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County commission set to vote on new hires

Denton

The Polk County Commission will soon get a chance to vote on filling a position that has been left open since 2016.

County Manager Matt Denton said the Board of Commissioners will get a chance to decide between two candidates for the unfilled job of Assistant County Manager during their June 6 meeting.

"I've got an individual that I'm going to be recommending to the board this week," Denton said.

He said the interview process that has been ongoing for the past months has been narrowed down to two candidates. He said he was not willing to release the names of candidates due to their current employment status.

The job has been left open since early 2016, when former Assistant County Manager David McElwee resigned to run for the office of Tax Commissioner. He lost that race to Kathy Cole, and later opened Brother Joe's Coffee on East Avenue in front of Croker's Hardware.

It was also the position that caused contention between board members after Commissioner Jason Ward sought the job. When it came time to approve the 2017 Fiscal Year budget for the county, a trio of commissioner blocked passage so long as the job was funded.

Commissioners Scotty Tillery and Jennifer Hulsey, along with former Commissioner Ray Barber, voted against the budget so long as it included $75,000 to pay for the position. Instead, they sought to use the money for raises for employees, along with another assistant position in administration once filled by Tessie Peyton not filled after her retirement.

Back in January, the budget was finally approved and the process allowed to go forward with a 3-2 vote approving the budget after Barber lost his seat to Commissioner Chuck Thaxton late last year.

Commissioners will get to vote on a potential new hire during their June 6 meeting being held

at 7 p.m. at the Board of Commissioners meeting room at the Polk County Police Department office at 73 Clines Ingram Jackson Drive, Cedartown.

Along with a new hire potentially being approved during the Tuesday meeting, Commissioners were also expected to vote on a new 911 Director as well.

Check back for further updates on new hires in the coming edition of the Standard Journal.


Cedartown shooter still at large

A late night shooting last week saw a Cedartown teen taken to the hospital, and one suspect still at large according to a press release from the Cedartown Police Department.

According to the release, police are calling the shooting a "gang-related drug deal gone bad," and are searching for a Lawrenceville man they believe shot the still unidentified 17-year-old on the lawn of Polk

A late night shooting last week saw a Cedartown teen taken to the hospital, and one suspect still at large according to a press release from the Cedartown Police Department.

According to the release, police are calling the shooting a "gang-related drug deal gone bad," and are searching for a Lawrenceville man they believe shot the still unidentified 17-year-old on the lawn of Polk School District.

Warrants are out for Derian Bona Ventura - Flores for aggravated assault.

The shooting incident took place on May 30 around 8:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Polk School Central District Office on South College Street.

The release stated that upon arriving at the scene, police found a 17-year-old white male with a gunshot wound lying on the lawn in front of school district office.

The teen was transported to Floyd Medical Center where he underwent surgery and is recovering.

Officials are not releasing his name.

"We are not releasing the name of the victim because as of this point in time, he has not been charged with a crime, he is also a juvenile and is currently in DFCS custody," said Ce-dartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome.

Newsome did say that the 17-year-old and Ventura-Flores had engaged in some form of cellular communication prior to the incident.

"They did have communication that brought them both to the location on South College Street,"


Aragon Zoning Board to hear Fee's request for variance

A meeting is coming up to allow for Aragon's Zoning Board of Appeals to look at a variance requested for the old school gym property.

The zoning variance was requested by Judd Fee for the 55 W. Sixth St. building that acts as both a residence and business for Fee.

Currently though, the zoning restrictions within Aragon don't allow for

A meeting is coming up to allow for Aragon's Zoning Board of Appeals to look at a variance requested for the old school gym property.

The zoning variance was requested by Judd Fee for the 55 W. Sixth St. building that acts as both a residence and business for Fee.

Currently though, the zoning restrictions within Aragon don't allow for residences within a Commercial C-1 zoned area.

The board of appeals-made up of Dale Brumbelow, Melisa Hughes and Kenny Mulkey - will hear the re-quest on Monday, June 19 at 7 p.m. during a public hearing on the issue.

