It's time to celebrate a big birthday in the newsroom here at the Standard Journal as the paper – in one form or another – celebrates its sesquicentennial year.
Well, technically. Maybe a brief history lesson on newspapers here in town will help clarify matters some.
According to Larry D. Carter's "Polk County, Ga: The First One Hundred Years," the Cedartown Standard began in 1869 under the helm of Dr. William Bradford, who operated the newspaper as The Advertiser.
It was sold to D.B. Freeman – a former mayor of Cedartown – turned around and sold it again after a brief stay in town, and moved on to Cartersville. It wasn't until the 1880s the paper was bought by Montgomery M. Folson, changed the name to the Cedartown Standard and began semiweekly publication in 1888.
It changed hands to a young man named Charles Langworthy, then again to W.S. Coleman and E.B. Russell.
The Standard continued in publication over several decades into the modern era and through additional ownership changes, and was in the 1980s eventually made part of the News Publishing Company. It was later bought out several years ago by Times Journal Inc. out of Marietta.
These days, the Standard is a combined edition with the Rockmart Journal, which also wasn't the first paper on the eastern side of the county.
The Rockmart Slate started two decades after the Standard in 1889, and was in competition with The Rockmart Courier, the Rockmart News and The Art Craft Free Press. Many of the papers stuck around though the 1920s and 30s, but eventually the battle came down between the Rockmart Journal and the Rockmart News. The Journal won out, and eventually also became part of News Publishing Company in the 1980s, and then Times Journal Inc. just a few years ago.
Owners, publishers, editors and reporters have all come and gone from Polk County over the years, but what has remained throughout all the time is a passion for the news business and continued involvement in community affairs of all kind. Though change is inevitable when it comes to how readers get their news as well with the Standard Journal being published both online and in print these days, what doesn't change is the value of being informed in what is happening throughout Polk County.
The commitment to excellence in bringing stories from all corners of the area remains here at the Standard Journal as the staff celebrates in 2019. Join us as we look back on stories from years past published in the papers on a weekly basis throughout 2019.
Readers can also contribute submissions of their favorite stories or items that they thought mattered by contacting Editor Kevin Myrick at email@example.com.
No one needs to start building any arks just yet in Polk County, but as 2018 came to an end it sure felt like it might be time to start sizing up the trees in the backyard for a makeshift raft.
Wet weather once again moved into the area for another round of washing out the gullies and sending millions of gallons downstream as the county was on track for maybe not a record-breaking year, but surely one of the wettest in recent memory.
At least that's the case for local weather observer Van McKelvey, who checks his rain gauge for the National Weather Service each morning to record a tally.
"I've been doing this for about 25 years, and I can't remember a year with this much rain," he said.
After all, based on his measurements as of Dec. 27 before press time, the county was on track to break 80 inches of rain. McKelvey recorded 74.07 inches over the 12 month period, without a single month this year that didn't have some sort of wet weather. Even during some of the drier months of the year, Polk County got at least an inch.
August and November ended up breaking the 10-inch mark in rainfall, with the former getting most of that in just the first two days with nearly 8 inches of rain falling on Polk County as July came to a close and the latter spread out over the month.
The impact of wet weather on Polk County over the year past meant cancellation or rescheduling of outdoor events, damage of all kinds to property, and of course one big problem: trees falling all over.
When Polk County previously went through droughts, it did irreparable damage to the root systems of many of the trees provide foliage and shade around the area. Now those trees are beginning to tumble down due to wet soil, gusting winds during storms and causing all kinds of problems.
Just last week, a large tree that fell in the middle of Cave Spring Road blocked traffic in both directions near Friendship Road during early morning commutes, forcing drivers to find an alternative path toward work. It's just one of many that were lost to the shift in the weather this year.
Flood waters also cause major headaches for local officials, who saw several inches of rain dumped over a few days at the end of July and early August, prompting swift action to close off flooded roadways and clear drainage as fast as possible.
Don't think we're out of the woods just yet when it comes to wet weather either. Forecasts from the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City at press time put good chances for more rainfall to start off 2019, with showers set for New Year's Day and through until t he end of this week.
Of course like all things in Polk County, it's just a matter of waiting around a while since the weather will be something different by the time this edition comes out.
Predictions for the rest of the winter are based on the impacts of El Nino, winter is probably going to continue to be rainy and seasonably cool.
Peachtree City forecasters expect north and central Georgia to have near normal temperatures and above average rainfall through February, but do expect cold temperatures at times as the day-to-day forecast remains variable.
