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Audit notes provide additional allegations and open questions for all involved

Editor's note: Due to the nature of this topic and the need for further investigation, this will be the first in a multi-part series on the audit notes generated during conversations with officers in the Polk County Police Department and County Attorney Brad McFall. More articles will follow in the weeks to come to further explore the allegations made within after documents requested in an effort to follow up more thoroughly are delivered and can be fully examined. Since the allegations made during the audit contain unproven allegations, we will not be including the name of any officer at this time.

When County Attorney Brad McFall provided his assessment of what has been happening at the Polk County Police Department following the letter sent by Sheriff Johnny Moats making allegations against fellow law enforcement officers, he told the County Commission before the release of those notes they wouldn't be a pleasant read.

He wasn't joking.

McFall, who released a short summary of what was included in the audit from officers, did cite the overwhelming problem of pay and manpower with the department. But it's not that simple, and the notes themselves provide as many questions as they do answers.

After a thorough look at the officer's notes, it was found within that though McFall's assessment that a majority of the department believed command staff received positive remarks and that pay and manpower are the problems, but they are not the only ones.

Starting off with his first interview dated May 18, McFall initially followed the questionnaire he developed when providing notes to later be distributed to the county commission, but after that diverted from the format.

Officer No. 1's interview did contain admissions that they believe that favoritism, criminal activity and cover-ups, retaliation, lying and gossiping are problems within the police department, but didn't specifically elaborate as others did.

That interview also specifically pointed McFall to previous officers to interview who would be willing to give more specifics on those activities, however, and several of those former employees were part of the interview process later on.

McFall explained his reason for not continuing with the first interview's format for notes as correcting an early mistake in the process.

"I conducted the first interview before I had prepared the questionnaire, and I realized that I needed to have an objective sampling of questions for all officers, and prepared the questionnaire after that first interview," McFall said.

Following that first note from the process, the summaries take on a more conversational tone, the result of McFall dictating his notes to paralegals to translate into the notes, which also left some open questions.

For instance, in an interview with Officer No. 11, McFall stated at the end that the officer didn't know the Sheriff "that well, but does know his son and that (name redacted) was not uncomfortable at all in speaking to me about this topic."

Though it sounds like McFall is stating that this particular officer had information to share about Moats' son, that was not the case according to follow-up statements by the county attorney.

He said that his notes did not mean to inspire speculation about the meaning of the phrase, but that he was simply stating that Officer No. 11 had no problems speaking with McFall himself about the police department.

Other officers did have that problem, but those were in a minority compared to the overall majority who were surprised and/or upset by the letter, and didn't have any complaints at all.

For instance, Officer No. 2 specifically to McFall that they didn't want to speak to him at all about anything for fear it would get back to the County Commission and potential retaliation would follow.

Other officers expressed their discomfort - at least four others - over having to be interviewed at all and considered it a waste of time, and another four officers were specifically angered by the charges of corruption made in Moats' May letter, citing they would not tolerate it at all.

There were also complaints from a few officers about a lack of communication between the command staff and the patrol division,

One officer - included in online notes as Officer No. 9 - claimed to McFall in their interview numerous complaints and allegations, McFall wrote in the summary that he had difficulty "taking notes because (name redacted) had so many different topics on (name redacted) mind..."

This officer - who is also responsible for the drafting of a letter to a County Commissioner - claimed that along with one former officer having proof of another's time card fraud and another evidence of cover-ups, that he knew of "shady stuff going on" and that one member of the command staff spends all their time "writing romance novels."

This officer also admitted to being one of Moats' 18 anonymous officers to complain to him, and that "I have a horrible reputation at the PD, I have been labeled as a whistleblower and I am not well liked."

This officer's specific comments also included the note that since the letter was sent by Moats, the "command staff professionalism has taken a 180 degree turn."

McFall said that so far, no one has come forward with specific evidence to back up any claims.

A trio of officers made one of the more specific charges, but not against the department. Instead, the three officers all in separate sessions told McFall they had knowledge of a meeting that occurred between an officer, County Commissioners Jennifer Hulsey and Scotty Tillery, and Moats at one of the Polk School District middle schools.

According to McFall in an interview after the release of the notes to discuss issues within, he said that he received no evidence provided by the officers to back up the claim of this meeting, nor did they provide any specific times or dates of when it might have happened.

