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Local
County moving ahead on new radio system

The Polk County Commission met in a special called session to vote on the first steps in the efforts to upgrade the public safety radio system used by police, fire, EMS and even public works employees.

The new APCO (Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials) standard P25 mission critical public safety communications system is slated to cost a total of $6.8 million, which will include a final price that provides municipalities, the Polk School District’s Police Department, and others who require the use of the new digital radio system handheld radios that can be used countywide.

That’s with a 37.2% discount on the entire equipment purchase, with some items receiving a greater discount and others less.

Polk County officials began the process earlier in the year when they learned of the opportunity to use the Cobb County network already in place as a core system that’ll link up with other counties in the area and provide greater coverage overall.

To do so, the county is looking to Motorola to provide both new towers, upgrades to current equipment and the hardware and software support to bring the pieces together into a better communications system.

Commissioners voted unanimously on two items specifically in regards to the purchase. First, they approved a motion to allow the county to finance subscriber unit billings with the municipalities, the school system, EMS entities and others to be structured in such a way that full payment will not be due immediately, but split in half.

“The purpose is to allow the payment of the initial purchase to be spread over a two fiscal year period,” Commissioner Ray Carter explained. “I think this will give our entities much more flexibility in the cost they incur.”

Additionally, the commission approved taking on the entire cost of maintenance of the system over a 10 year period of time, with a total cost of $3.3 million over that span.

The maintenance agreement with Motorola will include regular upgrades of equipment as new technology becomes available within the infrastructure, any replacement parts and installation that has to be completed, and any software upgrades that must be done by technicians. The payments for the maintenance portion of the contract will fall annually, and increase by 3% each year.

Carter said in making the motion that he wanted to avoid the costs being passed onto the cities, school district and EMS providers using the radio system. The maintenance agreement does not include any costs to repair or replace handheld radios used by officials in the field, like police officers or public works employees.

“I’m all for wanting to help,” Commissioner Hal Floyd said. “I think we’re all a part of this, and I’m one of those guys who believes in helping your neighbor and sharing and helping all you can.”

Commissioners brought together officials from the entities involved in the radio system to answer questions about the new radio system ahead of their special called session on Nov. 15. In that meeting, a timeline of about 12 to 18 months was proposed for installation of the new system, which would include additional radio towers in the county going up. Those would require the county to identify and secure sites before they are to go up with the help of Motorola, who is already working out a coverage map of where they think the best spots would be to guarantee at least 95% of the area able to receive clear signals.

In that process, officials will be invited to Chicago, Illinois to take part in the final staging of all the equipment coming together before being installed and deployed in the field. They hope to have the radio system in place before the start of 2021.

Votes on Nov. 15 set in place the ability for the county to take on the costs up front on their own and be paid back by the cities, school district and EMS providers for their portion of providing radios for the new P-25 system. If radios are delivered by the end of the 2020 fiscal year in July, a first payment would be due for their portion of the cost then, and then not again until midway through 2021. The further back full implementation of the system is pushed, so will the initial payments from partner entities.

What hasn’t been identified yet are the exact funding sources for the new system upgrade and requirement to buy new radios throughout the entities who have access to radio communications through 911. Additionally, intergovernmental agreements will have to be put in place with the cities of Aragon, Cedartown and Rockmart plus the Polk School District to be able to continue forward with the project.

Those agreements are in the works as well, and the need for an additional special called session is likely in the days ahead. As of press time over the weekend, none yet were called.

Additional information about future meetings can be found on Polkstandardjournal.com as they become available.


Local
Woodham named PSD's Teacher of the Year

The end of the year is fast approaching, but for Polk teachers, January is more like the halfway point.

They’ll be educating local youths for months to come, so the Polk County School Board made sure to recognize their hard work with the annual Teacher of the Year Award.

Alongside honoring the district-wide Teacher of the Year, the board presented the TOTY title to one educator from each of the county’s various elementary, middle, and high schools. This means a total of 11 teachers received plaques, applause, and $100 prizes during the November 12 meeting.

