Charges have been dropped and the grand jury for Polk County decided not to hand down a sole indictment against a defendant in a animal cruelty and dog fighting case during the panel's latest session.
Victor Long, an Atlanta-based attorney working on behalf of Candace Sorrells, 34, of Rockmart, said today that her arrest would have been prevented had she been forthright with investigators when they arrived at her home in September.
He added that his client maintains the dog found at her home that had just birthed a litter of puppies was not involved in the case at all and is owned by her daughter.
"The dogs that were reported
Browning said that arraignment will be forthcoming land, 32, has remained in jail against Devecio Ranard Rowsince his arrest in late August, first on animal cruelty charges stemming from the discovery of 70 dogs on property he formerly He alone was indicted in the owned at 569 Cashtown Road. case which is expected to head to court in early 2018, Browning said.
Additional dogs were found in the days following his arrest, bringing the total to more than 100 that officials alleged were involved in a dog fighting ring. Browning said much of the evidence against Rowland was already presented in the weeks following during a forfeiture hearing of some of the group, which was decided in the state's favor.
The Grand Jury approved of 107 counts of felony aggravated cruelty to animals and 107 counts of felony dog fighting and paperwork was signed on Nov. 3. That totals 214 counts so far against him, with charges still pending on several others if pursued.
He also remained in jail without bond on additional 107 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals, probation violation, two more counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, and a charge of conspiracy to commit a felony, according to the Polk County Jail's records.
The District 6 school board race will be decided next week on Tuesday, Dec. 5 in a runoff election, but voters will get a chance to head to the polls and cast their ballot early through Friday as a brief early voting period continues.
Ballots can be cast through Friday, Dec. 1, by voters at the Nathan Dean Community Center at 60 Goodyear St., Rockmart and at the Polk County Board of Elections office in Cedartown at 144 West Ave., during regular business hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Only voters in District 6 — an area including half of downtown Rockmart making up part of the southeast corner of the Polk County — are allowed to participate in the race, and it is the only item on the ballot for that area.
The Rockmart precinct will be open as well until Friday, Dec. 1 ahead of the Tuesday, Dec. 5 election.
Voters are going to the polls to decide between interim school board member Judy Wiggins, running to retain her seat, and candidate and local business owner Chris Culver. Wiggins took 229 votes in the district, or 42 percent of the overall, and Culver took 210 votes, or 38 percent of the total.
Carolyn Williams, who ran in the race as well, took 18.7 percent of the vote, or 101 ballots in the November race.
Without a clear majority held by any candidate, Wiggins and Culver moved to the runoff coming up in 2 weeks to decide who will take the seat permanently.
Wiggins was selected by the board members to serve until the end of December in the position formerly held by now Polk County Commissioner Hal Floyd, who resigned from the school board in early August.
A Former Polk School District teacher and educator, Wiggins seeks to keep the seat for the coming years now that she is in office on a temporary basis. In previous reporting, she has said she seeks to utilize her experience in the classrooms and halls of Polk School District to meet specific local needs.
"Every little aspect of what our students needs are need to be looked at for each decision made," Wiggins said. "I can assure you sitting on this board for the past month that no decision is being made without a lot of questions being asked."
Culver, who is head of Culver Exterminating Company, is a 1990 graduate of Rockmart High School and has two children in the school district currently in Rockmart Middle and Rockmart High School as well.
He has said previously that he wants to bring a common sense approach to education and avoid political fights all together. Though a political newcomer in the Board of Education race, Culver listed a number of boards and organizations he has participated in over the past 20 years.
"How many of you have woke up one day and said 'I want to be on the Polk School Board,'" Culver said. "Me neither. I truly don't think you wake up one day and say I want to do that. It's not been the most appealing position to hold over the years. Let me just say this: I wasn't raised to run, I was raised by my parents to serve. And that's what I hope to do in this case."
Any voter in District 6 who was registered for the November special election for the seat can participate, but only those voters within District 6.
Call the Polk County Board of Elections at 770-749-2103 with any questions.
Earlier in the school year, Commissioner Jennifer Hulsey took on an ambitious goal of trying to improve the lives of students who are struggling the most when they need encouragement and strong influences in their lives.
Hulsey, who is also a Cedartown Middle School English teacher, saw that a number of her students struggling for a variety of reasons. They were getting into trouble, weren't excelling academically like their peers.
A variety of reasons are involved for their school lives being a struggle, but what Hulsey saw were a target group who if turned around during their early teens, would avoid the pitfalls of many of those who have come before and been in the same position. All the students need are some positive role models.
Enter Hulsey's Take Back Polk program, entering the third month of meetings between mentors and students at Cedartown and Rockmart Middle School. This Tuesday and Wednesday, students who were selected for the program will be meeting with figures from all walks of life, from business professionals and former educators, to county officials and law enforcement officers. The students will mainly be focusing on discussing the goals outlined by students earlier in the year and areas of character education.
