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Afternoon with the Authors coming this weekend
• Area writers coming to take part in 5th annual event on Sunday from 2 to 4:30 at In the Woods

Susan Sands

Vickie McEntire

A love of books is a gift that may take a child far in life, and one that a local organization wants the community's help to promote now and in the years to come.

Join members of Ferst Readers of Polk County this coming Sunday, Feb. 24, for the 5 th annual "Afternoon with the Authors" as they gather to promote reading and fundraising for their ongoing efforts to provide more than 1,100 children locally with books on a monthly basis.

The Sunday event at In the Wood on Highway 113 in Rockmart brings four authors to Polk County, along with the annual silent auction of both signed books from famous literary names and handcrafted cakes of various flavors and decoration style. The program begins at 2 p.m. and continues on until 4:30 p.m.

Along with Rome's Janet Byington and Merrill Davies, Ferst Readers are pleased to host area writer Susan Sands, and Gordon County's Vickie McEntire to speak at this weekend's event.

The quartet of writers will get a chance to share some of their stories with the crowd while everyone has time to look over items up for the silent auction.

Both have personal tales that local literary lovers can find common themes.

Take for instance Sands, who is a self-described late bloomer in writing. She didn't pen her first novel until she was 40, and related her debut book's publication much like "raising another child – a difficult one."

Sands is the author of four southern, contemporary women's fiction novels set in Alabama which include "Again, Alabama" released in 2015, "Love, Alabama" in 2016, "Christmas, Alabama" and "Forever, Alabama" both in 2017.

Her novels provide readers with a fun, romantic, humorous small-town stories that are filled with big family love.

Sands has three grown children and lives with her dentist husband in Roswell. She has a degree in Elementary Education, is a member of the Georgia Romance Writers, the Romance Writers of America, the Atlanta Writer's Club, and the Broadleaf Writers Association. She participates in book festivals, book clubs, and writer's conferences around the South.

She was the recipient of the 2017 Georgia Author of the Year award for romance.

Ferst Readers of Polk County also invited along McEntire, an active supporter of literacy and promotes reading—specifically reading aloud to children—by making appearances at local schools and libraries, and on radio and TV.

She's a member of the Calhoun-Gordon Council for a Literate Community and the Ferst Readers of Gordon County, and mentors the next generation of writers and attends writers conferences and workshops throughout the Southeast.

McEntire conducted a workshop—5 Things Every Children's Book Writer Needs to Know—at the 2018 Red Clay Writers Conference at Kennesaw State University.

McEntire credits much of her writing success to the support of the Calhoun Area Writers, a local writing group in North Georgia led by its' founder, Karli Land. She is also a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and Georgia Writers Association.

Her work has been published in Telling Stories: a Calhoun Area Writers Anthology, Lady Literary Magazine, Dalton Living Magazine, Calhoun Magazine, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Teachers and on her blog at www.aliteratelife.blogspot.com

She released her first children's book, "Baby Birds," in October 2016. It was illustrated by Lana Kipe and nominated for the Georgia Author of the Year Award.

McEntire said she was inspired to write her children's book by her three grown children and grandson— her real life baby birds.

"Empty Nest," a book of poetry illustrated by local artist and retired teacher, Sandy Dutton, was released in May 2017. Her second children's book, Little Bird and Myrtle Turtle, released in October 2017 and was chosen as a finalist in the 2018 American Book Fest International Book Awards and won the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award in the children's book category.

McEntire has donated copies of her children's books to Jesus Kids Home in Nigeria, Ferst Readers, Hoosier Hills Food Bank Book Fair, and local school and community libraries.

Aside from writing, McEntire also works full time to bring community members together for the benefit of families and children as the Family Connection Coordinator for Gordon County. She writes from her home in Northwest Georgia, which she shares with her husband, Dave, and their cat.

These two, along with Byington and Davies, will be on hand to talk with book lovers during this weekend's event.

Every dollar raised from the event goes toward supporting Ferst Readers of Polk County.

Those interested in more information about how to help Ferst Readers or become a part of the organization can visit ferstreaders.org.

Already, several local organizations have offered their help including the administration and staff countywide from the Polk School District. They donated $2,570 during a recent Board of Education meeting that helps 71 of the children in Polk County receive a book on a monthly basis. Both the Rockmart and Cedartown Kiwanis was another who donated $250 to the cause, along with $250 from the Polk County Rotary Club,

A $40 donation helps one child receive a book annually.


