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Aragon updates park fees
• New hires are starting work with the city, and fireworks are planned for the annual barbecue.

Those who want to set aside picnic tables for a birthday party, or want to use the Pittman Park softball field will soon have new fees to pay to the City of Aragon.

Commercial trash accounts also face fee increases as the city council approved both requests from Public Works superintendent Daniel Johnson for the changes.

Johnson said that costs associated with use of Pittman Park were one reason for adjusting fees associated with reserving the use of the softball field there, or at Jake Belk Park's baseball diamond as well.

Previously, residents or visitors could reserve the use of Pittman Park for $175, with a $150 deposit to cover any damage payable to the City of Aragon in advance.

Now there are two options: $175 for use of the field with lights, and $75 for use without. The $150 deposit is still required no matter the change in the costs.

The same fees are also being assessed for those seeking to use Jake Belk Field as well.

The rest of the parks will face $25 fees to reserve picnic tables for use by residents or visitors as well, but Johnson made it clear that park areas can still be used by residents even if they have paid to set aside the tables.

"We can rent, but we can't restrict use for other people," Johnson said.

Picnic tables can now be reserved at Veteran's Park, the mill pond and Pittman Park via a form available at city hall and paying the $25 fee.

Cancellations are required to be made at least 48 hours before the reservation date according to new forms. It also lays down ground rules, including promises not to cause any damage and clean up the area before leaving parks.

The city recently added more portable toilets to the park areas in order to give local residents a place to use the restroom since bathrooms at least at Pittman Park are set to get new flooring installed.

"It's a good move for the city, because now instead of having to take kids home from playing in the parks, now they have a bathroom to go to," he said.

Johnson also had another request for an increase in fees for commercial trash accounts.

He said with the requirement of having to separate the trash for residential and commercial accounts when taking it to the dump, it forces him and his workers to take an extra trip to the Grady Road Landfill on a weekly basis, meaning more fuel and labor costs incurred by the city.

To cover the costs, he sought and got approval for an increase of $25 to commercial accounts, which now cost businesses $75 to have the city remove their trash per month. When asked, Johnson didn't have comparable rates from the cities of Cedartown and Rockmart for how much they charge for commercial trash accounts since the two cities contract out their work.

Several other items were approved by the council which Johnson sought to get the council to give their thumbs up.

Included in those were two new hires he sought to bring into the Public Works department, one as a completely new hire which will require him to change his budget needs for FY 2018, and one to replace a worker who left.

He also sought to make Atkins Electric the sole supplier of electrical contracting work for the city instead of having to bid out each job one at a time.

Johnson said it would not only allow for easier electrical repairs in the future, but would also make getting those fixes done faster when problems occur since the company will be on call.

Council members voted unanimously for Johnson's fee increases, new hires and Atkins Electric agreement.

They also approved a proposal for work to move forward on work associated with Pittman Park repairs and remodeling ahead of the annual Aragon BBQ being held in June.

That work is expected to be done before the upcoming event, which will include fireworks after the council approved a request from Mayor Garry Baldwin to move forward with placing a deposit down for the supplier.

He said the city will still have to come up with the rest of the $3,000-plus pricetag for the fireworks show before the June event at Pittman Park.

Council members also decided to allow previous plans for park renovations off of the agenda for coming months by taking no action when the items came up for a decision.

Previously, the council had sought approval of plans for park upgrades throughout the city, and held public hearings for determining what to do next.

Baldwin asked that the items come off the agenda for the time being while smaller projects are handled for park upgrades needed before the barbecue, and can be addressed after the 2018 fiscal year's budget is completed.

The council also approved seeking a new hire for the city hall offices to replace the position left open when court clerk Lori Dunn was suspended in March. They plan to ask a previous employee who was laid off during financial hard times for the city in 2013 who wishes to return.


County holds monthly meeting for May early
• The county commission votes to seek approval for Aragon-area solar farm special use permit during its recent early May session.

The Polk County Commission was set to meet early this week for their May sessions so members could attend conferences coming up at the end of the week through when meetings would have been held on May 1 and May 2.