Amanda Woodham – 2019’s district-wide Teacher of the Year – received an additional $100. A Rockmart High School alumni and a graduate of the University of West Georgia, Woodham represents Van Wert Elementary where she’s taught Kindergarten since 2014.

She previously served in a Douglas County classroom before returning to Polk. No matter where she teaches, her educational philosophy remains firm.

Woodham wrote that she believes in forming a positive learning environment, recognizing that no two students are exactly alike, and making sure every child feels loved.

That commitment and passion for her job not only earned her the title of Teacher of the Year, but it also earned her kind words from Van Wert Elementary Principal Dr. David Wilds who was present during the meeting.

“She’s an awesome teacher,” Wilds said. “I gauge my teachers a lot of times by asking, ‘would it be a classroom I want to put my kid in?’ And without hesitation, I would my put my kid in Mrs. Woodham’s class. Anytime.”

Woodham could earn even more accolades if she’s selected as the regional TOTY later, but the accomplishments of the other 10 educators are not to be downplayed.

Polk School District employs dozens of teachers, and only 11 are selected each year.

The complete list of 2019 honorees include Polk County College and Career Academy’s Allen Ivie, Cedartown High’s Vickie Conway, Rockmart High’s Dawn Brown, Cedartown Middle’s Jennae Elder, Rockmart Middle’s Aimee Purser, Cherokee Elementary’s Katie Garmon, Eastside Elementary’s Tabby Garrett, Northside Elementary’s Angie Harper, Westside Elementary’s Jamie Brynteson, and Young’s Grove Elementary’s Krushinda Brannon.

Each was joined by their school’s principal who highlighted exactly why they were being honored, but Polk County College and Career Academy Principal Dr. Katie Thomas also offered words about the group.

“Among this group are our brightest and best stars in our classrooms,” Thomas said. “When I send these essays and questions to the judges who decide the teacher of the year, I do not pity that person who has to evaluate the applications because these are the best we have. All of you are winners in our book.”

The teachers were asked for a quick photo shoot before being set free, but the board had a few other business items for the night.

They approved a field trip request from the Cedartown High Lady Bulldogs who are now set to cheer during the state finals in Columbus, discussed their financial reports, and held an executive session before adjourning.


Local
Mosaic Place looking to bring services to Rockmart

Just more than a year after opening, Mosaic Place is looking to expand their services from one location in Cedartown, to two in Rockmart in the coming months.

Members of the Cedartown organization who have ties to Rockmart were joined by Mayor Elect Sherman Ross, Police Chief Randy Turner, County Commissioner Scotty Tillery and many more in the community came to talk about their experiences with drug abuse all across Polk County, and what efforts need to be undertaken to make the situation better.

Mosaic Place began in 2018 via Highland Rivers Health and a grant to provide addiction recovery services int he community in a new model that brings those in treatment into a positions of leadership of their own, and also provide services addicts can’t get easily, like help finding work after going through recovery or providing rides to important meetings or job interviews.

Throughout the past year, hundreds have come for help from around Polk County and attend a variety of group meetings, and also utilize the help of people like Program Manager Nikki Kemp.

Kemp, an addict in long-term recovery herself, said that had an organization like Mosaic Place existed when she was in need of help more than half a decade ago, she would have found a place where she could be accepted while going through her struggle to get clean of drugs.

“If someone comes into Mosaic Place and says ‘I want to kick the rock and stay clean,’ I’m going to help them stay clean,” she said. “At Mosaic Place, we have recovery meetings for everything. And we mean everything.”

Mosaic Place is just the kind of organization that the Rockmart Mayor-Elect is hoping to gain a partner with in the coming months as the city seeks to tackle a variety of problems, like homelessness and addiction. He’s not insensitive to addiction and those who are suffering, and after learning about has been an advocate for the kind of help Mosaic Place offers those who are nearing rock bottom.