Additionally in one of the three officer's who reported the meeting, McFall said in his summary that the meeting had been confirmed with the second officer's interview, but that again none of them provided concrete proof during their meetings to move further on the issue.

Those three officers - along with several others - also accuse Moats of writing the letter in an attempt to derail the early candidacy of Chief Kenny Dodd for the post of Sheriff in a potential 2020 election bid.

According to several officers, Moats sent his letter on May 5 only after an alleged stare down between the Sheriff and Chief at an April 25 County Commission session that was held to take care of May's business early.

The details of that staring contest were included in the summary generated by Officer No. 25'ws interview, who stated that the officer recalled the exchange between the two law enforcement commanders during the meeting after Dodd was "expressing frustration with some actions that the Sheriff had taken and indicated he might run for Sheriff."

At least 8 different officers asserted that Moats sent the letter to the County Commission and sought investigatory efforts based off of Dodd's announcement to Hulsey he might run for Sheriff.

In total, 19 different officers provided at least one name of a person they believed responsible for why the audit was being completed. Another 8 of that number also believed that 18 was too big of a number for all those who complained.

And one particular officer made a point to McFall that if there had been 18 officers threatening to walk out, they didn't do so when promised at the end of May.

Officers were also quick to point to one of their brothers in arms as the main problem with issues like gossiping within the department, and also cited him as the main problem. 13 of those officers who named anyone in their interview with McFall cited this particular officer as the problem.

McFall also was asked by one officer why Moats wasn't interviewed as part of the process. Moats replied by pointing out that the Sheriff wasn't part of the police department, and therefore hadn't been subject to any questioning.

Of all the officers that McFall spoke to, only a few out of the 38 in total were no longer employed with the department.

One of those officers made specific complaints about the department, with Officer No. 36 going so far as to point out previous letters they had sent to both Dodd and County Manager Matt Denton about specific issues they had with the department.

Another of those former


Officials comment on audit charges

When looking at the audit notes as a whole, there are allegations and conspiracy claims on both sides of the issue, with some making specific complaints and others pointing toward specific officers who are the problem.

Officers in the audit also made specific claims about public figures in the nature of which required responses from those figures, ranging from Sheriff Johnny Moats using this as a power play to take over the Police Department, to a clandestine meeting between commissioners, police officers and Moats.

Three of those people claimed to have been involved in that meeting 'at the middle school' all deny the charge as rumor, and potential political motivations behind why Moats sent his note in early May to the board.

Commissioners Jennifer Hulsey and Scotty Tillery both denied the meeting ever happened along with Moats when sought for response about the specific charges.

Specifically, Moats said that he's never met with one of the officers alleged to have been at that meeting, but that he had spoken with him by telephone at the time.

That officer who also said he was one of the 18 to go to Moats did later meet the Sheriff, he said.

"I've met with him since the letter came out, but

not to discuss this," Moats said. "We met at a party, but we didn't even discuss it."

Hulsey and Tillery had more specific comments on the meeting.

They provided written responses to questions posed to them about the allegations made within the audit notes. Hulsey said that "this meeting that was referenced never happened. That's just not true."

"Facts were twisted and instead of asking me if there was a meeting, someone has embellished a story. In fact, one officer in particular indicated that they could confirm that there was a meeting between myself, Commissioner Tillery, and an officer," her statement read.

It went on: "This is absolutely not true. I have asked for evidence of that confirmation, and so has county administration and there is none. What concerns me about this statement is that someone is spreading false slanderous allegations in the department about an officer and Commissioners. And let me just add that if I did have this so called meeting with the officer and Commissioner Tillery there is nothing wrong with that. As a commissioner I have every right to speak to an employee. Furthermore, the tax payers need to know that these lies are being spread and that we need an external investigation of this department which I have asked for on May 22 and was denied by the majority of the board. And as of today (July 20) another officer left the county police department."

Tillery also added a written response to the charge that a meeting happened.

He wrote: "There is no truth what so ever in this allegation. When I read this allegation, I went directly to our Manager and directed him to speak with this officer about the allegation and that I wanted proof that this meeting took place. When this officer was asked to provide proof of their allegation, the officer could not provide any such proof other than they heard it several times within the department. In the Audit, this meeting was referenced by three additional officers as well, leading me to believe the originator took something that they heard and manufactured this rumor, why I do not know yet."

