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John Barge seeks to recapture state school superintendent slot
• The Rome resident is among the candidates registering this week to run for local and statewide offices.

Former Georgia schools superintendent John Barge qualified Monday to take another shot at the office.

Barge, a Republican, is a Berry College graduate who taught in Rome, Floyd County and Bartow County schools. He was elected to the state position in 2010 and served four years in the top slot. Instead of seeking re-election, he made an unsuccessful challenge to Gov. Nathan Deal in the 2014 Republican primary.

Barge broke with Deal in 2012 over the governor's proposed constitutional amendment that would have let the state create charter schools in any county and divert tax money to support them. Voters soundly defeated the proposal.

This year, Barge will go up against incumbent State School Superintendent Richard Woods, who he beat in the 2010 primary. Democrat Sid Chapman also qualified Monday to run for the seat.

Qualifying runs through noon Friday for the May 22 primaries and nonpartisan general election.

Juvenile Court Judge Greg Price will be on the nonpartisan ballot, along with Superior Court Judge Billy Sparks. Chief Superior Court Judge Tami Colston announced early this year she was retiring and, so far, attorney Kay Ann Wetherington is signed up to run for the vacant seat.

Top vote-getters in the nonpartisan judge races will win outright. Winners of the party primaries will advance to the Nov. 6 general election.

Republican Tom Graves of Ranger qualified Monday to seek another two-year term in Congress representing the 14th District covering Northwest Georgia.

Floyd County's incumbent state lawmakers, Sen. Chuck Hufstetler and Reps. Eddie Lumsden, Christian Coomer and Katie Dempsey — all Republicans — also signed up to run for another two years.

All the Republican incumbents in county seats also qualified to run for new four-year terms. Rhonda Wallace, Larry Maxey and Scotty Hancock are seeking re-election to the County Commission. Chip Hood and Tony Daniel are running to retain their county school board seats.

Locally, Democrats are registering at the Salter Law Firm, 242 N. Fifth Ave., and Republicans are signing up at the law office of David Guldenschuh, 512 E. First St. Candidates for the nonpartisan Juvenile Court judge seat qualify with the Floyd County Elections Office, 12 E. Fourth Ave.

Candidates for Congress, the Georgia General Assembly, other courts and statewide offices qualify in Atlanta with their parties or the secretary of state's office at the state capitol.


Qualifying runs through noon Friday for the May 22 elections. Nonpartisan winners take office in January 2019. Partisan winners advance to the Nov. 6 general election.

Local partisan

U.S. representative, District 14


Republican: Tom Graves (I)

State senator, District 52


Republican: Chuck Hufstetler (I)

State representative, District 12


Republican: Eddie Lumsden (I)

State representative, District 13


Republican: Katie Dempsey (I)

State representative, District 14


Republican: Christian Coomer (I)

County Commission, Post 1


Republican: Rhonda Wallace (I)

County Commission, Post 4


Republican: Larry Maxey (I)

County Commission, Post 5


Republican: Scotty Hancock (I)

County school board, District 1


Republican: Chip Hood (I)

County school board, District 4


Republican: Tony Daniel (I)

Local nonpartisan

Superior Court, Rome circuit — two seats

(Colston) Kay Ann Wetherington

(Sparks) Billy Sparks (I)

Juvenile Court

Greg Price (I)

Statewide partisan


Democrat: Stacey Evans

Republican: Hunter Hill

Lieutenant governor

Democrat: Triana Arnold James

Republican: Rick Jeffares, David Shafer

Secretary of state

Democrat: John Barrow

Republican: Davis Belle Isle, Brad Raffensperger, Buzz Brockway

Attorney general

Democrat: Charlie Bailey

Republican: Chris Carr (I)

Agriculture commissioner


Republican: Gary Black (I)

Insurance commissioner

Democrat: Cindy Zeldin

Republican: Jay Florence, Jim Beck

State school superintendent

Democrat: Sid Chapman

Republican: John Barge, Richard Woods (I)

Labor commissioner

Democrat: Fred Quinn, Richard Keatley

Republican: Mark Butler (I)

Public Service Commission

District 3



District 5

Democrat: Doug Stoner, Dawn A. Randolph


Sources: Georgia secretary of state, Floyd County Democrat and Republican parties, Floyd County elections office.

Ground broken for memorial
Project to honor firefighters was first conceived more than 20 years ago

Troy Brock

Leaders in the Rome-Floyd County Fire Department have dreamed of a firefighter memorial in Rome for over two decades.

Monday, that dream came a step closer to reality with groundbreaking ceremonies at the intersection of West Sixth Avenue and West First Street behind City Hall.

Fire Chief Troy Brock explained that Rome has never lost a firefighter in action.