Commissioners were slated to meet on Monday for their work session and for customers who get the paper Tuesday can still make it to their 7 p.m. session for their regular session.

According to agendas released late last week, the commission is set to vote on several items with a notable inclusion of several owners of property across from Aragon's current solar farm to develop a new 14-acre site.

Curtis, Freddie, Hoyt and Greg Lewis together are seeking permission for the permit to allow them to develop the site with Hecate Energy to move forward with the solar farm project. They also are seeking permission to put up a 6-foot fence as well to enclose the new facility.

Lewis said they previously owned the property already developed with solar power, and he hopes that if the commission gives their approval to the permits they can move ahead quickly on expanding solar power to local residents.

"This is a win-win for everyone," Lewis said. "Solar is something along with wind and other sources that we need to use."

A special land use permit is also being put up for consideration for expansion at Hightower Falls with a new groomsmen cabin and storage building at the property run by Steve and Carol Crook in Cedartown.

Commissioners will also consider a bid for roof repair at Polk County Courthouse No. 2, a capital improvement technology purchases for the tax commissioner's office, a request to seek a grant for the Sheriff's Office from the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, the latest group health insurance policy contract figures, and several other items.

The commission will also get to hear about a malt beverage license application for The Country Store on Piedmont Highway for Hansaben Patel. They'll vote on it Tuesday night during their regular session.

Old business from the April session is also coming back before the commission as they consider whether to honor paving requests from the cities of Cedartown and Rockmart for resurfacing parking lots at the Nathan Dean Sports Complex in Rockmart and the Bert Wood Youth Athletic and Recreation Center in Cedartown.

The agenda for the Monday work session included discussion of the new solar farm and special land use permit requests, along with a malt beverage license request and discussions for public safety and public works issues.

The board will also get more information about the need for broadband expansion from Commissioner Jennifer Hulsey that she seeks to work on with several other counties as part of the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission.

She said more information is being gathered to put together a bigger plan for seeking help providing broadband to rural areas of Polk County.

Information about Local Maintenance and Improvement Grants being sought for the Public Works department, making Mountain Home Loop and Jackson Chapel Roads and the condition assessment for Polk County Courthouse No. 2 are also on the agenda.

Check back in the first May edition of the Standard Journal for more information about commission votes and their work session held on April 24.


Purple potty visits paper in cancer fundraiser

The Purple Toilet campaign stops by the offices of the Standard Journal on Friday, and Editor Kevin Myrick takes the opportunity for a look over the last edition. Keep an eye out for the toilet in your front yard as the annual campaign to help raise money to "flush cancer down the drain" continues on until the Polk County Relay for Life on May 6. Those interested in participating or needing to get rid of the toilet can call organizer Tammy Jarrell at 770-359-9950, or visit the Polk County Relay for Life Facebook page.


Weekend of events coming up in Polk County

Several events are coming up at the end of this week and over Saturday and Sunday in cities across Polk County, with one a longstanding celebration of spring and local artists happening all weekend in Cedartown.

But kicking off the events is a special night in Rockmart for their Georgia Cities Week celebration.

On Thursday, the City of Rockmart will once again close off our downtown streets and serve our citizens hot dogs, snacks and drinks while displaying many of our services so everyone can become more familiar with our operations.

Also the Rockmart Farmers Market and the Downtown Merchants will be open later to allow for residents taking part in festivities a chance at getting fresh produce.

Door prizes and giveaways will be part of the evening as well.

The event is set for 6 to 9 p.m. and will feature live music.

Aragon will be playing host on Saturday to a special event to finally raise the stars and stripes on the old mill flag pole, now fully restored and back in place in front of City Hall.

A ceremony is being held at 2:30 p.m. with city officials and local residents who choose to join in to help celebrate the first flag raising since the pole's return.

City officials brought the flag pole back after restoration work was completed by Andrew Heaner from All Star Towing, who had the pole in a storage area. Building inspector and code enforcement officer headed the efforts to get Heaner to give the flag pole back to the city. He also funded restoration efforts.

