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KSU and PSD partnering on tutoring program

A partnership between an area college and the Polk School District hopes to produce better outcomes for local students as they get ready to take on the next level of education.

Kennesaw State University-Paulding (KSU) located in Dallas, was awarded a total of $1,287,500 over five years from the U.S. Department of Education's Upward Bound Program to help promising low-income, potential first-generation college students in Polk County to prepare for college.

KSU will partner with Cedartown and Rockmart High Schools to provide 60 students annually with tutoring, counseling and advising to help them succeed academically. Through Upward Bound, KSU will also provide mentoring, parent engagement, state assessment preparation, career exploration, cultural experiences, and college visits to each high school participant of the program.

During the summer the students will get a chance to get accommodated to the college lifestyle before having to actually attending by spending 6 weeks during summer break at the KSU campus. The student will be provided transportation if needed and it is all funded by the Upward Bound grant.

"There is no greater loss to our culture than to have our bright and capable young students not attend college," said Dr. Anita VanBrackle, KSU-Paulding Site Director. "As Upward Bound recipients, we will reach out to those low-income, first-generation students who have the interest and ability to complete a college degree. We are honored to collaborate with Cedartown and Rockmart High Schools. Through the use of this grant, not only will the lives of the students involved in the grant be

changed but future generations will also be enriched."

Dalton Lemelle and Charlotte Hiles notified the Polk County School Board of the Award on July 11, 2017.

Cedartown and Rockmart High School Students will receive

Upward Bound information in the upcoming weeks.

Along with receiving the Upward Bound grant, the Cedartown baseball team received a generous donation from the Tripp foundation to taling $52,000.

The money is expected to be used to make improvements on the Bulldogs ball field in the upcoming months. This will be improving the dugouts, adding two new batting cages, concrete block walls, carpet for the hitting facility, and a concrete bleachers on the home side.

The board tabled several policies for the upcoming school year to revise and make changes.

These policies deal with graduation requirements, awarding units transferring credits, corporal punishment policies, and policies dealing with parental involvement in education.

The policies were handpicked by the staff, assistant principals, and principles to be revised and be updated by the board.

County Commission comments on audit

Mixed opinions came back from the Polk County Commission on the Polk County Police Department's audit completed by the County Attorney, with some saying he did a fine job and others wanting to dig deeper.

Commissioners also voted unanimously to approve the release of notes and summaries put together by County Attorney Brad McFall, but with names redacted, but didn't include a letter that Commissioner Jennifer Hulsey said she received from an officer who laid out concerns and potential issues over 25 pages of the letter.

The board wasn't required to vote on whether they would have to accept the audit, which was submitted by McFall prior to the July board work and regular sessions.

On both nights the topic dominated discussion, starting with questions presented during the July 10 work session over how the audit was completed, and whether Mc-Fall had found any evidence which would require him to move forward on further efforts.

McFall said following the July 10 work session the commission would

have to decide whether any of the information he generated merited a further look into the issues raised by Sheriff Johnny Moats in a May 5 letter that prompted the audit to begin later in the month.

The majority of the board were satisfied with the results of McFall's work, providing positive remarks to the work he did to discover whether any of the allegations in the Sheriff's letter had merit.

As previously reported and according to McFall's audit, some 94 percent of the department came back in his estimation with no major problems in the Polk County Police Department that better pay and more manpower couldn't solve.

McFall said during a question and answer session that he asked specific questions of command staff, but had the rest of the department fill out the survey that he provided as part of the audit results as an exhibit. He dictated a summary of each interview, but later told the Standard Journal he did not have any audio or video recordings of the sessions with officers.

He did not have former employees, who were also interviewed for the audit, fill out the survey either. With the exception of former employees, all other officers spoke to McFall in his office.

"I simply tried to conduct an objective departmental audit to see if we had a problem in the police department, and the results indicate that we do not," he said. "But a lot of people have a lot of opinions as to why the audit was being conducted."

