The Class of 2019 will be one that remains a topic of discussion in Polk County for years to come. This group of seniors from both Cedartown and Rockmart include academic over-achievers worthy of celebration, state title seekers and winners, and teens who are ready to tackle whatever challenges are ahead of them in a ever-changing world.
On Friday night and Saturday morning this past weekend, Rockmart and Cedartown High School gathered in their football stadium despite the heat to hand out diplomas to well over 400 students between both schools combined.
Rockmart High Salutatorian Jackson Norris and Valedictorian Montana Barber delivered their thanks and at least in Norris' case some intentionally bad jokes to family, friends, educators and fellow students for their efforts to help them achieve a great end to their education in Polk County on Friday night.
Norris specifically pointed toward the above average experience of Rockmart's Class of 2019 — region titles and state championship runs included as well as a mention of their win over Cedartown in football last August — but most importantly he used his time to thank one person in particular. He dedicated his speech to former RHS Band Director David Snipes, who died suddenly at the close of the 2018 school year.
"I miss him with every fiber of my being," Norris said. "We all do."
Over in Cedartown, it fell to Valedictorian Gabe Foster and Salutatorian Ebrahem Abdul-Rahman to provide the same thanks to the hundreds on hand Saturday morning in the same vein.
Foster told the Class of 2019 during his address that their focus should be on how they can make an impact through positive action, and that when he sees them in the future at their 10, 20 and 30th reunions as a class he hopes to find them all happy and making a difference.
"There are always ups and downs and many of us have learned that in high school," Foster said. "Remember that your life is yours to live, don't live it for anyone else. Dream big and take risks. Buy a boat, travel the world, start your own business. Do what you want to do and what makes you happy."
Both schools can combined provide a positive tally on the year of students who excelled. Among those are six college grads among the class of 2019, which includes Holly Decker, Rose Meus, Ebrahem Abdul-Rahman, Ellye Puckett, Cam Lorys, and Grace Prince.
The Class of 2019 can also applaud thousands of college credit hours earned by dozens of students on both sides of the county as they head off to the next level of their education. Dozens of technical career certificates were earned before seniors graduated, and millions have been given to students in scholarships for their coming four years of college.
Rockmart High principal Robyn Teems particularly noted that the class is sending 17 athletes on to play at the collegiate level and more are likely to sign in the days to come. Cedartown have so far this year celebrated 7 of their own heading off to college for the year.
Polk School District's top placing seniors got some much-needed downtime thanks to the annual honor luncheon, where the top 5 from both high schools were invited together to dine, mingle, and receive recognition for their accomplishments.
Graduates were called to the front for their award ahead of a large luncheon for students and parents on May 22.
RHS Senior Counselor Charlene Davenport and CHS Senior Counselor Laurie Brumby also took the opportunity to share what the group listed as their post-graduation goals and plans during the May 22 event.
Rockmart High Valedictorian Montana Barber said her plans are to attend Berry College for pre-dental studies. It's another step towards her goal of becoming a practicing orthodontist and helping those in need better their oral health.
The students were also asked which accomplishment they were most proud of during their high school career, and despite her massive portfolio, Barber did manage to single out an accomplishment she felt was above and beyond.
"Receiving my CSA Achievement Award through FBLA," Barber wrote. "(It took) 500 hours of volunteering and serving the community."
Cedartown High Valedictorian Gabe
Foster is equally ambitious. He lists his early decision college as Georgia Tech, where, if he does choose to attend, he would study biochemistry in hopes of becoming a biochemical engineer.
Studying at Tech would move him towards his dream job of working with the space exploration and transportation company SpaceX. Foster already has 30 hours of college credit, scored 1300 on the SAT, served as an FBLA president, and was a member of the Cedartown High School Recycling Program.
While definitely determined, Foster isn't alone in his pursuit of the sciences. Rockmart High Salutatorian Jackson Norris plans to study biomolecular engineering and chemical engineering; Cedartown High Salutatorian Brahem Abdul-Rahman plans to pursue political science with a focus in law.
Norris has his sights set on the Georgia Institute of Technology where he would use the skills he learns to pursue a career as a chemist, engineer, quality assurance specialist, or a member of research and development. Abdul-Rahman cites his dream job as a Superior Court Judge, where he would be responsible for making rulings in both civil and criminal cases.
The remaining seniors are just as clear in their goals.