Ok, there's no crystal ball here in the newsroom of the Polk County Standard Journal. But as 2018 came to a close and 2019 was set to open, it allowed for some time to evaluate some stories that haven't quite finished out during the year as it closed.
What are some things that Polk County can expect to see in 2019? Here's a quick rundown of some items that local residents will likely read about in the months ahead:
Move early in the year for Cedarstream
When Cedarstream set out to move in the latter half of 2017, their goal was to be out of their downtown Cedartown workspace in late 2018. They broke ground some months later than expected, and then weather got in the way some more throughout the nearly year of construction at the Northside Industrial Park site that will be the printing company's new headquarters.
As the work on the building was wrapping up late in 2018, the company was still printing away into the holiday season downtown and slightly past their target date. January looks to be the month they move according to Cedartown city officials, probably late in the month depending on how the weather shapes up as the year begins.
No word yet on what exactly plans are for Cedarstream's current home on Main Street.
Popeye's Chicken opening soon
It's probably a no-brainer that the work on Popeye's Chicken in Rockmart is wrapping up, and hopefully will be opening in the early months of the year.
We don't expect the wait to be very long as construction was coming along despite wet weather at a good pace.
Hopes are that they'll open to the customers before the end of the month.
Expect some landfill lawsuit news
Right now, the lawsuit between Polk County and Waste Industries remains in a bit of a holding pattern while County Attorney Brad McFall and those representing the company are going back and forth in the discovery phase.
However, there's a window on when documents are to be turned over, and depositions taken down that McFall set back during his November update from the time they filed. We expect to start seeing some additional information coming forth as the two sides seek additional information through court filings, or in the case of the defendants have the case dismissed outright.
As of press time, the lawsuit was sitting in its seventh month after the county announced their intentions to sue in May 2018. Discovery in the suit can last a minimum of six months, and could go longer.
Church Street Manor work
Rockmart officials want to incorporate Church Street Manor into the downtown area in a way that will make it more useful for big events throughout the year.
What that plan will look like exactly is still in the early phases, but city planners have said in meetings previous they are looking in the months ahead to be the time to get to work on Church Street Manor.
The hopes from City Manager Jeff Ellis in previous conversations with the Downtown Rockmart Advisory Committee with the Chamber were to incorporate the area more into events like the WELSHFest in March and the Homespun Festival in July.
New hotel in Cedartown?
Could Cedartown soon have a new hotel? It's a real possibility.
With closing on the property in Polk County by the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 926's training program, the need for a place to stay will get even more important for those coming to Cedartown to learn how to use heavy equipment.
As that development looks to get underway in 2019, so will the likelihood of a chain looking for a place to setup an additional hotel to serve those additional customers.
It isn't as if Cedartown doesn't have anywhere for trainees to stay currently. There's two on North Main Street right now, with Quality Inn as one option.
A recent rebrand already has taken place at one Cedartown hotel, with Cedartown Inn and Suites now officially an Econolodge with recent changes made at year's end.
They aren't the only re-brand on North Main Street. Just a mile or so down the road, Rite Aid (the company was bought out by Walgreens in years past) officially changed to its new parent company as more of the stores were folded into the drug chain in late December as well.
In the past years as the Tallapoosa Circuit Drug Court developed first under Judge Richard Sutton's leadership, then under Judge Meng Lim, there was always a common presence from year-to-year during the holidays.
That was thanks to the efforts of the ladies at St. James Episcopal Church putting in the effort and time buying, preparing, and delivering the Christmas party food for drug court participants annually.
In 2018, the drug court honored those who have served over the past 14 years from the church in helping with the holiday party with a special treat of their own during the Dec. 14 event.
Thank you cards and roses went to Hazl Brumby; her daughter Paige, Francis Gresley, and Beam Sutton for their efforts over the years of providing a big feast at the Goodyear Civic Center in Cedartown for Drug Court participants. The group also gave a special thanks to Vickie Bradshaw for her help as well.
It was their last year to cook for the Drug Court participants, who enjoyed a feast of ham; green beans, macaroni and cheese, turkey, dressing, potatoes, gravy, cranberry, and yeast rolls at the Civic Center.
In a brief release from the Drug Court, Coordinator Regina Roberts added "we are extremely thankful to "our ladies" for the delicious meals they have lovingly provided the last 14 years."
