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Early voting comes to a close
Election Day coming up on Nov. 5 to determine city races

The final days of early voting are here, and so far there haven't been many ballots cast ahead of the November 5 election. Though this week provides additional opportunity for people in Rockmart to get to the polls before next Tuesday.

A week of polling in municipal elections with an additional location open to Rockmart voters who want to participate in the Mayor's election can do so through Friday, November 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Nathan Dean Community Center at 604 Goodyear St.

Polling remains open in Cedartown at the Board of Elections office through the end of the week as well for voters who want to cast ballots in the Cedartown Commission special election.

Elections Director Lee Ann George reported that since early voting began on October 15, only 50 people had voted by the close of business of Friday, October 25.

On the ballot for the municipal elections in 2019 is a four-man Aragon City Council race for 2019.

That includes Council Member and local business owner Judd Fee seeking a new term in office this year, longtime Aragon resident and former council member from years past Buddy Tanner, former Aragon City employee and volunteer firefighter Mike Long Jr., and Aragon resident Gary Shindelbower.

In Rockmart, the decision is being made to determine who replaces Mayor Steve Miller after he concludes two terms in office and steps down as he promised to do when he first ran for the seat.

Former council member and businessman Sherman Ross is running for the seat against Mark Lumpkin, a two-plus decade veteran of the Polk School District as an educator and in recent years Central Office administrator, and co-owner of WZOT Radio.

In Cedartown, the special election to determine who fills the rest of the term previously held by Commissioner Jordan Hubbard is between Sam Branch and Randell Brazier.

Branch, 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.

Brazier, former Code Enforcement Officer with the Polk County Police Department after a long career in public safety, seeks to extend his involvement in helping the community by seeking the seat as well.

Uncontested candidates this year include Aragon's future mayor Debbie Pittman, who was the only person to qualify for the seat after she decided to give up her current position on the city council. In January, she'll be replacing outgoing Mayor Garry Baldwin after he chose not to run for a new term.

In Cedartown, Andrew Carter and Dale Tuck will both get to start new terms in January without opposition as well. The incumbent pair qualified back in August to keep their seats and went uncontested in the upcoming city vote.

They are also joined by several Rockmart City Council members who are on the ballot in November by themselves. In Ward 2, Marty Robinson will be replacing James Payne on City Council without competition, and Rick Stone will get a new term in office as well. Rockmart's special election to fill the unexpired time of Ross will be filled by Mike Bradley.

Of additional note, there's no Saturday voting in Polk County for city elections in 2019. The Saturday vote will return in 2020 with presidential elections upcoming.

A light in the darkness
Our House Women's Shelter honors domestic violence victims with candlelight vigil

The Our House Domestic Violence Shelter has been providing locals the resources they need to escape abuse for over two decades now, but while the clients they take in eventually leave the walls of the shelter, that doesn't mean they leave the hearts and minds of the staff when they do.

Our House, in observance of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, recently held a candlelight vigil designed to both remember those who've lost their lives to domestic violence and to honor those who've survived it.

The October 25 event took place on a dim, rainy evening, but it wasn't long before the front of Cedartown's Court House #2 was surrounded by lights. Citizens had come prepared with umbrellas and coats, intent on highlighting and overcoming the suffering that many of them and others have been dealt at the hands of domestic violence.

Guests took turns lighting their candles based on whether they were honoring one of the deceased, a survivor, or were simply trying to raise awareness, and Our House Executive Director Kelsei Poulin offered words for each group.

"From October 1, 2018 to Oct. 1, 2019, 143 lives were lost due to domestic violence," Poulin said. "And countless more in the past. Can we please pause for a moment of silence to remember those we have lost?"

She and the crowd naturally assumed a moment of silence before moving on, and the survivors group would later receive applause.

"Now, I would like to take a moment to celebrate those who survived, those who share their story, and those who choose not to," Poulin said. "We commend you for your strength, your will to survive, and for doing what ever it took to get out. Please join me in a round of applause for the survivors."

However, whether bowing in silence or clapping, the guests were honoring the victims both audibly and visually thanks to the various hand-decorated shirts that lined their tents.

Each article sported drawings and symbols meant to represent how domestic violence affected the designer and their loved ones. This act, often dubbed The Clothesline Project, is meant to be a visual reminder of statistics that often get ignored — a reminder that violence can and does occur around us.

Attendees mingled and discussed the shirts for a while after the vigil ended, and those who missed out will have the chance to do the same next year.

Our House plans to host the event annually, because while the shelter hosts numerous fundraisers dedicated to preventing domestic violence, the candle lighting and The Clothesline Project offer unique opportunities for those already affected to receive healing and closure.