Remembering Snipes with a STAR award
PSD's STAR student Jackson Norris uses his choice for teacher to memorialize RHS band director David Snipes

Valentine's Day wasn't just about sweethearts for a trio of local students honored for their academic achievements for the 2018-19 school year.

It was also about remembering an educator who made a real impact on the lives of young people throughout their high school careers.

Polk School District's STAR Student for 2019 Jackson Norris (who also took the honor for Rockmart High School) said the teacher he chose for this year's honor will always remain with him as a mentor. This was his way of providing a memorial for Rockmart High School band director David Snipes, who died unexpectedly at the end of the 2017-18 school year.

"Ever since he came to Rockmart – he came my 8th grade year – I had him ever since for my four years," Norris said. "He had a huge impact on my character and all my motivations. He was a real mentor to me."

A soon-to-be graduate of Rockmart High, Norris hopes to pursue a career in Chemical Engineering once he finishes his studies at Georgia Tech. The top-scoring SAT student who is also in the top 10 percent of the senior class has already been accepted to the university in the heart of Atlanta. He's the son of Maria and Jimmy Norris.

He served as a member of the Rockmart High School marching band during the fall, and last year was one of the members of the Yellow Jackets boys tennis team who provided assistance to wreck victims. The team stopped on Highway 27 on their way home from a South Georgia playoff victory to help when a man became pinned under a truck.

Norris said he hopes students take his experience of hard work and determination as an example of what they can achieve if they put their heart into their education.

"It's an honor to be recognized for academic achievements like this," he said. "If you consistently try and make the effort, you're going to get a reward.

As STAR Student, Norris will go on to represent Polk School District at a regional level against others in Northwest Georgia.

Snipes was band director for three years at Rockmart High School, having joined the district after a stint at Cartersville City Schools and Rockmart Middle School. He was also a graduate of Rockmart High School's Class of 1991.

His wife Melissa was on hand for the ceremonies last week to receive awards in his memory from the Polk County Chamber of Commerce and the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, who co-sponsor the program locally.

Norris was joined in honors by fellow students at Cedartown High on the school level with two tying for the honor this year. Cayden Frye and Ebrahem Abdul-Rahman were the co-STAR students for the school year, and nominated STAR Teachers Phillip Babb and Jennifer Cupp.

Cayden Frye brought along his mom Wendy to help him celebrate the honors last week. He said he's submitted his name to several schools but hasn't made a final decision on where he wants to continue his education but will focus on pursuing engineering.

"It feels like the hard work paid off," he said.

His compatriot being honored is the son of Wael and Heather, he remained persistent in his goal toward achieving high honors academically at Cedartown High School.

Abdul-Rahman also isn't fully decided on where he wants to go to school, but has a clear career path in mind: one day he wants to be arguing in a court of law as an attorney.

"Anyone can do anything if they persist," he said.

Floyd Polk Medical Center also provided gifts to students for being named the STAR Students representing Polk County.


Promotion official for new Rockmart Police Chief

Newly promoted Rockmart Police Chief Randy Turner received a standing ovation from crowded council chambers at city hall as he took over the department in recent days.

City council members and Mayor Steve Millerall welcomed and congratulated Turner in his new position as their February meeting came to a close last Tuesday.

"We look forward to Chief Turner's administration, and along with the members of our police department look forward to him keeping the community safe," Mayor Steve Miller said.

Miller added his thanks again to former Chief Keith Sorrells for his 10 year tenure over the department.

Turner told council members and Mayor Steve Miller as the meeting was closing that he was thankful for the trust they are placing in him to lead the department.

"I live in Rockmart, I'm invested in the community and very active," Turner said. "We're thankful to be here."

Turner, who came onto the Rockmart Police Department 18 months ago as Assistant Chief, began his first shift as Police Chief at 5 p.m. on February 5.

His duties started when former Police Chief Keith Sorrells got to enjoy a retirement party put on by the city to honor his 10 years of service with the department.

Turner was pinned with appropriate insignia by his wife as his family and the law enforcement community looked on during a ceremony ahead of the start of official business on Feb. 12.

The new police chief previously served for a brief time as the Emerson Police Chief before he was hired on in 2017 with the Rockmart Police.

He previously served a 12-year stint with the Polk County Police Department, and spent 8 years in service with the United States Marine Corps.

Turner completed Chief's School during his tenure as chief with the City of Emerson's Police Department, where he took on the role from April 2017 until the fall when he was able to land a job closer to home than Bartow County.


