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Candidates speak out at Chamber forum

Local and state candidates on the 2018 ballot got the chance to voice their opinions, tell voters about themselves and field questions on a variety of topics, ranging from the future of fire protection in Polk County to how best educators should assess the progress of students statewide.

As the final days of the 2018 midterms come closer to an end, it came down to differing visions over the direction Polk County wants to take in the future for a trio of local candidates, and a statewide vision for a pair of educators who have opposing ideas of what direction schools should take in educating children.

District 2 Polk County Commissioner Jennifer Husley – who is running for a second term as incumbent – was joined by a trio of District 3 candidates and incumbent Republican State School Superintendent Richard Woods and his challenger Democrat Sonia Francis-Rolle. Though Commission of Agriculture candidate Fred Swann had agreed to come, he was absent from the night's forum.

Since Hulsey's challenger Ricky Clark wasn't present either, she was given five minutes to make a short address to the audience about what she felt were her accomplishments since she was elected in 2014, and what she hoped to continue onward in achieving in the years to come if she wins another term in office.

Among those areas where she's already involved in the future for Polk County is the expansion of broadband. She cited recent sessions with other leaders within the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission about ways they can seek to increase connectivity and reliable service across rural communities, and that in the forthcoming months she expects that input from local residents will be critical in determining the next steps forward, specifically through surveys and individual comment.

"It's time that we have better internet access," Hulsey said.

Hulsey pointed to positives in her remarks that have come about since her time began in office, like the completion of the County's Public Works facility, 911 operations center, and ongoing work toward renovations being completed on Polk County's courthouses.

She also covered other initiatives she's sought to organize with the help of the community, like the Polk Drug Prevention Alliance with the goal of curbing drug abuse and distribution locally, and Take Back Polk, a middle school mentoring program she organized in 2017 and is now in its second year.

"The drug problem we have here is a dark cloud that we need to address," Hulsey said of the efforts on the Polk Drug Prevention Alliance. "I feel strongly about this, and our drug dealers need to know – we're putting them on notice – we want you off our streets."

She added in her address that the county is working on concerns over the landfill and the role of the administration and commissioners on its operations under the Waste Industries contract. The company just announced on Oct. 18 the company is being sold off to a Canadian company, GFL Environmental, for an undisclosed sum.

"The bottom line is this: accountability is very important. I want answers just like you do," Hulsey said.

After Hulsey was given five minutes to address the audience, it was time for the real question and answer session to begin for a trio of District 3 commission candidates who are seeking to take over the term left on the seat.

Jerilyn Purdy, Ray Carter and Larry Reynolds were all given a few minutes each to introduce themselves to those who came out to hear the views of candidates and ask them about what they thought of the future of Polk County.

Purdy, a resident of Polk County for nearly three decades with her husband of 35 years, is the office manager for the Chick-fil-A of Rockmart and a 2017 graduate of the LEAD Polk program.

"My past experience is nowhere near what Mr. Carter or Mr. Reynolds have, but I've been deeply involved in Polk County for a long time," she said.

Her leadership experience extends into the current Lieutenant Governor for the area for the Kiwanis Club, board membership for the Rockmart Farmers Market, and serving as well on the board for the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing.

Carter and Reynolds are also both longtime residents of the Rockmart area. Carter, who works for IBM in IT management and also a former Rockmart City Council member, said that he and his family have been longtime residents of Polk County. Though Carter was born in Cedartown, he's lived in Rockmart for more than two decades.

Reynolds, a former Polk County Commissioner himself, a veteran and Ford Motor Company employee for 31 years, added his own love of Polk County and his hometown of Rockmart during his opening address as well. He said that "most of my family is still in Polk County" and that his activities to help locally include his membership in the Rockmart Lion's Club, and on a larger scale with the Georgia Republican Party's state committee.

The trio all had similar and differing thoughts on the direction the county should take depending on the topic. Here's a rundown of their question and answer session provided by the audience:

SPLOST

All three of the candidates support extending the Special Purpose, Local Option Sales Tax for another six year term. Reynolds kept his answer short, saying only that "I absolutely do" and providing no explanation as to why.

Purdy felt that SPLOST is necessary for a county that "wants to grow. It needs money."

She ultimately felt the importance of the financial help provided by SPLOST was especially needed for improving Polk County infrastructure.