Mulkey, whose family was evicted from their home on Oak Street in Aragon, will still be able to continue on the Zoning Board of Appeals for the upcoming hearing.

Mayor Garry Baldwin said that his understanding of the situation was that based on the city charter, there was no requirement for him to be a resident to continue in the position on the local board.

"He has prior knowledge of the situation having lived right down the street from the gym," Baldwin said.

However, that's just for the upcoming meeting. Baldwin said he didn't know what the future would bring for Mulkey's position on the board.

"After we find out where they've moved, whether it be nearby or out of county, we'll find out if he wants to stay on," Baldwin said.

For now, Mulkey will be one of three people who will decide what to do about the variance before passing it along to the city council.

Fee previously came before the Aragon City Council in a meeting held to go over code and zoning violations brought up by Code Enforcement and Building Inspector Danny Forsyth.

Forsyth came to an April special called session with a stack of complaints and problems presented by neighbors and himself, along with the admission he'd been to talk to Fee about the issues over the past months hoping to find solutions to problems presented by those living around the property.

Those issues have ranged from noise issues with the big diesel trucks to problems with residents living inside of a mobile home on the property using crude language within earshot of neighbors themselves. However, they were sat aside to figure out one particular problem at the time: can someone live in a business?

By definition of the Aragon's city code, the Commercial C-1 zoning classification for buildings doesn't allow for anyone to reside within the property.

Fee had previously asked when he first bought the gymnasium in 2001 to correct it's zoning on the map from R-3, a residential classification to its current state.

Council members at the time voted unanimously to make the change.

In the meantime, Fee has been living in one of two converted apartments within his trucking company, and had previously allowed those he's chosen to help live in a second apartment, or in a mobile home that was on the property.

The upcoming variance request will determine whether Fee and his family can continue to live in the same facility where his trucking company is located.

Previously, the council also looked at the possibility of creating a new mixed-use zone that would allow for businesses and residences to be located in the same building. No official change has been proposed in the past months.

Baldwin explained that though it was the intention to create a new mixed-use zone, he waited for several weeks to figure out the process for the new zone.

After discussions with City Attorney Zach Burkhalter, the issue couldn't be solved by ordinance, but instead went into the direction of how to help Fee. He said the upcoming Zoning Board of Appeals meeting will ultimately give the city guidance on which way the council should approach the issue, but that the decision ultimately lies with the three remaining council members on whether to allow the variance.

"Given the circumstances of how this has bounced back and forth for 15 years, and some officials have told him he could and others he


Rockmart block party kicks off summer

Rabies continues as constant threat in Polk

Polk County is no stranger to woodland creatures. The animals inhabiting the forests of the southeast live among everyone as if the trees weren't long cut down and their habitable spaces bulldozed over to accommodate the needs of humanity.

So it's not uncommon for people to sometimes run into a raccoon while on a walk down the Silver Comet Trail, or find a possum scurrying along the tops of wooden fences in backyards.

However with nature's invasion also comes a particular danger that if left unchecked is the most deadly enemy of all warm blooded mammals. And the rabies virus has no plans of retreating into past memory anytime soon.

As a mild and wet winter and warm spring got wildlife moving again, officials announced in May that rabies had once again been found in Polk County.

The deadly disease was found in a raccoon that had been spotted in Peek's Park in the heart of residential Cedartown on College Street. It marked the first case in 2017 in what officials are expecting to be a potentially busy year again in chasing the disease.

In 2016, nine cases of rabies were reported in Polk County. Several of those were in the

By KEVIN MYRICK

Editor

Polk County is no stranger to woodland creatures. The animals inhabiting the forests of the southeast live among everyone as if the trees weren't long cut down and their habitable spaces bulldozed over to accommodate the needs of humanity.

So it's not uncommon for people to sometimes run into a raccoon while on a walk down the Silver Comet Trail, or find a possum scurrying along the tops of wooden fences in backyards.

However with nature's invasion also comes a particular danger that if left unchecked is the most deadly enemy of all warm blooded mammals. And the rabies virus has no plans of retreating into past memory anytime soon.