“Let’s face it, every community can probably use a Mosaic Place,” he said. “We need vehicles like this to be able to get assistance to individuals and families, and I feel like it is an incredible opportunity to get help to people in our community.”

His goal is that through partnerships with Mosaic Place and others, much can be done in the months and years to come to help the people who need it most. Ross is joined in that goal by Police Chief Randy Turner, who encounters the problems of addiction all the time.

He understands them all too acutely: his parents both died due to the complications they suffered from drug addiction, and other family members fled from Polk County to get away from lifestyle choices that would see them suffer the same fate.

Turner was frank during the listening session at Crossview Community Church on November 12: he and his officers are in a quandary when they encounter addicts in dire need of help at all hours of the day and night. Resources to divert them out of the judicial system aren’t an option much of the time.

Even if a person realizes they are in real trouble and need a bed in a rehabilitation facility, not one in the jail, the police’s usual route of transporting them to the emergency room and seeking help through the healthcare system isn’t usually available.

“We don’t like seeing this either, because none of our families are perfect,” he said. “We talk a lot about it among ourselves, and one of the things we talk about is at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., when we deal with somebody, there may or may not be a criminal charge involved. Not everybody needs to go to jail. I’ll say that as the Chief of Police.”

Turner sees those who are willing to help within Mosaic Place as a real option for making sure that addicts who are seeking help can be diverted from jail. He said his hope is that training sessions he’s attended with officials from Mosaic Place on pre-arrest diversion into treatment is one step in a long process of helping those who need it find recovery instead of a bed at the jail.

“What can we do and how can we get involved to help people,” he said. “Not everyone is going to accept help. We’ve seen it before in those who aren’t ready yet.”

There’s a real need for that kind of help. Among those who understand the problem acutely is Tillery, who found himself in the middle of helping an addict who had parked in the lot at Cedartown First United Methodist Church and was living out of her car.

Tillery recounted how he and Polk County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jonathan Blackmon tried to help the woman, and turned to Mosaic Place as their best option of securing her a spot in rehabilitation.

“Most people live in a bubble. We ride around and see people, and everybody has some type of problem. Some on different levels than others,” he said. “When we live in a bubble, we don’t realize what is going on in other people’s worlds and the problems they have and the help they’re receiving. At this point I was living in a bubble of some sort.”

He said he understands the problems the community faces and that Mosaic Place offers up a chance to bust the bubble, to give people a chance to reach out and help those who don’t have the resources to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

Mosaic Place’s first steps in the listening session were to gather ideas about how to proceed, and gather information about what resources already exist within Rockmart, like the Rockmart Homeless Initiative and organizations like Celebrate Recovery.

Kemp’s hope is that through the coming weeks and months as they figure out how to expand into Rockmart and provide services, additional community leaders will step up and take part.

For now, Mosaic Place remains one partner in the community willing to help. Those who need help from the organization in Cedartown including workshops, recovery meetings, transportation and workforce development contact them at 678-901-1445 to learn more. They are located at 321 West Ave., Cedartown.


Local
Cedartown commission welcomes Branch to new seat

After voters chose who was to fill the remaining term of a recently resigned Commissioner, the Cedartown board welcomed a new face to the board during their November session following the election earlier in the month.

New Commissioner Sam Branch was sworn in at the start of the November 12 session to fill the remaining term of Jordan Hubbard’s seat. Cedartown Municipal Court Judge Andrew Roper performed the duty for the new board member, who won the seat in a contested race with Randell Brazier.

Branch, who holds a variety of roles in the community, was happy to roll up his sleeves and get to work with the rest of the board a day behind their usual scheduled meeting.

“I want to thank my family and friends for coming tonight to witness this and support me,” Branch said. “I want to thank the citizens of Cedartown for entrusting in me to help lead this city by working with this board.”