A small area with flower boxes and benches have been completed around the flag pole for residents to enjoy and connects to the city hall signage out in front of the Brenda Gazaway Memorial Complex.

The event on Saturday wraps up Aragon's celebrations for Georgia Cities Week, which also included contests for which winners announced during last week's council meeting, and clean-up days which end on Saturday as well.

All weekend long, Cedartown's Peek Park plays host to the 53rd annual Cedar Valley Arts Festival, which includes their 5K run on Saturday morning.

The festival kicks off on Friday afternoon from 5 to 9 p.m., with 74 confirmed vendors showing up to provide fun, food and interesting finds of all kinds in the park.

"This venue provides a perfect location to showcase local artists, craftsmen, and musicians," said Laura Newton, one of several organizers with the Junior Service League putting together. "We pride ourselves on showcasing the talents of our young artists as well by displaying artwork for every elementary student in Polk County."

That artwork will be placed on the fences of the tennis courts like they have been in past years, and vendors will be setup throughout the park.

Along with the annual festival, the Arts Festival also hosts a 5K Run/Walk on Saturday morning, April 29.

Signups continue for the run through this Saturday at a cost $20 per participant.

Registration forms can be downloaded from the Arts Festival website at www.cedarvalleyartsfestival.com and mailed in or participants can register online at www.active.com.

Registration is $25 to participate. Group leaders contact Brigitte Tillery at btillery@polk.k12.ga.us for group rate.

Race day registration and packet pick up is being held from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. 5K begins at 8:00; Fun Run begins soon after.

All runners should arrive no later than 7:30 a.m.

The awards ceremony will be at Park Peek Amphitheater following the race.

Event will be held rain or shine.

No refunds will be given rain or shine.

The Arts Festival will be holding the annual dog show on Sunday, April as the feature event of the day.

It begins at 2 p.m., with registration ahead of time at 1:30 p.m.

It's an amateur show, and all dogs and breeds are welcome to participate.


Cedartown man facing death penalty in child's death

Dustin Drew Putnal

A Cedartown man indicted in the death of a toddler in late October 2016 could be facing the death penalty if Tallapoosa Circuit District Attorney Jack Browning has his way.

Browning filed a short brief with Superior Court Judge Meng Lim that announced his intentions to seek death when the State vs. Dustin Drew Putnal goes to trial this year.

In his filing on April 18, Browning cited statutory aggravating circumstances in Ella Grayce Pointer's death which stated that Putnal had committed the "offense of murder against Ella Grayce Gail Pointer was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman, in that it involved depravity of mind."

Putnal was indicted by a grand jury in February on seven counts in the case, including malice murder, two counts of felony murder, aggravated battery, two counts of cruelty to children and a lone count of aggravated sexual battery. He'd previously been arrested on a probation violation and charged while in jail in December 2016.

His attorney Gerry Word did not respond to a request for comment last week following the filing.

Browning also had no comment on the proceedings.

According to a previous release, Emergency personnel were called to an Adamson Drive apartment Oct. 29 in the early morning hours to a report of a baby not breathing. Indictments stated that it was unclear to the Grand Jury whether the injuries she sustained were on Oct. 28 or Oct. 29.

The release stated Pointer was transported to Polk Medical Center and airlifted to Children's Health Care of Atlanta, where it was discovered she had possibly been sexually assaulted and sustained severe head trauma.

Putnal was dating the child's mother and the two lived with him at the Adamson Drive apartment at the time of her death.

Arraignment for the Putnal trial was scheduled for April 17, but was pushed back to Monda after press time.

Putnal is the only defendant facing charges in Pointer's death last fall.


AREA CALENDAR OF EVENTS

The Cedartown Junior Service League is inviting the public to come out and celebrate spring this weekend during the 53rd annual Cedar Valley Arts Festival at Peek Park in Cedartown starting from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, continuing Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Signups are now underway as well for the Arts Festival 5K and 1 mile fun run, the 20th year of the run this year. Visit the Cedartown Festival website at http://cedarvalleyartsfestival.com for more information about this year's festival in Cedartown.

