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McFall: Audit still ongoing
• According to the Polk County attorney, interviews will continue past Tuesday into the allegations made against county police.

Brad McFall

The departmental audit seeking more information about allegations that were made about the administration at the Polk County Police Department continues, and will likely continue for some time according to County Attorney Brad McFall.

He said in follow-up questions about the still on-going audit that so far, he's only interviewed 11 out of the 37 officers on the force.

"Only one officer in the department has declined to meet with me," he said by email last week.

However, he said that with less than a dozen of more than 30 interviews left to complete, it won't be done in time for the upcoming June 6 meeting as he had hoped.

"I do have a majority of the week of June 5 dedicated to officer interviews," McFall added.

Thus far, he said the interviews have taken between 30 minutes to an hour.

McFall, who according to County Manager Matt Denton is paid $175 an hour for his services as the County Attorney, still has more than 20 officers left to discuss allegations made in a letter sent to the County Commissioners earlier in the month by Polk County Sheriff Johnny Moats.

In the letter, Moats said that anonymous allegations came from several different officers.

The 18 officers cited issues with "favoritism in assignment and promotion, criminal activity and cover-ups involving administrative personnel, failure to supervise, failure to direct, retaliation, lying, gossiping and officer safety due to lack of coverage and support in the patrol division."

Moats put the concerns in writing in a letter sent to the Polk County Board of Commissioners on May 5 seeking for the board to decide on whether the allegations merit the assistance of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Previously, Polk County Commission Chair Marshelle Thaxton said that the board decided to keep the investigation within the county government, and not seek Georgia Bureau of Investigation assistance as requested by Moats in his letter, since no evidence of criminal allegations were brought up in the letter.

He had added that no officers had come to him personally with issues, or Denton in past reporting.

Moats said in the letter the officers feared retaliation in the workplace if they came forward publicly with their complaints, and called the situation a "pressure cooker."

He added the board needs to take action or the officers "will all quit and the county police will be unable to fulfill its obligation. I have been told by some of them it will happen by the end of May."

Moats could have called upon the Georgia Bureau of Investigation himself to look into the allegations, but has previously cited a lack of investigative resources as one of his chief reasons. He also added that he felt that the County Commission should make such a decision.

Before sending the letter, Moats previously said he did consult with the Georgia Sheriff's Association for guidance about how to proceed. It was their suggestion he put his concerns in writing to the County Commission.

Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd had previously been asked to comment on the allegations, but has of yet responded to that request made in previous weeks.


Mulkey resigns from Aragon City Council
• Tammy Mulkey has played a major role over the last few months — especially with Aragon's parks and recreation improvements.

Tammy Mulkey

The Aragon City Council is down a member once again as Tammy Mulkey has decided to resign before being forced to give up her seat due to residency issues.

Mulkey's resignation came on Wednesday morning, May 24 as she and her family were nearing the deadline to move out of 53 Oak St. by midnight. Their move out of Aragon came following the end of an eviction process begun back in late April by the homeowners.

She had no comment on her resignation, citing that it was a personal matter.

According to court records, her husband Kenny Mulkey had failed to appear before court to answer the eviction proceeding on May 18 in a Writ of Possession. Owners Jerry and Frances Baker sought to have the Mulkey family removed from the property for failure to pay $3,200 in rent, according to a April 28 affidavit which started the process.

The May 18 decision to proceed with the eviction did waive any back rent that Mulkey owed to the Bakers.

"I hate to see her resign, and I hate to see her move," said Mayor Garry Baldwin. "We'll miss her, but now we'll have to move on."

Aragon City Clerk Sandy Norman said the process of filling the seat left open by Mulkey is still being decided following her decision to resign earlier that morning.

She said more information would be forthcoming about the decision following discussions with Aragon City Attorney Zach Burkhalter.

She was serving as the Mayor Pro Tem after she was nominated by fellow council members earlier in the year for the post.

Mulkey has also played a major role in past months on making improvements to Aragon's parks and recreation areas.

Mulkey came onto the Aragon City Council in 2015 to fill the seat left open by Hunter Spinks.

Spinks chose not to return to the council in a re-election bid at the time, and Mulkey originally faced a challenge by John Akins.

He later dropped out of the race facing a residency challenge in his run for the seat.

Mulkey ended up joining the board in January 2016, and before year's end was one of only two council members remaining to conduct city business until Hunter Spinks came back into the seat left open by Kevin Prewett when he moved away during the summer.

Late in the year following the election new Mayor Garry Baldwin and Council member Debbie Pittman joined the ranks for a full compliment.

Earlier this year, Duel Mitchell resigned his position citing health reasons, and new council member Kelsey Collum took over the open seat.