Branch is a native of Cedartown who works at Suntrust Bank and Gammage Funeral Home, announced his intentions to run ahead of qualifying in past weeks. He also is a member of the Cedartown Civic Arts Commission, and is a member of the Exchange Club. He’ll be taking on additional roles following his election.

The commission took up their regular business for the month following a brief ceremony to bring Branch on board, and began with Commissioners approving a pair of lease agreements. CASA of Polk and Haralson County requested their lease be extended to a two-year agreement to keep their office space within One Door Polk, along with the Cedartown Youth Baseball for their use of the Bert Wood Youth and Athletic Center baseball fields during their seasons.

Commissioners also approved a request to seek a grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation and the holiday schedule of city closure days coming up in 2020. Federal holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s are among the days that city hall is closed to the public and employees get to take off time with their families.

City officials remain busy through the end of the year as they not only prepare the budget for approval in the coming month ahead of the start of 2020, and planning for Santa’s arrival on December 7 at the annual Christmas Parade down Main Street. City Manager Bill Fann also noted that this past week Gildan held a warehouse sale for the public to purchase items they produce in the company, as well as other projects underway.

That includes a new tower project at the Northside Industrial Park near the back portion on Davis Road, and that another company is celebrating a milestone this coming year in Polk County.

The HON Company, a longtime manufacturer of office furniture within the city’s industrial park on the west side, will celebrate their 50th anniversary in the city in 2020.

Commissioners in their reports included praise for the Market on Main event held on November 2, a reminder about the upcoming O Holy Night art show at the Cedartown Performing Arts Center’s gallery this month, and a thanks for those who took part in the annual Veteran’s Day remembrance ceremony held at the Memorial next door to City Hall.


Local
Standard Journal Area Calendar of Events from the Wednesday, November 20, 2019 edition

Unbroken Covenant is holding their annual church fundraiser smoked ham and turkey sale starting with Thanksgiving orders on Saturday, November 23 with pickup on Wednesday, November 27 from 12 to 4 p.m. on the corner of Cason Road and South Main Street in Cedartown. All proceeds go to the church, and free turnip greens come with every order. Call to place an order 706-844-5645.

Commander Pinkard of the American Legion Brown-Wright Post 12 in Rockmart is getting ready for their 75th annual Empty Stockings Fund drive. Legion members and auxiliary will be at local businesses collecting for the cause in the coming weeks. Additionally, they will be accepting applications from now and through December 3 for needy families in the Rockmart-Aragon area. Children from ages 2 through 10 are expected to be served. Applications can be picked up at Post 12, the Rockmart library or the local elementary schools. Donations of gifts from the public are being collected at the Walmart and Triangle in Rockmart on November 16, Nov. 23, Nov. 29, Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and Dec. 14 before the holiday season.

Cedartown’s Christmas parade is coming up on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. on Main Street! This year’s theme is “Candy Lane” and entries are being accepted to participate. Visit Cedartowngeorgia.gov to learn more now!

The holiday season is coming up soon for Rockmart’s annual Christmas parade, kicking off a weekend of events on the evening on Thursday, December 5 through the downtown square on South Marble Street and ending with the annual Christmas tree lighting. The Unwrap the Joy of Christmas event will continue on Saturday, Dec. 7 and Sunday, Dec. 8 in downtown, including carolers, a Christmas 5K and much more. Check back for more in the weeks to come.

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.

{div}The Polk County Democratic Committee meets on the second Saturday of every month except December at 10 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, 600 Main St., Cedartown, GA 30125. There will be no meeting in December due to the holidays.

The Cedartown Farmer’s Market has a new location and time for the 2019 season. Market-goers are invited to come out to the corner of Ware and South Main Street in Cedartown continuing on Tuesdays from 1 to 5 p.m. Contact Five Cedars Farm to participate at 678-246-1216 to learn more about becoming a vendor.

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 rcac@rockmart-ga.gov

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 asams@bgcnwga.org.

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. RHM meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month and volunteers are welcome and encouraged to take part.

