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Kelley seeks to keep tax cut promise in 2020

The final days before the legislative session begins under the Gold Dome in Atlanta are always slightly busier than normal for State Rep. Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown). Before the close of business on Friday afternoon past, Kelley was out at the Polk County Police Department fulfilling a fun and patriotic duty of the job: a flag presentation.

Kelley and Police Chief Kenny Dodd gathered in front of the flagpole at the department’s headquarters just outside of Cedartown for the brief ceremony, providing a new pair of state and national colors to the PCPD that have flown over the State Capitol.

As he heads into his second year as Majority Whip, Kelley looks forward as well to continuing to work not just for the citizens of Polk and Haralson counties, but the entire state as a whole as he gets set to tackle big issues before the legislature.

“I always look forward to getting out and doing the work of the people, the work that this community elected me to do. It’s important work,” Kelley said. “I’m not excited about spending as much time as I’ll have to be spending in Atlanta, I’d rather be here on Main Street in Cedartown. But I’m looking forward to going out and getting to work for the people of Georgia.”

Among the items he hopes to push forward over the next 40 days of the session is both providing a balanced budget as the state house is constitutionally required to do, but also incorporate a promised lowering of the income tax rate and a proposed 6% decrease in spending sought by Governor Brian Kemp.

That income tax decrease is one that House Speaker David Ralston also agrees with moving ahead with in 2020.

“I played a pretty big role a couple of years back (on the first decrease,) and I think my position is clear about cutting our state income tax. I worked extremely hard to push through the first cut, getting it from 6 to 5.75 and in that legislation we also promised to put through another reduction during this upcoming year,” Kelley said. “We made a promise to the voters and I made a promise to my constituents, and I believe we should continue to further reduce the income tax to 5.5%.”

Where Kelley said he and his colleagues will have to adjust their expectations is in spending requests for the 2021 budget, one already well underway after the passage of the FY 2020 figures in 2019’s session.

“It is the first time that we’ve really had to face that obstacle during my tenure in the legislature,” Kelley said of the spending decrease request. “We take our job seriously as appropriators in the house where revenue bills start. We’ve been working since we passed the 2020 fiscal year budget, we started working on the 2021.”

“So we continue to work on that, be good fiscal stewards of the tax dollars that our citizens send to us, and this year is going to be no different,” Kelley continued. “We’re going to prioritize our necessities, and our wants the best that we can. Though we do have some restrictions on us. But we’re going to get done for the people of Georgia the things that need to get done.”

Kemp’s request for a 6% decrease in spending won’t necessarily be tied to promised raises for teachers statewide. Kelley said despite the request for decreases, it wasn’t one being made “across the entire budget.”

“It was over certain segments of the budget. One area that won’t be impacted is our education funding formula. Republicans have continued to fund education at the highest levels that it has ever been funded in our state,” Kelley said. “In terms of the funding formula that we sent down, the funding for $70 million for school safety grants last year, to $3,000 worth of teacher pay raises that we need to affect this year.”

He added that “Governor Kemp made a promise to pass $5,000 worth of teacher pay raises during his first term in office. We’re committed to helping him do that. We believe that he made a promise, in the same way that we made a promise to the voters to cut income taxes. I know that we’re going to try and do as much for our teachers this year that we can, but we also are cognizant of the fact that Governor Kemp has two more years to keep that promise. We’re committed to make good on it, but we also want to get our tax cut done this year.”

One area that Kelley said was exciting for everyone in the state is local, state and national unemployment levels being at record lows and economic development overall on the rise.

“Unemployment is at the lowest rate in Northwest Georgia, in Georgia and in our country in the past 60 years that they’ve’ been tracking it. I think that is a testament to how we’ve been governing the state. We have kept taxes low, and regulations on business at a minimum. We have put forth a business-friendly climate that attracts new jobs and allows our small businesses to grow and thrive in our community,” Kelley said.

“We’re going to continue to do that. We’re the Number 1 state in the country to do business for the seventh year in a row, we’ve got a AAA bond rating which means we’re managing our debt extremely well,” he added. “Education funding has been at the highest level it has been funded at in our state, and we’ve also got a $3 billion-plus rainy day fund to help our state should we ever need it.”