Congratulations to the classes of 2017

See more photos from both schools on Pages A8 and A9.


From trouble to triumph: Frazier continues learning

Mychael Frazier

Second chances in life aren't born from luck, but hard work. That's a lesson that Mychael Frazier has taken to heart following the latest milestone he's taken on getting control over his future.

Frazier, who joined graduates in the past weeks at Georgia Highlands College walking across the stage to receive an Associate's degree in Criminal Justice, with plans to continue his studies later this summer.

What makes his story different from other graduates this year is where his education first started out: in prison.

Frazier's story begins in the late 2000s, when he was still a Cedartown High School student and athlete hoping to go to college on a scholarship and following in the footsteps of his mom, who graduated from Georgia Highlands when it was still Floyd College.

But then she died while he was still in high school, and his support network for keeping up his education fell apart.

"I went a whole other direction from my brothers and sisters," he said.

Frazier went down a dark path which ended up landing him in prison after he was convicted in 2008 of cocaine possession, and was sent off to prison. That's when he ultimately decided enroll in a GED program and begin down a path of trying to better his situation.

"When I enrolled this time, that's when I said no matter what I'm going to finish," Frazier said.

He finished the program while still in prison, and when he got out on an early release on parole, Frazier got help and guidance from retired police officer and Cedartown resident Patrick McNally.

Frazier started classes at Georgia Highlands in January 2014, and through the past three years has seen much change in himself.

Originally his plan was to look into a career as an criminal attorney, but through his experiences in school he's looking more at business law now.

"I didn't really have any ideas of which way to go," he said. "I started operating in a professional setting, and that changed the way I looked at things."

He said the opportunity to develop his communication skills, networking, and getting employment.

Currently he's working at an area mill, but he's gone through several jobs since starting school trying to balance priorities and keep a budget, while still helping raise his daughter who is now 13.

"At first I enrolled in school because I didn't have too many options," he said. "And then once I got started, it opened my mind to ideas of how to get a job and how to pursue a career. It really opened my mind up."

He said he spent years thinking one way, and then when in Highlands his ideas of how he wanted to move forward in life began to change as well.

Frazier said these days, he's more focused than ever before on moving forward and finding a direction in life. Where it will take him is still an open question.

Each day after getting out of prison and getting into school has sometimes been one step at a time, taking each day on its own merits for Frazier. But over time, he said that he's started to see differences in the way that getting an education has changed him.

It hasn't always been easy, Frazier admits.

"It seemed like at first I couldn't find a job," he said. "I don't know if I was going about it the wrong way, or approaching it wrong. But now it's easy, and maybe that's because of the education I've had."

He said help in writing out resumes and better understanding of how to approach job interviews has also brought about new opportunities for him.

"When I first came home in 2012, they gave me this long list. I called every job looking," he said.

The heightened anxiety at the time of not being able to find employment after calling and being told each time "no, we're not hiring right now," didn't help Frazier's situation.

However, he said that once he was well on his way at Georgia Highlands, the situation got better.

"Learning and going to school kept me calm and focused," he said. "Even when I'm not at school I still study. People will be like 'what are you studying now?' and it'll be something that someone asked me a question about and I didn't know it, so I'll go find it."

He's also made sacrifices along the way.

Keeping jobs while also going to school has been difficult, Frazier said. And when he first started out, he would have to get rides from family and friends to get to class, or hitch rides from gas stations and stores to make it to campus on time before 8 a.m. classes.

"I didn't let anything stop me," he said.

"It was a sacrifice, but it makes you feel good after all those nights sitting up writing papers. Sometimes I would be up writing on a paper until it felt like my eyes were bleeding, tying to get it done. Writing the paper so long you feel sick."

Understanding that education can also help in connecting with his daughter has also been a big help. Some nights during the past years, Frazier said he's sat and studied alongside his daughter and been able to talk to and help in her education while he's working to better himself.

"Even when we're just having a conversation, because a lot of time when she's studying, I'll be studying too," Frazier said. "And I'm able to have a conversation with her about it. One time we were studying the same thing, and I was able to have a conversation with her about it. She was studying the Cold War, and I was able to talk to her about it because at the same time we were too."

He recognizes that people are beginning to look to him as an example of success, but said he hasn't sought out to become a role model. Frazier said that when others come up to him telling him about their own trials at getting an education and going to school, he offers encouragement.

Frazier said though he mainly is trying to remind people it takes a lot of hard individual work to succeed.

"It has to start with the individual, because they have to prove and show this is what I want to do," he said.

However he points out he wouldn't be where he is today without help from the community and family, and that is important too.