He added that he didn't feel comfortable getting into the question as to why people felt the audit was being conducted, stating that he felt it would add "further fuel to the problem. I don't know that I want to fuel that."

There were also further questions about feelings about command staff, the Standard Operating Procedures for the department and more during the July 10 session.

The next night when Commissioners had a chance to share comments with the public about the audit, a slate of members in Stefanie Burford, Jason Ward and Chuck Thaxton and Commission chair Marshelle Thaxton all said they believed the audit provided a clear result: the Polk County Police Department does have problems, but those revolve around something they can fix: better pay.

"I think he did a good, thorough job," said Burford. "It didn't seem to me that the people who had complaints were shy about sharing those complaints. Based on what I've seen and what I've read, I don't think anything short of hanging Kenny Dodd up would satisfy some."

Ward added his thoughts about the job McFall did, and also provided some additional reasoning why he thinks the audit was begun in the first place. He said it was due to the Sheriff's letter, which directly blamed the commission for allowing a variety of alleged activities to occur in the department.

"I think there's absolutely no evidence of criminal activity and I think the board has an understanding that they were allegations, and part of that letter says that a majority of the police officers are going to resign," he said.

He said that like the national attention surrounding the investigation into meddling by Russia in the 2016 election, that "you'll never satisfy anyone by disproving a negative." Ward added he felt the issue was akin to "taking one little thing and portraying it as something completely different than what is going on."

Commissioners Jennifer Hulsey and Scotty Tillery had a different take on the audit. The pair believed the audit should have been conducted independently, and reminded the board that Hulsey had given the name of someone who would have been able to do so as well.

Hulsey read from a written statement which outlined her concerns about the audit, which is available with this story online at in full. Her main point in the statement was that she felt the audit didn't delve deeply enough.

"We have an audit with no specifics on concerns and a 25 page letter from a fine officer that one of our commissioners never read as of last night," she said. "I look forward to reading Brad's notes and summaries and I encourage the public to do so as well. Along with the letter that I hope will be submitted by that particular officer."

The 25 page letter which she stated she received from an officer she has never met and was left on her porch in late May was submitted to other commissioners as well.

Commissioner Scotty Tillery's main concerns over the audit surrounded it's independent nature, and he felt that process was flawed.

"I was not for this process, because I believe as an employer, it'd be like giving an employee an interview asking questions about their boss, and how are you going to answer?" Tillery asked. "I was for going in a different direction, and the majority of the board decided that this was the best, and that's fine."

The Standard Journal has made an open records request for the audit summaries, along with communications about the audit and billing information from McFall.

The letter from an officer that Commissioners did not wish to include with the release of notes in their July 11 vote was also provided to the Standard Journal over the weekend. Due to time constraints and the need for further investigation, that letter will be released in an upcoming edition with further information.

Rockmart council gives approval to zoning changes

The latest session of the Rockmart City Council remained light once again with only a few items to vote on, from looking at zoning requests to getting ready for the city's upcoming municipal election.

With conditional use requests for two buildings in Rockmart yet to be approved, citizens and council members discussed whether use of the buildings should be permitted.

First up for the meeting's agenda on July 11 was the Marietta Recycling conditional use request for their property located at 327 Industrial Drive.

Marietta Recycling wants to turn the I-2 zoned property into a recycling/salvage center, and since few citizens had any complaints, council members promptly approved the conditional use request.

The company is now free to move forward with their new salvage center.

Concerned citizens also

had the opportunity to share their thoughts on another conditional use request: turning the Old Euharlee building into a senior housing facility. If approved, the building would sport 13 one-bedroom apartments and an additional 26 units after expansive construction.

A few citizens expressed concern about the use request and questioned how it "would affect property value," but the citizens worries were dismissed by the council members who pointed out that Northwest Georgia Housing Authority-a group that has done very consistent, quality work in Polk County - would be in charge of the building.

The Northwest Georgia Housing Authority purchased the school building for $75,000 around 4 years ago.

Outside of public hearings, the council officially approved an election contract giving the county permission to handle all aspects of the upcoming Fall election. This is a standard contract that typically gets approved every year.

