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Rockmart plays today for state at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

With a historical 14-0 record, Rockmart High's football team has earned the right to compete at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the title of state champions. The win would be the school's first since the 1950's, and the chance to be etched into Rockmart history is on the line. Pressure may be mounting, but win or lose, the players have support from local community members and school staff.

"They've been a great group of kids," Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Barry Williams said of the players. "This senior group, there's 16 of them, they've shown great leadership. It's a really great reward for them, at this point, to get to go to state championship and play game 15-- and be 14-0 going that way. It's exciting for the community, and I want them to realize that the community has been such a great asset to us. This year, they've been behind us every game from preseason and on. But congratulations to the team. Coach Parson and his staff have done a great job and we look forward to it."

Rockmart High Principal Robin Teems also offered a word on the team and highlighted some of the events the school has done to honor the players.

"They're all a band of brothers," Teems said. "I've never seen a group work so closely together and seem to care so much about each other. It shows-- we're 14-0. We've had pep rallies and they're the grand masters in the Christmas parade. We're encouraging the community to come out to the parade and support the jackets. Tuesday night, we thought about a pep rally, but the coach wanted to take them out so they could relax, so they're going to dinner and a movie Tuesday night. (This) Wednesday morning we're having a community send off with the police, the fire, and the community. I feel good very good about the game, they're a great team, they play well together, they're well coached, and they're just a good group."

The player's achievements naturally drew the attention of Assistant Superintendent, husband to Rockmart High's principal, who shared his hopes and thoughts on the team.

"We wish them the best of luck," Teems said. "We're very proud of how they've all performed-- the coaches, the kids, and the parents. Everyone that has really pulled the community together. We're looking forward to big things at the Benz next week."

Regardless of the outcome in Atlanta, the students will evidently come back to a city and community that loves and respects them.

For those who haven't bought a pre-sale ticket for the Class AA state championship game coming up today (Dec. 12 for subscribers who get the paper a day early) there's still time to do so.

But it's running out fast, and no one will want to miss the showdown at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

However, officials want everyone to know that unless those tickets are purchased from the school or one of the selected retailers who have them available, its unlikely people will be able to get in the game.

Williams in fact suggests people buy tickets now and save on the price, since tickets at the door will be several dollars more expensive on the day of the game. "On the day of the game, tickets are $29.50," Williams said. "So getting them early gives you a $7.50 discount on the cost per ticket."

Tickets are available at Rockmart High School's front office during school hours, along with at Raceway in Rockmart, City Body Works, Rockmart Florist and Whiteheads Florist. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster for those who want to order online, but additional fees will apply.

All tickets have a special, one-time use bar code that allows entry into the game for one spectator. No tobacco use is permitted in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, so anyone who goes outside the stadium to smoke will have to pay full price to re-enter the game.

Williams also said that the cost of tickets do not include parking.

Fan buses are available for students who want to get to the game and don't have transportation. The cost is $30 for the ride and includes the price of admission into the game. Students must have forms filled out and tickets purchased before Friday for consideration to be allowed to ride the fan bus. Find out more from your school's front office for more information.

Williams also provided a list of rules that stadium officials are requiring for everyone who attends the game, scheduled for a 1 p.m. kickoff on Dec. 12.

Those include no outside food or drink permitted, no banners will be allowed to be placed on any inside area of the stadium, no glitter is allowed for signs or banners at all, and spectators have to carry either large clear bags, or a small clutch no larger than 4.5 by 6.5 inches, without a handle or strap. Clear vinyl bags no larger than 6 by 12 by 12 inches, or one gallon clear plastic freezer bags are also permitted.

Home team parking is in the red and silver lots and fans will enter through Gate 2 next Wednesday. Visiting team spectators park in Gold, Blue and Yellow lots and enter through Gate 1.

Note as well that those with a GHSA pass who wish to enter the game will have it honored with a matching photo ID at the pass gate at the Gate 2 entrance, and comp tickets for those who are on a preselected list also enter through this area of the stadium.