He believes that one way Georgia will continue to hold the top spot for doing business will be through more focus on workforce development via education and offering students statewide options of what career path they want to choose.

“A good economy does bring challenges. With unemployment at lows like this, it drives home even greater a need to continue to develop an educated workforce,” Kelley said. “We’re working to ensure that our children continue to receive an education that prepares them for the real world, that is going to allow them to pursue any professional career that they want: whether through getting a four-year college degree or getting a two-year technical college degree or through our college and career academies across the state.”

Kelley also pointed to continued work on rural broadband and developments over the past years and coming up that will help connect smaller populations spread around the state with greater internet speeds. One area that Kelley said is in the works is the creation of a fund that communities can submit broadband projects into for help with the costs. He also pointed toward past legislative updates that allow electric member cooperatives to offer high speed internet access as well.

Health care waivers are another area that Kelley pointed toward as a legislative issue the state hopes to see worked out on the national level. He said the state worked with the Trump administration to seek waivers and “look forward to getting acceptance on those.”

Kelley added a need for the state to focus on infant mortality rates, and policies to keep communities across the state safer.

“I’m ready to get to work,” he said. “We’re going to be doing a lot.”

Kelley did praise outgoing and newcomers who are working on the national level on behalf of Georgia as the session started, commending Congressman Tom Graves on his service to Northwest Georgia over the past years. He also had positive words of encouragement for new U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler, Sen. David Perdue and former Governor and now Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

Kelley did announce his intentions to keep his seat as he wrapped up discussions on Friday afternoon. He’ll be seeking a fifth term in office as State Representative on the 2020 ballot, Kelley said.

“I’m looking forward to that,” he said. “It has been the greatest honor of my life to represent this community. I feel like I’ve gone up and represented the values of our community here. When you look at cutting taxes, funding education and standing up for pro-life values that are so important for our community here. I’ve fought for those things and gotten them passed. I’ve got a great opportunity on the state level in a leadership role to help continue to deliver for our community and I look forward to getting out and campaigning on that.”

His name was one positioned to run for the seat being vacated by Graves at year’s end, but he announced his intentions to stay put early on in the process.

Northside students provide Moore's lesson

Been wondering what is up with Moore’s Soda Fountain in Cedartown?

The old corner eatery and onetime pharmacy that served as a meeting ground for friends before a movie night at West Cinema has long been dormant, and in the past year was bought up with the intention of returning it back to its former glory.

A dream that was deferred, but coming back to life in recent days. One that a group of students at Northside Elementary School took up for a project of their own.

The group of students came as part of project requirements for the Dawgbots annual robotics competition. Their assignment this year was learning about Moore’s of the past, and a bit about its present condition as well and presenting that to the Commission, which coach Joshua Bearden filmed for their upcoming super regional competition coming up in Cobb County in days to come.

Founded in the early 1900’s in a different location, Moore’s eventually moved to its present home in the years following its founding and changed ownership over several times from one generation to the next, then eventually passing into the hands of owners who weren’t interested in the Soda Fountain concept.

Not only did they talk about the 100-plus year history of the Moore’s pharmacy and soda fountain name and legacy, but how the restaurant could be better served with some of their layout designs, and ideas for making the restaurant kid-friendly. The goal is to bring the restaurant back not only into serving the community and becoming a hangout again before a night at the movies, but also bringing it fully into the 21st century.

New Moore’s owner Lindsay King sat with her husband Kevin (also the Cedartown High School Soccer coach) and family to hear the presentation during the city’s work session on Jan. 6.

She had no new major updates to provide on progress toward opening just yet, but the family is working to continue to prepare Moore’s for a now planned 2020 opening. They have also been detailing clearing work in the restaurant online on Facebook in the days prior and following the presentation from Northside students.

“We are way behind where we wanted to be on Moores. But we are making baby steps progress so far in 2020. It’s coming.... soon,” Kevin King wrote on Facebook on Jan. 5. “We are so nervous about getting this right for Cedartown. The city and the people are the real owners of Moores, it’s y’alls memories, it’s y’alls stories... we are just folks who have the keys to the building.”