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

The American Legion in Rockmart is hosting their monthly all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner coming up this Wednesday, November 20. 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 email at howardd999@yahoo.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 aweaver@lsga.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.

Get assistance

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.

Anna Kresge Memorial United Methodist Church will be sponsoring a clothing bank for children ages infant to 5 years old on the first Thursday of each month beginning in September from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the conference room of One Door Polk in Cedartown. Contact 770-748-6811 for more information on how to donate or participate in the giveaway.

Victory Baptist Church’s Bread of Life Food Pantry is now open. One bag of non-perishable 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.

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 justusmin.org@gmail.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.

Churches

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.

Rockmart First United Methodist Church invites the community to come out and join in worship on Sundays and Wednesdays at the church located at 135 W. Church St. Sunday morning worship begins with Bible study at 9:45 a.m., followed by Sunday school at 10 a.m. for all ages, and an 11 a.m. worship service. Wednesday night includes at 5 p.m. community meal on the last Wednesday of every month, 6 p.m. Bible study and choir practice at 7 p.m. Weekly children’s events at the church include a 5:45 p.m. children and youth meal, 6:15 Children’s music and MYF, followed by L.I.F.E. at 6:54 p.m. All are invited to join in. Call Rev. Thomas Hall at 706-836-7378 or email tg.hall@ngumc.net for more information or questions. The church also updates weekly on their website at rockmartumc.org.

Harmony Baptist Church, 882 Little Harmony Rd, Cedartown (Esom Hill area) invites everyone to attend their weekly Sunday morning Services. First Sunday morning service begins at 9:45 a.m. with Sunday School followed by worship service at 11 a.m.. Our doors are open to all and we are looking forward to seeing you. For more information visit our Facebook page, Harmony Baptist church, Cedartown.

Shiloh Baptist Church would like to invite the community to come participate in worship services weekly at their sanctuary at 433 Shiloh Road. Join the church for Sunday school at 10 a.m., followed by 11 a.m. service or Wednesday nights at 6 p.m. Call Pastor Jamie Newsome for more information at 404-425-8510.

Cedar Lake Christian Center is a non-denominational community who invites anyone looking to find the Holy Spirit within them to come join in worship services on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. with the Rev. Neil Hopper, along with Hispanic services as well to the community. Those interested in participating can join in at Cedar Lake Christian Center, located at 1890 Rome Highway, Cedartown. For more information call 770-608-0651.

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 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provides opportunities to local residents interested in hearing the message of Jesus Christ. For more information about how you can speak to local Elders, contact 687-852-7497, or visit their meeting house at 10005 N. Main St., Cedartown for worship services at 10 a.m. on Sundays.

Do you have interest in studying the Bible and prophecies within? Contact Dr. Idel Suarez about a new study group being formed locally for serious scholars of the text. Contact him at 813-310-9350 for more information about how to participate and future meetings.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cedartown, hosts a genealogy group that meets from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday nights, except holidays. There are no fees for these sessions and they are open to anyone. Please bring all of your basic family history (if you have it) such as names, birth-dates/death dates of parents, grandparents, children, etc. Bring your laptop or tablet, if you have one. If not, we can still help. Questions? Contact us at 678-477-2861 and leave a message or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FamilyQuest42/

Clubs and Organizations

The Ferst Readers Community Action Team meets the first Monday of the month at 5 p.m., alternately in Cedartown and Rockmart. Call 404-862-1273 for the meeting location. Find out more about how to help improve childhood literacy in Polk County at ferstfoundation.org.

The Cedartown Optimist Club meets on Thursday mornings at 7 a.m. for their weekly breakfast meeting and encourages members to join in and take part at the Goodyear Civic Center on Prior Street in Cedartown. Those interested in joining the Optimist Club and help local youth organizations can contact Ronnie Dingler by email at nmvideo@bellsouth.net.