"It gives victims a voice," Our House Board President Odell Abram said. "It gives the family a chance to stand up and face what's happened. Basically, it's the chance to show that you're a survivor. To say 'We're here. We made it. We're okay.'"

And thanks to the help offered by Our House, there's no telling how many more survivors may be at next year's vigil. Alongside temporary shelter, the group offers protective orders, legal advocacy, support group references, referral services, and many other resources for those in need.

The group's 24-hour crisis line – 770-749-9330 — ensures help is always available, and in the past year, they've answered 479 crisis calls and 269 anonymous crisis calls. The group also works with a legal advocate that locals can schedule an appointment with by calling 770-748-6633.

Additional information about the shelter can be found by visiting https://www.facebook.com/polkcountyourhouse/.

Renaultha Houston, the Our House Support Group Facilitator and the vigil's keynote speaker, made the case for making the call the best when she read the poem "I Got Flowers Today" at the end of her speech.

"I got flowers today," Houston read. "Today was a very special day. It was the day of my funeral. Last night he finally killed me. He beat me to death. If only I had gathered enough courage and strength to leave him, I would not have gotten flowers today."

Halloween fun coming up Thursday
Annual Trick or Treating events coming to downtown Cedartown and Rockmart Thursday afternoon

Children are set to don their costumes and head out this week as Halloween finally arrives in Polk County. There's been several events around the area leading up to the spooky sendoff to October and a move into the holiday season, including the Halloween Hoopla Hocus Pocus Family Night hosted by the Polk County Chamber of Commerce, several Trunk or Treats, and fall festivals galore.

Main Street in Cedartown for their annual Trick or Treating in downtown event. Local businesses will be out with candy on Halloween afternoon starting at 3:30 p.m. and continuing onward until 5:30 p.m., when a Halloween costume contest for youth will follow in Holloway Park.

A dog costume contest will follow that in the park as well.

Rockmart's Festival of Treats is also being held on Thursday, Oct. 31 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Local businesses will be out with candy for Trickor-Treaters, there's a costume parade open for all participants in this year's event, and much more.

The event is being sponsored by Family Savings Credit Union, the Downtown Rockmart Advisory Committee and the Polk County Chamber of Commerce.

Polk County Police's third annual Trunk or Treat will be held on Halloween as well, scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. at their headquarters at 73 Cline Ingram Jackson Road in Cedartown. All are invited to come and take part.

As part of the Chamber's Halloween Hoopla schedule of events, local businesses are encouraged to dress up together in a theme on Halloween day next week. This could be a movie, a decade, anything.

Those who want to participate can send photos to info@polkgeorgia.com by

noon on October 31 to be posted on the Chamber Facebook page by 1 p.m.

Each "like" on the costume photos on the Chamber's page counts as a vote. The business with the most likes on November 1 at noon wins a trophy.

For those planning to head out on Thursday evening for Trick or Treating, here's some helpful advice on making sure youth stay safe throughout the night of fun.


• When selecting a costume make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.

• Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors. Since masks can sometimes obstruct a child's vision, try non-toxic face paint and makeup whenever possible.

• If you purchase a ready made costume be sure it is flameproof or fire retardant.

• Have kids use glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers. Use glow sticks in jack-olanterns instead of candles.

• Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.

• Popular trick-or-treat hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.

Halloween can be enjoyed by all when we are all having a good time. When someone gets hurt everything changes. Make your Halloween a time of great memories.

Fall fun had at Van Wert Elementary

The community had a chance to get in the seasonal spirit with a fall event hosted last week.

Van Wert Elementary School hosted a two hour fall festival and carnival on Thursday for their students and members of the community.

Attendees enjoyed much fun with face painting, hay rides, spooky stories, haunted mazes, and many carnival games, all as a big fundraiser for the school.

Several kids noted that their favorite attraction of the night was the "haunted hallway," a maze full of masked and costumed characters.

Students were especially thrilled to attend the event dressed in their favorite Halloween costume or festive outfit.

The activities weren't just for the kids, though. Parents enjoyed shopping and viewing the vendor booths while their children explored all of the entertainment. Concessions and snacks were also conveniently available.

The event served as a fun kick-off for community Halloween activities this week. Those included a rescheduled Eastside Elementary character parade coming up this week, Fall Festivals and Trunk or Treat events over the weekend at local churches, and events on Thursday in both Cedartown and Rockmart (see this week's Halloween roundup above.)

