A big announcement came from the office of Governor Nathan Deal last week about the expansion of a local industry who has been a long-time investor in Cedartown and Polk County.
The HON Company will be spending $14.5 million and hire 60 new members over the course of the next year and a half to bring wood-based production to their Cedartown plant.
The office furniture maker who first came to Cedartown more than 45 years ago already produces a number of metal-based office products, and adds the new line of products made locally in hopes of upcoming market expansion and the need for additional capacity.
Plant manager Brad Hufford said the expansion at the Cedartown facility will add manufacturing capacity for pulpwood and laminate-based products HON builds in their office furniture.
In this case, they'll be adding new equipment to the line already in place, and automating the process in order to shift jobs
into maintenance and assembly and increase the amount of wood-based furniture they make.
"It's really growth in the market for these products that are driving the move," Hufford said. "So we're adding capacity for that growth."
Hufford said that Cedartown will join HON's Msucadine, Iowa plant in the manufacture of wood-based products in their wholesale furniture market. They've already purchased their first piece of equipment, a computer-controlled saw, and will continue to make upgrades while still operating over the next year and a half.
No additional construction will be needed at this time for the expansion, Hufford said. Much of the investment will go into the new equipment and hiring, especially in the areas of assembly and distribution.
He said the full expansion of manufacturing of wood-based products at the Cedartown plant will be done by the first quarter of 2019.
The announcement provided Deal a reason to celebrate the expansion of business in the state, and his office made the announcement officially on Aug. 15.
"The HON Company is familiar with the advantages of operating in the top state for business and has benefited from Georgia's extensive manufacturing capabilities for decades," said Deal in a press release. "By choosing to expand in Polk County, The HON Company will continue to hire from Georgia's deep talent pool and engage in a culture of collaboration that emphasizes industrial growth. With this new investment, the company will strengthen its competitive edge and continue to enjoy our businessready transportation infrastructure. We value The HON Company's commitment to creating quality jobs in Georgia and support its vision for expansion in Polk County."
Congressman Tom Graves used the announcement as a springboard to talk about the increase in business activity since the beginning of the year and the creation of new jobs during his visit to the Polk County Chamber of Commerce summer picnic the following day.
The release from the Governor's office celebrated the good news with comments from a number of local and regional officials as well.
Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Regional Project Manager Stephanie Scearce represented the Global Commerce Division in partnership with the Development Authority of Polk County and Georgia Power.
"This announcement is a great example of how our partners around the state collaborate to strengthen the infrastructure for Georgia's existing industry base," said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. "Georgia's existing industries do an incredible job of solidifying our status as a top state for business and I know that Polk County will continue to serve The HON Company well." It's especially good news for the Development Authority of Polk County.
"The Development Authority of Polk County is proud to work with our existing industries to create jobs and capital investment in Polk County," said David Williams, chairman of the DAPC's board. "The HON Company is a true corporate partner in that they not only invest in their company and their employees, but also in many areas in our community. We are truly fortunate to have them doing business in Cedartown."
It was also good news for the City of Cedartown, who will eventually reap the tax benefits of the expansion since the new line will increase the facility's value, and thus how much taxes they pay annually after incentives for their expansion run out.
"The HON Company is not only the backbone of the economy for Cedartown, but also a willing partner in projects such as Cedartown's One Door Polk and Polk School District's Project Success," said Cedartown City Commissioner Dale Tuck. "The Hon Company exemplifies what it means to be a good corporate neighbor."
Though HON won't be getting any incentives for the expansion from Polk County or the state's development authorities, they do hope to take advantage of "OJT (on the job training and apprenticeship program) monies, with our increased head count coming, and be supportive for that program," according to
HON's Clay Cooper. The release added that Hufford said the company is " eager for the opportunity to grow the business, hire the best talent and continue to positively impact the region."
The Cedartown facility, The HON Company's first plant outside of Iowa, has been in operation since 1969. The location has undergone multiple expansions and earned a Georgia Manufacturer of the Year award. Locally the company already employs 680 people.
Since 1944, The HON Company has delivered inspired practicality to the workplace. By obsessing over tiny details and emphasizing timeless over trendy, HON designs and manufactures workplace furniture including chairs, tables, desks, workstations and storage.
Headquartered in Muscatine, Iowa, The HON Company has numerous manufacturing facilities strategically located throughout the United States, and markets its products through a nationwide network of loyal distribution partners. The HON Company is the largest operating company of the HNI Corporation, a leading global office furniture manufacturer.
Editor Kevin Myrick contributed to this report.
Commissioners will get a chance to interview the several candidates who have thus far put forth their names for consideration by the board, and when the Aug. 30 special session rolls around, there might be more than the six who have so far submitted their application officially.
