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College and Career Academy gets good grade in state assessment

Local educators at the Polk County College and Career Academy got a good grade from officials appointed by the state to determine how the program within Cedartown and Rockmart High Schools are performing some five years after forming.

Polk County College and Career Academy CEO and Assistant Superintendent Katie Thomas said after the state officials wrapped up tours and meetings with staff and community members, the PCCCA received a positive review from the state team.

"The response that we've received so far has been nothing but positive," Thomas said. "It's been an opportunity for us to show off all the wonderful things we have in Polk County."

That team — brought in from Floyd County and Cobb County — got a chance to tour the two facilities at Cedartown and Rockmart High Schools, including the new Agriculture Education building at Rockmart High School set to officially open this week on Friday.

The state-appointed review team also sat down with business, government, education and community partners to hear what they had to say about the PCCCA.

Those discussion with officials ranged from how the PCCCA has helped students get placed into future careers through partnerships with local industries like The HON Company, Miura, the Polk County Water Authority and many more. Local officials also got a chance to share the success stories of students in the Graduate Polk program begun this year and with Kennesaw State University's Upward Bound program started in 2018.

Local officials involved in the program also praised efforts of educators to give students opportunities outside of the traditional education path to succeed and come out of high school with job opportunities right here at home.

Thomas said the results of the visit were that the report came back with no needed actions required for change or improvements from the state, and that the PCCCA is a "model for the state of Georgia" in how educators should approach the College and Career Academy model.

"I cannot be more proud of the teachers and the students," Thomas said after the visit.

She added in a follow-up email to officials that "the report boasted of Polk County's efforts in education that have us leading the way in the state of Georgia and for that I could not be more proud."

Thomas said she was thankful for the community and business leaders for embracing what the school system is trying to achieve with the Polk County College and Career Academy, and hoped that when it comes time for another five year review, they'll have even more improvements and positive outcomes to share with the state.

"It's hard to believe it's been five years," Thomas said.

The PCCCA, chartered by the state in 2014, took over for county's previous technical education efforts in the Career, Technical and Agriculture Education program and revamped it to provide students with various career training paths through the facilities on each side of the county.

In recent years, graduates from the program have also finished up with both high school diplomas and Associate's degrees from Georgia Northwestern Technical College.


Hopping into Easter fun
Family Savings Credit Union in Rockmart hosts youth for egg hunt ahead of Easter

It was all about the fun this weekend for local youth in the grassy field behind Family Savings Credit Union in Rockmart, where dozens of children got to gather up eggs during an opening egg hunt for the Easter season.

The bank invited out families from the community to come take part and provided around 3,000 Easter eggs according to branch manager Ryan Robinson. They also provided fun and games for youth and opportunities to hang out with the Easter Bunny prior to the start of the April 6 hunt.

Robinson said that he was thankful for the positive turnout for the

event, and added that in some cases it might be the only opportunity for Easter fun for some of Polk County's youth.

The bank was also joined by WZOT in Rockmart during the day.

The opening egg hunt of the year at Family Savings Credit Union wasn't the only one held this weekend. After press time on Sunday, the Cedartown Junior Service League were set to gather on Sunday for their annual event in Peek Park where hundreds of youth get the chance to hunt for eggs across the area.

As Easter draws closer, local organizations and churches have a lot planned for the 2019 season. That includes an upcoming Brunch with the Bunny event at Anna Kresge Memorial United Methodist Church in Cedartown, where local youth can have the opportunity to enjoy a morning with bunny-shaped pancakes, games and crafts and even can sit down with the Easter Bunny for a portrait.

It's just one of many events already available in this week's community calendar, and many more to come online. Want to include your event in the coming week's edition ahead of the holiday during Holy Week? E-mail kmyrick@polkstandardjournal.net before Friday, April 12 to have items included.


Remembering children who need our help
Pinwheels go up as reminder of National Child Abuse Awareness Month

No child should ever have to worry about whether someone is going to hurt them at home. Yet on a daily basis youth both locally and around the nation still suffer at the hands of parents or guardians who claim their love for them, but instead use violence of action and words to cause great harm.

It is a crime the community can do something about, and is why everyone should put in their efforts now to protect a child from such abuse and help others remember that April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month.

Last week, the City of Cedartown joined in that remembrance and invited local officials from the Tallapoosa Circuit Juvenile Court, the circuit's CASA, and more to plant blue pinwheels in front of City Hall at the property's corner facing East Avenue.

Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit Chief Juvenile Court Judge Laura Lundy Wheale, Polk-Haralson Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Executive Director Belinda Bentley, Advocacy Coordinator Jennifer O'Neal, and Haley and Andi-Grace Kiser spent the morning of April 3 arranging the pinwheels on the City Hall lawn.

The problem of child abuse and neglect is not small. According to figures provided by reports from federal figures created by the Department of Health and Human Services, they estimated that 1,720 children died in the 2017 fiscal year as a result of abuse or neglect across the country. That figure was on the rise from 2013 to 2017, going from more than 1,500 children who died to more than 1,700 on an annual basis over five years, and that is a rate of per 100,000 children.

So in real figures, some 1,720 children of 100,000 in the last year alone actually provides a figure of around closer to 40,000 plus children annually who died, based on population estimates of around 74.3 million children across 50 states.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month is a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect, and to promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families.

There are many ways that residents can become involved in programs designed to help little victims of abuse and neglect.

One way is to become a CASA child advocate. CASA advocates are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don't get lost in the overburdened legal and social services or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. Advocates stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many children their CASA Advocate will be the one constant adult presence in their lives during this time.