On the Cedartown side, third place senior Jaden Dingler hopes to enroll in the University of Alabama to study biology and attend medical school, fourth place senior Cayden Frye plans to attend Kennesaw State University to study chemical engineering, and fifth place senior Jennifer Bunch lists her early decision school as Berry College where she would study accounting.
On the Rockmart side, third place senior Bennett Vest plans to attend the University of Georgia to study business and law, and fourth place senior Emily Loveless plans to attend Reindhardt University to major in biology.
In a rare happening, Rockmart saw a fifth-place tie between Rose Meus and D'Niya Wilson. Meus plans to double major in international affairs and history at Northeastern University; Wilson plans to study nursing at Clemson University.
Regardless of what they pursue, the accolades the students have received from placing in the top 5 will no doubt benefit them on their journey.
Two are now recovering from recent shootings in Rockmart and Cedartown that occurred within days of one another, and an investigation in each case is still ongoing according to local police chiefs.
Ladue Avenue was the scene of a latest shooting which happened around 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21. Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome had yet to release the name of the 18-year-old black male who was hit with a single round, but said he had nonlife threatening injuries when he was transported by air to Atlanta Medical Center.
Newsome said the investigation into the shooting was still ongoing and his detectives were following up on information as of the end of the week at press time. No immediate
information was also available at press time on the condition of the man hit at the time.
The shooting came less than a week after a similar incident in Rockmart at the intersection of Hogue and College Streets in Rockmart. Stacey Holbrook of Rockmart was in recovery in days after being wounded while driving through the intersection midday on Thursday, May 16.
Rockmart Police Chief Randy Turner said detectives in his department were also still working on the case and hoped to be able to make an arrest in days to come.
Only one round hit each victim in the two separate shootings that took place within six days of one another. In the May 16 incident, police chased a suspect vehicle all the way to Airport Road in between Cedartown and Rockmart and conducted a search of the area after the car was found abandoned, but no arrests were reported at the time.
Those with information about the shootings are asked to contact the Cedartown and Rockmart police departments to share what they know. The Cedartown Police can be reached at 770-748-4123. The Rockmart Police can be reached at 770-684-6558.
The rules will stay in place for Waste Industries operations at Grady Road Landfill the latest hearing before Cobb County Superior Court Judge Adele Grubbs went through arguments in a motion to stay sought by the defense.
Grubbs determined after less than an hour hearing arguments on the morning of May 22 that the motion to stay made by Waste Industries attorneys wasn't enough to halt the ongoing operational changes made at the facility off Highway 278.
Waste Industries attorney Matt Martin
was limited to arguments against keeping the injunction in place based off of evidence already presented to the court in two hearings and additional filings in April and prior to the May 2 decision.
Martin provided several points for Grubbs to consider, including the fact that previous cases before the state appellate and supreme courts had held up keeping the status quo under circumstances like those between Waste Industries and Polk County, that greater financial costs are being taken on by the company and the county taxpayers.
Waste Industries estimated in an affidavit filed on behalf of Grady Road Landfill Manager George Gibbons that costs were piling up on a monthly basis while the order was in place. However in her official written order, Grubbs struck it from consideration on whether to consider the stay request.
The May 21 filing estimated the county is losing $26,000 a month on tipping fees, not including the $282,407 Waste Industries is spending on diverting waste, loss of money to disposing of sludges, trucking those sludge to a Taylor County facility, and $122,281 lost in revenue to the depletion of airspace per month.
The total figure also includes the costs of $13,230 in overtime for labor and $25,000 in additional equipment rentals, detailed in the filing.
County Manager Matt Denton had no comment about any funds the county might be losing that were cited in the affidavit.
Gibbons' affidavit also echoed concerns already raised by Waste Industries over the use of six inches of daily cover that methane gas generated by decaying trash will become trapped between the new layers of soil not there, that it will hamper the operations of the gas collection system the company reported they spent $1 million in 2018 expanding, and that leachate breakouts could cause substantial environmental impacts.
Martin also stated the company is operating within the Georgia Environmental Protection Division regulations for the landfill, which prompted a response from the bench over whether that was true or not.
A point Grubbs said her order disagreed with, but one that Waste Industries could contend on the record.
She later included that point in her written order.
Grubbs stated "the Defendant assigns error to the Court's injunction because there is a legal contract between Polk County and the Defendant Waste Industries. The Plaintiff will fail in its appeal on this issue. Here the Defendant Waste Industries has not complied with local and state laws, it has violated the rules of the EPD..." and goes on to cite three different paragraphs in her previous order.
