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Floyd steps down from school board

The Polk County Board of Education will need a new member, and likely will be holding a special election in November to fill the seat now vacated by just-elected Hal Floyd.

Floyd, who ran and won the District 6 primary against former board member and then chair Harold McDurmon, stepped down from the school board and explained his reasons in a four page letter during the Tuesday evening Board of Education work session.

He said this morning in a brief interview that he would continue to do his best to help the people of Polk County, and hoped he might be able to work to find a like-minded successor to fill his seat.

Floyd resigned after his daughter-in-law, now the assistant principal at Rockmart High School, discovered a newly updated state and local nepotism policy that he said in his letter wasn't previously presented to Polk School District officials by former Superintendent William Hunter.

The rule updates the classification of immediate family, and with it his daughter-in-law's promotion to administration fell under the new nepotism rule.

"At the time of my election, and during the first six months of my term, this was not an issue," Floyd's letter stated. "How-ever, after the discovery of the cange in the ruling, and the approval of my daughter-in-law as the new AP (assistant principal ) of RHS (Rockmart High School,) it became a matter of concern, investigation and clarification. I abstained from voting on the hiring of my daughter-in-law and therefore had no voice or sway over her hiring. That was the right thing to do, regardless of how it may turn out."

He added that once he was notified of the policy, and discussed it with both the Board of Education's attorney and an independent attorney, they both gave the opinion that he should step down.

Later in the week, interim Superintendent Greg Teems said that Polk School District itself wasn't casting any blame for how the situation developed. He said he personally believed that Floyd did the right thing by stepping down.

He said the nepotism policy - which describes under what circumstances board members are allowed to keep their seats or relatives keep their jobs by outlining who can be a relative of a board member and hold administrative jobs within the Polk School District.

It's a state policy that should have been updated in late 2016 with unclear language as to relationships between board members and personnel within a school district itself, Teems said. Teems added as well that with board and independent attorneys assessing the situation, it got a close look before Floyd made any move to remove himself from the board.

"I like that we look into things before we do them," Teems said.

Teems said that further clarification on the rule is likely forthcoming this year to ensure that situations like this don't develop here in Polk County or elsewhere again.

Floyd had only been on the school board for the past seven months when he took office in early January, and was voted in on a mandate of making positive changes to administration after he cited during his campaign numerous teacher complaints within the system.

He sat on the policy and personnel committees for the Board of Education prior to his stepping down on Tuesday night.

With his resignation, the Board of Education will require calling for a special election in November to fill the District 6 seat, which sits in the Rockmart area.

Qualifying for the open seat will be coming up in two weeks at the Polk County Board of Elections along with other seats that are coming up for election in Aragon, Cedartown and Rockmart this year.

With changes in personnel at City hall also came recent swearing in ceremonies for new clerks, including City Clerk Christie Langston (see online), Court Clerk Amy Liggons and Lindy Fairel.


Chief Dodd suspended after post meeting confrontation with Hulsey

Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd is off the job for the rest of the week following his suspension without pay during a confrontation with Polk County Commissioner Jennifer Hulsey directly following the August session on Tuesday night.

According to County Manager Matt Denton, Dodd's actions were "unprofessional, and disrespectful."

"I've addressed that issue with him," he said.

Denton said he didn't

have full details on what happened following the meeting, but that it was serious enough for him to officially reprimand Dodd for his actions.

"I know there was a heated discussion between the chief and the commissioner, and it was broken up," he said.

Denton added that he knew Dodd had written and sent an apology letter, but had not seen a copy of it himself.

Hulsey said that Dodd came up to her after the meeting to confront her about a letter she presented as an example of issues within the Polk County Police Department following comments made on Monday night about officers following a chain of command.

She had stated that former officer Randy Turner - who she cited she had permission from to bring up the issue - had tried to follow that chain of command but his concerns had not been addressed in a letter he sent to Dodd. Hulsey also gave her support to a proposed referendum to let the voters decide on whether the county needs two law enforcement agencies, or just one.

Hulsey said she would have more to say on what happened between her and Dodd later on Thursday last week following the incident, and after repeated requests she did not immediately provide a response by press time. She did however state that she would be providing a statement about the issue.