To learn more about becoming a CASA advocate, visit http://www.polkharalsoncasa.org/

Additionally, readers should go childwelfare.gov to find a full report on child neglect and mistreatment, and to learn more about having a healthy and happy family of their own with resource guides at the site provided by the Health and Human Services department on the national level.


Ideas for courthouse improvements sought at Public Safety session

Polk County Sheriff Johnny Moats wants to improve security at the Polk County Courthouses.

In order to do so, it is his hopes that officials can come together in the months ahead to find solutions on how to fix problems at the two buildings in downtown Cedartown and keep everyone safe within.

His problem in short comes down to this: as the number of court sessions grows within the county, so does the requirements of manpower that is needed at security checkpoints at the front doors of both courthouses, as well within the courtrooms themselves. The Sheriff is responsible for the security at both the Polk County Courthouses.

Add to that a growing list of documents to serve to people, prisoners to transport from around the state, and no additional funds readily available for new deputies to provide the security needed to his list as well. Which presents him with a difficult choice: have deputies out in the field serving papers or making arrests on outstanding warrants, or have them tied up at the courthouses for hours on end.

"We've been working in my office to figure out how to make the courthouse more secure, and actually do it with a little less manpower than what we've got," Moats said during a special called County Public Safety committee meting last week. "Right now with the two courthouses not conjoined, it leaves us with two separate courthouses to protect, and it takes a lot more manpower, and we can consolidate it."

So his hopes were that with stakeholders and court officials gathered together for the meeting, they might be able to begin coming up with solutions to outstanding security problems. One idea he hopes will come of it is consolidating courtroom time for the public and those charged into one building at a time.

No ideas are set to be acted upon anytime soon, and ranged from installing a special entrance for inmates from the jail who have court hearings, to closing off Sycamore Street behind the courthouse to traffic and enclose the back parking area behind the courthouse.

What Moats and court officials got out of the meeting was a list of ideas and areas to investigate within the courthouse for additional space for the time being, and priorities to begin work on in the months to come.

Another growing concern for Moats was high profile cases involving murders over the past two years coming up on the trial calendar and the need to have secured spaces to move jail inmates around and avoid potential problems. Though no specifics were laid out for now, officials did agree that those court dates should be kept to just one courthouse to better control prisoner access to and from the Polk County Jail.

Moats also hoped to avoid future problems with transport of inmates at the jail to court hearings, and then having them sit for several hours in holding cells that also need renovations of their own.

One additional area where court officials also sought help was with control of the growing number of documents under their care from filings and proceedings with the Tallapoosa Circuit Superior Court, Polk County Probate Court, Polk County Juvenile Court and the Polk County Magistrate Court. That also coincides with needs for additional office space as well for new court officials, like the newly hired director of the Mental Health court.

With the start of a conversation, the hope Moats and court officials is to get a plan in place for how these improvements and security issues can be tackled in the months to come.


AREA CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Come join the fun next weekend at Anna Kresge Memorial United Methodist Church on Saturday, April 13 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. for Brunch with the Bunny. The event will include the opportunity for youth to enjoy fun and games, bunny-shaped pancakes and photo opportunities with the Easter Bunny. Call the church at 770-748-4308 for more information.

Join the Second Baptist Church in Cedartown for their annual Easter Egg Hunt on April 20 starting at 11:30 a.m. There will be free food, bounce houses, egg hunts, and prizes for all age groups of kids. Register and find more information at www.sbcedartown.org.

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 annual Lost Cost Rabies Clinic sponsored by the Cedartown/Polk County Humane Society is coming up on Saturday, May 4 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Cedartown Boys and Girls Club at 321 E. Queen St. Vaccination costs for Cats and Dogs are $10 and horses are $20. Pet owners can get their dogs and cats microchipped for an additional $10, or have Precious Paws provide nail trimming for $5. All proceeds will go to the Humane Society.

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 please 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 upon Wednesday, April 17. 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. Check back for an updated date in the coming edition of the Standard Journal's Calendar of Events.

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 e-mail 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.

Get assistance

Need help with the bills during the winter, and are a senior? Tallatoona CAP will begin accepting appointments for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for Senior Households 65 & older and Homebound Households. Appointments for the General Public will be accepted beginning in December. Appointments are provided on a first come first served basis until funds are exhausted. Polk County residents who qualify will receive either $310.00 or $350.00 toward their heating bill (heating source). To schedule an appointment or to request a homebound appointment, visit our website at www.tallatoonacap.org and click BookNow, or call 770-817-4666.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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, e-mail 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

Polk County is invited to take part in Holy Week events at several churches around Rockmart and Aragon coming up ahead of the Easter holiday, starting on Monday, April 15 and continuing through Easter Sunday on April 21. That includes a Monday worship service at Rockmart First Methodist on April 15 with First Baptist Pastor Jason Odom leading the service, on Tuesday, April 16 at Rockmart Presbyterian Church with Rockmart First Methodist's Rev. Martha Dye leading the service, on Wednesday, April 17 at Aragon First United Methodist Church featuring Earl Johnson, and Thursday, April 18 at Rockmart First Baptist with Jaye Sawyer leading worship. On Friday, April 19, Rockmart First Baptist is hosting services with James Hannah, and then a sunrise Easter Service on April 21 will be led by Maryellen Hittel at Rockmart Presbyterian Church.

A revival is starting this coming week at Lakeview Baptist Church featuring the Rev. Brent Tatum from April 8 through April 13 at 7:30 p.m. nightly. The evening will feature special singing each night.

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. Martha Dye at 770-684-6251or email marthadye@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.