City manager Jeff Ellis later spoke about Public Works projects and asked for continued patience in regards to repairs and fixes needed.

Ellis mentioned the rain and bad weather had slowed progress on various jobs the works department had been attending to, but the crew fully intends to get as many fixes and touch ups done as possible for events like Homespun.

Council members also approved moving forward on the first step of the upcoming November election by setting qualifying fees for the three seats up this year. Those interested in running for the seats held by Lucille Harris, Sherman Ross and Joe Henderson will have to pay $108 to participate in the election and meet other qualifications to be a council member. City officials will be able to provide further details about requirements for running for office, and all paperwork and fees must be turned into the Polk County Board of Elections in Cedartown during the Aug. 21 through Aug. 25 qualifying period.

The Rockmart City Council meets on the second Tuesday of every month at the Rockmart City Hall at 214 N Piedmont Ave., starting at 7 p.m. Their next meeting will be on Aug. 8.

Fulfilling dream, artist taking first step toward future creations

A local artist will soon be adding the latest layer of color and lines to the portrait that makes up her life as she gets ready to move away for more training she hopes one day to propel her to work with the stars of Hollywood and much more.

Rockmart High School graduate Kasie Price has big dreams in mind for her future and her work as she gets ready in the coming weeks for a big move across the state to coastal Georgia. That's where she'll start the next step of her education at Savannah College of Art and Design, or SCAD for short.

She intends once she finishes her studies to pursue her passion in art for a career in hopes to find work in animated features for film and television, and maybe later on start an art school for youth with Autism.

Price was recently accepted into SCAD - which was the only college she applied for - with a $20,000 scholarship. She said it was her lifelong dream to get into the school.

"We took a trip to Savannah when I was 9 years old and that's when I first fell in love with the town first, then around elementary school I fell in love with art and found out there was an art school in my favorite town," said Price. "Since then it all seemed

like it was all lined up and I knew that it was going to happen."

At an early age, Price first noticed her capability in the art field when her peers started to come and ask for her to draw for them. Price said that she would sell the drawings for 50 cents so that she could get ice cream for the day.

"It's always been hard for me to sell my artwork because I always tend to get personal with every piece," Price said and laughed. "Like, can I buy that back from you?"

She's no stranger to her artwork selling. She was one of many artists who earlier in the year took part in a local art show put together at the Cedartown Performing Arts Center, where she displayed a variety of pieces for sale starting much higher than her elementary school prices of at least $25.

Price has also moved on to different mediums for her artwork, and currently favors working with watercolors and using a free-flowing approach in her brushstrokes and how it changed the way the paint hit the canvas. It's experiments like this that give her work a surreal and dream-like quality.

"I like art that says something, and that's for every piece of art. I like that it (my work) is a representation of who that person is," Price said. "For me, I'm more into the Bohemian lifestyle so for a lot my artwork turns out being really colorful and vibrant, but I guess you could also call it hippy art if you wanted to."

Her colorful and vibrant approach to life also applies to her plans for the future.

She might be working with canvas and paints for now, but Price hopes one day to take her work into a digital space with more creative freedom by focusing on animation as her ideal way to make her dreams come true. Drawing from inspirational contemporary figures in the field like John Lasseter, director of such Pixar features as Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Cars and Cars 2, and how he has overcome personal and professional obstacles to create amazing stories and art through animation as one of many reasons why she wants to go into the field.

She hopes one day to apply these talents for the likes of Disney (now owners of Pixar,) the Cartoon Network, Dreamworks and others who create cartoons for entertainment and advertising.

Price also plans one day on owning her own nonprofit later on down the road called "Anything Art," which will be an art organization focused mainly helping children with disabilities such as Autism and Down Syndrome express themselves through creation.

For business inquiries the best way to contact kassie is by going through her buisness called "Happy Hippie Trippy Art." The Email is or her Business line which is 678-977-3818.

Her work specializes in acrylic and watercolor paintings, portraits, and personalized custom art ideas from customers who have creative inspirations, but don't have the know-how to bring them to life.