He added that “We want this to be THE place for people to come and hang out before or after going to west cinema, or shopping downtown (especially at the old shop on main) or on Friday nights before our Dawgs take the field at CHS.”

The team promised as they were wrapping up during the Jan. 6 work session presentation to stay involved with the King’s as they moved forward toward bringing Moore’s back to life.

With their presentation finished, the Northside Dawgbots received a round of applause from attendees and commissioners alike. Commission Chair Matt Foster praised their efforts both as a Northside teacher himself, but also in providing insight into a piece of the city’s past.

“This was very cool,” Foster added.

Foster new chair for 2020 school board

The gavel was passed and chairs re-arranged as the Polk County Board of Education got back to business as the 2020 calendar year begins.

With a unanimous vote and no other nominees, the board elected member J.P. Foster to take over as chair and decided to keep Kristi Gober as the Vice Chair.

Foster, who already announced at the year’s start that he would seek a new term in office on the school board, made no remarks upon his switching seats with Board Member Bernard Morgan.

In fact, the school board moved through most of their business without need for further discussion. They unanimously approved a new meeting calendar that provides for a 2020 schedule that features two meetings a month except for a combined session this spring on April 14, due to Spring Break closure of schools.

The calendar puts meetings coming up on February 4 and 11 for work and regular sessions, with the same pattern to follow on March 3 and 10, May 5 and 12, June 2 and 9, July 7 and 14, August 4 and 11, September 1 and 8, October 6 and 13, November 3 and 10 and Dec. 1 and 8.

July usually finds the board meeting in a combined session, but Superintendent Laurie Atkins noted that this year “the way that the Fourth of July fell, we have two meetings.”

“We’re going to be putting you all to work this year,” Atkins joked with the board ahead of their approval of the calendar.

The only other request of the board for the work session in January was to approve an overnight field trip for the Rockmart High FBLA team heading to state competition in March. They’ll be staying from March 20 through 22 with several team members looking to win after taking first place finishes at regional competition on Jan. 8.

Board members in their upcoming session will also have a light voting schedule for the night when they gather again on Jan. 14. They’ll be celebrating the January M.E.R.I.T. winner for the district, plus hearing financial reports, more field trip requests, a request for a vote on the SNP — procurement plan revision and a construction management bid.

State audit finds inadequate controls on Georgia’s film tax credit

ATLANTA — Poor administration of Georgia’s film tax credit, the state’s largest and arguably most generous, is wasting millions of tax dollars, a new state audit has found.

In a 75-page report, the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts accused the state departments of Revenue and Economic Development of lacking the controls necessary to prevent improper granting of credits to film production companies.

“Due to control weaknesses, companies have received credits for which they are not eligible and credits that are higher than earned,” the report stated in its opening paragraph. “The issues can be attributed to limited requirements and clarity in state law, inadequately designed procedures, insufficient resources and/or agency interpretations of law that differ from our own.”

The General Assembly first approved the film tax credit in 2005, then increased it three years later when lawmakers found it wasn’t attracting as much interest as they had anticipated. The 2008 legislation raised the base credit rate to 20% for film companies that spend at least $500,000 on qualified productions, with an additional 10% for a qualified promotion of the state, typically featuring the Georgia peach logo at the end of a film’s closing credits.

The film industry skyrocketed in Georgia after the 2008 changes, soaring from $242 million during fiscal 2007 to $9.5 billion by the end of fiscal 2018. By early 2016 Georgia had vaulted to No. 3 in the nation in filming movies and TV shows, behind only California and New York.

According to the audit, the state delivered more than $3 billion in credits from 2013 through 2017. The numbers grew steadily during that period, from more than $667 million in 2016 to more than $915 million in 2017.

Despite granting more credits than any other state, the audit found that Georgia requires film companies to provide less documentation than any of the 31 other states offering film tax credits. Georgia is among only three state that do not require an audit by the state or a third party.

While the state Department of Revenue does require limited documentation to receive the credit, the audit found many production companies failed to provide the documentation yet still received the credit.

In its defense, the revenue agency responded to the report by noting that 38% of its tax credit processing work is devoted to the film tax credit, even as it administers more than 50 tax credits on the books.

