, which takes up about 70 hours of her time each week. "Believe me, writers are the best procrastinators on the planet."

White has a routine of finishing two pages before she digs into the rest of her day, meaning she does not check her email or get carried away with the easy to be found distractions resulting in procrastination.

Though finding one's own voice is deeply subjective, this does not mean being a writer does not require the teaching and guidance of others.

"Unless you are Ernest Hemingway as a child, you have a lot to learn from your English teacher," specifically the basics of language and composition, she said.


Today's artwork is by Phoebe Huether, a student at Pepperelll Primary.