"Sometimes people don't have a strong mind to push on their own without a team to help them achieve. So when the community, friends or family or whatever don't stand behind them, they give up," he said.

"That's when the community should pick them up, but at the same time if you don't have families pushing them, it doesn't help."

Despite his trials and tribulations, Frazier said he's all ready to get back to class in August.

"I took a semester off and it's been killing me. I've been going so long with school I have to find something to do," he said.

And in the meantime, he's savoring the accomplishment of earning his degree.

"I hadn't worn a cap and gown since I was in pre-school," he said. "When I graduated and got my GED, I was in solitary confinement. So it was real important to me to wear a cap and gown and walk across the stage. When I started across the stage, the president of the school didn't even shake my hand. He wanted a hug. When I walked up to him, he was already hugging me. And he said to me 'you really made it.'"

'Sometimes people don't have a strong mind to push on their own without a team to help them achieve. So when the community, friends or family or whatever don't stand behind them, they give up. That's when the community should pick them up'

Mychael Frazier

GHC graduate


AREA CALENDAR OF EVENTS

The 2017 Kids Fishing Rodeo for youth 15 and younger is coming up next month on June 10, 2017 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kenview Farms in Rockmart. Hourly drawings will be held for door prizes, plus free refreshments and t-shirts for the first 500 kids. 1 rod per child, no minnows allowed. There's an 8 fish limit per child. Find and like the event on Facebook listed as Polk County Kid's Fishing Rodeo.

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 www.Rockmartfarmersmarket.com for more information.

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 on June 26.

The North Georgia General Missionary Baptist Association, 1st Saturday meeting is coming up this weekend. A Fellowship Service will be held on Saturday, June 2, 2017 at 9:45 A.M. with Pastor Brian Stevenson and Friendship Baptist Church, 128 Martin Luther King Drive, Adairsville.

AARP is organizing a Driver's Safety Class in Cedartown starting on July 20 at the First Baptist Church. This classroom-only course will cover a variety of driving areas. Cost is $15 for AARP members, $20 for non-members. All ages are welcome. Those interested should contact Gloria Brown 404-558-5255 for more information, or email gbrownga99@aol.com.

The next West Georgia Spay/Neuter Clinic is coming to the Cedartown-Polk County Humane Society on June 7 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 next clinic date is June 28 following the beginning of the month.

A youth wrestling camp is being hosted by Cedartown High School wrestling program starting June 19 through June 21, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. each day. Cost is $30 per child. Ages 4 to 12 only. For more information call Jerry Hartline at 470-539-7842.

Signups are underway now for the Celebrity Dance Challenge 5K Walk/Run being held on Saturday, July 22, 2017. The 7 p.m. race is being held to raise money for Team Tuck for the Rome Celebrity Dance Challenge, which benefits the Sexual Assault Center of Northwest Georgia. Visit Studio Fit for registration forms or Cedartown Insurance Agency, or call Gwen Tuck at 770630-1270 or e-mail gtuck62@aol.com.

The next spaghetti dinner at American Legion Post 12 will be on June 21 from 5 to 7 p.m. Meal is spaghetti, meatballs, garlic toast and salad for $5, all you can eat. This is open to the public. Trivia with Tom and Betty starts at 6 p.m. Participate for a chance to win free a dinner. Bring friends and enjoy the fun.

TBoaz Ministry in Rockmart's new food bank located at 708 W. Elm St., Rockmart, will be open in June on Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m. No fee is required or donations accepted to obtain food assistance. All that will be required is a photo ID.

A Flag Retirement Ceremony will be held at Post 12 on Flag Day, Wednesday June 14 at 9 a.m. This year the ceremony will be conducted by Boy Scout Troop 23. The public is invited. If you have old or worn Flags, please bring them to ceremony, or to the Post to be properly retired.

The first meeting of Polk County's newest Alzheimer's support group will take place on June 5, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Polk Medical Center. Meetings will continue on the first Monday of each month following starting at 10 a.m. Those interested can join for fellowship and lunch following in the hospital cafeteria. For more information call John Giglio at 678-246-8188.

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 678757-4572 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 polkcountybeekeepers@gmail.com or visit http://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.

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 404895-6517 or e-mail robin.forston@dhs.ga.gov or call 1-877-210-KIDS. Visit www.fostergeorgia.com for more information.

Join the Polk County Chamber of Commerce as the board wraps up its new members contest on Thursday afternoon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a new member cookout in which the organization will announce the winners of the New Member challenge. Check out polkgeorgia.com for more information.

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 1217). The winner will receive a trophy. Auditions for the talent show will be held one final Saturday on 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 please 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.

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.