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


Cedartown officials looking at liquor tax
• 3 percent excise locally proposed for shots, mixed drinks served in restaurants; would be around 21 cents extra per drink

A change to the City of Cedartown's alcohol ordinance is coming this week after press time when commissioners were expected to vote on instituting a tax on mixed drinks and shots that could have been instituted when liquor was first allowed locally.

Cedartown Assistant City Manager Edward Guzman brought the ordinance change before the board and explained that it would only incur additional costs on drinks served in only a few restaurants within the city limits at 3 percent on liquor drinks.

"What this does, it would institute a three percent excise tax on sales of liquor by the drink, which for example would be a shot of tequila or a margarita," Guzman said.

He further explained that the three percent would amount to around 21 cent based on his calculations, and that it was something other cities around

the region have already had in place since Georgia changed alcohol ordinances in the 1980s.

"This is something the vast majority of the area already has in place," Guzman said. "Rockmart has had it in place since 2005, and it's a tool that cities have had for years."

Some leeway would also be given to restaurants who offer liquor sales to patrons on when taxes will first be due. If the program were to start in 2019, they'll have a couple of months to look at what they are expected to pay before writing their first check.

The three percent isn't expected to generate much revenue at the moment either, Guzman and City Manager Bill Fann both explained when questioned by commissioners about the numbers.

Guzman provided conservative estimates of somewhere in the range of $5,000 to $7,000 annually. Revenue would go into the general fund for any use and isn't earmarked for any particular project, Guzman said.

"We don't want to get to high on something we don't have actual numbers on," Guzman said. "Currently the city has no estimate on what these restaurant's liquor sales are."

Commission Chair Jordan Hubbard also asked about what area cities collect in revenue close to Cedartown's size.

The 3 percent is a stateset limit, which if set any lower wouldn't generate enough revenue to make it worthwhile to institute, Fann said. Commissioners did ask, but Fann said if the rate were less than 3 percent the cost of collections could easily outweigh the benefit of additional revenue.

Of note in the conversation was expansion, and the hopes that in the future that if new restaurants move to the area with the forthcoming new addition of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 926's training program center being moved to Cedartown, the hopes are that it might provide a new growth of revenue for the city facing tighter budget years annually.

Commissioners will likely be voting on the ordinance change during their December session, and all were in favor of instituting the 3 percent excise tax as conversations came to a close during the city's work session last week.

As Cedartown moves into a new budget year for FY 2019 at the start of January, they held their required Public Hearing on the budget last week as well. A proposal of $8.3 million in revenue and spending was put before commissioners in November, and was set to be decided during the Dec. 10 session held earlier in the week after press time.

No one spoke for or against the figures that Cedartown's Commissioners are looking to vote on during the work session on Dec. 3. They were set to vote on spending for the year during their Dec. 10 meeting held after press time this previous Monday.

Fann also provided updates on several projects underway within the city, including the news that the IUOE Local 926's property in Clayton County was closed on in past weeks, and equipment should begin moving into their new home on a portion of the Earley Property being promoted for expansion by the Development Authority of Polk County.

He expected their closure on 90 acres of the land to be completed this week, and work to begin in the new year on their new development.


Letters to Santa start in this week's edition

Kris Kringle is getting ready for his annual ride with presents for good children around the globe in the next couple of weeks. But when jolly ol' Saint Nick makes his trip with his nine reindeer, how does he know what boys and girls want, especially here in Polk County?

Santa Claus turns to the Standard Journal this time of year to help with that problem.

This week and next, we present our readers both locally and one in particular at the North Pole with our annual run of letters to Santa, and so far we've got quite a large amount of requests from youngsters in Polk County.

So we implore our good friend Mr. Claus to pay close attention to what children are asking for this year, whether it be a brand new Playstation 4 console, or a stocking full of Shopkins.

Additionally, we thank our local educators and parents for helping children make sure their message gets to Santa in a timely manner before Christmas arrives, and St. Nick is left guessing at what presents to bring to Polk County during his overnight ride.

Think your letter might have been left out this week? Don't worry.

Any list Santa doesn't get to see in this week's edition will be included in the upcoming Dec. 19 edition as well.