We have reached out to Dodd several times but have received no response from him since Wednesday morning. We learned later in the week from Denton that he left his work phone in the office along with the rest of his issued items, and no other immediate means of communication was available by press time.

Witnesses to the incident are also being sought for comment as well, and further details about what happened will be forthcoming as soon as they are available at Polkstandardjournal.com.

Other commissioners have thus far also chosen not to comment on the confrontation as well.

Dodd was expected to return to the job on Monday, and was suspended without pay. Denton said he did not take any vacation time to cover the lost pay.

The confrontation between the chief and the commissioner came just a day after two pastors supporting the Polk County Police Department came before the board of commissioners during their July 31 work session to speak out about the police audit and Sheriff Johnny Moats' May 5 letter.

Moats also addressed the board about his letter and previous comments about his department being over budget by Commission Chair Marshelle Thaxton during the July regular meeting, along with statements about previous comments made by officers in the Polk County Police Department notes.


Polk is back to class this week

It's time to get the kids out of bed early, pack their lunches for the first day and head them off onto the bus our of the car at the front of the school as students in Polk County head back to class this week.

School started after open houses on Monday following press time on Tuesday morning, when local youth went back to 11 different schools within the Polk School District.

Last week's edition included a handy guide to times, parking requirements for high school students and more, which will be available online at the start of this week, and within this edition find handy information about back to school shopping and more on Page A9, along with donations to local students throughout this week's edition.


Moats calls for Polk PD referendum, pastors speak for Chief Dodd

Polk County Sheriff Johnny Moats told the County Commission that he wants the board to let voters decide on whether there should be two law enforcement agencies locally.

That came after two different pastors voiced their support for the county police department during Monday night's county commission work session ahead of tonight's regular meeting to cast votes on several issues before the Board of Commissioners.

Before Moats could make his call for a vote on whether to keep the

county police, up first to speak before the Commission was Rev. Dave Warriner of Rockmart Second Baptist Church, who wanted to speak out in support of the Polk County Police Department.

Warriner, who is senior pastor at Dodd's church where he is a deacon, said that he felt the police department was doing an excellent job.

"I would not only like to thank them for their great work, but the way that they do it," Warriner said. "Clearly they achieve these outstanding results that we see in their department through outstanding leadership they have from Chief Kenny Dodd."

He called Dodd "one of the finest men I know" and that Dodd has previously filled the pulpit for him at church.

Warriner also said he was glad the results of the Polk County Police Department audit came back with a positive review of the command staff.

"They are deserving of the stellar reputation that they hold in this community," Warriner said. "The only people who I hear bad mouth Chief Dodd or the Polk County PD are the same who bad mouth all law enforcement, but then 911 is the first call they make when they need assistance."

Warriner added that others who complain have a specific agenda, and that it is revealed when more than a brief look is taken at the issue.

"Commissioner Tillery, I had the privilege of meeting you at a concert I attended with Chief Dodd last year, and there I heard you say that you have Kenny's back and that he's one of the most honest men you knew, and that you wish he could be over all law enforcement for Polk County. And Scotty (Tillery) I must say that I completely agree with you," Warriner said. "I think Kenny (Dodd) is well deserving of all of our support. He is one of the most honest men I know as well. And I too would like to see him as the head of all law enforcement in Polk County."

Warriner ended his time before the board by calling on the commissioners to continue their support for Dodd and the officers at the Polk County Police Department.

Rev. Blake Dodd, who is Dodd's nephew and pastor at Young's Grove Baptist Church in the Cedartown area, came before the board to say that he didn't come before the board to make any enemies, and that he didn't seek to offend. He did however call upon commissioners to say that he was troubled and ask questions about the Polk County Police Department's audit.

"My statement is taken from what I think is the finest deputy sheriff to ever wear the badge, Barney Fife, when he said 'nip it in the bud,'" Dodd said. "And then I want to ask two questions, 'why' and 'to what end.'"

He said that he's been studying the news articles during the past years, and found several items that bothered him.