Carter gave the longest response in support of SPLOST, and said that voters should consider it since it along with the Local Option Sales Tax are "essential tools to offset the ever-increasing cost of government."

"Everyone benefits from it," Carter added. "And it alleviates the single burden from property owners."

County Fire Service

The debate over what to do about making sure that when people go to bed at night they are safe and secure in knowing their house won't be left in ashes by the morning due to unforeseen hazards remains real.

What the future of Polk County's Volunteer Fire Department looks like is a real question that any current or new commissioner will have to face in the forthcoming term in office.

All of the candidates agreed that improvements are needed within the fire department. How to get there is a different question.

Purdy, who said her grandfather was the first fire chief for Paulding County and a resident on Vinson Mountain, said that she well understands the problems on both sides of the issue.

"I do understand what volunteer firefighters do and go through," she said.

But she does ultimately support increasing fire protection for Polk County residents through some sort of mixed-department strategy.

So does Reynolds. He said that in his long time in Polk County, that he sees growth coming and therefore the need for a countywide fire service that is paid.

"At the same time, I'm totally in support of volunteer firefighters," he said. "We're not there yet for a paid system."

So what he sees as a potential model to move forward is how Polk's neighbors to the south in Haralson County handled moving from a strictly volunteer to a mix of paid and volunteer firefighters.

"If Haralson can do it, we can do it and still keep the volunteers," Reynolds said.

Carter said in his response that the need for consolidation of fire services countywide is growing greater than ever, especially since mutual aid and automatic aid agreements made with the City of Rockmart in the past with the idea that Polk County would pursue increasing fire services.

"If we don't pursue it, then there's going to come a time when they pull out of that agreement," Carter said.

He also made the argument that all homeowners can agree is good: lower insurance rates.

"Having better fire services will reduce home insurance costs for everyone," Carters said.

The Grady Road Landfill

Purdy might have expressed the feelings locally about where to start with the Grady Road Landfill best of all during last week's Candidate Forum.

"Oh, the landfill..."

She said in her response to what to do about the facility off Highway 278 have been framed around just going through the contract made with past operators who were since bought out by Waste Industries, who itself is now under new ownership but will retain its name.

She has her own questions about the landfill, and said that she has sought out to take a tour of the facility and get her own questions answered. However she placed no blame on the board as it stands now for their handling of the situation thus far.

"This current commission is not responsible for the landfill," Purdy said. "This current commission inherited this landfill. Is it a positive? Is it a negative? Is Waste Industries and the County doing everything according to contract?"

She said she hoped to get these questions and more answered and to avoid the misconceptions going around about the facility.

"I think that the lawsuit from that standpoint is going to help us find out," Purdy said of her questions.

"The Landfill is a tough situation, and none of us can find good," Carter added with his own thoughts.

He admitted that no location is ever going to be perfect for a landfill – especially not one right next to the primary connecting highway between Cedartown and Rockmart – but that the facility is there, and it isn't going away.

Carter sought a more pragmatic approach with his answer. Rather than trying to shut down the facility that does generate revenue for the county annually, he instead believes what should be done is tackling it from a different direction and try to limit what can and can't be buried within the facility grounds.

"A lot of communities have enacted laws to restrict certain materials from within their boundaries," Carter said. "They also restrict materials that can be dumped."

He said so long as Waste Industries and the county were in compliance with the contract and both parties are moving forward within legal means available, restricting what waste can come in can be a positive means to control the landfill.

Reynolds did point to the sale of Waste Industries in his answer, and that the county is going to have a long uphill battle against a company worth more than $3 billion (he did not provide information on where he got the figure for the sale.) He did add that so long as both parties were operating within the contract, he did not immediately see a resolution for how to deal with current and future complaints, like previously reported smell and water runoff issues.

Future Ag Center

The trio of candidates were also in support of moving forward with a potential agriculture center proposed previously to the commission.

All three pointed out that there's not quite enough information public thus far about the proposed Ag center to make determinations about specific support just yet, but they like the idea.


GET SPOOKY
Halloween fun planned for today

The scariest day of the year is nearing, and Polk County is becoming the place to go for frights and sweets. Between trunk-or-treats, corn mazes, fall festivals, costume contests, and other Halloween inspired events, locals are sure to get their fill of the spookiest holiday around.

Before getting into the bulk of the forthcoming spooky events this coming weekend and through next Wednesday, a few helpful reminders and tips for people who planning to Trick-or-Treat this year.

