It isn't even winter yet and already snow and ice have caused fun for some and headaches for others here in Polk County.
Roadways grew slick with a slurry of snow and melt water, trees buckled under the weight of a thick coat of powder and power lines were dragged down, leaving thousands of residents in the dark during a frigid Friday.
Government offices closed but Public Safety and Public Works officials stayed on the clock during the week-ending snowstorm that hit to start the day on Dec. 8. More than a dozen wrecks were reported by mid-afternoon, and officials were kept busy later in the night as trees went down across roadways.
Public Safety Director Randy Lacey said several wrecks with minor injuries were reported earlier in the day, but non-injury wrecks were eventually not sent out to respond due to the large number of calls.
Additionally, Lacey said that "we also worked at least 25 downed trees and power lines" during the day.
He added that in the future residents who are seeking traffic information shouldn't call 911 to get answers.
"That line is for emergencies only, and to call to try and find out if the roads are clear only ties up operators for people who really need the help in that moment," he said.
Additionally, he said that in future winter weather events local residents should remember that the impact is much the same as a severe thunderstorm: trees are expected to go down, and the power is likely to go out for some.
Residents should plan accordingly, have emergency heat sources and supplies of non-perishable goods, batteries, candles and a battery-operated emergency radio available for such situations.
More than 5,000 people at one point were without power in Polk County due to the winter weather at week's end, some who went all day without electric lights or heat.
Students woke up to Polk School District having called for cancellation of classes for the snow day.
Superintendent Laurie Atkins also announced that sporting events over the weekend were being postponed as well, with rescheduling of wrestling and the Rockmart at Cedartown basketball games to be announced in the coming days.
The first round of winter weather stuck around through the early hours of the weekend, and frigid temperatures are expected during the overnight hours this week with some minor warming back up into the 50s in the forecast ahead. The official start of winter is on Dec. 21, just ahead of the Christmas holiday the following Monday.
Polk School District worked closely with financials when they approved the bids of three new vendors in the area of architects and nutrition during a brief session for December.
Company QSS-Ashton, LLC was approved to provide temporary staffing for Polk school's nutrition department, and associates of QSS-Ashton who work for Polk will receive a 37 percent markup on their hourly pay.
Also approved without discussion needed was a nutrition-based issue around services for local school cafeterias. Carter's Septic Tank Services was approved as the Polk School District's official grease pit pumping and cleaning technician.
Carter's will clean the smaller, 50-gallon grease trap of each school in the county for a minimum set fee of $195, but larger grease pits capable of holding hundreds and thousands of gallons of grease pay $0.215 per gallon removed. Youngs Grove and Van Wert Elementary Schools have the largest pits at 5,000 gallons each, so the max the county will pay Carter's for treating and cleaning a grease trap at a single school is $1,075.
The board also made a first decision in the next phase of construction for upcoming SPLOST building projects now that voters have approved an extension of 1-cent sales tax collections through 2026.
"The board has decided on Buckley and Associates as the architect which will be using for our upcoming building program," Superintendent Laurie Atkins said.
Buckley and Associates will hand over the first round of drawings for school board approval, Atkins said. Their focus for Phase I of the 2017 SPLOST building program will include the second phase of updates at Cedartown High School with their Fine Arts wing and remodeling of areas, and at Rockmart High School with their new Agriculture Education facility.
The board also discussed the school district's current financial statement during the Dec. 5 meeting to reveal most positive news. As of October, the district has completed 33 percent of the fiscal year.
Revenue gain ultimately fell 14.23 percent below the expected outcome, but expenditures were 12.70 percent less than expected at this point in the year.
General fund balance sits at $3,856,851.78, and SPLOST proceeds, special purpose, local option sales tax, hit $421, 865.80 as reported for October.
SPLOST V account balance has hit $3,301,704.67.
Polk School District still owes back final payments on the $1.6 million Tax Anticipation Note, or TAN, approved back in August for the board to use to help cover expenses until local property taxes could cover local contributions to education spending, and SPLOST payments came in.