Judging by previous results, the one-on-one program between the middle school students and their mentors so far seems to be having the effect Hulsey hoped to see.
"Students are very responsive and receptive," Hulsey said. "They seem excited to see their mentors each time. They also seem to like that someone coming and visiting with them and getting to know them and how they're doing."
The program has dozens of people involved with students at both schools, and mentors like County Manager Matt Denton involved and donating time. He said that he has enjoyed the experience so far on his end.
"Mentoring is an opportunity to be a positive influence and provide encouragement," Denton said. "I look forward to each opportunity to spend time with the students I mentor."
Denton is just one of more than a dozen county employees who are taking part from various areas of the administration, law enforcement and more. Even new County Commissioners Jose Iglesias and Hal Floyd are among those volunteering their time.
Hulsey said it has made a difference in the lives of the mentors as well based on the feedback she has received.
"I think the adults are getting as much out of it as the students," Hulsey said. "I'm so proud to know these people are making time for our students and our community. ... They are always contacting me checking on their students."
The program will take a break in December for the holidays, and return in January with the hopes of continued student progress. Graduation will come in May ahead of the end of school.
The annual parade winding through Rockmart is coming up this Friday night as the Christmas parade gets underway at 6 p.m.
The parade — which culminates in front of the Rockmart History Museum with a visit from ol' St. Nick himself — is celebrating "The Sound of Christmas" this holiday season in conjunction with the Rockmart Community Chorus' 2017 concert, also coming up this weekend.
The theme calls for extravagant displays of light, decorations, and illuminations.
Already fully mapped out, the sure-to-be dazzling parade is scheduled to run through a large portion of the city.
Beginning at Hilburn Field parking lot, 815 College St., the parade will continue straight onto College St. before taking a left onto N. Piedmont Avenue where the parade will make a right onto E. Elm St.
A left turn will take the parade onto S. Marble St. before floats and large trucks will reach Maple St. and promptly be directed to turn left onto Slate St. Marching bands will continue on South Marble Street. Reaching the end of its route, the parade will then disband in the "Eby-Brown" parking lot.
All other participants will be directed to turn right on Maple St. before ending on Water St.
For those trying to decide on a good viewing spot, it is suggested that a good vantage point to watch the parade from the city's historic downtown area. Alongside a great view of the action, shops will be open late for citizen's dining and shopping pleasures, and those camped out in the downtown area will have front row seats to the lighting of the Rockmart Christmas tree.
After the parade, Santa Claus will stop at the History Museum, 133 S. Marble St., where he will meet with kids of all ages.
Applications for the parade were due Monday after press time.
Prizes for the best floats this year in two categories include first-place prize of $500, a runner-up prize of $300, and a third-place prize of $150.
The award will be given out in two different categories including a church category and a school/club/nonprofit category.
The Christmas parade is free and all citizens are urged to attend. Bundle up, stay warm, and enjoy what the city and citizens have brought together.
Aragon's annual Christmas Parade is coming up on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 through the mill village at 4 p.m. Call City Hall at 770-684-6563 for more about entering a float and participating.
The next spaghetti dinner at American Legion Post 12 will be Wednesday, Dec. 13. Meal served from 5 to 7 p.m. Spaghetti, meatballs, garlic toast and salad, $5, all-you-can-eat. Trivia with Tom and Betty starts at 6 p.m. Come and enjoy a break from shopping and let us cook for you.
The Cedartown Christmas Parade is coming up on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 at 6 p.m. along Main Street. Come join in the fun and see Santa Claus and more. Visit cedartowngeorgia.gov for more about entering a float and to learn more about this year's theme, "Christmas on the Silver Screen."
Need to get an item onto the Area Calendar of Events? Email firstname.lastname@example.org today! All items must be in at least two weeks before the event to appear in the Standard Journal on time.
Spring Creek Baptist Church, located at 2636 Chulio Road, will be having a Drive Through Nativity Experience, "Silent Night" on Dec. 9 and 10 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Help give a child the gift of reading this holiday season by donating a book to the Department of Family and Children's Services in Polk and Haralson County. Drop off books to the local DFCS office or at the Department of Community Services office through Dec. 4. Books should be appropriate for children one month to 18 years old. Call 770-749-2206 for more on how to participate.
The Rockmart Christmas Parade is coming up this Friday Dec. 1, 2017 at 6 p.m., with "The Sounds of Christmas" as this year's theme. Visit Rockmart-ga.gov for more information about how to register to be involved. The parade has a rain date of Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 at 4 p.m.
A food pantry is open to those in need at God's Storehouse at 508 McKibben Road past New Beginnings Church on Tuesdays and Fridays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For emergency assistance call 404-859-2096 or 770-318-6991, or get in touch with the food bank at 470-774-7265.
Order T-shirts now through the Polk County Police Department to help raise funds for the trust of Isaac Hearne. Contact 770-748-7331 to find out more details.