One last Fall Festival is coming up this weekend as Cedartown holds their first ever Market on Main event, replacing the annual festival held early in the month of October in years past.


A "Movie in the Park" hosted by Cedartown First United Methodist and Smith & Miller Funeral Home is coming soon. The family-friendly new live-action "Aladdin" will be shown on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. in Peek's Park. Popcorn and drinks provided. Organizers encourage families to bring chairs and blankets.

Who says adults can't have fun? Businesses are encouraged to dress up together in a theme on Halloween day. This could be a movie, a decade, anything. Send photos to info@polkgeorgia.com by 12 p.m. on October 31. Photos will be posted on the Chamber Facebook page by 1 p.m. Each "like" counts as a vote. The business with the most likes on November 1st at 12 p.m. wins a trophy.

Rockmart's Festival of Treats is coming up on Thursday, October 31 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Local businesses will be out with candy for Trickor-Treaters, there's a costume parade open for all participants in this year's event, and much more! The event is being sponsored by Family Savings Credit Union, the Downtown Rockmart Advisory Committee and the Polk County Chamber of Commerce.

Coming up on Halloween afternoon, Main Street in Cedartown will be taken over by goblins and ghouls for the annual Trick or Treat event downtown from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. A children's Halloween Costume Contest starts at 5:30 p.m. in Holloway Park for those 12 and under. The Dog Halloween Costume Contest to follow.

Tickets are on sale now for the 2019 State of the Community Address coming up on Tuesday, October 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. The annual gathering is returning to In the Woods in Rockmart and covers topics that are insightful and relevant for the business community. A buffet dinner will be served. Visit polkgeorgia.com to learn more and register now.

The annual Thanksgiving meal in Rockmart at the Nathan Dean Community Center provided by the Stocks Family is coming up on Saturday, Nov. 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The meal is offered up for free, and will include live entertainment throughout the midday event from Inspirational Voices, Men's Passing Through, Marvin Williams, Sharon Whatley, Apostle Trixie Morgan, and more. Those in need will also be able to take home food baskets, clothes, coats and blankets. Toys for children in attendance will also be given out during the meal. God's Loving Angels will be assisting with the annual event. T-shirts will be on sale for $12; contact Floreace Stocks at 678-719-1981 for more information on how to purchase, or how to help put on the annual feast.

The Rockmart First United Methodist Church is hosting a barbecue fundraiser on Friday, November 8 2019, in their fellowship hall. They'll be serving plates from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pulled pork, coleslaw, baked beans, bread, and dessert. Tickets for sale at church 770-684-6251. Walk-ins are welcome.

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. They'll be hosting their 5th anniversary celebration on November 11, 2019 starting with dinner at 6 p.m. The guest speaker will be Kris Castro.

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 of Friday, Dec. 6 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.

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 Polk County Democratic Committee Meets on the second Saturday of every month at 9:30 a.m. In the "even" months (February, April, June, August, etc.) the organization meets at The Rockmart Library at 316 N. Piedmont Ave., Rockmart and during the "odd" months (January, March, etc.) they meet at the Cedartown Welcome Center, 609 Main St., Cedartown, GA 30125.

The American Legion in Rockmart is hosting their monthly all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner coming up this Wednesday, 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 nonperishable food, five items to pick from produce, eggs and milk and two items from frozen meats, breads and others will be available. ID is required. Limit of two IDs per address. Regular hours are Mondays, 1 to 3 p.m.; Tuesdays, 5 to 7 p.m.; and Thursdays, 8 to 10 a.m.

Community Share Ministries is hosting "Hope for the Hungry" on the first Tuesday of every month to provide food assistance to the community. They'll be in town again on Tuesday, June 4. Food is provided free of charge, and no identification is required to get help. Those interested can visit Community Share Ministries Cedartown thrift store at 1116 N. Main St., Cedartown.

The Georgia Legal Services Program's Claire Sherburne will be on hand at One Door Polk in Cedartown every fourth Monday to help those in need with free civil legal services to low-income persons. This will include all cases related to housing, employment, education, domestic violence, consumer fraud, wills, healthcare and other issues involved in the legal complications of everyday life. Call 404-206-5175 for more information.

The Polk County Alzheimer's Caregiver Support group will meet monthly on the first Monday at 11 a.m. at Polk Medical Center. Those interested can join for fellowship and lunch in the cafeteria. For more information call John Giglio at 678-246-8188.

Aragon First United Methodist Church offers a food pantry for the community to use if they need assistance. They are open Mondays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and Tuesday mornings from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. A picture ID is required to participate. Call 770-684-4855 for more information.

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