"I don't like innuendo," he said. "Innuendo splits churches apart, and innuendo creates bad morale in the workforce. Innuendo is a bad thing, and statements without facts is a bad thing. I think we can all agree with that."

He pointed out that accusations have been made on all sides, and wants to see any evidence of wrongdoing that has been done, especially when it comes to allegations made against Chief Kenny Dodd.

"I just don't understand why this thing, as Barney Fife would say has been 'nipped in the bud,'" Dodd said.

He also cited Moats' May 5 letter where Moats said the situation at the County Police Department was a "pressure cooker" and that the 18 anonymous officers would walk off the job if changes weren't made at the department.

"The investigation showed that there were two who had negative things to say, and he said that they are asking him to get them out of the purgatory that they feel they are in," Dodd said. "I happen to be a preacher and well versed in religious matters, and I feel confident that if someone found themselves in purgatory, and if there was a door there that said "quit your job," they'd hit that door running as fast as they could."

Dodd also pointed out that no officers had walked off the job en masse by the end of July as Moats' letter stated would happen if changes weren't made in the department.

"Here we stand on July 31 and we are still waiting," Dodd said.

Dodd also called upon the Sheriff to get involved if he feels there are activities within the department that could be considered criminal.

"If there's criminal activity in the police department, I think the GBI needs to be down here tomorrow and investigating," Dodd said. "And I read that on Facebook a lot of times, and it gives people the wrong impression if they don't follow politics that the GBI is sitting up there in Atlanta waiting for somebody who has some accusation off the top of their head to investigate and see if it's true. They're fighting a lot of serious crime, and I imagine their manpower is pretty stretched as far as it can."

He said that if Chief Kenny Dodd is going to be investigated, there should be "fair treatment of everybody."

"Even the lawbreakers in this county know that Chief Kenny Dodd is above reproach, and above the law, and he's served this county to the best of his ability," Dodd said.

After commissioners heard from the two pastors and Ed Burnley to speak about landfill issues again, it was Sheriff Johnny Moats' turn to come before the board to speak on his concerns about statements made during the July meeting about his budget.

Moats said he respected the two pastors for coming to speak to the commission, and agreed with what they had to say.

"I have never bad mouthed Kenny Dodd or the police department," he said prior to a statement he read about his budget. "Officers did come to my office. They did call my phone. They did send word to other officers about these allegations. I never said any of these allegations were true. I wanted the commissioners to conduct the investigation."

He added that once he sent his May 5 letter, he thought he was done with the matter.

"I had no intentions of going any further with this, and I'm like Rev. Dodd. It needs to be nipped in the bud," Moats said.

When he got to his official statement, he cited his reason for coming before the commission is to address statements made by Commission Chair Marshelle Thaxton on the Sheriff's budget during the July regular session when the board was addressing finances at the end of the year.

At the time, Thaxton pointed out that Moats' budget was over by $300,000, a fact that Moats said in his statement he had no control over.

"Chairman Thaxton took it upon himself to talk about my budget during the last commission meeting when I couldn't attend," Moats said. "I called Matt Denton, the county manager, the day before the meeting to ask if there was anything on the agenda about me or my office. He said no. I told him I wasn't going to be able to attend the meeting and wanted to be sure that there was nothing going on that required me to be there."

Moats added that Denton told him at the time there was nothing going on in the meeting that concerned the sheriff's office.

"The reason I asked the county manager about this meeting is because I was told that Chairman Thaxton made comments at an earlier meeting that he was going to bring up at every commissioner meeting between then and election time about me being over budget," Moats said.

Moats also cited previous reporting in the Standard Journal about comments made by Chief Kenny Dodd to Commissioner Jennifer Hulsey that he might run against Moats prior to the start of the April 25 session for commissioners to vote on issues ahead of what promised to be a busy May, and denied charges of a stare down between himself and Dodd and that it never happened.

"I'm willing to release my phone records from the time to prove that never happened," he said. "That never happened."

He said he came to the meeting to see if Thaxton would ever say anything about his budget at the time, and since he didn't left after the meeting ended.