For ultimately, that's what Price hopes to achieve most of in her journey in the art world - to help herself and others to create dreams and bring them into the real world.

Aragon's city clerk resigns in protest

The City of Aragon will be bringing on a new City Clerk to take over after the former clerk called it quits this week.

Sandy Norman, who had held the position since 2015, left her job after working out a twoweek notice for the city, according to Mayor Garry Baldwin.

He said that she did not provide a reason for leaving the city when she gave her resignation.

Norman said after initial publication of the news of her departure that wasn't the case.

According to the resignation letter she provided in an email, she left after she received a bad review on her performance evaluation, one she felt was "directly in response to my role in the removal of the former City Clerk

from staff."

"It is my belief that I no longer could, nor would be allowed to, effectively perform my duties as City Clerk," Norman said over the weekend in the email. "I feel that it was in the City's and my best interest to tender my resignation."

Her resignation letter was dated June 27, and she worked a two-week notice before she left the job. It stated the performance review had been completed a week earlier.

She said she did not have another position at this time.

Baldwin said that current court clerk Christie Langston is expected to take over the job if she is approved by the council for the promotion during their session on July 20. Amy Liggoms is expected to become the new court clerk under those circumstances.

Norman has been the city clerk since 2015, when she took over the role after previously being named the assistant city clerk.

In past months, Norman was elected to serve on the 2017 Georgia Municipal Clerks and Finance Officers Association (GMC/FOA) Board of Directors, and had also been serving as the District 1 director for Northwest Georgia as well.

She also previously held jobs with the Polk School District as well.

Norman was the latest employee to leave the city in the wake of Baldwin's election and his swearing-in as Aragon's mayor, completed in November 2016 as he was voted into city government to replace Curtis Burrus in the job.

Former finance clerk Hal Kuhn tendered his resignation shortly after Baldwin took office as mayor, and his daughter Lori Dunn also resigned from her role in the city amid an investigation being conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

It was this investigation and Dunn's subsequent resignation that Norman said she believes was responsible for her negative evaluation.

Due to the late nature of Norman's comments, the Standard Journal was unable to seek further comments from Baldwin, or seek her performance review via an open records request to the City of Aragon.

Look for further updates on the story after that request is made and fulfilled by the city, and for further comments from officials.


This week is Rockmart and Polk County's annual celebration of all things local and summer, the Home spun Festival. Check out more information about the 40th anniversary of this year's event at, learn about this year's sponsor Redmond Regional Medical Center, or find out how to take part in the July 21 from 5 to 9:30 p.m., and July 22 from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. The festival organized by the Polk County Chamber of Commerce includes the Homespun 5K Race, the Kiwanis Car Show, and find out more about weather alerts and pet policy at the festival. Questions? Call Mandy Mallicoat at 770-684-8760.

An Adult Field Day is coming up this weekend on Saturday at the old Rockmart High School football field behind city hall. Food, fun games music and more in team and individual events. $5 for adults, $3 for children. Call Tandra McClure at 706-844-7867 or Demarcus James at 972-623-7691for more information.

Mount Tabor Baptist Church located at 3068 Old Alabama Road; Taylorsville wraps up Vacation Bible School

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

which ends this week on July 21, with nightly classes continuing from 7 to 9 p.m.. Classes are provided for all ages. Supper will be served each night at 6 p.m. Commencement Service will be conducted Sunday, July 23 beginning at 6 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend as we learn about "GOD'S FAMILY." For more information contact Pastor Brent Edwards at 770-715-6167.

The 4 the Kids Consignment Sale to benefit Victory Baptist Church's Stockings of Love Ministry will be held on Friday, August 4 from 4 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fall and winter clothing, shoes, toys, accessories, bedding, infant equipment, most anything for children and teens will be available at reasonable prices. A half-price sale begins at 12 p.m. on Saturday.

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 for more information about vendors and upcoming classes.