First, remember that during the evening hours that all who are out (including little ghouls and goblins wandering from house to house) should always wear reflective clothing, and an adult should be with their children at all times, if possible.

Additionally, local officials ask that everyone slow down and drive safely on Halloween night to avoid both traffic violations and the potential to hurt people wandering about before the witching hour strikes.

For youth, only ever take candy that is pre-packaged as a precaution against any potential threats that may have been inserted within.

Other additional information of note, local businesses that have their scarecrows still up for the fall season need to get them down later this week as the season moves onward toward the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. They must be removed in Cedartown by Monday, Nov. 5.

Here's a list of some of what's happening around Polk County tonight for the Halloween holiday:

Festival of Treats: One recurring Halloween tradition is Rockmart's annual Festival of Treats which beckons citizens downtown for candy, kids costume contests, pet costume contests, face painting, and much more. Citizens can head downtown on October 31 from 4:30 through 6:30 p.m. for everything Halloween. The festival is completely free and everyone from vampires to princesses are encouraged to attend.

Cedartown Trick or Treating: Cedartown is once again inviting the county's ghosts and ghouls to the city's downtown area on Halloween day from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. where businesses and locals will be handing out candy. Don't let your child leave with his or her treats too early because there will be a costume contest and a pet costume contest shortly after.

Carlton Corn Maze: October is also when Carlton Farm unveils their annual corn maze. While not haunted this year, navigating the maze through chilly fall weather fits the holiday just as well. Those itching to test their navigation skills can show up at the farm at 1276 Cartersville Hwy, Rockmart. Tickets to the maze usually run from $5 to $7 depending on date and time.

Police Department Trunkor-Treat: The Polk County Police Department is offering a safe way to collect candy with its second annual trunk-or-treat on Halloween day beginning at 5:30 p.m. Those interested need only show up at Cedartown's 73 Clines Ingram Jackson Rd.

Sleepy Hollow Wedding Shoot: A wedding shoot themed after Washington Irving's 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' is being held at Hightower Falls, 771 Hightower Falls Road, Cedartown, and those interested in the November 7 event can get tickets for $55. Check-in begins at 1:30 p.m. and shooting begins at 2 p.m.

Editor Kevin Myrick and SJ Correspondent Sean Williams contributed to this report.


Murphy steps down from bench today

Michael Murphy

The long tenure of a local judge comes to an official end today as Michael Murphy hangs up his robes and goes on to a job he'd much prefer as the winter of his life approaches. He wants to be a full-time grandpa.

After a life in service of the law, first as an attorney arguing on one side of the bench, then the past two decades of his life as a judge making decisions on the merits of the arguments of past colleagues and opponents alike, one could argue it is a long overdue reward for his service.

Murphy, who announced his retirement earlier in the month, said he's hoping to take the "goblins and ghouls with me" once he clears out of his office in Haralson County, surrounded by the trappings of the past and present on the walls and desk.

He said over his long career, it all circled back to how he became a judge. When he was considered to take over the seat left open by a retirement in the late 1990s, Murphy never once considered that he'd ever be a judge.

"The first thing I did was to call two lawyers who had more seniority than I did," Murphy said. "I had been practicing for 25 years, and you don't see that much in the young judges who are becoming judges today... the first thing I did was I picked up the phone and called Freddy Wicker and Richard Sutton, because they'd been practicing law five years longer than me."

He asked if either wanted to put in to be judge since they had more time and experience, and wouldn't consider himself.

"That's the way I felt then, and that's the way I feel right now," he said. "Neither one of them wanted to do it."

Murphy recalled how he interviewed for the job in front of the Judicial Nominating Committee, packed with people from all around the state and being peppered with question. He recalled than when he was asked why he wanted to be a judge, he said "I anticipated that question."

"If I had my druthers, I'd rather be king," Murphy recalled as his reply. "Their mouths all started to hang open, and I let that sink in for a second and when I had everybody. I said then 'Now that I have all y'all's attention, let me tell you something. I was riding over here and I was listening to public radio – that ought to tell you something about me – and I heard a statistic that half of the world lives in abject poverty. And all I can tell you ladies and gentleman is if I was king I'd have the wherewithal to do something about that. I want everyone of you to know that I would... but I know that I'm not here seeking the position of king. I'm here to seek the job of Superior Court Judge. And I know within the circuit, with the superior court judge lives, he has the ability to impact lives more than any other person in that circuit.'"