As far as Moats' budget, he pointed to increased costs of group insurance, Social Security, retirement and worker's compensation contributions among others by the Sheriff's Office as the reason his budget was over, along with needed upgrades and repairs he was forced to make when a new state fire inspector was assigned to the jail and required work to be done, or force the jail to shut down until they were done.

"There are several line items that I have no control over," he said. "The commissioners and the county manager figure what these line items will cost for the year. I can't use any of this money, and I can't determine how much money should go in these line items."

He said that just one line item for group insurance was $192,000 over what they had projected the cost to be during the 2017 fiscal year. He claimed that commissioners were responsible for those particular line items costing more than they were expected to, since they control those costs and not himself.

Moats said that if they had not spent over on group insurance and other line item areas surrounding personnel costs that are fixed annually by the county, his budget would have been less than 1 percent over for the year.

Commissioners previously approved $367,000 in costs to make the jail control upgrades in August 2015, when Montgomery Technology Systems was given the contract for the work and completed it by summer 2016.

If the county hadn't made the upgrades, Moats said it would have cost the county $3 million annually to house inmates in other facilities, not including transportation costs to and from court appearances.

Moats again stated he wasn't at the meeting to say anything negative about the police department, though he had received "several calls complaining about how the audit was handled."

Before ending his statement, Moats provided additional fuel to keep the issue in front of the public by calling on commissioners to allow for a referendum to decide on whether Polk County residents need both a police department and a sheriff's office.

"This is about taxpayers and what they deserve. It's not my decision, and it's not yours," said Moats. "It's the decision of these people out here. Let them vote, and let them decide."

Find additional stories in this week's edition about the continued issue behind Moats' referendum call, the Polk County Police Department audit and more.


Turner letter among items in Open Records request

Note: Due to Chief Kenny Dodd's suspension last week, we were unable to reach him for comment about this story and the one above for this week's paper. We will offer him every opportunity along with any other who wishes the chance to speak out about this issue or any at the paper.

In the past weeks, more information has been coming to light that pro-

vide further insight into the inner workings of the Polk County Police Department's chain of command, and why officers have chosen to leave.

Among those items are letters within the personnel file of now Emerson Police Chief Randy Turner, a former officer with the Polk County Police Department who at one time held a command position within the organization as captain, and later left to find a better job.

Turner had no comment on the record other than to say that the letter he wrote in 2016 to Chief Kenny Dodd while he was still on the force was to the chief personally, and that due to his current position he couldn't get involved in Polk County's current issues.

However his letter was part of his personnel file, which was handed over to the Standard Journal for review following an Open Records Request made in late July. Along with the letter detailing issues Turner had within the department, he also sent another one to Polk County Manager Matt Denton, which was also part of his personnel file.

Both letter provide a behind-the-scenes look at the department which has been the subject of questioning following a letter sent with allegations made by 18 anonymous officers back in May to Polk County Sheriff Johnny Moats.

However, Moats also received a copy of that letter along with other command staff at the Polk County Sheriff's Office, who turned it over to the Standard Journal prior to it being released as part of the Open Records Request made to the county.

Turner wrote the letter in mid-2016 following a conversation between himself and Dodd the day prior, and he cited much thinking and talking to put his "mind at ease and helping me be at peace about things."

He also stated in the first paragraph that another officer who came to Dodd about Turner seeking further employment was true, a claim that later panned out this year when he took on the role of Emerson's police chief following a letter of resignation he tendered in late April.

That letter was also part of his personnel file, along with the resignation letters of others in the department.

Turner's original letter to Dodd went on to blame the chief for current problems in the department, that he didn't want Dodd's job, and that he had always tried to be loyal and be an asset to the agency.

"I can't help but think that the problems we face as an agency and the thing that you dealt with yesterday are your fault," the letter stated.

He further went on to call out those problems - from a lack of work coming from the criminal investigation division to "we realized that our senior detective and supervisor couldn't recover a stolen vehicle from the woods based on an anonymous tip. Holy crap! It's not like a serial killer slipped away. It was a simple stolen vehicle recovery that follows the rules that we learn about in basic mandate and search warrants and affidavits. It is not advanced knowledge. If all else fails, knock and talk."

It also included the allegation of problems with the VICE unit.