As of Aug. 10, those six candidates were according to information provided by County Manager Matt Denton: Bob by Brooks, Cleve Hartley, Gary Martin, David McElwee, Harland Moody and Carson Tanner.
Applications are still being accepted for those who live in District 1, defined in the map attached to this story, so the list could grow to include more candidates as the month continues ahead of the end of the month session, where time will be taken for interviews following the commission's approval of a millage rate for upcoming tax bills.
Candidates are getting this chance following the County Commission's decision to go with an interview process open to the public during their Aug. 8 work session to talk about how the board would go about replacing former Commissioner Jason Ward, who has since moved off to Jacksonville, Fla.
His District 1 seat is up for voters to choose on in 2018, and so whoever gets picked if Commissioners
can come to a 4-1 decision on their own would fill the time left.
So far, five of those six have responded back to requests for comment, with only Cleve Hartley declining to comment.
In alphabetical order, the first candidate on the list is former District Attorney Bobby Brooks, who has kept up both his practice and his interest in local politics since he held his last elected post in the county.
Brooks, who also served for 12 years on the Board of Education, said that he's worked with a number of different personalities over the years and believes through is past experience, he would be able to make progress for all of Polk County.
However, he said immediately he was unsure of whether he would consider a run for the seat in 2018.
"I feel experienced enough to do a good job for the rest of Jason's (Ward) term," Brooks said.
Also among the candidates who have stepped forward to be considered is former Assistant County Manager David McElwee, who left in 2016 to run for tax commissioner and lost a primary race to Kathy Cole. He was coowner of the former Brother Joe's coffee shop up until it's closing in July.
Now he's seeking office again and hopes to bring his former experience to the county to bear on challenges and issues facing the county ahead.
"I know what's going on from both sides of the county, both as a resident and a former employee," he said.
He pointed to his past work to help create the Drug Task Force, work in the Animal Control department and other areas in his past job as assistant county manager as one reason why he should be considered.
"I think they recognize that they need someone to be able to unite everyone together and not a divider, and I think I have those qualifications," McElwee said.
McElwee also said he was undecided about whether he would seek a new term if given the opportunity to serve, and that would be a decision he would make in the future.
Former Cedartown City Commissioner and school board member Gary Martin, who also is owner and operator of Martin's Styling Center on North Main Street, also submitted his name for the seat based on the idea that he could be an asset based on his past experience as well.
"I came to Cedartown and Polk County when I was a young teenager, and I've always had a desire to help my county become a better place," Martin said. "I can work with any board if I'm selected. I can work with them and get something done."
He pointed out that a "commissioner doesn't run the county, they make sure the county is ran correctly. That's what I strive for."
He didn't say whether he would consider a 2018 run either.
Harland Moody, a retiree of Bekaert Steel in Rome after 17 years on the job, and a lifelong resident of Polk County, said that he wanted to get involved on the board to be an impartial voice on the Commission.
"I just feel like there are a lot of problems with our county," he said. "I've been going to county meetings for at least 30 years, and nothing is being done to help our county or our employees."
He said he won't take sides in any issue, but did speak out about recent controversy with the Polk County Police Department.
"Someone needs to step up and find out what the problem is," he said. "We don't need to let a county employee do the audit."
Last on the list thus far put together is Carson Tanner, who sells cars at Dingler Automotive on North Avenue. Though he said he is younger and less politically experienced than the rest of the candidates, he wanted to do something to help Cedartown by serving.
"I want to be part of the change," he said. "I don't want to sit back and watch bad things happen to our community."
He said additionally he hoped that if given the chance to serve, he might get his feet wet in politics for the time being.
Candidates will be able to field questions from Commissioners for five minutes at a time during the upcoming Aug. 30 session based on what the board agreed to during their Aug. 8 work session.
A Rockmart man was jailed on a trio of misdemeanor charges following a standoff with police that ended peacefully last Wednesday in Polk County.
According to jail records from the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Jamie Scott Ogle, 44, of 900 Morgan Valley Road, Rockmart, was charged with reckless conduct, discharging firearm
while under influence of alcohol or drugs and discharge of firearms on or near public highway or street.
Ogle remained in jail on the trio of misdemeanor charges awaiting superior court to determine the amount of his bail.
Following the resolution of the standoff on Wednesday, local police reported that Ogle surrendered to authorities after several attempts to get in touch with him by phone before he eventually called Sheriff Johnny Moats back.
Moats said he was able to talk down Ogle, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, who was alleged to be shooting a firearm in the direction of a man who was forced to hide behind a barn during part of the day.