As a mild and wet winter and warm spring got wildlife moving again, officials announced in May that rabies had once again been found in Polk County.

The deadly disease was found in a raccoon that had been spotted in Peek's Park in the heart of residential Cedartown on College Street. It marked the first case in 2017 in what officials are expecting to be a potentially busy year again in chasing the disease.

In 2016, nine cases of rabies were reported in Polk County. Several of those were in the downtown Cedartown area, one of which involved a local man who was bitten by a potentially rabid raccoon, and as a result of the bites had the preventative treatments for rabies and lost two fingers.

It's not a disease anyone wants to play with, and one that Polk County Coroner Tony Brazier said is lucky to have not taken a human life locally.

He's now working with a group of local officials including Kathy Couey-Miller, Environmental Health Manager for the Polk County Health Department, local veterinarian Dr. Todd Hughes, Polk County Animal Control Director Jeff Crawford and Sherry Powers, trying to figure out a way to get more people involved in the fight against rabies.

And it's a particularly difficult disease to fight due to how quickly it can kill its host.

Simply put, rabies is virus that attacks the body's nervous system, traveling it's way from the source up the nervous path eventually leading to the brain.

Whether it's the brain of a raccoon or a human, the disease is fatal.

Hughes explained the disease is especially tailor made to the mammal population in the Southeast, with hosts ranging from raccoons and possums to household pets and livestock animals.

"There's two aspects to this that people have to remember, and the first is that we're in an endemic area. Which means that it's in the wildlife population, and it's going to remain in the wildlife population for the foreseeable future," said Hughes. "We're not looking at defeating this in the next ten years... And it's host adapted. Primarily here in the southeast you see it in raccoons. In other parts of the country it's in skunks and bats. We also have bats here that can carry it too."

Rabies remains a worldwide problem, especially in countries with large populations of stray domesticated pets which easily move in and out of wildlife populations.

Here in the United States, Hughes said there's usually only two ways a human gets rabies: through contact with wildlife, or bringing it home from overseas contact.

"It's always around, and it's not going to go away," he said.

Couey-Miller, who has long been a part of the fight against rabies in the community, said she's sort of a regional expert on the disease. Her take is that for the most part, careless actions are to a large degree one reason why humans end up interacting with the wildlife population. She's seen many number of cases where raccoons will end up cornering people on their porches after they've left food out for stray animals or pets, or having gotten into garbage not well contained.

"All that being said, the one reason we see an increased number of cases is that we have a good system of reporting in place," she said. "We work really closely with Animal Control and other departments and Dr. Hughes to make sure that we're getting accurate numbers."

Feeding is only part of the issue. Interactions with wildlife that are acting friendly and then bite happen too, such was in part the case last year with the bite victim in Cedartown.

Brazier pointed out a case last year where a man was bitten in Cedartown by a potentially rabid raccoon and he didn't immediately seek treatment. The result of that, Brazier said, was that he underwent a number of rabies preventative treatments, and the bites on his fingers eventually became infected and had to be amputated.

Potential infection and interaction with rabies could be prevented if only people took corrective action on their own part to prevent wildlife from coming into homes, the group points out.

Hughes also made this particular point to drive home the reason why vaccination programs are so important for local pets: it's not just about protecting the family's furry friends, but also ourselves.

"Vaccination is really to protect the human population," he said. "It's the same reason why we vaccinate against diseases like measles or mumps."

When people don't vaccinate against potentially deadly diseases, ultimately people pay by contracting these disease. Outbreaks all over the country of diseases commonly vaccinated against in shot delivered in doctor's offices or health departments around the country are starting to return.

Much in the same way protecting children from disease is important, animals being vaccinated against rabies is important for the same reason. Pets are more likely to come into contact with the disease while running around in backyards, passing it along to their human owners once it has spread to the nerve areas controlling the salivary glands.

Hughes also cautioned against relying on all-in-one vaccination kits that can be purchased online or in local feed stores. He pointed out that it's Georgia state law that a licensed veterinarian has to provide the rabies vaccine.

The other option is a live baiting program, part of a national effort to combat rabies in the wildlife population. It's a program put in place by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, run through the Animal and plant Health Inspection Service.