"We had issues with the Vice unit and employees. Those team members were hand-picked for that job and all have looked for ways out. It is not like one wanted out. 4 out of 5 have issues. That means something needs to be looked at and corrected," the letter stated. "What will be done to fix it? Probably nothing. Salesmen and smooth talkers have gained your trust and you put faith in them over people who actually had leadership experience. People who did their job without causing you stress and drama."

His letter also called the department a "sinking ship" and that Dodd was the only one who could "patch the holes."

"We keep saying that people are leaving because of pay," the letter stated. "Let's think about something real quick though. Polk County has always been the lowest paid agency and the old saying when I got hired was "You have to wait on someone to die or retire to get a job there." I got my opening when John and the others got into that fight in my subdivision. Positions opened up and I came in. Now, it is a revolving door and I tell people if we are full to just wait three months and we'll have an opening. That is sad. It can improve. Pay is a scapegoat. It is easy to walk in and say I'm leaving for money because who can blame you? When it is .25 cents an hour, it is not for money."

Turner's only other statement on the issue before press time was that he subsequently left the department because he felt issues hadn't been addressed.

His letter further went to state however that " if you are able to fix our holes and patch this sinking ship, you won't have commissioners approaching officers or officers going to a commissioner's store to bash you and to try take your job. They won't have a leg to stand on. If you have true leaders inside who understand chain of command, you won't have these issues. You asked me before how chain of command works and you've stated that you don't believe in it. Welcome to failure without it. It works."

The second letter within his personnel file to the county manager dealt with what Turner felt was his grievances in reference to "disparate treatment" in regards to Turner's demotion.

According to his personnel records and those of another officer, Turner was previously a captain within the department but was demoted from the job in 2013 as what Dodd cited in a letter stating so that it was not for disciplinary reasons.

Turner contended in his letter that his demotion at the time back to the rank of Sergeant - one in notes Denton cited was a rank that was appointed and not earned through any test or criteria - was due instead to a failure to provide a written complaint about the behavior of a fellow corporal on the force, Andy Shurley, several years before. Eventually, former training officer Scott Ford provided the written complaint.

Following a stint at the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, Turner stated in his letter that he was approached by Dodd on several occasions about correcting an issue with then Drug Task Force Capt. Michael McGee.

"I did not feel like this was necessary for me to know, but he told me that he was going to demote Captain McGee and place him in Investigations with me," the letter stated. "This is why he was telling me of his plans. All of a sudden, he met with me and informed me that he was eliminating both Captain McGee's position and mine along with removing officer Scott Ford from the training officer position."

He said that he and Mc-Gee were given the option to go back to the rank of sergeant and go to patrol, training or investigations.

"At no time was I told I was lazy and that any detectives had an issue with me," his letter to Denton stated.

However, he learned later in 2016 that one officer was alleged to have been told by Dodd to not pay attention to Turner since he was "still bitter about being demoted about investigations" and that another corporal in the ranks was told that "I was portrayed as being lazy and that was why I was demoted from Captain over investigations."

Turner's letter stated he learned about the comments on June 9, and went and confronted Dodd later that day.

Notes from Denton's letter stated that the chief "did discuss laziness with Turner" and that "he often spoke with Turner regarding his performance many months prior to abolishing the captain position, but that had nothing to do with the demotion."

The letter to Denton also included details of conversations about other current officers on the force within the Drug Task Force, that he was unfairly discriminated against and considered several times for disciplinary action but that "nothing was ever put on paper."

"Which is apparently the Chief's standard," the letter stated.

Turner stated in that letter to Denton he wanted his job back as Captain, wanted his demotion removed from his Police Officer Standards and Training Council records, and that he felt he was unfairly discriminated against and might try to seek further actions to redress the grievance.

Eventually, Turner left the county police department for another job. He's not the only one, which will be covered in the next installment of information provided by the Open Records Request in coming editions of the Standard Journal.


Kelley keeping busy during off season

Despite the summer and the state legislature being out of their official session for the year, State Rep. Trey Kelley has plenty of local and state business to keep him busy throughout the year.