Police had tried through the afternoon to make contact with him several times before Moats said Ogle called back and they were able to talk him down and end the incident peacefully.
Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd said that Ogle fired several times, first at the neighbor and then later once police arrived. Floyd County's SWAT team leader Capt. Tom Ewing was also called to the scene, but Ogle surrendered before their assistance was needed.
After law enforcement tried to get in touch with family members, Moats eventually tracked down Ogle's phone number and got in touch after several attempts, and got him to come to the end of the long driveway at the residence to give himself up without any more shots fired.
The Rockmart Police Department and Georgia State Patrol also assisted.
Dodd said on Wednesday that his officers sought a search warrant to inspect Ogle's property to confirm whether shots were fired or not.
He was also questioned by police before he was officially charged.
Golfers get ready to tee off this fall for the first ever CASA of Polk and Haralson County golf tournament. The upcoming fundraiser is being held on Sept. 22 at the new Cedar Valely Country Club next to Petro's in Cedartown at 1811 Buchanan Highway. Registration begins at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast available to players, and a tee time to follow at 9 a.m. Prizes and a complimentary lunch are included. There's also a Hole in One for a new car prize being sponsored by Hardy Chevrolet Buick and GMC. Contact Brett Hunter at 256-239-7882 for more information.
Cost is $100 per player, $400 for a 4 person team.
The Cedartown High School homecoming is just a little more than a week away, and those wanting to participate in the annual parade need to get their information into the school ASAP. Visit the high school for applications and to turn them off. Call 770-748-0490 for more information.
The Sit n' Stitch crafters group will resume on Wednesday September 6th in the Fellowship hall of Rockmart First United Methodist Church from 10 a.m. to 2p.m. The group will meet each Wednesday except the last Wednesday of the month. Bring a sack lunch, a project of your own, or help out with a mission project and enjoy fellowship with other crafters. No special skills are required. For more information, contact Madeline Brown at 678-435-5032.
Check out the Rockmart Farmers Market at the Silver Comet Trailhead behind Southcrest Bank on Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m. from now through Thanksgiving. Visit Rockmartfarmersmarket.com for more information about vendors and upcoming classes.
The Harrell-Weaver reunion is coming up on Saturday, Sept. 23 at Bellview Baptist Chruch in Rockmart from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bring enough food for you and your family plus some to share. Email Shelia.Stanczak@spsx.com for more information.
The annual Bicycle Ride Across Georgia will be making a stop once again in Polk County at Skydive Space-land off Grady Road during their annual U.S. Bicycle Route 21 event. The ride is begins in Chattanooga on Sept. 29 and continues until Oct. 1 where it will end in Atlanta. Riders will be at Skydive Space-land on Sept. 30 after coming from Summerville, and evening entertainment is scheduled as well. Check out brag.org for more information.
The next spaghetti dinner at American Legion Post 12 will be on Sept. 20th. Meal of spaghetti, meatballs, garlic toast and salad, $5 for all-u-can-eat. Served from 5 - 7 PM. Trivia with Tom and Betty starts at 6. Come join us for some fun and a great, inexpensive meal.
Help out the Polk County State Special Olympics team with their efforts to raise money by stopping by their produce stand in downtown Cedartown today. The stand - located at One Door Polk at 424 N. Main St., Cedartown - provides a variety of fruits and vegetables for sale with the proceeds going to support their practice costs, jerseys, and competition fees to compete at the State Special Olympics Masters Bowling competition in Warner Robbins in August. The stand is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and run by local volunteers. Call 706-302-0462 for more information.
Check out the Throttle Jockeys Fourth Friday Cruise-in monthly - weather permitting - in front of Polk County Courthouse No. 2 parking on Prior Street in Cedartown from 5 to 9 p.m.
Polk Family Night at State Mutual Stadium for the Rome Braves is coming up on Sept. 2 as the Braves face off against the Columbia Fireflies. Get tickets by calling the Chamber at 770-684-8760 or email email@example.com for more on how to take part.
Ferst Foundation Community Action Team (CAT) meets the first Monday of the month at 5 p.m., alternately in Cedartown and Rockmart. Call 404-862-1273 for meeting location. Find out more about how to help improve childhood literacy in Polk County at ferstfoundation.org.
Rockmart's annual Riverwalk Festival on the Eurharlee is coming up in Oct. 21. Visit rockmartga.gov for more information about how to sign up to become a vendor and to participate in festivities.
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 of provide free civil legal services to persons with low incomes. This includes cases related to housing, employment, education, domestic violence, consumer fraud, wills, and more. It will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The next date will be later this month.