The Rockmart Farmers Market continues on this Thursday from 2 to 5 p.m. behind Southcrest Bank and next to the Silver Comet Trail in downtown Rockmart. Classes and the summer schedule will begin on May 4.

The Tallapoosa Circuit Re-entry Coalition will hold their upcoming orientation on May 2 at 9 a.m. at the Georgia Department of Labor office in the Northside Industrial Park in Cedartown. Client days will be held on every Thursday through the rest of May. For more information, contact the Coalition at 770-749-2213.

Need to get an item onto the Area Calendar of Events? Email kmyrick@npco.com today! All items must be in at least two weeks before the event to appear in the Standard Journal on time.

This weekend, Taylorsville Baptist Church is inviting the community to come out and experience the passion of "New Desire." The gospel quartet famous for their 1998 hit "Heaven is so Beautiful" will be performing at the church this Sunday at 11 a.m. as part of their regular worship service. All are welcome to attend.

Tickets are on sale now for the upcoming production of "The Wizard of Oz," being presented by Covenant Christian School at the Cedartown Performing Arts Center on this Friday. $10 per person. Visit the school from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 321 E. Queen St., Cedartown or Smitty's Barbership at 506 N. Main St. during business hours to purchase tickets, or call 678-800-5286.

Purchase tickets now for Rockmart High School's annual steak dinner fundraiser. Cost is $100, includes dinner for two and a raffle ticket for a chance to win $10,000. Money raised at the dinner goes to support the Yellow Jackets athletic program. Contact a Rockmart High School coach today to purchase tickets, or call the high school at 770-684-5432. There are a limited number of tickets for the event.

The next West Georgia Spay/Neuter Clinic is coming to the Cedartown-Polk County Humane Society on May 3. 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. The next date coming up is May 17. Vaccines and tests are available for extra cost as well.

Get ready for the Polk County Relay for Life coming up on May 6 at the Polk County Fairgrounds starting at 6 p.m. A variety of fundraisers are already happening in the community, and need your support! Help fight cancer today by signing up a team, donating or simply learning more about the cause at http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?fr_id=83047&pg=entry.

The Polk County Chamber of Commerce is now accepting applications for vendors for the 2017 Homespun Festival happening on July 21 and 22 in Rockmart. Costs vary for vendors, but those seeking to bring arts and crafts to Homespun are charged $75 for a vendor fee. The deadline to apply is April 30. Call the Chamber at 770-684-8760 or e-mail homespun@polkgeorgia.com for more information or to sign up as a vendor.

The next spaghetti dinner at American Legion Post 12 will be Wednesday May 17. Spaghetti, meatballs, garlic toast and salad for $5, all you can eat. Serving from 5 to 7 p.m., and trivia starts at 6 p.m. Bring your friends and come join the fun.

The Revival on the River is coming to Rockmart's Seaborn Jones Park on May 19 through May 21, starting on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m., and continuing Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Find out more information and look for an upcoming itinerary at www.facebook.com/Revival-on-the-River.

The Rockmart High School FBLA is hosting a 5K Fun Run/Walk on May 20, 2017. Cost is $25.00 for those who register by May 1. Color stations with pink, blue, and purple powder will be set up along the route. Proceeds to benefit the March of Dimes. Email Janet Dover at jdover@polk.k12.ga.us for more information.

Live Oak Baptist Church is hosting a Pinto Bean fundraiser for their Operation Christmas Child Shoebox ministry shipping costs on May 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. The menu includes pintos, lima beans, navy beans, cornbread, fried potatoes, slaw, onion and desserts. The dinner will be held in the church's fellowship hall, located at 150 Live Oak Road, Aragon.

Cross Pointe Community Church will be hosting a clothing giveaway on May 6, 2017. The giveaway includes baby, youth, junior and women's sizes, men's and boys, shoes, purses, accessories and the church's food pantry will be open. Those interested in participating or donating in the event and want more information can call Arlene Sizemore at 770-639-9578. The church is located at 4949 Rome Highway, Aragon.