He also pointed to complaints that back to at least 2014 over smells at the landfill and issues with buzzards, as well as arguing that Waste Industries' use of the Nasal Ranger proves the improvement in odor issues, the need control odors using six inches of daily soil cover as part of the terms of the injunction in place was moot.
Martin also sought relief on the issue of sludges. He pointed toward customers like the City of Cedartown and the City of Rockmart's wastewater treatment plants not having anywhere else to take the byproduct of water treatment, and Waste Industries is picking up the costs currently to ship it to a Taylor County facility who will accept it.
He said the "water treatment plants will be significantly impaired" in their operations if the injunction is allowed to continue.
Grubbs pointed out that some arguments that Martin made to try and persuade her to reverse her decision would be better made in a different motion and at least twice called upon attorneys to seek a request to modify her May 2 filing.
She pointed stated she "won't convert a motion to stay to a motion to modify" her order, but would consider it in a separate hearing prior to an August hearing date to determine whether the injunction was providing a positive outcome.
Additionally, whether the Court of Appeals will hear the request to reverse her preliminary injunction order is still left to be heard, a process that will likely take longer than the original 90 days put forth by Grubbs in her May 2 decision.
Mediation also became a topic as the hearing came to a close and she announced her intentions to deny the stay.
County Attorney Brad McFall made two arguments before the bench against that idea, first being the county expects the likelihood of a summary judgment in the second component of the lawsuit over whether Waste Industries owes the county $884,764.39 over previous payments due on Saturday dumping and interest generated on that money as well as fuel surcharges that were paid by the county unnecessarily.
McFall additionally pointed out that at this point in the stages of the suit, the county is "not concerned about the dollar, but the county is concerned about having a good neighbor."
He said that when court convenes on the outcome of the stipulations laid out by Grubbs in the injunction order in August, she'll hear from the landowners around the Grady Road Landfill that soil cover is working.
When she was first assigned to the case, Grubbs said she called upon both sides to sit down and talk, and then found that neither made any movement toward a negotiated settlement in the ensuing months before the April hearings, she would not consider an order for mediation.
"Nothing happened, nothing was done and nothing was achieved," she said about mediation.
Grubbs' latest written decision also intends to clear up whether the legal argument of being employed by the county under contract as being immune from legally being declared a nuisance also was denied.
"Unlike the cases cited by the Defendant, it is not the landfill itself that is the Nuisance. IT is the way the Defendant is operating it, and operating it in violation of the law," Grubbs wrote. "The injunction is necessary to abate and mitigate the harm to the residents, property and livestock, from the Defendants ongoing conduct."
Waste Industries officials did not wish to comment following the Thursday written decision was released.
Come out this Tuesday, May 29 to take part in the Polk County Historical Society's monthly meeting starting at 7 p.m. upstairs at the museum on West Avenue in downtown Cedartown. This month's topic will cover a comparison of life following World War II in the United State and the United Kingdom.
The Cedartown Farmer's Market has a new location and time for the 2019 season. Marketgoers are invited to come out to the corner of Ware and South Main Street in Cedartown starting on Tuesday, June 18 from 1 to 5 p.m. Additional dates and times will be forthcoming. Contact Five Cedars Farm to participate at 678-246-1216 to learn more about becoming a vendor.
Pine Bower Baptist Church located at 100 Pine Bower Rd., Cedartown, is holding their Vacation Bible School June 3 through June 7 beginning at 6 p.m. each night and ending at 8:45 p.m. Classes are offered for all ages. A kickoff is planned on Saturday, June 1 at 4 p.m. with a reptile show and ice cream competition. Everyone is invited to attend. Please call the church at 770-748-3252 for anyone who needs van transportation.
The 100 Black Men of Rome-Northwest Georgia is set to hold their 25th anniversary gala
Journal on Saturday, June 29 at the Forum River Center in Rome starting with a social hour at 7 p.m., and a program from 8 to 10 p.m. A grand party concludes the evening at 1 a.m. featuring musician/saxophonist Mike Philips. Gala tickets are $100 and includes dinner and the grand party following. All proceeds will go towards our programs such as Mentoring, Health & Wellness, Foundation Camp, Education, Robotics, and Economic Empowerment. For more information, sponsorships, or tickets contact Rayford Horne at 678-231-5361 or James Lee at 706-936-6159 or go to http://www.100bmor.org/gala.html
Outreach Tabernacle and Gospel Music Park in Muscadine, Alabama is hosting a Family Fun Day on Saturday, June 29 at 2 p.m. Central. Everyone is welcome, and everything is free with several events during the day including a gospel concert, gospel talent share-a-thon and more. They are located at 1351 County Road 31 in Muscadine, Ala., 36269. Call 770-712-1032 or 770-826-1759 for more.