The Department of Economic Development pointed to “limited resources and the inability to access confidential taxpayer information” as obstacles to the agency’s efforts to administer the credit.

Fiscal conservatives in the General Assembly have complained about the cost of the film tax credit from time to time. With state tax revenues running well below projections through the first five months of the current fiscal year, the film tax credit and other tax incentives could face scrutiny during the 2020 legislative session that begins next week from lawmakers looking for ways to reduce spending.

“Some were great policy when they took place” said Georgia Rep. Brett Harrell, R-Snellville, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. “But times change and we need to reevaluate them.”

Some of those productions in recent years have chosen Polk County as a place to bring film crews. Cedartown has hosted IFC’s “Hap and Leonard” and HBO’s “Watchmen” in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Rockmart in 2019 provided a setting for the new Jon Stewart film “Irresistible” for several weeks of filming.

The Georgia Screen Entertainment Coalition released a response to the report, citing the $3 billion annually spent by production companies in Georgia and the thousands employed in the industry in “high-paying jobs” as proof that the film tax credit is working.

“The film tax credit is a good deal for Georgia and its taxpayers,” said Kelsey Moore, executive director of the coalition. “The state’s film industry has seen unbelievable growth since the credit was put in place, and taxpayers are now reaping the rewards of the billions of dollars the industry – and taxpayers – have invested. Reducing or eliminating the tax credit wouldn’t cause a surge in tax revenues; it would do the opposite. We’d lose an industry, we’d lose good jobs, we’d lose the huge economic impact of the productions and we’d lose the public and private sector investments we’ve made in the industry since 2008.”

The coalition’s statement cited 399 productions filmed in Georgia in the last fiscal year, and spending of nearly $3 billion per year in the state, “with that figure set to grow exponentially over the next decade.”

“Georgia’s film and TV industry is responsible for nearly 92,500 jobs and more than $5.2 billion in total wages,” the statement reported. “More than 85 percent of the people working on sets are Georgians, and the average salary for on set workers is $85,000.”

The statement also said that “industry stakeholders in Georgia have expressed their willingness to work with state government on reforms to the credit that would prevent budget disruptions.”

“Increasingly, leaders in the state’s film industry are Georgians who live and pay taxes here,” Moore said. “They care about the state’s success and fiscal health. The film industry is contributing to the state’s progress, and we want to be at the table on plans to keep it moving forward.”

Standard Journal Area Calendar of Events from the Wednesday, January 15, 2020 edition

The first Board of Elections Voter Registration drive is coming up on Jan. 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Elections Office in the Administration Building at 144 West Ave., Cedartown. Update voter registration, learn about early and absentee voting and have a chance to see the new voting equipment up close and personal at the event.

Polk County Chamber members, don’t forget to RSVP now for the upcoming annual Member Appreciation Breakfast being held on Friday, Jan. 24 from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Free for members. E-mail info@polkgeorgia.com to let the Chamber know you’ll be attending!

The Of This World, and Out solo exhibit from award-winning artist Shane McDonald is underway at the Rockmart Art Gallery through February 28. Check out the work of this area artist Tuesdays from 1 to 7 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The reception honoring McDonald and his work is open to the public and coming up on Saturday, Feb. 22 from 4 to 7 p.m. Call 770-684-2707 to learn more about arranging a group session in the gallery.

The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Walk and Celebration is coming up on the afternoon of Monday, January 20, 2020 to honor Dr. King. After a walk down Main Street and service in Holloway Park, participants are invited to Turner Street Park for refreshments following the event. All are invited to participate in the walk set to start at 1:30 p.m.

The annual Polk County Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast is coming up on Saturday, January 18 in Ledbetter Hall at Cedar Lake Christian Center, 1890 Rome Highway, Cedartown. It’s set to start at 9 a.m., and tickets are $10. Contact Jennifer Hudson at 706-346-5494, Pastor DC at 678-471-6420, Lynda Kelley Dave at 770-375-0144, Forrest McCombs Sr. at 770-546-9199 or Minister Donnarae Bradley at 706-238-2457 about tickets.