The Polk County Beekeepers are now meeting the second Thursday of each month at the Polk County College and Career Academy’s Cedartown High campus in the community room at 7 p.m. Whether you are an experienced beekeeper, new beekeeper or want to learn all are welcome. For details email polkcountybeekeepers@gmail.com or visit polkbees.com for more information.

Members are invited to join the Cedartown Exchange Club weekly on Thursdays at 6 p.m. at the Cherokee Country Club for meetings and dinner. New members from across Polk County are encouraged to get involved by contacting club president-elect Edward Guzman at 770-546-2482 to take part in the organization that is involved in a wide range of community projects. Visit their website at cedartownexchangeclub.com to learn more. Annual dues are required to be a member.

The Rotary Club of Polk County now meets weekly at Polk Medical Center’s conference room on Highway 278 for lunch at noon every Tuesday unless otherwise noted and are encouraging members and potential new members to take part. Contact Missy Kendrick with the Rotary Club at 770-584-5234 for more on how to participate or become a member. Annual dues are required to be a member.

The Kiwanis Club of Cedartown encourages members to take part in weekly meetings on Fridays at noon at the Cherokee County Club. Potential new members are asked to get in touch with Rhonda Heuer, Club Secretary at 770-748-1016 to learn more about how you can take part in making the community a better place. Annual dues are required for membership. Visit kiwanis.org to learn about the club.

Arts

The Sit and Stitch is back to sewing at Rockmart First United Methodist Church in the fellowship hall. The group will meet the first and third Monday’s of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants can bring any craft they choose or help with a ministry project this year. The group is making crochet or knitted caps for donation to Helping Hands. A pattern will be provided and the group has crafters who can help those in need of instruction. Bring a sack lunch. Coffee or tea provided. Any questions please call Madeline Brown 678-435-5032.

Have a hidden singing talent, or want to get back into a chorus? Lend your voice and take part in the Rockmart Community Chorus on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. The choir is preparing for it’s Spring and Christmas concerts. Contact Debbie Miller, director, about taking part by calling 404-219-9572 or debbiebmiller@aol.com.

The Rockmart Cultural Arts Center’s Children’s Classes hosted by Margaret Bearden include monthly classes for children 3 to 6 years old on the second Wednesday of each month from 10 to 11 a.m. ($15 per child per class.) Bearden hosts Drawing and Painting classes for students seven to 12 years old on Mondays from 5 to 6:30 p.m. ($60 for 6 classes paid at first class, or $15 per.) Classes are also available on Thursdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m. for students 7 to 12 for Home School Mixed Media ($60 for 6 classes on first class, or $15 per) and Paint Parties are available as well. Contact Bearden at 770-500-4207 or by email at margaretbearden@gmail.com.

Pottery by Paul Craighead continues through the winter season at the RCAC, which includes Beginning Hand building on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Prices are $145 for 8 weeks. He also hosts an Open Studio for more advanced potters Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and Thursdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m. $15 per class. 16 and up for all classes, but Age 8 and up if accompanied with a parent or approved by Craighead. Contact him at 770-843-5302 or by e-mail at rivoletti@netzero.net.

Learn Drawing and Painting at the RCAC with James Hill on Wednesdays 6 to 8 p.m. or other days if available. Ages 12 to adult, $90 for a six week class. Contact Hill at 770-355-1535 or by email at jhill2411@gmail.com

Take part in a bi-monthly class for adults influenced in arts and self-empowerment, HeARTS and SOUL at the RCAC. $20 per person, includes all supplies. Dates and times to be announced. Contact Donna Duff at 770-855-7767 or by email at ctwarts@gmail.com.

The RCAC is hosting Now and Then of Rockmart to provide students with help gaining an eye for seasonal and home decor. Classes are being planned for Thursday nights and Saturday mornings, but dates are to be determined based on interest. Contact Tina Lanier at 678-883-9300 or by email at thenandnowofrockmart@gmail.com.