It went on to say that "I ask if anyone has any proof that I attend the referenced meeting, please come forward as soon as possible and provide your proof. My comment also goes back to the answers I provided in question number 2 and 5. I do hope that an apology will come soon to me and all names involved, plus to our Police Officers that were led to believe this meeting happened."

Dodd also said that he had been presented no evidence by any of his officers that a meeting took place. County Manager Matt Denton responded that he also has been presented no evidence to prove the meeting happened either.

Both Tillery and Hulsey say they are reserving the right to take further action on the specific claims made about them.

Further claims were also made about Tillery's motivations behind a desire to merge the police departments, which he denies.

"The only intention I have is to help our Tax Payers receive the best Public Safety in the State," Tillery said in written remarks to questions posed about claims made against him in the audit notes. "It does not matter if we have one public safety department or ten, as long as the taxpayers are receiving the service they deserve."

Tillery did admit to a meeting happening between himself and command staff in a specific complaint made during one of the officer's interviews (see this week's story on the audits online to read more about it.)

He wrote that "I requested a meeting with the Chief and the Assistant Chief several months ago. I was working on a plan to help increase the pay for the PCPD and to retain our existing Patrol Officers. I asked if they would join me to help provide additional ideas and the data that will be needed to present to the Board of Commissioners. They were very excited and they both agreed to help."

"As far as clearing the air, yes we had what I thought was a great conversation about rumors floating around from each side. I left that day excited for our PCPD because, I knew we were about to climb the long awaited mountain addressing the funding for our PCPD," his statement continued. " This was a two hour meeting filled with a lot of ideas for this plan. Unfortunately, I never received a response from them in reference to this plan." All of the claims stem from a statement in several officer's interview summaries in the audit that their chief has political aspirations of his own.

Dodd said he is considering a run for office in 2020 for Sheriff, but hasn't yet made up his mind. It didn't stop him from telling at least one commissioner of his plan, and then word spreading from there.

Dodd and Hulsey both confirmed their conversation they had at a late April County Commission session held in place of early May meetings, but neither could remember if it was the April 24 or 25 session.

"She and I were having a conversation about an ongoing criminal case, and she asked me how it was going," Dodd said. "I told her and I said it would be easier if the Sheriff would stop interfering and pass out false information to victims. She said that according to the Sheriff that you can't do anything about it, and I said I could always run and become the Sheriff."

"The Sheriff who wasn't at the meeting then showed up in five minutes," Dodd said. "And he never comes to meetings. I'm not insinuating anything by that. But he did come in, and he sat down and wouldn't talk to me. Even when executive session started he wouldn't speak to me at all."

Hulsey said in her comments about the conversation that she had later been confronted by Dodd.

"I remember this conversation, because I remember that Chief Dodd came up right in front of me, I think before a meeting. There were other people there. He informed me that he was going to run for Sheriff, and I said OK. The next morning around 7 a.m. I got a phone call from Chief Dodd asking if I had told the Sheriff if he was running for sheriff himself, and I was kind of surprised. I didn't tell the Sheriff, but if I did what would that matter? Later, I was told that it was shared with other officers that I called or texted the Sheriff during the commissioner meeting and that's why the Sheriff came in and stared the Chief down. This was so ridiculous I didn't believe it, but now it's in the notes. Honestly, I have more to worry about than to call the Sheriff in the middle of a meeting. Most ridiculous thing I've ever heard."

Dodd said that he's had no communication with the Sheriff since that meeting and then the letter being sent to the County Commission following that.

"I've tried twice to talk to him," he said, and approached him after the May 15 decision by commissioners to begin the audit process with McFall in the lead, and the Sheriff said at the time he would do so when his schedule permitted.

Dodd added that "he has yet to take me up on that offer."

On the other side of the letter is Moats, who had a number of comments to make after he got to read the notes for himself.

He continues to contend that he had not once prompted any officer to come to him with complaints, and that he has no intentions of trying to take over the Polk County Police Department, as he has made in several statements in the past.

Moats also said that he felt betrayed by those who had come to him with complaints, and he believe he might be the one being setup politically. He added he was upset by the remarks of officers as much as they were upset by his letter.