Elections board getting busy ahead of 2019 cycle
• Ryan Robinson joins ranks for his first session of four year term

The Polk County Board of Elections is already gearing up for off-year elections locally for the cities of Aragon, Cedartown and Rockmart later on in the fall.

However they've got plenty of business to take care of before qualifications, candidates have a chance to campaign, and counting of ballots in early November. That includes state training for employees, making sure there's plenty of money in the budget to run forthcoming city elections, and not to mention having enough poll workers in place to keep everything running smoothly.

February's Polk County Board of Elections meeting primarily focused on updates and discussion of budget figures, which director Lee Ann George said she is keeping as tight as possible for 2019 with municipal elections months away.

She also has added in pay increases for poll workers as the county looks to recruit more in a forthcoming event in late April where people can learn more about what the job requires. (Check back for additional updates on the event closer to time.)

George said those interested in becoming poll workers can contact the elections office for more information at 770-749-2103.

The month also saw the start of the newly appointed District 3 representative for the Board of Elections. Ryan Robinson, the branch manager for Family Savings Credit Union and a Rockmart area resident, was appointed by the Polk County Commission during their February session earlier in the month, and took his seat to get started learning the ins and outs of the job.

He noted his need to miss the next two meetings during the session last week, but said that he'll be well prepared in time for the 2019 election cycle and the requirements of board members.

The coming month will take elections officials out of the area for annual conferences where they'll have the opportunity to learn more about state and federal elections law updates and more.

George also added that qualifying fees were set by all the cities for their November elections. Seats are open in Aragon with a $36 fee for those wishing to run for city council and $72 for mayor. Rockmart's fees are $108 for council seats for Ward 2 and Ward 5 and $144 for mayor – an open seat for the 2019 election cycle with Steve Miller ending his tenure after two terms – and seats on the Cedartown Commission cost $54 to run.

Municipal elections this year are on November 5, and qualifying for local seats is coming up on August 19 through Aug. 23, Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The voter registration deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 7 this year. Visit sos.ga.gov to learn more about registering.

Board members will be back in session on March 12 during a 10 a.m. meeting at the county administration building in Cedartown at 144 West Ave.


AREA CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Ferst Readers of Polk County will hold its annual Afternoon with the Authors this Sunday, Feb. 24 from 2 to 4 p.m. at In The Woods in Rockmart. We welcome donations throughout the year to fund the over 1,100 children in Polk County who receive free books each month. Ferst Readers is dedicated to early childhood literacy, mailing books to children ages birth to their fifth birthday.

Get ready now for the 2019 WELSHFest in Rockmart! The event is scheduled for March 16 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will feature a variety of vendors, events and more in downtown Rockmart. Check back in next week's edition for more on the forthcoming fun.

On Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 9 a.m., the Polk County Republican Party will convene Precinct Mass Meetings to elect Delegates and Alternates to the Polk County Republican Party Convention at the Cherokee Country Club, 150 Club Drive in Cedartown. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. The convention will start at 10 a.m., and costs are $10. Contact Dr. Marc Wall at 770-749-0420 about the upcoming convention and monthly meetings of the party.

Future brides will want to come out to Hightower Falls coming up on Sunday, March 3

from 1 to 4 p.m. for their 2019 Bridal Show! Admission is free for the event and vendors will include caterers, photographers, florists, DJs, and more. Samples of catering items will be available, along with discounts and door prizes including a free wedding date giveaway by Hightower Falls! Contact info@hightowerfalls.com to learn more.

Sign up now to take part in the forthcoming Chamber-sponsored Lunch and Learn series, coming up again on Friday, March 8. The bi-monthly classes provided by Chick-fil-A of Rockmart owner Zach Thomas gives people the opportunity to learn how Chick-fil-A promotes servant leadership at all levels of the company and in life. Visit polkgeorgia.com to learn more, or call 770-684-5686 to register today! Costs for the class include lunch.

MasterChef Junior is holding a casting call in Atlanta at the Hilton in downtown at 255 Courtland St. NE on Saturday, March 9 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The show is looking for talented young cooks to come take part in the new season with Chef Gordon Ramsay, and are looking for 8 to 13 year olds to come join the series. Minors must be accompanied by an adult. Signup now at masterchefjuniorcasting.com for application instructions, audition guidelines, eligibility requirements and more.