Turn to Page A6 of this week's edition to begin reading letters.


A Hallmark Christmas in Polk
Santa comes to town, lights go on in Rockmart for holidays during annual parades

The City of Rockmart had a goal to meet before they hit the holiday season. A promise was made to get up string lights over Marble Street in the first phase of a project to brighten downtown during the night hours year round.

Rockmart's Stacey Smith, who heads up the city's Department of Community Development, said it was her hope the lights would come in and be up in time to shine down on the city as Santa came to town late last week.

It all worked out as if Hollywood had come to town with a script in hand and creating something for cable. The undefeated Yellow Jacket football team marched at the front of this year's parade right behind police cars clearing the way, and one moment it was darker than normal over Marble Street. In the blink of an eye, downtown Rockmart's nights just got brighter.

The lights came on over Rockmart thanks to Atkins Electric, which Smith said did the heavy lifting of installation of strands of lights over South Marble Street, which aren't completely done yet but will be added to in the weeks to come. The electricians got up on ladders to flip the switches for the first time, creating a holiday miracle completed by Santa Claus riding in on a fire truck and turning on the tree in front of the Rockmart History Museum for 2018.

"They save our town and created a scene from a Hallmark Christmas movie," Smith said in a text. "They went above and beyond."

Rockmart's Christmas Parade through downtown wrapped up the latest holiday events for the community despite wet weather threatening the event followed by a performance from members of the Rockmart Community Chorus at the tree lighting.

Parade winners weren't yet announced at press time over the weekend, but should be available this week on Polkstandardjournal.com, along with many more photos from this year's parades in Rockmart and Cedartown.

The winners however for the annual Christmas celebration on Main Street in Cedartown were announced late last week.

Hundreds lined the street on Thursday, Dec. 6 for their "Blue Christmas" theme for 2018 saw the Church division headed up in first place by New Hope Baptist Church, followed by Pine Bower Baptist Church in second and Southside Baptist Church in third place.

The Open Division winners included first place for the Williamson Family, second place for Kaleidoscope Polk, and third place going to Angel Farm.

Most Outstanding in Cedartown's parade went to the Bold and Beautiful Red Hatters, who created their float in honor of John L. Mobbs.

Cedartown's parade was also capped off by Santa, but the Christmas trees located in the park on South Main Street next door to Ideal Bakery went without a lighting ceremony this year as wet weather forced a cancellation of the event on Friday, Nov. 30.

The Christmas spirit however is alive and well in Polk County through the holiday season, and a number of events are coming up including a reading at South Marble Coffee in Rockmart this Saturday at 12 p.m. featuring free copies of "The 12 Days of Christmas in Georgia."

Find additional events in this week's edition of the Standard Journal coming up this weekend throughout Polk County in the news section, and on the community calendar.


AREA CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Cedartown First United Methodist Church invites the community to come out and the Christmas season with them with their opening event of the season. They'll hold a Christmas Concert featuring the church choir on Dec. 9 at 11 a.m., their annual Blue Christmas service on Dec. 23 at 11 a.m., Christmas Eve services at 6 and 11 p.m. on Dec. 24, and much more through the holiday season. Contact the church at 770-748-4731 for more information, or visit cedartownfumc.org. The church is located at the corner of Wissahickon Ave. and North College Street in Cedartown.

Rockmart Presbyterian Church Hope and Healing Service will be held this Sunday, Dec. 16 at 5 p.m. This is a time to remember loss, grief, and struggle during the Christmas Season so that comfort and support may be received. Readings, lighting of candles, anointing, and prayer are offered. The church is located at 306 S. Marble St., Rockmart.

Join New Harmony Baptist Church for their Living Singing Christmas Tree show "Peace Has Come" at 951 Prior Station Road, Cedartown this Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m., and following again this Sunday, Dec. 16 at 5 p.m. Call 470-717-5366 for free tickets. Come join in a community celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The Cedartown Cavalry

Assembly of God is holding their special Christmas service this Sunday, Dec. 16 at 11 a.m. The community is invited to join in the celebrations of the birth of our savior. Visit the church on Sundays weekly at 300 Canal St., Cedartown.