Piano lessons are available from Madelyn Stringer through the RCAC on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Wednesdays 1 to 5 p.m. Ages 6 to adult, all skill levels. $15 per weekly half hour private session, or $25 for an hour. Contact Stringer at 678-988-4133 or by email at madelynaudrey2000@gmail.com.

Carla Redding is providing a variety of photography classes this winter at the RCAC, ranging from getting to know a camera and how to take good photos, to using professional level software like Lightroom and Photoshop CC. Additional outings are available as well. Contact Redding for prices and schedules at — 770-546-3943 or ctr7510@aol.com.

Beginning Yoga can help people gain greater flexibility and stregth while maintaining graceful movements. Learn from Ramona Camp for $12 for an hour long class on Tuesdays from 9 to 10 a.m. or Thursdays 6 to 7 p.m. Age 12 to adult, but those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent. Bring a mat, pillow, water bottle and wear comfortable clothing and get ready to stretch out at the RCAC! Contact Camp at 706-621-2306 or ramonacamp7@gmail.com to sign up!


Local
Grad rates remain strong for PSD's College and Career program

By the numbers, the Polk School District continues to see improvement year after year in making sure students are leaving with the education they need to succeed in life.

Especially those who aren’t necessarily college-bound when they finish their four years at Cedartown and Rockmart High Schools.

Katie Thomas, the CEO of the College and Career Academy as well as Assistant Superintendent, said the rates posted this year are just evidence of a continuing trend of positive results for the district.

“The graduation rates validate what we have known in Polk County for a long time--students that plug into an area of interest, whether it be Welding, Construction, Healthcare, or Engineering, want to stay in school,” Thomas said. “They see the relevance of Math, English, Social Studies and Science because they see it come alive in the classroom each and every day.”

Polk County’s four different pathways offered to students at both high schools and the College and Career Academy were near or at the 100% mark across the board.

At Rockmart High, students in the Advanced Academic, World Language, Fine Arts or CTAE (one of the College and Career Academy programs) all came in at perfect 100% scores for the Class of 2019.

Cedartown’s rate was just shy of that, with Advanced Academic students reaching a 98.67 rate, and CTAE at 96. The World Language and Fine Arts pathways both achieved 100% rates.

With both sets of scores combined, that put the district at 99.21 percent for Advanced Academics students, 100 percent across the board for World Language and Fine Arts programs, and CTAE at 97.56%. Compared to state scores, Polk School District’s rate for College and Career graduates was just above a percentage point higher than all the programs in Georgia combined.

The statewide average came in at 96.54% for CTAE programs. Additionally, they reported that 99.6% of the students who complete the pathway go onto colleges and technical schools, advanced training, military service or right into a job after graduation.

The rate in 2019 statewide grew by 14.54 percentage points.

State School Superintendent Richard Woods pointed out that it was exactly the kind of outcome his department and all who care about the education of youth in Georgia hope to see.

“Our goal in education is to prepare students to live fulfilling lives,” Woods said in a press release about the numbers earlier this month. “We want students to find careers they love. We want them to use their skills and talents to contribute to their communities and build the future of our state. Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education makes that happen by connecting Georgia’s K-12 schools with business and industry and helping students see the relevance of their education. This year’s graduation rate shows the program continues to succeed.”

Part of the reason why Polk County is seeing success locally is due to the programs put in place to help students succeed, like partnerships with The HON Company in Cedartown and Miura in Rockmart, or through dual enrollment programs with Georiga Highlands College and Georgia Northwestern Technical College that allow students to take college classes that count toward both their high school diploma and a degree. Several students over the past few years have finished their education with the Polk School District with Associate’s degrees in hand as they get ready to head to college.

All of that is possible thanks to support of the community, and leaders within the district who have pushed for increasing education opportunities for students locally.

“We are very fortunate to have the support of both the Polk School District Board of Education and the Polk County College and Career Academy Board of Directors when it comes to bringing endless college and career opportunities to our students,” Thomas said. “Our community thrives when education and workforce development work hand-in-hand.”