Atkins said the payoff of the TAN is expected before Dec. 31.
The Professional Personnel Resignation policy was tabled by the board members who plan to further discuss ex-staff payments at a future meeting.
Primarily, the policy suggests that certificated terminated or resigned employees who exit their position during the school year will be paid a pro rata portion of summer pay.
Pro rata pay would be given to the ex-employee regardless of reason for termination or resignation so long as they were certificated. The policy also states that employees are expected to honor their contracts, and that resignations must be accepted or denied by the superintendent.
An elementary school administrator remains suspended with pay for the time being and a hearing that was scheduled over the issue was called off.
The Polk County Board of Education was set to hold an open hearing over the suspension of Youngs Grove Elementary School Assistant Principal Matt Johnson after press time on Monday, but late last week Superintendent Laurie Atkins reported the hearing was now called off.
"Both parties came to an agreement and Mr. Johnson will continue to be suspended with pay at this time," Atkins said.
She could not provide further details about Johnson's suspension at this time, citing it as a personnel issue.
Donations helped the Morris family reach a $15,000 goal from local residents, who if they made more than $100 contribution received a Coca-Cola Coffee Table book, and additional were given a gift set including t-shirt, mug and hat.
Morris said more projects are forthcoming for the museum. However, for the present time he was not ready to make any announcements of such plans. "We're not done, we've still got a long way to go and a lot we want to do," he said.
The museum still has their holiday decorations out and holiday-themed items on display for the winter season.
Also, holiday T-shirts are on sale, available during regular museum hours Thursday and Fridays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Many years ago when Coca-Cola was still bottled in downtown Cedartown, the company's logo used to light up Main Street in front of the small plant.
Now the neon tubes are up and running and were turned on once again for the first time for the Christmas Parade with the help of the iconic Coca-Cola Polar Bear to celebrate the sign's first night above the front entrance to the Cedartown Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia.
Cedarstream owner Jamie Morris said his family was glad to be able to bring the signage back to where it rightfully belonged on the front of the building, home to the museum since opening in June 2016.
"This was kind of one more step in the rehab of this building and we feel it makes a positive statement for Main Street," Morris said. "And getting to turn it on for the first time on Christmas parade night worked out really well."
The Morris family got the sign rebuilt and reinstalled to honor their one-year anniversary, and began the project several months ago by first seeking out donations around the community to help cover costs. Morris said the sign itself took a month to put together, and more than four months overall.
Removed decades before, the original sign was likely turned into scrap metal, so a whole new one required rebuilding. It maintains the original design.
Victory Baptist Church Stockings of Love Community Dinner is rescheduled for Saturday, December 16th at 11 am. Free Christmas lunch, stockings full of toys and candy for kids under 18, free clothing, books and Bibles. The church is located on 15 Hendrix Road in Rockmart. Call 678-685-4570 if you need a ride.
A new initiative called For Polk (www.forpolk.com) is holding an upcoming event at Victory Baptist Church, located at 15 Hendrix Road, Rockmart, for their Jingle Jam concert starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $20. Visit Forpolk.com for more information, or call 770-384-7655.
The Polk County Library Board of Trustees meeting will be held this Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017 at 1 p.m. at the Cedartown Public Library.
The next spaghetti dinner at American Legion Post 12 will be this evening, Wednesday, Dec. 13. The meal is served from 5 to 7 p.m. Spaghetti, meatballs, garlic toast and salad, $5, all-youcan-eat. Trivia with Tom and Betty starts at 6 p.m. Come and enjoy a break from shopping and let us cook for you.
Need to get an item onto the Area Calendar of Events? Email firstname.lastname@example.org today! All items must be in at least two weeks before the event to appear in the Standard Journal on time.
Calvary Assembly of God, 300 Canal St., Cedartown, will be having a kids Christmas musical during their 11 a.m. worship service on Sunday, Dec. 17. At 6 p.m. that evening, the choir will perform a candlelight Christmas cantata followed by Holy Communion. The public is invited to attend these events.