Polk County Police Office Andy Anderson is hoping the local community will help raise money for the Helping Hands Food Pantry by purchasing raffle tickets for a Rivergrille Rustler 40-inch vertical smoker. The drawing for the raffle has been extended to Aug. 1 to allow more people to purchase tickets. Single tickets are $2, or 3 for $5. Contact Anderson at the Polk County PD at 770-748-7331, or stop by the office at 73 Cline Ingram Jackson Road in Cedartown, or at the Polk County Sheriff's Office today. Sales are now closing at the end of the month.

The Little Mission House offers free adult and kid size clothing, diapers, and baby supplies to families in need. It is located at 2330 N. Bellview Road, Rockmart, across from Bellview Baptist Church. They will be open again on July 25 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information you can call 770-684-3941 or check out

Help out the Polk County State Special Olympics team with their efforts to raise money by stopping by their produce stand in downtown Cedartown today. The stand - located at One Door Polk at 424 N. Main St., Cedartown - provides a variety of fruits and vegetables for sale with the proceeds going to support their practice costs, jerseys, and competition fees to compete at the State Special Olympics Masters Bowling competition in Warner Robbins in August. The stand is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and run by local volunteers. Call 706-302-0462 for more information.

The Cedartown Band Boosters are getting their football program guides ready for the coming season, and remind the general public that those wishing to buy advertising space in the 2017 Bulldog Football program need to submit money and the ad no later than July 28. Contact Carolyn Peek at, Alinda Dawson at or Misty Puckett at

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 in July. Check back for more updates.

AARP is organizing a Driver's Safety Class in Cedartown starting on July 20 at the First Baptist Church. This class-room-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

The next West Georgia Spay/Neuter Clinic is coming to the Cedartown-Polk County Humane Society on Wednesday, July 26. 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.

A night of song is coming up at the Outreach Tabernacle at 1351 County Road 31, Muscadine, Ala. on Saturday, July 29 at 5 p.m. central. The evening's performers include Sacrifice of Rossville, Ga. and the Yarbroughs of Bremen. Free refreshments and $50 will go to whoever brings the most in attendance. Contact Pastor Rouzelle Sanders at 770-712-1032 for more information.

Dylan's Chance will soon be hosting the second annual THRIVE conference being held at One Door Polk in Cedartown on Saturday, July 29. THRIVE is a one day event where Autism caregivers can connect with others and learn how to help their children whether new to this journey or are needing encouragement. A variety of topics will be covered, and Dr. Chris Meiners, a chiropractor of Canton Wellness Center will be the main speaker. Visit for more information.

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

The next spaghetti dinner at American Legion Post 12 will coming up tonight 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 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.

Join the Church of God of the Union Assembly, 32 Prospect Road, Rockmart, for praise and worship during their Family day on Sunday, Aug. 13. 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.

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 or visit

Cedartown First Baptist Church will hold their Fall Kickoff celebration during a two-day event starting on Saturday, Aug. 19 with a Tailgating party starting at 4 p.m., and worship with Dr. Daniel Heeringa, pastor of First Baptist Church of Houston, Texas. Following on Sunday, Aug. 20, there will be a 9 a.m. breakfast in the fellowship hall, worship services headed by Dr. Heeringa at 11 a.m. and a 6 p.m. concert with The LeFevre Quartet. Admission is free, all are invited to attend. A love offering will be taken up. Visit for more information or call 770-748-3120.

The Polk County Extension Service's annual twice-weekly vegetable market has begun. Find fresh veggies and fruits on hand from vendors on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at Peek's Park in Cedartown. 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. 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 2 IDs per address. Regular hours of operation for the pantry are Mondays, 1 to 3 p.m., Tuesdays, 5 to 7 p.m. and Thursdays, 8 to 10 a.m.

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 or call 1-877-210-KIDS. Visit for more information.

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 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 or call 706-506-0649.

The Sit N' Stitch craft group at Rockmart First United Methodist Church is taking a summer break and won't be meeting again until after the Labor Day holiday. 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. Find more info in the calendar online at