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City elections taking shape
• A former mayor and a political newcomer are among the candidates qualifying.

Mark Cochran

Bill Collins

Tom Lindsey

Joyce Mink

Milton Slack

Rob Ware

A former Cave Spring mayor is seeking the post again and at least one political newcomer will be running for a Rome City Commission seat.

Candidates qualify this week for the Nov. 5 city elections.

Rob Ware qualified early Monday to run for Cave Spring mayor, a post he held for 12 years before stepping down at the end of 2015. The current mayor, Dennis Shoaf, resigned a council seat to run for the open position and is finishing his first four-year term.

In Rome, architect Mark Cochran launched a bid for one of the three Ward 1 City Commission seats. Incumbent Milton Slack also filed his papers Monday. The other two seats are currently held by Bill Irmscher and Sundai Stevenson.

Incumbent Bill Collins qualified for one of the Rome City Commission's three Ward 3 seats Monday. The other two incumbents are Evie McNiece and Craig McDaniel.

Rome candidates must live in the ward where they run, although all city voters decide the elections. The three candidates with the most votes in each ward win the seats.

The five Cave Spring Council seats are open to any qualified resident of the city. Posts 1 and 2 are on the ballot this year and the incumbents, Tom Lindsey and Joyce Mink, filed Monday to seek re-election.

Cave Spring candidates have through 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to qualify with City Clerk Judy Dickinson at City Hall, 10 Georgia Ave. The filing fee is $45, which is 3% of the annual salary.

Rome City Commission candidates have until 5 p.m. Friday to file with City Clerk Joe Smith at City Hall, 601 Broad St. The fee is $252, equal to 3% of the annual salary.

Ward 1 candidates must live somewhere in the downtown district and the area to the east, between the Oostanaula and Etowah rivers. Ward 3 is west of the Oostanaula and north of the Coosa River.

Seniors spend a day at College Boot Camp
• Annual event featured 11 admissions officials in small breakout sessions

It's Grace Watters' 14th year at Darlington School and she's the 14th member of her family to attend the prestigious private preparatory school.

Yet Monday's College Boot Camp for seniors like her still seemed a bit surreal.

"It doesn't really feel yet like I'm a senior," said Watters as she waited in line for a lunch of pizza and salad during the day-long boot camp at Huffman Center for the school's 122 seniors. "This is definitely going to give me the right mindset for preparing for college, though."

The annual event featured 11 admissions officials from some of the most desirable institutions of higher education

in Georgia and beyond who gave special breakout sessions throughout the day for small groups of students.

They included LSU Director of Admissions Danny Barrow, University of Georgia Senior Associate Director of Admissions Melinda DeMaria and Southern Methodist University Regional Director of Admissions Carol Morris.

Barrow, who gave a breakout session on improving ACT and SAT scores and provided tips on admissions essays, told students they are fortunate to be attending one of the most rigorous college prep schools in the country.

"Just being a Darlington student gives you an edge," Barrow said, stressing, however, that that doesn't mean they don't have to work hard to get into the colleges they want. "If your grades drop in your fall semester here, you still have a competitive advantage, but you still need to be as laser-focused as possible because that will reflect on how well you will do once you get to college."

Barrow recommended students tune into the Khan Academy YouTube videos on strengthening skills for the ACT and SAT and also being mindful of the kind of essay they submit when applying to colleges and universities.

"Most students tend to write about challenges they have overcome in their lives," Barrow told them. "If you wrote an essay about gaining knowledge outside the classroom, your essay is more likely to stand out."

In another breakout sessions down the hall, Morris talked to students about their essays, as well, but she focused on the importance of their words and how they are put together. Reading the essay instructions and sticking to word count also is critical, she said.

"Admissions staff only have about six minutes to read over each application, so you want to be sure you are grabbing them from the very beginning and not wasting one word," Morris told students. "Use active words. Show — don't tell — your story."

Seniors already submitted drafts of their admissions essays when they checked into the Boot Camp Monday morning, along with their resumes, a list of colleges they plan on applying to, copies of any college confirmations and a letter explaining any disciplinary violations on their school record.

After Morris wrapped up one of her sessions, she told students she'd be happy to look over their essays if they wanted feedback from her. In her more than 40 years in the college admissions field, she estimates she has read more than 80,000 essays.

Alana Dame, 17, did not hesitate to take her up on that offer. Dame said she had written about lessons she learned overcoming obstacles at home.

Dame, who plans on playing soccer in college, said she would like to become an athletic trainer or go into sports medicine. She said she's been particularly inspired by an athletic trainer she had who has since passed away.

"He's in my essay a bit," Dame said.

Morris told her her essay would be even stronger if she went into more detail about the obstacles she faced and how they directly impacted her.

"I want to know you better," Morris told her. "I'm feeling bad for you, but you need to be more specific. I need to know where you were and how you felt."

Dame said she appreciated all the advice and that the Boot Camp was definitely beneficial to her.