The Rockmart American Legion Post 12 is beginning collections for the 74 th annual Empty Stocking Fund drive. Legion and Auxiliary members will be out at local businesses collecting for this worthy cause in the coming weeks, and Post 12 is accepting applications starting last Saturday, Nov. 17 through Tuesday, Nov. 27 for needy families in the Rockmart-Aragon area. Children ages 2-10 are expected to be served. Applications are available at Post 12, the Rockmart library or Eastside or Van Wert Elementary Schools.

Christmas Back Home is coming to Cedartown on Saturday, Dec. 22 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Cedartown Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $15 for general admission, and $20 at the door for the event, featuring Scott Thompson, Brent McDonald and Friends. ticket sales going to the food pantry and clothing program at Cedartown Middle School. Students from the Middle school will also be part of the preshow festivities including, singing, musicians and drama. The ticket purchase code is "CMS27," and can be purchased at www.christmasbackhome.com.

The Polk County Chamber of Commerce and South Marble Coffee in Rockmart are teaming up for a Christmas reading event this Saturday, Dec. 15 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Join in the fun for a reading from "The 12 Days of Christmas in Georgia" by author Susan Rosson Spain at the coffee shop at 212 S. Marble St., Rockmart. The first 100 children who come to the event get a free copy of the book, provided by Oglethorpe Power. Contact Chamber Director Blair Elrod for more at director@polkgeorgia.com.

Anna Kresge United Methodist Church is planning their children's Christmas play "Christmas Around the World" on Thursday, Dec. 13 at 6:45 p.m., along with an interactive play for all for "Las Posadas" on the same night. The church's other holiday festivities include their Dec. 23 men's play "It Came to Pass" and their Dec. 24 Christmas Eve candlelight and communion service at 7 p.m. The church is located at 15 Booger Hollow Road, Cedartown. Call for more information at 770-748-4308.

A live nativity is coming up as Collard Valley Baptist and Antioch Baptist Church team up to present the story of the birth of Jesus during an evening event at Camp Antioch this Sunday, Dec. 16. Both churches will be holding the nativity from 3 to 8 p.m., and free admission is offered for those who bring a canned food donation or love offering. Visit antiochcedartown.com for more information.

The First Baptist Church of Cedartown will hold a candlelight service this Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018 in their sanctuary featuring the choir and ensemble. All are welcome to join in worship at the church located at 101 N. College St., Cedartown. Call 770-748-3120 for more information.

Starting in past weeks and continuing through Dec. 17, Rockmart First United Methodist continues their "Surviving the Holidays" grief group held on Monday nights at 7 p.m. Invite friends to share feelings of loss with those who understand how hard this time of year can be. The program is being facilitated by Rev. Martha Dye. Call 770-684-6251 for more information.

The community is welcome to join the Rockmart Presbyterian Church for their Christmas Eve service is coming up on Dec. 24 at 6 p.m. The service will feature scripture reading, singing of Christmas carols, lighting of candles, and communion fill the service. This service prepares our hearts to receive joy and love. The church is located at 306 S. Marble St., Rockmart.

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.

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 Care Giver's Support Group is being formed for support for care givers in the Rockmart and Aragon communities. The first meeting to determine interest is coming up on Monday, Nov. 26 at 11 a.m. Patsy Wade, the Bereavement Coordinator for Heyman HospiceCare will be leading the group. In her role she provides community resources, grief support, and education. The location for the group is at Rockmart Presbyterian Church, 306 S. Marble Street, Rockmart. Call the church to learn more at 770-684-7289.

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 American Legion in Rockmart is hosting their monthly all-you-caneat spaghetti dinner on Wednesday, January 9, 2019. 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. Check back for any changes to the dates on the calendar in coming weeks.

Rockmart Presbyterian Church is pleased 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.

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.

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.

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.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 next Wednesday, Dec. 19, 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 January 9, 2019 and following on Jan. 23.

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 presidentelect 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, birthdates/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/