She did not say who will be taking up the mantle in 2019 for the holiday party, but those who want to help can contact Roberts at 770-749-6797 or to provide volunteer services for the court during anytime of the year.
Need help with the bills during the winter, and are a senior? Tallatoona CAP will begin accepting appointments for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for Senior Households 65 & older and Homebound Households. Appointments for the General Public will be accepted beginning in December. Appointments are provided on a first come first served basis until funds are exhausted. Polk County residents who qualify will receive either $310.00 or $350.00 toward their heating bill (heating source). To schedule an appointment or to request a homebound appointment, visit our website at www.tallatoonacap.org and click BookNow, or call 770-817-4666.
The Polk County Democratic Committee Meets on the second Saturday of every month at 9:30 a.m. In the "even" months (February, April, June, August, etc.) the organization meets at The Rockmart Library at 316 N. Piedmont Ave., Rockmart and during the "odd" months (January, March, etc.) they meet at the Cedartown Welcome Center, 609 Main St., Cedartown, GA 30125.
The Care Giver's Support Group is being formed for support for care givers in the Rockmart and Aragon communities. The location
for the group is at Rockmart Presbyterian Church, 306 S. Marble Street, Rockmart. Call the church to learn more at 770-684-7289.
USAPA Pickelball Ambassador Daneen England is holding a free pickleball clinic every Monday (weather permitting) from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Rockmart Tennis courts, located at 436 Hogue Avenue, Rockmart. Loaner paddles and all necessary equipment will be on hand to learn t he sport. This is a free event for anyone and they just need to wear comfortable gym clothes and tennis shoes. Contact England at 770-356-1282, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The American Legion in Rockmart is hosting their monthly all-you-caneat spaghetti dinner on Wednesday, January 9, 2019. Meal of spaghetti, meatballs, garlic toast and salad, $5. Join the group for a good meal and to support veteran and children's programs. The Legion is located at 1 Veterans Circle, Rockmart. Check back for any changes to the dates on the calendar in coming weeks.
Rockmart Presbyterian Church is pleased to announce the expansion of its Music Ministry. First welcome Paul Campbell BM, MM, BD as Music Director and Organist, second the New Allen Organ in the Chancel and third, new program opportunities. The adult choir is accepting new members in preparation for its Christmas Eve program featuring "Christus Natus Est" by Cecilia McDonald. Sectional rehearsal are scheduled through the week. A new children's program includes Children's Choir on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. (FREE and open to all who wish their children to learn to sing). There will be an orientation meeting for parents and children on October 10 at 4 p.m. In addition to directing the new children's choir, Mr. Campbell will be offering Piano Lessons along with Shellee Wilson BM, BA, ME, will be offering singing/vocal lessons. Private lessons have a monthly fee. For information to joining our music program please stop in and see Paul Campbell at Rockmart Presbyterian or call him at: 404-312-7801.
Do you have interest in studying the Bible and prophecies within? Contact Dr. Idel Suarez about a new study group being formed locally for serious scholars of the text. Contact him at 813-310-9350 for more information about how to participate and future meetings.
Celebrate Recovery meets every Monday night at the First Baptist Church of Rockmart starting with dinner at 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Large Group at 7 p.m. and Small Share Group at 8 p.m.
The office of Exceptional Students of Polk School District is available to assist with the identification of children with disabilities and provision a free appropriate public education beginning at the age of three through the age of 21. If you suspect your child is experiencing any developmental delay or you suspect your child might have a disability and would like assistance or for more information about services available through Polk School District, contact the PSD Exceptional Student Services office at 770-684-8718.
Aragon First United Methodist Church offers a food pantry for the community to use if they need assistance. They are open Mondays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and Tuesday mornings from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. A picture ID is required to participate. Call 770-684-4855 for more information.
Rockmart First United Methodist Church invites the community to come out and join in worship on Sundays and Wednesdays at the church located at 135 W. Church St. Sunday morning worship begins with Bible study at 9:45 a.m., followed by Sunday school at 10 a.m. for all ages, and an 11 a.m. worship service. Wednesday night includes at 5 p.m. community meal on the last Wednesday of every month, 6 p.m. Bible study and choir practice at 7 p.m. Weekly children's events at the church include a 5:45 p.m. children and youth meal, 6:15 Children's music and MYF, followed by L.I.F.E. at 6:54 p.m. All are invited to join in. Call Rev. Martha Dye at 770-684-6251or e-mail email@example.com for more information or questions. The church also updates weekly on their website at rockmartumc.org.