Rockmart First United Methodist Church is holding several Christmas events in the upcoming weeks. They'll have their Chancel Choir Cantata during Sunday services on Dec. 17, followed by a 2 to 4 p.m. Open House at the Parsonage. Their Christmas Eve service is being held on Sunday, Dec. 24 at 6:30 p.m. For more information visit rockmartumc.org or call 770-684-6251.
Anna Kresge United Methodist Church has several events for their upcoming Christmas season coming up they're inviting the public to come join in celebration of the holidays. Next Wednesday (Dec. 20) the church is hosting "The Real Christmas Story" presented by the Kresge Kids starting at 6:45 p.m. They'll also be hosting on Sunday, Dec. 24 their Christmas Eve Las Posadas service at 5 p.m. Contact the church at 770-748-4308 for more information. The church is located at 15 Booger Hollow Road, Cedartown.
The National League of Junior Cotillions, Polk County Chapter is holding their Holly Ball this Saturday, Dec. 16 at the Cherokee Golf and Country Club. For information regarding the program, call 706-936-8055.
Victory Baptist Church is holding their adult drama "JESUS" and "The Greatest Gift" Children's Drama on Sunday, Dec. 17. The adult drama is at 11 a.m., and the children's drama at 6:30 p.m. at the church located at 15 Hendrix Road. Visit vbcrockmart.com or call 678-685-4570 for more information.
Join Cedartown First United Methodist for their "The First Christmas" service at 11 a.m. 201 Wissahickon Ave., Cedartown. Call 770-748-4731 for more information.
First Baptist Church of Cedartown invites the community to take part in their annual Dec. 17 for their Candlelight Service at 6 p.m.. in the Sanctuary, with Sanctuary Choir and Ensemble. The church is located at 101 College St., Cedartown.
The Cedartown First United Methodist Church is hosting "A Blue Christmas" on Thursday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. It is designed as an alternative Christmas event for those who struggle with the loss of a loved one during the holidays, or from depression or other issues in their life circumstances. The event will be held at the church at 201 Wissahickon Ave., Cedartown. Contact 770-748-4731 for more information or visit Cedartownfumc.org.
A food pantry is open to those in need at God's Storehouse at 508 McKibben Road past New Beginnings Church on Tuesdays and Fridays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For emergency assistance call 404-859-2096 or 770-318-6991, or get in touch with the food bank at 470-774-7265.
Bellview Baptist Church will hold their Choir Christmas Cantata on Dec. 17 at 11 a.m. during their regular service in the sanctuary to help celebrate the Christmas holiday. Call 770-684-3941 for more information or join in worship on Sunday mornings at 2333 N. Bellview Road, Rockmart. Wisit bellviewchurch.org to learn about more upcoming events.
The Cedartown First United Methodist Church invite the public to join them for their Christmas Eve Candlelight and Service of Carols on Sunday, Dec. 24 at 6 p.m., at the church located at 201 Wissahickon Ave., Cedartown. They'll also be holding a midnight candlelight service and holy communion starting at 11 p.m., to culminate at midnight on Christmas morning. Contact 770-748-4731 for more information or visit Cedartownfumc.org.
Belllview Baptist Church is holding their Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 6 p.m. at the church, located at 2333 N. Bellview Road, Rockmart. Call 770-684-3941 for more information, or visit bellviewchurch.org.
Come celebrate Christmas with the First Baptist Church of Cedartown on Monday, Dec. 25 and rejoice during their Christmas Day Service, starting at 10:30a.m. in the Sanctuary. "Tell Me the Story of Jesus" is the theme of this year's event. The church is located at 101 College St., Cedartown.
Order T-shirts now through the Polk County Police Department to help raise funds for the trust of Isaac Hearne. Contact 770-748-7331 to find out more details.