"Either they didn't tell the truth in the audit, or it was a setup to make me look bad," Moats said. "If anyone should be outraged, it ought to be me."

He did admit to some of the claims made in the audit being true as well. For instance, one officer claimed that he had been banned from the Polk County Jail for alleged comments he made dis-


All about fun at Homespun

Rockmart's annual celebration of all things local from the annual 5K to raise money for local youth's back to school supplies to the all the vendors and rides for the whole family took place over the weekend. Check out more photos and coverage from the 40th year of Homespun on Page A9.

We were still wrapping up coverage this wekeend of the Homespun Festival in Rockmart on Friday, July 21 and Saturday, July 22 that ended with a fun display of fireworks during what turned out to be a sunny and hot event. Go online to see the full collection of photos from the event, and to read coverage from Correspondent Tyler Williams at Polkstandardjournal.com.


Cedartown's Bearden up for NEA Foundation award
The NEA Foundation Names Cedartown Educator to Receive National Award

Northside Elementary's Joshua Bearden has a lot of accomplishments under his belt already, but he's about to get another one during the middle of the coming school year.

Bearden who doesn't like to brag on himself much, and believes that much of what's been achieved is only due to the hard work of his students is one of 38 educators who will be receiving a mouthful of an award California Casualty AwQuestard for Teaching Excellence at the NEA Foundation's Salute to Excellence.

He'll be heading with local educator Dorothy Welch, who nominated him for the award, to Washington, D.C. in February 2018 to receive the NEA Foundation's Salute to Excellence. It honors teachers who show" their dedication to the profession, community engagement, professional development, attention to diversity, and advocacy for fellow educators," according to the release sent out by the organization.

He said that after being prompted by Welch to participate and send information along to the Georgia Association of Educators about the Northside Elementary robotics program and the work done by himself and Kindergarten teacher Lawana Gurley's efforts to introduce more Science,

Technology, Engineering and Math lessons in the classroom.

"Elementary students a chance to do something a lot aren't exposed to, and innovative because something Polk County hasn't done before," Beaden, who teaches fifth grade at North side, said. "Teaching them about STEM education at a young age is what ultimately gets student more involved in looking at a future in STEM-related fields, which they can continue on with in middle school and then in high school at the Polk County College and Career Academy."

He said those efforts haven't been fully proven out yet, but since starting the Northside Robotics team he's gotten lots of students involved in that program and Science Olympiad, where they have competed during the past year at a regional level and brought home a number of awards.

Bearden's hope is that through these kinds of programs and focused lesson plans during the year on STEM days, which he said are "half a day or however long we do it, where each grade level does activities based off of science, technology, engineering and math that are all interconnected, even with language arts" make that impression and will show up as more lessons are introduced on annual standardized testing scores.

"What I've noticed a lot of in workshops that I've been to and events we've taken the students to is that when students are introduced to STEM activities on the elementary level, they not only have a better passion for science and math, and a reason to learn more about it," Bearden said.

Without the support of Gurley, who he said was his "right hand" when it comes to STEM programs and the support of principal Kenny Wallace, none of it would have been possible.

He plans to use any award money to continue funding efforts to provide Northside students with STEM activities, and to help out with the costs of Science Olympiad and the Northside Robotics program.

Bearden said that some of his supporters thus far with those programs have been in the form of donations from local organizations like Waste Industries. He said those interested in helping either program can get in touch with him at jbearden@polk.k12.ga.us.

Among the 38 state finalists, they were nominated by their National Education Association state affiliate, five finalists will be announced at the beginning of the school year and receive $10,000 at the gala.

The nation's top educator will be revealed at the gala on Feb. 9, 2018 and receive an additional $25,000. The gala will be livestreamed at neafoundation.org.

The NEA Foundation and the National Education Association jointly present the awards.

Standard Journal Editor Kevin Myrick contributed to this report.


Norman contends performance review by Aragon mayor

When Aragon's former city clerk Sandy Norman submitted her resignation in past weeks, she cited that it was over a bad performance review put into her records she felt was unfair.

The performance review in question as part of her personnel records includes what Mayor Garry Baldwin called constructive criticism, but what Norman believed weren't fair, especially comments that addressed her quality of work.