Also selling T-shirts is Sherry Anderson, with the next order being finalized today. Call the City of Aragon 770-684-6563, or through Anderson directly at 678-901-2065 for more information.
Have a fundraising event for the Hearne family? Email email@example.com or call 770-748-1520 to share how people can donate to your efforts.
In charge of community relations at your local church? The Polk County Chamber of Commerce would like very much to talk to you. They are presently in the process of organizing an updated directory of area houses of worship in the community and are hoping for the help of those organizers who want to get their information to as many people as possible. E-mail Mandy Mallicoat at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 770-684-8760 for more information about being included in their updated church directory.
Crossview Community Church is getting ready for helping those in need with their Christmas Shoes Project. Get involved in providing new shoes for children in the community by contacting Crossview at 770-684-4070.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cedartown, Georgia, hosts a genealogy group that meets from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday nights, except holidays. There are no fees for these sessions and they are open to anyone. Please bring all of your basic family history (if you have it) such as names, birth-dates/death dates of parents, grandparents, children, etc. Bring your laptop or tablet, if you have one. If not, we can still help. Questions? Contact us at 678477-2861 and leave a message or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FamilyQuest42/
The Sit 'n Stitch crafters group meet each Wednesday except the last Wednesday of the month. Bring a sack lunch, a project of your own, or help out with a mission project and enjoy fellowship with other crafters. No special skills are required. For details contact Madeline Brown at 678-435-5032.
Check out the Rockmart Farmers Market at the Silver Comet Trailhead behind Southcrest Bank on Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m. from now through Thanksgiving. Visit Rockmartfarmersmarket.com for details about vendors and upcoming classes.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are providing opportunities to local residents interested in hearing the message of Jesus Christ. For more information about how you can speak to local Elders, contact 687-852-7497, or visit their meeting house at 10005 N. Main St., Cedartown for worship services at 10 a.m. on Sundays.
The Ferst Foundation Community Action Team meets the first Monday of the month at 5 p.m., alternately in Cedartown and Rockmart. Call 404-862-1273 for the meeting location. Find out more about how to help improve childhood literacy in Polk County at ferstfoundation.org.
The Georgia Legal Services Program's Claire Sherburne will be on hand at One Door Polk in Cedartown every fourth Monday to help those in need with free civil legal services to low-income persons. This includes cases related to housing, employment, education, domestic violence, consumer fraud, wills, and more. Call 404206-5175 for more information.
The Polk County Alzheimer's Caregiver Support group will meet monthly on the first Monday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Polk Medical Center. Those interested can join for fellowship and lunch in the cafeteria. For more information call John Giglio at 678-246-8188.
Join the Church of God of the Union Assembly, 32 Prospect Road, Rockmart, for praise and worship weekly. The church welcomes anyone to come and worship regularly on Sundays and Wednesdays as well. Praise and youth services are held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday nights, and services start at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday following Sunday School at 9:45 a.m. Call Pastor Jesse Starnes at 678757-4572 for more information.
The Polk County Beekeepers meets the first Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon at the Cedartown Library, 245 East Ave. Whether you are an experienced beekeeper, new beekeeper or want to learn all are welcome. For details email email@example.com or visit tinyurl.com/polkbees.
Cedartown Supper Club every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Held at 71 Woodall Road. Seventh-day Adventist Church. Enjoy a vegetarian supper and participate in a lecture on healthy, happy living. Free and for all ages. Each evening provides a different menu and lecture topic. For more information about the supper club call 678-901-9184.
Victory Baptist Church's Bread of Life Food Pantry is now open. One bag of non-perishable food, five items to pick from produce, eggs and milk and two items from frozen meats, breads and others will be available. ID is required. Limit of two IDs per address. Regular hours are Mondays, 1 to 3 p.m.; Tuesdays, 5 to 7 p.m.; and Thursdays, 8 to 10 a.m.
Interested in becoming a Foster or Adoptive Parent? Open your heart to a child in need and find out how you can help. Join others who seek the love of a child every second Tuesday night of each month at 6 p.m. at Polk County Division of Family and Children Services office, 100 County Loop Road in Cedartown. Information sessions explain what is required to become a foster or adoptive parent in Georgia. For more information please call Robin Forston at 404895-6517 or email firstname.lastname@example.org 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., on Monday nights with dinner at 6 p.m. A large group gathers at 7 p.m., and small share group gathers at 8 p.m.
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 email@example.com or call 706-506-0649.
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.
Drug overdoses have become the leading cause of accidental death in the United States with heroin and other opiates being the largest contributor. Don't let a love one struggle with addiction. They do not have to be alone. Narconon can help. Visit narcononnewliferetreat.org/drug-rehab/or call 1-800431-1754 for help today.
On Nov. 1, 2017, Tallatoona CAP will begin accepting appointments for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for Senior Households 65 and older and Homebound Households. Appointments for the General Public will be accepted beginning Dec. 1, 2017. 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 the office at 770817-4666.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.