The next West Georgia Spay/Neuter Clinic is coming to the Cedartown-Polk County Humane Society again coming up next Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Head over to the organization's office at 608 Adamson Road, Cedartown, on Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m. or Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to fill out an admission and prepay for the surgery. Those wanting more information can call 678-361-7304 for more information. Vaccines and tests are available for extra cost as well. Transports won't be scheduled again until Jan. 23, 2019.
Members are invited to join the Cedartown Exchange Club weekly on Thursdays at 6 p.m. at the Cherokee Country Club for meetings and dinner. New members from across Polk County are encouraged to get involved by contacting club presidentelect Edward Guzman at 770546-2482 to take part in the organization that is involved in a wide range of community projects. Visit their website at cedartownexchangeclub.com to learn more. Annual dues are required to be a member.
Just Us Ministries Inc. Food Bank has distribution every Tuesday and Thursday at 904 Young Farms Road in Cedartown. On Tuesday the distribution is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. A picture ID is required. For more information call 770687-1009 or 678-901-3354, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit Justusministries.com.
Harmony Baptist Church, 882 Little Harmony Rd, Cedartown (Esom Hill area) invites everyone to attend their weekly Sunday morning Services. First Sunday morning service begins at 9:45 a.m. with Sunday School followed by worship service at 11 a.m.. Our doors are open to all and we are looking forward to seeing you. For more information visit our Facebook page, Harmony Baptist church, Cedartown.
The Rotary Club of Polk County meets weekly at the Richardson Field Depot in Rockmart for lunch at noon every Tuesday and are encouraging members and potential new members to take part. Contact Missy Kendrick with the Rotary Club at 770-584-5234 for more on how to participate or become a member. Annual dues are required to be a member.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cedartown, hosts a genealogy group that meets from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday nights, except holidays. There are no fees for these sessions and they are open to anyone. Please bring all of your basic family history (if you have it) such as names, 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 and Stitch is back to sewing at Rockmart First United Methodist Church in the fellowship hall. The group will meet the first and third Monday's of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants can bring any craft they choose or help with a ministry project this year. The group is making crochet or knitted caps for donation to Helping Hands. A pattern will be provided and the group has crafters who can help those in need of instruction. Bring a sack lunch. Coffee or tea provided. Any questions please call Madeline Brown 678-435-5032.
The Kiwanis Club of Cedartown encourages members to take part in weekly meetings on Fridays at noon at the Cherokee County Club. Potential new members are asked to get in touch with Rhonda Heuer, Club Secretary at 770-748-1016 to learn more about how you can take part in making the community a better place. Annual dues are required for membership. Visit kiwanis.org to learn about the club.
Check out the Rockmart Farmers Market at the Silver Comet Trailhead behind Southcrest Bank on Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m. Visit Rockmartfarmersmarket.com for details about vendors and upcoming classes.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints provides opportunities to local residents interested in hearing the message of Jesus Christ. For more information about how you can speak to local Elders, contact 687852-7497, or visit their meeting house at 10005 N. Main St., Cedartown for worship services at 10 a.m. on Sundays.
The Ferst Readers 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.
Shiloh Baptist Church would like to invite the community to come participate in worship services weekly at their sanctuary at 433 Shiloh Road. Join the church for Sunday school at 10 a.m., followed by 11 a.m. service or Wednesday nights at 6 p.m. Call Pastor Jamie Newsome for more information at 404-425-8510.
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 will include all cases related to housing, employment, education, domestic violence, consumer fraud, wills, healthcare and other issues involved in the legal complications of everyday life. Call 404-206-5175 for more information.
The Cedartown Optimist Club meets on Thursday mornings at 7:30 a.m. for their weekly breakfast meeting and encourages members to join in and take part at the Goodyear Civic Center on Prior Street in Cedartown. Those interested in joining the Optimist Club and help local youth organizations can contact Ronnie Dingler by e-mail at email@example.com.
Cedar Lake Christian Center is a nondenominational community who invites anyone looking to find the Holy Spirit within them to come join in worship services on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. with the Rev. Neil Hopper, along with Hispanic services as well to the community. Those interested in participating can join in at Cedar Lake Christian Center, located at 1890 Rome Highway, Cedartown. For more information call 770-608-0651.
The Polk County Alzheimer's Caregiver Support group will meet monthly on the first Monday at 11 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit tinyurl.com/polkbees.
Victory Baptist Church's Bread of Life Food Pantry is now open. 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 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.