The Rockmart Cultural Arts Center is offering a Pottery Camp on June 17 to 21, 2019 for ages 8 to 12 taught by Paul Craighead and an Art Camp on July 8 to 12, 2019 for ages 7 to 12 taught by Margaret Bearden and Peggy Cline at the Arts Center. Theatre Camp I for elementary students with Aristocats, Kids is full, however there are still spots available for Theatre Camp II on June 17 to 28 for middle and high school students performing Mary Poppins Jr. For more information, call 770-684-2707. Applications are available at the Art Gallery, City Offices, and on our website: https://www.rockmart-ga.gov/26/Arts---Rockmart-Cultural-Arts-Center
The May/June art exhibit at the Rockmart Cultural Arts Center is the 20 Year Gap — Mother/Daughter Art Exhibit. Public is invited to the Reception on Sunday, June 2 from 1 to 3 p.m. Virginia Mullenix Moore and Julie Mullenix's artwork grace the gallery with stained glass, mosaics, printmaking, paintings and more.
Anita Kennerly is offering a Polymer Clay Bead Workshop at the Rockmart Cultural Arts Center on Saturday, June 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $45. It includes all supplies, bring a sack lunch.
Kathy Torres is offering Paint Parties on Tuesday, June 25, July 16 and August 27 from 6-8:30 pm for $20 each, which includes all supplies, at the Rockmart Cultural Arts Center. Have a fun time and take home a painting you made yourself.
RCAC has classes for toddlers, children and adults at the Rockmart Cultural Arts Center in drawing, painting, photography, yoga, chorus, piano, whittling, and pottery. For more information, call 770-684-2707 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Give a child a safe place to go after school and learn valuable lessons about community, life and academics by getting involved in the Boys & Girls Club of Northwest Georgia in Cedartown. Visit their center at 321 E. Queen St., Cedartown from 2:30 to 6 p.m. on weekdays and bring your children ages 5-18 for afternoon activities. For more information on how to participate or volunteer, call our office at 770-749-0869 or email email@example.com.
The Rockmart History Museum on South Marble Street in downtown Rockmart is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and on Saturday 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. The Museum welcomes visitors and group tours. Contact Pat Sampson at 678-764-5201 for information.
Interested in becoming a Foster or Adoptive Parent? Join others who seek the love of a child every second Tuesday night of each month at 6 p.m. at Polk County Division of Family and Children Services office, 100 County Loop Road in Cedartown. Information sessions explain what is required to become a foster or adoptive parent in Georgia. For more information call Robin Forston at 404-895-6517 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-877-210-KIDS. Visit www.fostergeorgia.com for more information.
The Polk County Democratic Committee Meets on the second Saturday of every month at 9:30 a.m. In the "even" months (February, April, June, August, etc.) the organization meets at The Rockmart Library at 316 N. Piedmont Ave., Rockmart and during the "odd" months (January, March, etc.) they meet at the Cedartown Welcome Center, 609 Main St., Cedartown, GA 30125.
The American Legion in Rockmart is hosting their monthly all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner coming up this Wednesday, June 19. Meal of spaghetti, meatballs, garlic toast and salad, $5. They hold dinners on the third Wednesday of every month. Join the group for a good meal and to support veteran and children's programs. The Legion is located at 1 Veterans Circle, Rockmart.
USAPA Pickelball Ambassador Daneen England is holding a free pickleball clinic every Monday (weather permitting) from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Rockmart Tennis courts, located at 436 Hogue Avenue, Rockmart. Loaner paddles and all necessary equipment will be on hand to learn t he sport. This is a free event for anyone and they just need to wear comfortable gym clothes and tennis shoes. Contact England at 770-356-1282, or by e-mail at email@example.com for more information.
The office of Exceptional Students of Polk School District is available to assist with the identification of children with disabilities and provision a free appropriate public education beginning at the age of three through the age of 21. If you suspect your child is experiencing any developmental delay or you suspect your child might have a disability and would like assistance or for more information about services available through Polk School District, contact the PSD Exceptional Student Services office at 770-684-8718.