It's a message he imparted and said he took to heart over hundreds of cases heard in his past two decades on the bench. He said he always tried his best to make the law a even playing field as well.

He ended up as former Governor Zell Miller's final appointment to the bench before his term was up.

After serving 20 years on the bench and 25 years before that as an attorney, Murphy said he has no real desire to continue on in the courtroom anytime soon. Instead he wants to spend more time with his grandchildren and potentially getting back into another love that he undertook as well in his life: coaching.

It comes from a lifelong love of sports that began in his hometown of Bremen. Murphy comes from a lineage of state leaders, most notably his father the longtime State House Speaker Tom Murphy, who was replaced by now State Sen. Bill Heath.

Murphy grew up around state politics and learning from inside the halls of power in Atlanta. He followed in his father's footsteps into the practice in law.

He was first a student at the University of West Georgia as a baseball player, where Murphy played as an all-conference catcher during his time in Carrollton. He then moved onward to University of Georgia, where he played for the Bulldogs football program with many of the lawmakers who would go on to lead the state like Sonny Perdue, and also earned a law degree.

"The Lord has blessed me in many ways," Murphy said. "And I firmly believe that a responsible person's duty who has had a good life and help along the way is to pay it forward."

He said one of his intentions is to try and get involved in a mock trial program with youth in south Georgia closer to his grandchildren, much in the same way he did in Haralson County in past years.

He's glad to give up the bench for another reason: privacy.

"If I want to go to Walmart for instance, I go at 3 o'clock in the morning to keep from running into people," Murphy said. "It's just hard to do... so I've become a little bit of a recluse at times."

As his career in law comes to a close, Murphy said it was his intention to leave without staying too long on the bench, and giving someone else a chance to serve.

That's why he chose to quit now, with faculties and cases intact for the next person to come along and take up the job as he did, by appointment.

Murphy said it'll be up to Governor Nathan Deal to name a person and send them before the same committee he answered questions of before, and then for voters on whether or not they'll want to keep the appointee, or replace them with someone else.

No matter what, Murphy said he's glad to have been able to serve the Tallapoosa Circuit for as long as he did.


Hospital's financial future looks good after clean audit

The books look good at Polk Medical Center, and are likely to continue on track for another profitable year as the budget numbers continue in line through the 2019 fiscal year.

Officials presented the Cedartown-Polk County Hospital Authority with the FY 2018 fiscal year's audit, and after reconciling the numbers came up with a total of more than $8.4 million in profits compared to the $5.6 million that they made in the 2017 fiscal year.

The auditors who completed the report for Polk Medical Center's financial performance gave the company an unmodified opinion of their books, meaning that not only are they clean but also healthy.

Officials from Draffin and Tucker added that compared to other rural hospitals around the state, Polk Medical Center remains in a good position as well, with long term debt down to around $30.3 million according to Clarice Cable's latest estimates.

That debt however was bundled and assumed by Floyd Healthcare Management along with borrowing on the bond market for Floyd Medical Center as well, which tops out overall at around $182.1 million.

Despite the debt, hospital revenues and services remain strong based on latest figures. Polk Medical Center's number of in-patient and swing-bed patients remain on track with growth as they have in previous months, and Floyd Healthcare Management Vice President Matt Gorman said that daily averages for patients staying in the hospital remain at a healthy 22 per day during this month alone. He also expected to see an increase soon in emergency care visits as flu season approaches.

"We're likely to see that account for some of the differences in the numbers," Gorman said.

There were on average around 73 visits per day to Polk Medical Center's emergency room in October. There were more than 2,000 visits reported during the month of September alone.

As Polk Medical Center continues to treat patients in the hospital setting, they also seek to do their part outside as well. Last year, they undertook a pair of information meetings with Willowbrooke at Polk at the College and Career Academy campus in Cedartown about teen suicide prevention, and drug and alcohol abuse.

One of those two programs were brought back to the Rockmart area already for a discussion about teen suicide prevention, and Gorman said another is scheduled to provide the east side of the county to take part in a discussion about how to know the signs and prevent drug or alcohol abuse in teens and adults alike.

"We believe it is a good thing for us to be able to hold these programs in both communities," Gorman said.