The latest example of Kelley's constant stream of work keeping busy is greeting students this week at Eastside Elementary School in Rockmart, where through one of the many constituent programs he undertakes through the year a new American flag is flying proudly on a new pole at the school.

Its one of the many services Kelley and other

representatives on all levels provide throughout the state, and is only one of many he's given out locally during his terms in office over the years.

"I regularly supply flags for people different people in their, or for schools, and I like going to the schools and have an opportunity to visit" he said. "I like to make sure that our kids have a nice looking flag when they pull up to school, and have pride in their country."

Kelley said that its an ongoing program that anyone can participate in, and should they want to get one can get in touch by contacting his office at Parker and Lundy in Cedartown at 770-748-5643, his legislative office at 404-657-1803 or email treykelley@yahoo.com.

"Any way that I can help with providing a flag, I'm glad to do it," Kelley said.

That isn't all that is keeping Kelley busy these days. His work on the Rural Affairs Committtee, for example, is one of many committees that meet when the legislature is out of their regular beginning of the year session to keep the state moving forward throughout the year.

"Even when we're not in session, we have committee meetings and other sessions that are going on all the time," he said. "Right now we have a lot of house study committees that are active. One big one is the house study committee on rural development... there's a lot of conversation about broadband there, rural health care, education in rural Georgia. those are things that are unique to communities like ours that are smaller than Atlanta and other metro areas in the state."

Kelley said one specific appointment he's been tasked with during the legislature's off-season is to look at housing tax credits.

"We're looking at how we're getting the most bang out of our taxpayer dollars," he said.

Kelley said the time away from Atlanta does give him positive opportunities to take part in locally, like last Friday's visit to Eastside Elementary in Rockmart, and his chance to speak at events like the recent kickoff of the Lead Polk program.

But that doesn't mean that he's not focused on politics.

Like every other legislator in the state, 2018 will be an election year and though Kelley isn't looking ahead at any particular challenges during the coming ballot cycle, he is keeping an eye on the issues.

For instance, he foresees that health care will continue to be an issue both at the state a national level as Republican leaders in Washington continue to wrangle over details of a potential Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare repeal and replacement. He said it's been frustrating to watch how the process has worked out so far.

He said Georgians in particular should keep a close eye on how the debate continues to play out over Medicaid increases for those states who chose not to make additional contributions when the law was introduced in the late 2000s.

"We have to make progress, and I'm all for appealing Obamacare. I think it's a broken system. We have a limited number of providers who are part of the individual system," he said."It's something that hampers growth in the health care system."

Kelley said he wants to see changes in the system to better create opportunities for investment in technology and care of patients, and to help reduce the burden on taxpayers for providing care for a smaller amount of individuals who use up a larger amount of the resources available.

His plans in 2018 are to continue to push for his particular issues that voters have sent him to office to work on: protecting second amendment rights, continuing to work on tax reform and more.

Until the session comes back however, Kelley plans to keep working hard and studying the issues, so that when it comes time for January 2018 to roll around he and other legislators will be ready for what promises to be a busy session ahead.


AREA CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Come enjoy a picnic next week with the Polk County Chamber of Commerce who will be hosting 14th district U.S. Rep. Tom Graves t Peek Park in Cedartown. The picnic starts at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16 and will be catered. Graves plans to give a quick legislative update on what is going on in Congress. Cost is $12 for Chamber members, $20 for nonmembers to cover catering costs. RSVP with the Chamber by this Friday at 770-684-8760 to participate, or register online at polkgeorgia.com or by email at mmallicoat@polkgeorgia.com.

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.

Save the date now for the official ribbon cutting coming up at the Polk County College and Career Academy's new campus at Cedartown High School. Officials will gather on Aug. 28 for a ceremony. Check back in coming editions of the

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

Standard Journal for more about the event.

The annual Bicycle Ride Across Georgia will be making a stop once again in Polk County at Skydive Spaceland off Grady Road during their annual U.S. Bicycle Route 21 event. The ride is begins in Chattanooga on Sept. 29 and continues until Oct. 1 where it will end in Atlanta. Riders will be at Skydive Spaceland on Sept. 30 after coming from Summerville, and evening entertainment is scheduled as well. Check out brag.org for more information.