Mt. Olivet Baptist Missionary Church of Yorkville, is sponsoring a Dr. Martin Luther King Charitable Gala to support local charities on Saturday January 18, 2020 at the Paulding County Senior Citizens Ballroom, located 54 Industrial Parkway North, Dallas GA 30132 from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The charities are the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Paulding County Helping Hands. The gala will start with a social hour at 5:30, followed by entertainment at 6:00 p.m. with Lady Q, a Christian comedian, and music by Just 3 and Samuel Davis. The speaker for the evening is former Paulding County Board of Education member Sammy McClure Sr. The evening will culminate with dinner and presentations to the charities for their continued community advocacy and enrichments in Paulding County. Ticket are $40.00 per person and can be purchased on line at Eventbrite.com and search by the gala name.

Get tickets now for the Jan. 24 Stand Up for Hope fundraiser hosted by Kay Dodd, featuring Cyrus Steele and starring Marty Simpson. The proceeds go to the Open House Women’s Shelter. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door at the Rockmart Theatre. Contact 770-684-2707 to reserve tickets now.

“Annie Jr.” will be opening on the CPAC stage on Friday, January 24 and continue through shows on Saturday, January 25 for musical lovers of all ages to come and enjoy. Tickets are $10 and are available online at Cedartownshows.com.

Pastor Mark Brumbelow and his wife, Cherry, serve a church of 51 members at Grace Baptist Church in Wild Peach, Texas. The church packed 11,139 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes in 2019. That equals more than 218 children per member who will have a chance to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ over the next months. To hear the Brumblelows share about how God has been using them and Grace Baptist for his glory, please come join congregations locally for one of two special events on February 22. One at Pine Bower Baptist Church in Cedartown at 10 a.m. and one at Taylorsville Baptist Church at 2 p.m. Everyone is welcome. For more information, please call 770-684-8054.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners will continue the Citizen of the Year Award in 2020, and want to honor individuals that have made a positive contribution to the county. Know a volunteer, someone who has committed a selfless act or dedicated their time to special projects locally? Nominate them today for the 2020 Citizen of the Year award at polkga.org/citizen-of-the-year.

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 Polk County Democratic Committee meets on the second Saturday of every month except December at 10 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, 600 Main St., Cedartown, GA 30125. There will be no meeting in December due to the holidays.

RCAC has classes for toddlers, children and adults at the Rockmart Cultural Arts Center in drawing, painting, photography, yoga, chorus, piano, whittling, and pottery. For more information, call 770-684-2707 or email rcac@rockmart-ga.gov

Several RCAC classes are coming up for the creative side in local art lovers. Check out the Polymer Clay class coming up on Saturday, January 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $45 per person. All supplies are included. Call Anita Kennerley to sign up at 678-372-2755. Also this month is a Fused Glass kiln carving class on Saturday, January 25 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for $35 with all supplies included Call Elizabeth Mobley at 770-851-4431 to sign up.

Check out paint parties at the RCAC starting on Saturday, January 11 from 2 to 4 p.m. The opening paint party with Merari Morales includes a red cardinal, followed by a Friday, January 24 party featuring a snowman. $20 per person, all supplies included. Call or text Morales to sign up at 706-591-9028.

Give a child a safe place to go after school and learn valuable lessons about community, life and academics by getting involved in the Boys & Girls Club of Northwest Georgia in Cedartown. Visit their center at 321 E. Queen St., Cedartown from 2:30 to 6 p.m. on weekdays and bring your children ages 5-18 for afternoon activities. For more information on how to participate or volunteer, call our office at 770-749-0869 or email asams@bgcnwga.org.

The Rockmart History Museum on South Marble Street in downtown Rockmart is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and on Saturday 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. The Museum welcomes visitors and group tours. Contact Pat Sampson at 678-764-5201 for information. RHM meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month and volunteers are welcome and encouraged to take part.

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 call Robin Forston at 404-895-6517 or email robin.forston@dhs.ga.gov or call 1-877-210-KIDS. Visit www.fostergeorgia.com for more information.

The American Legion in Rockmart is hosting their monthly all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner coming up this Wednesday, January 15. Meal of spaghetti, meatballs, garlic toast and salad, $5. They hold dinners on the third Wednesday of every month. Join the group for a good meal and to support veteran and children’s programs. The Legion is located at 1 Veterans Circle, Rockmart.