Also selling T-shirts is Sherry Anderson, with the next order being finalized today. Call the City of Aragon 770-684-6563, or through Anderson directly at 678-901-2065 for more information.
Have a fundraising event for the Hearne family? Email email@example.com or call 770-748-1520 to share how people can donate to your efforts.
Polk County Beekeepers will be hosting a free one day Intro to Beekeeping Class on Saturday January 13th 10am-3pm at the Cedartown Library. Please call 678-988-0966 or visit tinyurl.com/polkbees/introto-beekeeping-class for more info.
In charge of community relations at your local church? The Polk County Chamber of Commerce would like very much to talk to you. They are presently in the process of organizing an updated directory of area houses of worship in the community and are hoping for the help of those organizers who want to get their information to as many people as possible. E-mail Mandy Mallicoat at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 770-684-8760 for more information about being included in their updated church directory.
The next West Georgia Spay/Neuter Clinic is coming to the Cedartown-Polk County Humane Society on Wednesday, Dec. 20. 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 pickup dates are scheduled for Jan. 10 and Jan. 24, 2018 after the new year.
A fifth Saturday night singing is coming up at 5:30 p.m. Central Standard Time at the Outreach Tabernacle at 1351 Co. Road 31 in Muscadine, Ala. Enjoy Southern gospel and bluegrass from the Paul Family of Buchanan, Nothing but Grace from LaGrange, The Yarbroughs from Bremen. A love offering will be passed around for the singers, and free refreshments are available following the night's entertainment. For directions or information call Pastor Rouselle Sanders at 770-574-2585 or Howard at 678-925-0903.
Crossview Community Church is getting ready for helping those in need with their Christmas Shoes Project. Get involved in providing new shoes for children in the community by contacting Crossview at 770-684-4070.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cedartown, Georgia, hosts a genealogy group that meets from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday nights, except holidays. There are no fees for these sessions and they are open to anyone. Please bring all of your basic family history (if you have it) such as names, birth-dates/ death dates of parents, grandparents, children, etc. Bring your laptop or tablet, if you have one. If not, we can still help. Questions? Contact us at 678-477-2861 and leave a message or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FamilyQuest42/
The Sit 'n Stitch crafters group meet each Wednesday except the last Wednesday of the month. Bring a sack lunch, a project of your own, or help out with a mission project and enjoy fellowship with other crafters. No special skills are required. For details contact Madeline Brown at 678-435-5032.
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 details about vendors and upcoming classes.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are providing opportunities to local residents interested in hearing the message of Jesus Christ. For more information about how you can speak to local Elders, contact 687-852-7497, or visit their meeting house at 10005 N. Main St., Cedartown for worship services at 10 a.m. on Sundays.
The Ferst Foundation Community Action Team meets the first Monday of the month at 5 p.m., alternately in Cedartown and Rockmart. Call 404-862-1273 for the meeting location. Find out more about how to help improve childhood literacy in Polk County at ferstfoundation.org.
The Georgia Legal Services Program's Claire Sherburne will be on hand at One Door Polk in Cedartown every fourth Monday to help those in need with free civil legal services to low-income persons. This includes cases related to housing, employment, education, domestic violence, consumer fraud, wills, and more. Call 404-206-5175 for more information.
The Polk County Alzheimer's Caregiver 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 in the 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 weekly. 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 noon at the Cedartown Library, 245 East Ave. Whether you are an experienced beekeeper, new beekeeper or want to learn all are welcome. For details email email@example.com or visit tinyurl.com/polkbees.
Cedartown Supper Club every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Held at 71 Woodall Road. 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 about the supper club call 678-901-9184.
Victory Baptist Church's Bread of Life Food Pantry is now open. One bag of non-perishable 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 two IDs per address. Regular hours 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 County Division of Family and Children Services office, 100 County Loop Road in Cedartown. Information sessions explain what is required to become a foster or adoptive parent in Georgia. For more information please call Robin Forston at 404-895-6517 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-877-210-KIDS. Visit www.fostergeorgia.com for more information.