Since 1995, the program has targeted oral vaccination efforts through bait, spread through an area in hopes that through tracking efforts, they can see decreases in the virus through wildlife populations.

However, limited resources mean that only certain areas are targeted annually. Polk County isn't likely to get organized efforts for live baiting for a long time to come, Hughes said.

Part of the problem is public perception, the group agreed. People have become complacent to rabies because they grew up in a time when it wasn't a prevalent disease, said Hughes. Yet the disease has been around in the wildlife population the entire time, spreading from animal to animal through the normal course of the food chain.

The good news is that even with higher numbers of cases on record, these animals are being found and reported and help in efforts to figure out how ra-


AREA CALENDAR OF EVENTS

The 2017 Kids Fishing Rodeo for youth 15 and younger is coming this weekend on Saturday, June 10 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

Need to get an item onto the Area Calendar of Events? Email kmyrick@npco.com today! All items must be in at least 2 weeks before the event to appear in the Standard Journal on time.

The 2017 Kids Fishing Rodeo for youth 15 and younger is coming this weekend on Saturday, June 10 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 Rockmartfarmersmarket.com for more information about vendors and upcoming classes.

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.

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.

This year's "Galactic Starveyors" Vacation Bible School at Bellview Baptist Church in Rockmart is coming up June 12 through June 16, with classes for children Kindergarten and up. An adult class and nursery will also be available for those participating in adult classes and volunteers. Full meals each night. Register today at bellviewchurch.org.

The next West Georgia Spay/Neuter Clinic is coming to the Cedartown-Polk County Humane Society today. 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.

Mt Zion East Missionary Baptist Church will be hosting the Galactic Starveyors VBS. The Kick-Off will be Saturday, June 10 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Dinner, fun, games and registration will be included. The VBS Program will begin Sunday, June 11 and run through Friday, June 16 from 7 to 9 p.m. Ages 3 and up will be included. Director Jaimie Brannon invites all area children and adults to participate. Mt Zion East is located at 1335 Mt Zion East Church Rd, Buchanan.

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 770-630-1270 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.

The Boaz 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 Polk County Alzheimer's Support group will meet monthly on the first Monday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Polk Medical Center. 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 678-757-4572 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 tinyurl.com/polkbees.

The general public is invited to participate in Spring Creek Baptist Church's one-day mini Vacation Bible School will be coming up on Sunday, June 25 at Ridge Ferry Park in Rome from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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 404-895-6517 or e-mail robin.forston@dhs.ga.gov or call 1-877-210-KIDS. Visit www.fostergeorgia.com for more information.

The Highland Rivers Health Governing Board of Directors will meet on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. in the Cherokee County Recovery Center located at 191 Lamar Haley Parkway, Canton, Ga., 30114. The Finance and Corporate Compliance Committees will meet at 9:30 a.m. The meeting is open to the public. For additional information or directions, please call 706-270-5000.

Rivers of Living Water is hosting its 8th Annual "Your Best" talent show coming up on 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.

Celebrate Recovery continues to meet in the First Baptist Church of Rockmart, 311 E. Elm St., Monday nights with dinner at 6 p.m. A large group gathers at 7 p.m. and small share group at 8 p.m.

Victory Baptist Church will be hosting their annual Stockings of Love Christmas in July event on Saturday, July 22, 2017. Visit their website at www.vbcrockmart.com for more information.

The Alzheimer's Association Caregiver Support Group in Polk meets the first Monday of each month at First Baptist Church of Rockmart, 311 E. Elm St. The facilitator is April Williams. For more information call 770-546-5188.

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 3rd 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 information, contact aweaver@lsga.org or call 706-506-0649.

The Sit N' Stitch craft group meets each Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall at Rockmart First United Methodist Church, 135 West Church St., Rockmart, Ga., 30153. All crafters are welcome to come and work on your own projects or help out with various local mission projects, as they become needed. Bring a sack lunch or just come when you want and leave as you need to. Contact Madeline Brown at 678-435-5032 for more information.

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.