AREA CALENDAR OF EVENTS

The Polk County Police Department is hosting their annual Trunk-or-Treat on Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 5:30 p.m. at the PCPD headquarters, located at 73 Cline Ingram Jackson Drive, Cedartown. The event is for youth 13 and under.

Halloween fun is coming to Cedartown and Rockmart on Wednesday, Oct. 31. The Downtown Cedartown Trick or Treat goes from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., with a costume contest to follow featuring children 12 and under in Holloway Park, and the dog costume contest to follow. Rockmart's annual Festival of Treat's in downtown Rockmart kicks off at 4:30 p.m. to wrap up at 6:30 p.m., with a costume contest at 5:30 p.m. and the pet costume contest at 6 p.m.

Join the First Baptist Church of Cedartown for Halloween fun with their Trunk-RTreat event being held on Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 5:30 p.m. in the church's parking lot. Call 770-748-3120 for more information, or visit fbccedartown.org.

Celebrate Recovery is gathering for their 4th anniversary coming up this Monday, Nov. 5 with their weekly dinner at First Baptist Church of Rockmart, followed by the large group meeting at 7 p.m., and a small share group at 8 p.m.

Classical Conversations of East Elm is holding their Open House this coming Monday, Nov. 5, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Rockmart at 311 East Elm Street. Parents and students welcome to join the group during community day. Foundations are welcome from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., as 4 to 12 year old students and their younger siblings are welcome with parental supervision for lunch and fellowship following from 12 to 1 p.m. Pack a lunch! The Essentials group is gathering from 1 to 3 p.m. for those ages 9 to 12 years old. For more information contact Sarah Horne at 646-535-7685 or smwhorne@gmail.com. RSVP is appreciated, so call, text or email to sign up now.

The Stocks family are organizing their annual holiday meal for the community coming up on Saturday, November 17 at the Nathan Dean Community Center on Good year Avenue in Rockmart. The event includes a meal, a coat drive and much more. Donations to help with the meal or of toys to give to local youth in need are welcome and appreciated. Those interested in helping out can contact Stocks at 678-719-1981.

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.

USAPA Pickelball Ambassador Daneen England is holding a free pickle ballclinic every Monday (weather permitting) from 6:30 to 7:30p.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 American Legion in Rockmart is hosting their monthly all-you-caneat spaghetti dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 14. Meal of spaghetti, meatballs, garlic toast and salad, $5. Join the group for a good meal and to support veteran and children's programs. The Legion is located at 1 Veterans Circle, Rockmart.

Rockmart Presbyterian Chu rch is p leased to announce the expansion of its Music Ministry. First welcome Paul Campbell BM, MM, BD as Music Director and Organist, second the New Allen Organ in the Chancel and third, new program opportunities. The adult choir is accepting new members in preparation for its Christmas Eve program featuring "Christus Natus Est" by Cecilia McDonald. Sectional rehearsal are scheduled through the week. A new children's program includes Children's Choir on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. (FREE and open to all who wish their children to learn to sing). There will be an orientation meeting for parents and children on October 10 at 4 p.m. In addition to directing the new children's choir, Mr. Campbell will be offering Piano Lessons along with Shellee Wilson BM, BA, ME, will be offering singing/vocal lessons. Private lessons have a monthly fee. For information to joining our music program please stop in and see Paul Campbell at Rockmart Presbyterian or call him at: 404-312-7801.

Cedar Christian School is accepting students for enrollment for the start of classes this fall. Those interested in Christ-focused education for their youth can contact them at 678-901-3500, e-mail CCS@sda1844.org, or visit the Cedar Christian School Facebook page. The school located at 625 West Ave., Cedartown.

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 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.

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.

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 e-mail marthadye@ngumc. Journal net for more information or questions. The church also updates weekly on their website at rockmartumc.org.

The next West Georgia Spay/Neuter Clinic is coming to the Cedartown-Polk County Humane Society again coming up this Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. 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. Transports won't be scheduled again until Nov. 7.

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.

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.

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.

The Rotary Club of Polk County meets weekly at the Richardson Field Depot in Rockmart for lunch at noon every Tuesday 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 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/

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.

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.

Check out the Rockmart Farmers Market at the Silver Comet Trailhead behind South crest Bank on Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m. Visit Rockmartfarmersmarket.com for details about vendors and upcoming classes.

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.

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.

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.

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.