DeMaria said during her session on making the transition between high school and college as smooth as possible that she gives students the same advice she gave her own children.

"How you present yourself and the connections you make matter. You never know where those connections will lead," DeMaria told students before showing them her last PowerPoint slide, which happened to be a blank screen. "You are a blank page. You need to decide who you want to be. It's all up to you."

Darlington School's College Boot Camp

Toddler and family battling for time after diagnosis

Little Tyson Waid, the two and a half year old son of Maggie and Colt Waid, has already defied his doctors once. Now he's fighting to extend his life longer than experts have told the family they can anticipate.

Tyson wasn't meeting some of his physical milestones to the point where his parents decided to take him down to Scottish Rite Hospital in Atlanta when he was four or five months old. Things like rolling over and being able to reach out with both hands just weren't working.

"They put him to sleep and did an MRI and it showed a stroke (while still in the womb)," Colt said. "They told us he wouldn't walk until he was four or five years old and he started walking about 17 months."

He was making nice progress, then last month Tyson was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, a particularly aggressive brain tumor of childhood. It arises in the pons, a region of the brain stem involved in critical body functions.

"He has his good and bad days," Colt said.

Tyson is about half way through his radiation regimen but his father said the doctors said the diagnosis is terminal and that he may have as much as two years to live.

He surprised the doctors once when he started to walk. The family is hoping, and praying, that he can defy the odds and give them just a little more time.

The same type of tumor weakened two-year-old Karen Armstrong, the daughter of astronaut Neil Armstrong to the point that she died of pneumonia.

The discovery of the tumor taken its toll. His mother, Maggie, who wants to pursue a career in nursing, has had to turn down several jobs offers while dad Colt has just taken a leave from his position as manager of CVS in Summerville. The expenses continue to mount but Colt said the family has just

been overwhelmed by the support from the community. The Make-a-Wish Foundation has already reached out to the family and is in the process of putting together a vacation, probably to Disney World, later this year.

Jefferson's owner Wayne Mullinax said it didn't take more than two minutes into a meeting with the family to make the decision to hold the fundraiser. He was connected to the family by one of his employees, Lauren Paige, who had seen a Facebook post about little Tyson's condition. Mullinax is donating ten percent of Monday's sales to the family to help offset the tremendous medical expenses.

"I just love kids. It's just heartbreaking to me and actually it's an honor to be able to help out with whatever we can do," Mullinax said.

Mullinax said Monday that's he's been so proud of the way the Rome community stepped up to support the Waid family. The lunch crowd at the restaurant stayed busy until nearly 3 p.m. and the restaurant was packed for dinner late into the evening

More information is available at the Team Tyson Facebook page.

ACC signs off on 'Midget Madness'
• The board also OKs a beer license for Don Neo's on Broad Street.

"Midget Madness" at the Brewhouse Music & Grill is a go.

Rome's Alcohol Control Commission agreed Monday night to the request by owner Eric McJunkin – who wants to have a little person strolling his bar top, pouring alcohol shots from a bottle into patrons' open mouths.

"I don't like the idea, but I don't like the idea of not approving it," said ACC Chair Monica Sheppard.

Members Collin Doss, John Kendrick and Harold Morgan reluctantly agreed. Member Steve Van Meter, who was transferred in June to a job in Marietta, was not present.

McJunkin was out of town but asked City Clerk Joe Smith to present his application for an entertainment license at the 325 Broad St. bar. Smith showed a short YouTube video titled "Midget Madness at Caseys Pittsburgh!!" to demonstrate the idea in action.

"It's not typical entertainment; more of a drinking event ... He's looking for a way to market his business," Smith said.

Doss said it appears exploitative, but added that an adult little person's decision to be exploited for pay is beyond the ACC's purview. Kendrick questioned if a license is even necessary for the unusual method of serving drinks.

"I applaud him for asking (instead of just doing it)," he said.

Smith noted that the city does not regulate the size or type of alcoholic beverages offered in a venue with a valid license. "Or who's serving them," Sheppard added.

It was unclear Monday when McJunkin would add the feature to his downtown pub.

In other actions, the ACC approved a beer license for Nelson Yanes at Don Neo's Tacos and Elotes, 330 Broad St. Yanes said he would be putting a selection of canned and bottled beers on his menu.

The ACC also sent forward to the Rome City Commission a recommendation to put a vote on the "brunch bill" on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.

If approved, restaurants with pouring permits would be able to serve alcoholic drinks as early as 11 a.m. on Sundays. The current start-time is 12:30 p.m. The vote would not affect package sales.

Smith said the City Commission would hold a first reading of the proposed ordinance at its Monday meeting. A second reading and adoption – clearing the way for the ballot question – is scheduled for Sept. 9.

The Georgia General Assembly passed a law in 2018 that allows communities to decide for themselves if they'll allow alcohol to be served with brunch.

Rome commissioners were preparing for a vote last year but discovered they'd have to pay for a separate election. The board opted to defer action until this year, when city elections are already scheduled.