A trio of her performance reviews were made available as part of an Open Records Request made by the Standard Journal to inspect her personnel file, which also included a written reprimand that Norman stated came after she sent a personal email to Baldwin after hours one night.

The reviews - which began with her first in 2015 after being on the job for several months - mainly contained a positive outlook on her performance for the city. Her opening review was completed by former Financial Officer Hal Kuhn, who before Norman became City Clerk briefly held her former job title.

He at the time gave her high remarks in all areas of her performance for the city, from ensuring that paperwork and payment was getting handled in a timely fashion to her willingness to take on overtime even when it might have been an emergency situation. It included no comments otherwise of note.

In 2016 during times of turmoil in the city and as Kuhn took on part time roles, Norman completed a self-review of her performance for the past 18 months on the job on May 2016, which she then had reviewed and signed by then acting Mayor Curtis Burrus.

That review also gave her high marks in all areas of her performance, and she included notes thanking the city for the opportunity to continue her training and education as a City Clerk.

Her June 2017 review also gave her good marks overall, taking no issue with how she has conducted herself on the job or the work she's done overall.

But as the city has lost further employees, Baldwin included comments that he meant to be helpful honesty, but that Norman contends are unfair.

For instance, Baldwin checked off in her review under the category of dependability that she had a pattern of being told what to do, and had a pattern of indifference in completing primary tasks to her job.

Specifically noted in that section were additional comments in which Baldwin mentioned a problem with Aragon's coverage under the Georgia Interlock Risk and Management Agency's liability coverage for city vehicles.

It read: "There have been occasions where Sandy has forgotten to do specific tasks, such as overlooking an invoice that is due (GIRMA Liability Insurance) which could have caused a serious problem. There was an occasion where a lack of coordination with The Public Works Director caused several bills to be overdue when finally paid in addition to bills which were paid twice and request a refund."

Baldwin said during a follow-up interview on Norman's performance review that an invoice that had been part of a longer letter sent by the agency related to their insurance coverage had been missed, and that payment had been delayed in that particular case which resulted in the city's liability insurance lapsing for a few days.

Norman challenged that assertion when asked about the insurance coverage, and didn't even recall it as being a major incident.

" If our insurance lapsed, I'm not aware of it," she said.

She also cited that following the departure of Kuhn, she was leveled with additional responsibilities she didn't feel comfortable shouldering at the time, and that Baldwin's claim that she had to be told what to do wasn't valid.

Norman specifically pointed to the Public Works department paper-work and it's lack of coding for accounts payable, which she said wasn't her responsibility when she was employed with the city, along with a number of other tasks.

" Just because he (Baldwin) comes in everyday and says I need to do these things, it doesn't mean i haven't already done it," she said. "I think my prior experience shows that I know what has to be done and get the job done, and I don't have to have someone telling me every single minute of the day."

Norman's review also cited a further violation that she received a written reprimand for in violation of the city's overtime policy.

According to Baldwin and Norman, the reprimand stemmed from an email sent from Norman on May 30, according to the June 5 letter that was also part of her personnel file.

Baldwin stated in the letter that it stemmed from a conversation the pair had about checks that hadn't been put into deposit in city bank accounts, and cited the email sent at 7:26 p.m. was "in reference to the same discussion."

"It was not an emergency and it could have waited until the next day," the letter stated.

Norman said, as the letter also stated, that this was violation of the city's overtime policy, which was also provided and stated that "an employee may not work overtime unless he or she has received advance authorization from his or her supervisor." She also knew she would be punished for the action, but felt she had no choice.

"I said I was sorry, I had the concern and felt the way I did," Norman said. "I knew what time I sent the email, but was upset and sent it rather than stew on it all night long."

It also cites that any use of social media or email if something is sent officially on city business can't be done without permission of the supervisor, which in Norman's case was Baldwin at the time.

Norman stated that the email she sent to Baldwin involved her personal feelings over the investigation into potential financial irregularities being done by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation involving Baldwin's daughter and former city clerk, and court clerk Lori Dunn.

That letter has been sought late in the week via an Open Records request made on July 20, and following the city council's work session Baldwin said that he was still working on the request. It had not been fulfilled by press time over the weekend, and will be examined once it is released.

Norman was also asked for the email, but she said she didn't feel comfortable releasing it due to the GBI investigation.