Lutheran Services of Georgia's Heritage Adoption Program partners with DFCS to find Forever Families for children waiting in Georgia's foster care system. Information Sessions are held on the third Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. at the Rome Office, located at 336 Broad St., Suite 200. Individual sessions may be scheduled to accommodate families as needed. For more email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 706-506-0649.
Did you know that nationwide the American Red Cross assists 53 people every 60 seconds during personal and local disasters? Our Northwest Georgia Red Cross Chapter serves Polk County. If you'd like to do some meaningful volunteering, please contact Arthene Bressler at 762-231-9896 and visit our website at www.redcross.org/local/georgia.
Save the date: The Boys and Girls Club of NWGA is hosting a Polk County Golf Tournament on Friday, Aug. 16 at 9 a.m. at the Cherokee Golf and Country Club. Find more information at bgcnwga.org or call 706-234-8591.
Do you think you might be pregnant? You can know for sure. Contact Life Matters Outreach today to schedule a free pregnancy test. You have a right to know all the options available to you. We offer free evidence-based education and resources so that you can make a well-informed decision. The services provided at LMO Pregnancy Care Center are free of charge. Clients are treated with respect and unconditional acceptance. We are here to help YOU. Call 770-748-8911 for more information.
Victory Baptist Church's Bread of Life Food Pantry is now open. One bag of nonperishable food, five items to pick from produce, eggs and milk and two items from frozen meats, breads and others will be available. ID is required. Limit of two IDs per address. Regular hours are Mondays, 1 to 3 p.m.; Tuesdays, 5 to 7 p.m.; and Thursdays, 8 to 10 a.m.
Community Share Ministries is hosting "Hope for the Hungry" on the first Tuesday of every month to provide food assistance to the community. They'll be in town again on Tuesday, June 4. Food is provided free of charge, and no identification is required to get help. Those interested can visit Community Share Ministries Cedartown thrift store at 1116 N. Main St., Cedartown.
The Georgia Legal Services Program's Claire Sherburne will be on hand at One Door Polk in Cedartown every fourth Monday to help those in need with free civil legal services to low-income persons. This will include all cases related to housing, employment, education, domestic violence, consumer fraud, wills, healthcare and other issues involved in the legal complications of everyday life. Call 404-206-5175 for more information.
The Polk County Alzheimer's Caregiver Support group will meet monthly on the first Monday at 11 a.m. at Polk Medical Center. Those interested can join for fellowship and lunch in the cafeteria. For more information call John Giglio at 678-246-8188.
Aragon First United Methodist Church offers a food pantry for the community to use if they need assistance. They are open Mondays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and Tuesday mornings from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. A picture ID is required to participate. Call 770-684-4855 for more information.
Celebrate Recovery meets every Monday night at the First Baptist Church of Rockmart starting with dinner at 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Large Group at 7 p.m. and Small Share Group at 8 p.m.
Soup and Savior, a local nonprofit organization, meets from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays to provide needed items to deserving people. This includes a free meal (soup), clothing and gives other assistance. Meetings are held at Glad Tidings, located at 703 Robert L Parks Blvd. in Cedartown. Donations are accepted.
Just Us Ministries Inc. Food Bank has distribution every Tuesday and Thursday at 904 Young Farms Road in Cedartown. On Tuesday the distribution is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. A picture ID is required. For more information call 770-687-1009 or 678-901-3354, email email@example.com, or visit Justusministries.com.
A caregivers support group meets on the second Monday of each month at 11 a.m. at Rockmart Presbyterian Church. Call 770-684-6289 for more information.
Take back your life and get help. Narconon can help you take steps to overcome addiction in your family. Call today for free for screenings or referrals at 1-800-431-1754.
Live Oak Baptist Church in Aragon is hosting this year's "In the Wild" Vacation Bible School on June 3 through June 7. Classes for all ages through sixth grade are available nightly from 6 to 9 p.m. Pastor Anthony Osborne welcomes all to attend the church at 150 Live Oak Road, Aragon behind Burton's Store.
The Rev. Gilbert Richardson and the Ware's Grove Church family of 200 Potash Road, invite everyone to join the Impact Service held each Sunday at 9:45 a.m., followed by regular worship services at 11:15 a.m. Bible class is held Wednesday nights at 7 p.m.
Anna Kresge United Methodist Church invites children, kindergarten age through middle school, to come to Kresge Kids each Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Supper is provided. There is also a high school youth program as well. For more information, call 706-346-3100.
Need to get an item onto the Area Calendar of Events? Email firstname.lastname@example.org today! All items must be in at least two weeks before the event to appear in the Standard Journal on time.