The Easter Bunny will be hopping into Cedartown ahead of the holiday on Saturday, April 6 in Rockmart for the annual Family Savings Credit Union egg hunt. The event starts at 10 a.m. with a decorating contest, followed by the bunny hop sack race and egg race, and the hunt at 11:30 a.m. Find Family Savings Credit Union on Felton Drive in Rockmart. For ages 12 and younger. Call 770-684-8601 to learn more.

Mark calendars now for fun during springtime in Cedartown. The Cedartown Junior Service league has their community Easter Egg hunt planned for Sunday, April 7, 2019 at 2 p.m. at Peek Park. Check back for more information about the event in March as it draws closer here in the pages of the Standard Journal.

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.

Interested in becoming a Foster or Adoptive Parent? Open your heart to a child in need and find out how you can help. Join others who seek the love of a child every second Tuesday night of each month at 6 p.m. at Polk County Division of Family and Children Services office, 100 County Loop Road in Cedartown. Information sessions explain what is required to become a foster or adoptive parent in Georgia. For more information please call Robin Forston at 404-895-6517 or email robin.forston@dhs.ga.gov or call 1-877-210-KIDS. Visit www.fostergeorgia.com for more information.

The Polk County Democratic Committee Meets on the second Saturday of every month at 9:30 a.m. In the "even" months (February, April, June, August, etc.) the organization meets at The Rockmart Library at 316 N. Piedmont Ave., Rockmart and during the "odd" months (January, March, etc.) they meet at the Cedartown Welcome Center, 609 Main St., Cedartown, GA 30125.

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 770356-1282, or by e-mail 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.

Get assistance

Need help with the bills during the winter, and are a senior? Tallatoona CAP will begin accepting appointments for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for Senior Households 65 & older and Homebound Households. Appointments for the General Public will be accepted beginning in December. Appointments are provided on a first come first served basis until funds are exhausted. Polk County residents who qualify will receive either $310.00 or $350.00 toward their heating bill (heating source). To schedule an appointment or to request a homebound appointment, visit our website at www.tallatoonacap.org and click BookNow, or call 770-817-4666.

Belles of the Ball are bringing the chance for girls in need to have a chance to get a free prom dress for the forthcoming season. The organization is holding their first of two events in Carrollton at the University of West Georgia this Saturday, February 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A second event will be held in Atlanta on March 16 at the Atlanta YMCA off Pryor Road. The group's Journal inventory includes more than 500 dresses, and DJs, food, vouchers for free hair styling and more are part of the fun. Contact bellesofball@gmail.com for more information.

Victory Baptist Church's Bread of Life Food Pantry is now open. One bag of nonperishable food, five items to pick from produce, eggs and milk and two items from frozen meats, breads and others will be available. ID is required. Limit of two IDs per address. Regular hours are Mondays, 1 to 3 p.m.; Tuesdays, 5 to 7 p.m.; and Thursdays, 8 to 10 a.m.

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.

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.

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, e-mail justusmin.org@gmail.com, or visit Justusministries.com.

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.

Churches

A Pinto Bean fundraiser is coming up on Saturday, Feb. 23 at Live Oak Baptist Church in Aragon from 5 to 7 p.m. to help raise funds for the church's part in Operation Christmas Child's shoebox ministry to cover shipping costs. Pastor Anthony Osborn and the congregation invite everyone to come turn by Burton's Store on Live Oak Road and take part in the meal that includes pintos, limas, and navy beans plus cornbread, fried potatoes, slaw, onion and desserts.

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.

The Gold City Quartet is coming to the First Baptist Church of Cedartown for an evening concert on Sunday, February 17 at 6 p.m. a love offering is being taken up, but it is free to attend. Come join in a night of gospel at First Baptist Church of Cedartown, located at 101 N College St. Contact the church at 770-748-3120 for more information.

Rockmart First United Methodist Church invites the community to come out and join in worship on Sundays and Wednesdays at the church located at 135 W. Church St. Sunday morning worship begins with Bible study at 9:45 a.m., followed by Sunday school at 10 a.m. for all ages, and an 11 a.m. worship service. Wednesday night includes at 5 p.m. community meal on the last Wednesday of every month, 6 p.m. Bible study and choir practice at 7 p.m. Weekly children's events at the church include a 5:45 p.m. children and youth meal, 6:15 Children's music and MYF, followed by L.I.F.E. at 6:54 p.m. All are invited to join in. Call Rev. Martha Dye at 770-684-6251or e-mail marthadye@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.