Her performance review specifically cited this use of email along with her use of time prior to beginning of the work day spent on city business before the office opened, and the buildup of overtime hours that resulted in comp time being granted and paid out.

Norman, along with city police officers, had some of the highest amounts of comp time built up for the city. Baldwin said that Norman was paid out comp time earlier in the year, and took that option after rules were changed and only 40 hours at t time could be built up at any given time and approved by the City Council after Baldwin took office.

Finally, the 2017 perforrmance review criticized Norman for not being willing to take on further responsibilities after the departure of several employees in the past months.

She noted that in a previous meeting with Baldwin and others, she said specifically that she had no training in accounting work and wasn't willing to take on any financial responsibilities for the city.

Norman's training has extended as far as the GMC/FOA's (Georgia Municipal Clerk/Financial Officers Association) basic class on finances for those not specifically dealing with issues the city clerk has to understand, like usage and time limits on Special Purpose, Local Option Sales Tax funds.

Those have included Kuhn, who said he left in protest in November 2016 after Baldwin took office and sought to put Dunn in a position of authority over his duties a financial officer.

Dunn resigned her role from the city earlier this year.

Former Building Inspector and Code Enforcement Officer Danny Forsyth also left his job in past months as well.

Christie Langston took Dunn's job as court clerk, which is now being filled by Amy Liggons. Liggons and Langston were both confirmed in their new jobs unanimously by the council during their July 20 meeting.

Baldwin said in response to the comments made in the performance review that he only made the remarks in the review a constructive criticism, and did not intend them to be anything more than thoughts about how Norman should improve in her job.

"I was honest, understand that no one is perfect, pointing out things to work on," he said. "It was not anything that we hadn't addressed previously at some point in time."

Norman on the other hand said that she felt the comments were unfair, more specifically those that sought to call into question her quality of work.

Especially as she points out the number of training classes she attended during her past two years on the job for the City of Aragon to become a fully certified city clerk, classes she was only a few hours away from completing.

Norman said she doesn't want her job back, and that she plans to try to complete the classes and seek a job elsewhere with her talents.

Check back in coming editions of the Standard Journal for more on Norman's email to Baldwi and other updates about this story.

Go find this story online at Polkstandardjournal.com to see the three Performance Reviews of former Aragon City Clerk Sandy Norman.


AREA CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Check out FHF Hair Design's annual event to help local youth look their best before heading back to school. The styling salon is offering up free back to school hair cuts and supplies for youth aged 6 to 18 on Aug. 1 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the shop located at 305 Main St. Cedartown. Donations are welcome for the rest of the month. Call FHF Hair Design at 678901-0643.

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 Rockmartfarmersmarket.com for more information about vendors and upcoming classes.

Aragon United Methodist Church is hosting their Vacation Bible School all day on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Come join the festivities at the church starting on Friday at 5:30 p.m. with a registration cookout. The church is located at the corner of Highway 101 and New Prospect Road in Aragon.

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.

Don't forget to check out the Fourth Friday concert in Cedartown at the end of the week starting off with the Throttle Jockeys car show at 6 p.m. , and featuring McPherson Street starting at 7 p.m. The concert and car show is free to the public.

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 www.bellviewchurch.org.

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 Cadertown@gmail.com, Alinda Dawson at adwson.evergreen@gmail.com or Misty Puckett at misty@mtetravel.com.

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.

The next West Georgia Spay/Neuter Clinic is coming to the Cedar-town-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 Dlyanschance.org for more information.

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.

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.

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 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 sessions may be scheduled to accommodate families, as needed. For more information, contact aweaver@lsga.org or call 706-506-0649.

The Sit N' Stitch craft group 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.

Lutheran Services of Georgia's Heritage Adoption Program partners with DFCS to find Forever Families for children waiting in Georgia's foster care system. Sessions are held on the 3rd Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. at the Northwest Georgia office in Rome, located at 336 Broad Street. For more information, contact aweaver@lsga.org or call 706-506-0649.

All Carroll EMC offices will close Thursday, August 31 at 12 noon. During the closing, make payments at the kiosks, automated phone payment system (770-832-3552), online at carrollemc.com or via the free Carroll EMC mobile app. To report a power outage, call 1-877-9-OUTAGE (1-877-968-8243) or report it online or via the mobile app.

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.