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 fbccedartown.org for more information or call 770-748-3120. The church is requesting help and volunteers for the Aug. 19, which will also include contests with prizes at the end of the event.

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.

Check out the Throttle Jockeys Fourth Friday Cruise-in monthly - weather permitting - in front of Polk County Courthouse No. 2 parking on Prior Street in Cedartown from 5 to 9 p.m.

Polk Family Night at State Mutual Stadium for the Rome Braves is coming up on Sept. 2 as the Braves face off against the Columbia Fireflies. Get tickets by calling the Chamber at 770-684-8760 or email mmallicoat@polkgeorgia.com for more on how to take part.

Ferst Foundation Community Action Team (CAT) meets the first Monday of the month at 5 p.m., alternately in Cedartown and Rockmart. Call 404-862-1273 for meeting location. Find out more about how to help improve childhood literacy in Polk County at ferstfoundation.org.

Christian Counselor and Life Coach Lyle Thomas, a Cedartown native, will present RealTalk, a highly interactive training that is fun and transformative for everyone from teenagers up. The oneday, interactive event is perfect for couples, parents and their teens, business owners, coworkers, friends, and anyone who would like to deepen the quality of their relationships at home and at work. The event will be held Saturday, August 12, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Polk County College and Career Academy at Cedartown High School. The cost is $10 and includes materials and lunch. To register, email dawntolbert@gmail.com.

Rockmart's annual Riverwalk Festival on the Eurharlee is coming up in Oct. 21. Visit rockmartga.gov for more information about how to sign up to become a vendor and to participate in festivities.

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 later this month.

Get ready now for the annual Labor Day Bike Ride on the Silver Comet Trail in Cedartown. It'll start at the Cedartown Welcome Center in the Depot and run along the Silver Come Trail following an 8 a.m. registration on Monday, Sept. 4. Call the Welcome Center at 770-748-2090 for more information about the ride and how to participate, or email rruark@downtowncedartown.com.

The 43rd annual Flea Market at the Cedartown First United Methodist Church is coming up on Labor Day weekend! Mark calendars now for Friday, Sept. 1 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 2 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Don't miss a chance at getting house wares, furniture, clothes, toys, books and more.

The next West Georgia Spay/Neuter Clinic is coming to the Cedartown-Polk County Humane Society on Wednesday, Aug. 23. 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 first pickup date for the coming month is Sept. 6.

The next spaghetti dinner at American Legion Post 12 will coming up Aug. 16 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.

Vendor applications are out now for the annual Cedartown Fall Festival being held on Saturday, Oct. 7 on Main Street. Festivities begin with the 10 a.m. Shriner's parade, a dog contest at 11 a.m. and live entertainment throughoutt he day. Those interested in a vendor space can contact Ramona Ruark at the Cedartown Welcome Center at 770-748-2090 or email rruark@downtowncedartown.com.

A celebration of all the legendary singer Elvis is taking place on Saturday, Aug. 12 at Rockmart's Arts Center Theater from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets are on sale now for the show that honors the King during the 40th year since his death in August 1977. Bill Brooks will once again take the stage as Elvis, and will be joined by the Georgia-Aires, made up of local singers Johnny Groover, Ken Suffridge, David Walk and Dale Brumbelow. Cost is $10. Find tickets at Rockmart City Hall, Linda's Place in Rockmart, Martin's Style Center in Cedartown or call city hall 770-68-5454 for purchase. They can also be ordered online at www.rcac.ticketleap.com. Group tickets can also be purchased via Brooks at 662-871-9060.

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 polkcountybeekeepers@gmail.com or visit tinyurl.com/polkbees.

Get ready for the Polk County Fair organized by the Cedartown Exchange Club annually to help raise funds for the club to donate to local organizations. This year's fair is scheduled from Tuesday, Sept. 12 through Saturday, Sept. 16 at the Polk County Fairgrounds; 5-10 p.m. nightly Tuesday through Thursday, and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. Check back for more information in coming editions.

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 robin.forston@dhs.ga.gov or call 1-877-210-KIDS. Visit www.fostergeorgia.com 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 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