Get ready now for the annual Labor Day Bike Ride on the Silver Comet Trail in Cedartown. It'll start at the Cedartown Welcome Center in the Depot and run along the Silver Come Trail following an 8 a.m. registration on Monday, Sept. 4. Call the Welcome Center at 770-748-2090 for more information about the ride and how to participate, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 43rd annual Flea Market at the Cedartown First United Methodist Church is coming up on Labor Day weekend! Mark calendars now for Friday, Sept. 1 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 2 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Don't miss a chance at getting house wares, furniture, clothes, toys, books and more.
The next West Georgia Spay/Neuter Clinic is coming to the Cedartown-Polk County Humane Society on Wednesday, Aug. 23. Head over to the organization's office at 608 Adamson Road, Cedartown on Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m. or Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to fill out an admission and prepay for the surgery. Those wanting more information can call 678-361-7304 for more information. Vaccines and tests are available for extra cost as well. The first pickup date for the coming month is Sept. 6.
Vendor applications are out now for the annual Cedartown Fall Festival being held on Saturday, Oct. 7 on Main Street. Festivities begin with the 10 a.m. Shriner's parade, a dog contest at 11 a.m. and live entertainment throughoutt he day. Those interested in a vendor space can contact Ramona Ruark at the Cedartown Welcome Center at 770-748-2090 or email email@example.com.
The Polk County Alzheimer's Support group will meet monthly on the first Monday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Polk Medical Center. Those interested can join for fellowship and lunch following in the hospital cafeteria. For more information call John Giglio at 678-246-8188.
Join the Church of God of the Union Assembly, 32 Prospect Road, Rockmart, for praise and worship weekly. The church welcomes anyone to come and worship regularly on Sundays and Wednesdays as well. Praise and youth services are held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday nights, and services start at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday following Sunday School at 9:45 a.m. Call Pastor Jesse Starnes at 678-757-4572 for more information.
The Polk County Beekeepers meets the first Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Cedartown Library 245 East Ave. Whether you are an experienced beekeeper, new beekeeper or want to learn all are welcome. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit tinyurl.com/polkbees.
Get ready for the Polk County Fair organized by the Cedartown Exchange Club annually to help raise funds for the club to donate to local organizations. This year's fair is scheduled from Tuesday, Sept. 12 through Saturday, Sept. 16 at the Polk County Fairgrounds; 5-10 p.m. nightly Tuesday through Thursday, and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. Check back for more information in coming editions.
The Polk County Extension Service's annual twice-weekly vegetable market has begun. Find fresh veggies and fruits on hand from vendors on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at Peek's Park in Cedartown. Call the extension office at 770-749-2142 for more information or to learn how to participate.
Cedartown Supper Club every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Held at 71 Woodall Rd. Seventh-day Adventist Church. Enjoy a vegetarian supper and participate in a lecture on healthy, happy living. Free and for all ages. Each evening provides a different menu and lecture topic. For more information call 678-901-9184.
Victory Baptist Church's Bread of Life Food Pantry is now open to help those in need. 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 2 IDs per address. Regular hours of operation for the pantry are Mondays, 1 to 3 p.m., Tuesdays, 5 to 7 p.m. and Thursdays, 8 to 10 a.m.
Interested in becoming a Foster or Adoptive Parent? Open your heart to a child in need and find out how you can help. Join others who seek the love of a child every second Tuesday night of each month at 6 p.m. at Polk Co. Department of Family and Children Services office, located at 100 County Loop Rd. in Cedartown. Information Sessions are held to explain what is required to become a foster or adoptive parent in the state of Georgia. For more information please call Robin Forston at 404-895-6517 or e-mail email@example.com or call 1-877-210-KIDS. Visit www.fostergeorgia.com for more information.
Join Paul Craighead at the Rockmart Cultural Arts Center gallery for weekly pottery classes. They are held Tuesday and Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for $15 each, and $12 for a Thursday class from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Materials are included in the cost of the classes. Call Paul Craighead at 770-843-5302 with questions. Registration open at the beginning of classes.
Celebrate Recovery continues to meet in the First Baptist Church of Rockmart, 311 E. Elm St., Monday nights with dinner at 6 p.m. A large group gathers at 7 p.m. and small share group at 8 p.m.
Victory Baptist Church will be hosting their annual Stockings of Love Christmas in July event on Saturday, July 22, 2017. Visit their website at www.vbcrockmart.com for more information.
The Alzheimer's Association Caregiver Support Group in Polk meets the first Monday of each month at First Baptist Church of Rockmart, 311 E. Elm St. The facilitator is April Williams. For more information call 770-546-5188.
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 3rd 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 information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 706-506-0649.
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.
Need to get an item onto the Area Calendar of Events? Email email@example.com today! All items must be in at least two weeks before the event to appear in the Standard Journal on time.