The Church of God of the Union Assembly, 32 Prospect Road, Rockmart, is encouraging members of the community to join them for praise and worship each Sunday and Wednesday. 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.

A fifth Saturday Night gospel singing is coming up on Saturday, April 29 at 5:30 p.m. central at the Outreach Tabernacle at 1321 County Road 31, Muscadine, Ala. Performances by Witness 4 Him of Wedowee, Ala., The Yarbroughs of Bremen, and Born Again of Scottsboro, Ala. Pastor Rouzelle Sanders invites everyone to join in worship. For more information call 678-925-0903.

The Polk County Beekeepers meets the first Saturday of each month 10a-Noon at the Cedartown Library 245 East Ave. Our next meeting is May 6. Whether you are an experienced beekeeper, new beekeeper or want to learn all are welcome. For more information email polkcountybeekeepers@gmail.com or visit tinyurl.com/polkbees.

Signups are underway now for the Cedartown Performing Arts Center Lion King Summer Camp, taking place on July 17-21, July 24-28. Cost is $150 for the full 10 days of camp. Contact the CPAC at cedartownshows.com or call 770-748-4168.

The Polk County Extension Service's annual twice-weekly vegetable market will begin this year on June 27. They will have fresh veggies and fruits on hand from vendors on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. 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.

The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission's Area Agency On Aging Will Hold Its Quarterly Meeting On Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at The Thornton Recreation Center, 102 North Floyd Park Road, Rome, Ga 30165 (Across From Armuchee High School On Highway 27 North). The Meeting Will Begin At 10:00 AM. The Meeting Is Open To The Public.

Tallatoona Community Action Partnership, Inc. will hold their regular Board of Director's meeting on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 6 p.m. at the Tallatoona CAP Inc. Central Office located at 1010 N. Tennessee St., Suite 107, Cartersville, Ga., 30120.

The Aragon School Reunion is coming up on May 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Tom Pittman Recreation Complex in Aragon. Former Aragon School alumni are encouraged to come attend and share old memories and meet with friends, take a tour of the Aragon Historical Society museum, and bring old photos to share. Contact Sadie Pittman for more information at 770-684-7416.

Victory Baptist Church's Bread of Life Food Pantry is now open to help those in need. Pre-assembled bags of groceries will be handed out to those in need free of charge (ID required). There's a limit of 1 bag per person per week. Regular hours of operation for the pantry will be Mondays, 1 to 3 p.m., Tuesdays, 5 to 7 p.m. and Thursdays, 8 to 10 a.m.

Aragon Children's Day is coming up on June 3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Aragon Mill Pond. Fishing, games, goat hunt, prizes, food and more will be part of the day. Everyone is welcome, but activities are planned for youth 16 and under. Sponsored by the City of Aragon, area merchants and Davitte Lodge No. 513.

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 robin.forston@dhs.ga.gov or call 1-877-210-KIDS. Visit www.fostergeorgia.com for more information.

A Personal Relationship Seminar is being held in the Activity Hall at 71 Woodall Road continues on the final date of May 13. Come find freedom from the issues that affect your relationships. Learn how the Bible can equip you with tools needed to strengthen your relationships and find victory over destructive issues. Free materials. Call pastor Jeff Freeman at 706-676-6893 for more info.

Rivers of Living Water is hosting its 8th Annual "Your Best" talent show. The talent show will have two categories: younger children (ages 5-11) and older kids (ages 12-17). The winner will receive a trophy. Auditions for the talent show will be held on the following Saturdays: May 6, May 20 and June 3, 2017. The auditions will be at Rivers of Living Water from 1 to 2 p.m. The "Your Best" talent show will be Saturday June 24, 2017 at Rivers of Living Water at 5 p.m. There will be a $100 drawing at the talent show. Admission for the talent show is $10. For more information contact Courtney Ripoll at 770-689-7838.

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. Infor-