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 email at howardd999@yahoo.com for more information.

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.

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 third 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 email aweaver@lsga.org or call 706-506-0649.

Did you know that nationwide the American Red Cross assists 53 people every 60 seconds during personal and local disasters? Our Northwest Georgia Red Cross Chapter serves Polk County. If you’d like to do some meaningful volunteering, please contact Arthene Bressler at 762-231-9896 and visit our website at www.redcross.org/local/georgia.

Get assistance

Do you think you might be pregnant? You can know for sure. Contact Life Matters Outreach today to schedule a free pregnancy test. You have a right to know all the options available to you. We offer free evidence-based education and resources so that you can make a well-informed decision. The services provided at LMO Pregnancy Care Center are free of charge. Clients are treated with respect and unconditional acceptance. We are here to help YOU. Call 770-748-8911 for more information.

Anna Kresge Memorial United Methodist Church will be sponsoring a clothing bank for children ages infant to 5 years old on the first Thursday of each month beginning in September from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the conference room of One Door Polk in Cedartown. Contact 770-748-6811 for more information on how to donate or participate in the giveaway.

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.

Community Share Ministries is hosting “Hope for the Hungry” on the first Tuesday of every month to provide food assistance to the community. They’ll be in town again on Tuesday, June 4. Food is provided free of charge, and no identification is required to get help. Those interested can visit Community Share Ministries Cedartown thrift store at 1116 N. Main St., Cedartown.

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 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.

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.

Soup and Savior, a local nonprofit organization, meets from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays to provide needed items to deserving people. This includes a free meal (soup), clothing and gives other assistance. Meetings are held at Glad Tidings, located at 703 Robert L Parks Blvd. in Cedartown. Donations are accepted.

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 770-687-1009 or 678-901-3354, email justusmin.org@gmail.com, or visit Justusministries.com.

A caregivers support group meets on the second Monday of each month at 11 a.m. at Rockmart Presbyterian Church. Call 770-684-6289 for more information.

Take back your life and get help. Narconon can help you take steps to overcome addiction in your family. Call today for free for screenings or referrals at 1-800-431-1754.


The Rev. Gilbert Richardson and the Ware’s Grove Church family of 200 Potash Road, invite everyone to join the Impact Service held each Sunday at 9:45 a.m., followed by regular worship services at 11:15 a.m. Bible class is held Wednesday nights at 7 p.m.

Anna Kresge United Methodist Church invites children, kindergarten age through middle school, to come to Kresge Kids each Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Supper is provided. There is also a high school youth program as well. For more information, call 706-346-3100.

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. Thomas Hall at 706-836-7378 or email tg.hall@ngumc.net for more information or questions. The church also updates weekly on their website at rockmartumc.org.

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.

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.

Cedar Lake Christian Center is a non-denominational 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.

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 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 687-852-7497, or visit their meeting house at 10005 N. Main St., Cedartown for worship services at 10 a.m. on Sundays.

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.

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/

Clubs and Organizations

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.

The Cedartown Optimist Club meets on Thursday mornings at 7 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 email at nmvideo@bellsouth.net.

The Polk County Beekeepers are now meeting the second Thursday of each month at the Polk County College and Career Academy’s Cedartown High campus in the community room at 7 p.m. Whether you are an experienced beekeeper, new beekeeper or want to learn all are welcome. For details email polkcountybeekeepers@gmail.com or visit polkbees.com for more information.

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 president-elect Edward Guzman at 770-546-2482 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.

The Rotary Club of Polk County now meets weekly at Polk Medical Center’s conference room on Highway 278 for lunch at noon every Tuesday unless otherwise noted 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 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.


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.

Have a hidden singing talent, or want to get back into a chorus? Lend your voice and take part in the Rockmart Community Chorus on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. The choir is preparing for it’s Spring and Christmas concerts. Contact Debbie Miller, director, about taking part by calling 404-219-9572 or debbiebmiller@aol.com.