David Kay, retired fire captain, who has been on the fundraising team said, "this is to honor all past and current firefighters that served with the Rome-Floyd County Fire Department."

Brock's predecessor, retired chief Gordon Henderson, now head of standards and training for firefighters all over the state, said the effort to develop the memorial started under the administration of the late Bobbie McKenzie.

He said the location for the memorial is particularly significant.

"This actually used to be Station Seven. This is where the first actual truck that responded out in the county was housed right here on this spot," Henderson said. "This is a perfect spot."

Phil Langston, retired fire battalion chief, told a large crowd of public safety and government leaders while the fundraising efforts are still not 100 percent complete the project is on solid enough of a financial footing to go ahead and turn some dirt.

"We're still out there beating the roads and beating the sidewalks and knocking on doors to make sure this thing gets fully funded," Langston said.

The last budget figure for the project was $125,000 and the campaign was still a few thousand short after a big boot drive raised $18,000 over one weekend last November.

Langston said the sculptor for the monument has ties to Rome. Richard Arnold of Telluride, Colorado, is married to the former Marshall Hackett of Rome.

"David Kay, (retired fire captain) and I are headed to Colorado next week to start the process of putting the sculpture together," Langston said.

Arnold has agreed to do the monument for cost and will deliver it himself and supervise the installation later this summer.

Jeff Brooks, of the Brooks Building Group said construction of the plaza, which will be oriented facing the intersection of West Sixth Avenue and West First Street should take between three and four months depending on the weather.

Both Cevian and Brooks are donating their services to help reduce the fundraising burden.

"I can't tell you what savings that is to this project," Brock said.

Brock said the plaza was designed by the Cevian Design Group of Rome

"This has been a long time coming," Chief Brock told the crowd. "I'd like to thank all firefighters past and present for making this happen.

Berry 8th-grader hopes to win big at state bee
• Anna Davidson credits reading as the key for becoming a great speller.

Berry College Middle School eighth-grader Anna Davidson will compete in the state spelling bee next week for a chance to earn a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

"I'm glad that I've come this far and gotten better every year," said Davidson, who is in her fourth year of spelling bees.

The Georgia Association of Educators State Spelling Bee will be held March 16 at the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in Plains. The former president will be a guest speaker.

"I'm not sure what to expect," she said. "I feel like I'll do well but I'm not sure about winning the entire thing."

During an assembly Friday to recognize Davidson, teacher Julianne Bailey, who taught her in fourth grade and seventh grade, asked how one can be a great speller.

"If you read a lot, you will read a lot of words and be able to relate them to other words," she said. "When I read, words stick in my mind."

Fellow students were encouraged by Bailey to ask Davidson to spell the hardest words they know when seeing her at school, to prepare her for the state competition. Davidson said some of the older students presented her with words she had never heard before.

"I'm so pleased that she has done this well, but not at all surprised," Bailey said of Davidson, who particularly loves the "Harry Potter" series. "She absorbs new knowledge like a sponge."

Davidson's road to a state spelling bee bid saw her be a top scorer through all three rounds of the Georgia Independent School Association Middle School Unit Spelling Bee, including winning the final round.

In Round 1 — the area bee which includes 38 private schools — she competed at Cottage School in Atlanta Feb. 8, placing in the top 12. She then moved on to Round 2 — the district bee which includes 95 schools — held at the Atlanta Academy in Roswell Feb. 27, placing in the top 20. For both these rounds, she had to complete a written spelling and vocabulary test.

On the same day as Round 2, Davidson competed in Round 3 against the other students who made the top 20. Though this time around, students had to spell words aloud and select from multiple choice options for vocabulary. She emerged as the clear-cut winner.

If Davidson keeps up her winning ways, she will travel to Washington, D.C., for the 91st Scripps National Spelling Bee.

'If you read a lot, you will read a lot of words and be able to relate them to other words. When I read, words stick in my mind.'

Anna Davidson

Berry College Middle School eighth-grader

Pedestrian killed on 411 East
• The man was crossing the highway with a gas can.

A pedestrian who had run out of gas on the bypass was struck and killed while crossing U.S. 411 East at the Mathis Road intersection around 7 p.m. Monday night.

The man was identified as 63-year-old Alan Clark Edwards of Floyd County by Floyd County Coroner Gene Proctor. Proctor said he pronounced Edwards dead at the scene at 7:30 p.m.

Lt. Paul Greene with the Rome Police Department said the man was carrying a gas can and tried to cross the intersection while the traffic light was still green. A small white pick-up truck which was eastbound on the highway came through the intersection and struck the victim who was pronounced dead on the scene. Greene said he did not anticipate, early in the investigation, that any charges would be filed against the driver of the truck.


Today's artwork is by Pepperell Elementary third-grade student Rebecca Scott.