The Rockmart Cultural Arts Center’s Children’s Classes hosted by Margaret Bearden include monthly classes for children 3 to 6 years old on the second Wednesday of each month from 10 to 11 a.m. ($15 per child per class.) Bearden hosts Drawing and Painting classes for students seven to 12 years old on Mondays from 5 to 6:30 p.m. ($60 for 6 classes paid at first class, or $15 per.) Classes are also available on Thursdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m. for students 7 to 12 for Home School Mixed Media ($60 for 6 classes on first class, or $15 per) and Paint Parties are available as well. Contact Bearden at 770-500-4207 or by email at margaretbearden@gmail.com.

Pottery by Paul Craighead continues through the winter season at the RCAC, which includes Beginning Hand building on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Prices are $145 for 8 weeks. He also hosts an Open Studio for more advanced potters Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and Thursdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m. $15 per class. 16 and up for all classes, but Age 8 and up if accompanied with a parent or approved by Craighead. Contact him at 770-843-5302 or by e-mail at rivoletti@netzero.net.

Learn Drawing and Painting at the RCAC with James Hill on Wednesdays 6 to 8 p.m. or other days if available. Ages 12 to adult, $90 for a six week class. Contact Hill at 770-355-1535 or by email at jhill2411@gmail.com

Take part in a bi-monthly class for adults influenced in arts and self-empowerment, HeARTS and SOUL at the RCAC. $20 per person, includes all supplies. Dates and times to be announced. Contact Donna Duff at 770-855-7767 or by email at ctwarts@gmail.com.

The RCAC is hosting Now and Then of Rockmart to provide students with help gaining an eye for seasonal and home decor. Classes are being planned for Thursday nights and Saturday mornings, but dates are to be determined based on interest. Contact Tina Lanier at 678-883-9300 or by email at thenandnowofrockmart@gmail.com.

Piano lessons are available from Madelyn Stringer through the RCAC on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Wednesdays 1 to 5 p.m. Ages 6 to adult, all skill levels. $15 per weekly half hour private session, or $25 for an hour. Contact Stringer at 678-988-4133 or by email at madelynaudrey2000@gmail.com.

Carla Redding is providing a variety of photography classes this winter at the RCAC, ranging from getting to know a camera and how to take good photos, to using professional level software like Lightroom and Photoshop CC. Additional outings are available as well. Contact Redding for prices and schedules at — 770-546-3943 or ctr7510@aol.com.

Beginning Yoga can help people gain greater flexibility and stregth while maintaining graceful movements. Learn from Ramona Camp for $12 for an hour long class on Thursdays 6 to 7 p.m. Age 12 to adult, but those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent. Bring a mat, pillow, water bottle and wear comfortable clothing and get ready to stretch out at the RCAC! Contact Camp at 706-621-2306 or ramonacamp7@gmail.com to sign up!

Anderson in "good spirits" and healing after being struck by train

A Polk County Police Officer who was struck by a train in pursuit of a burglary suspect is in good spirits, but still healing after suffering a serious injury in recent days.

Officer Andy Anderson was in pursuit of a male suspect who fled on foot along the railroad tracks on College Street in Rockmart after he was reported to have spotted the man — now identified as Jayden Moates of Cedartown — and a second female suspect involved in a burglary.

Anderson, who sought to stop Moates who was said at the time to have been wearing a neck brace, was struck by the train and injured his arm and shoulder in the process.

Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd said Anderson was recovering after one surgery and was heading into another late in the week, and was in “good spirits” overall.

“He just had tunnel vision,” Dodd said of what happened to Anderson during the pursuit. “The same thing happens all the time with car wrecks. Officers will be pursuing a suspect in a high speed chase and will forget their surroundings.”

Dodd was thankful as well that Anderson was not more seriously injured as well. He passed along his officer’s appreciation for all those who have sent well-wishes and prayers his way as he recovers.

Anderson in years past and currently remains a fixture within the police department and helping organize events and honors, including several blood drives as the police department headquarters in conjunction with the American Red Cross.

Moates remained at large as of the last update with police late in the week following the Jan. 7 incident in Rockmart. The female arrested at the time, Nancie Borders of Rockmart, remained in jail with her bond denied as of press time.

She faced felony charges of possession of methamphetamine and being party to a crime, and misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana and criminal trespass.

Those with information about the whereabouts of Moates are asked to contact the Polk County Police Department at 770-748-7330.