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Qualifying ends with contested races
Voters to choose new Rockmart mayor, Aragon Council members on November ballot; Cedartown qualifying re-opens September 3-5 for special election

Some races will be contested in Polk County for municipal elections this year, and others won't be after the main qualifying period has come to a close.

For the moment, candidates in Rockmart and Aragon have stepped up to be choices for the voters come the November 5 election, while the City of Cedartown will have to call for a special election to fill a seat that becomes vacant at the end of August.

With the pending resignation of Jordan Hubbard from the Cedartown City Commission at month's end, the Board of Elections will be re-opening qualifying to fill his seat in a special election on the November ballot to fill the expiring time of his term starting on Tuesday, September 3 at 9 a.m. The extra time to qualify for his seat will end on Thursday, September 5 at noon. Those interested in learning more about his resignation can turn to page A6 of this week's edition.

Otherwise, the only two candidates on the Cedartown ballot this year are incumbents. Commissioner Dale Tuck will run to seek a fourth term in office, and Andrew Carter looks to start his second term during the November vote.

Rockmart's Mayor's race will be the only seat contested on their local ballot for the November election.

Former council member and longtime State Farm Insurance agent Sherman Ross got his name in for qualifying early on last week.

In Ross' run for the forthcoming open seat heading the Rockmart City Council, his hopes are that if elected he'll be able to continue to serve the city by focusing on revitalization efforts, infrastructure improvements, supporting local law enforcement's efforts to keep people safe and keeping the city on a positive fiscal footing.

"I am a servant leader with strong leadership, management and business experience," said Ross in a statement. "Debbie and I love our city and its residents are are grateful for our friendship with you and your family."

Ross was joined by midweek by local educator Mark Lumpkin.

Lumpkin, a longtime educator with several director roles within Polk School District's central office, said he's entering politics in hopes of being able to help the community bring in business, but also improve safety efforts.

"Living in Rockmart all my life, it is something that I want to do," he said. "I want to do what we can to improve the city. I want to keep the hometown feel, but also bring in businesses."

Rockmart's three council seats up this year will all be filled with uncontested candidates for this year. In Ward 2, Marty Robinson will be replacing James Payne on City Council without competition, and Rick Stone will get a new term in office as well. Rockmart's special election to fill the unexpired time of Ross will be filled by Mike Bradley.

In Aragon's city races, they'll have at least one contested round of voting for the 2019 ballot. It won't be for who will take over for Mayor Garry Baldwin.

Council member Debbie Pittman will be seeking to take over the mayor's seat for the forthcoming four year term. Pittman will be giving up her seat to run for the top spot in the city's government. She's the only candidate running for the office this year.

"I look forward to the chance to serve the citizens of the City of Aragon, and if elected Mayor I plan to work toward making the city a place we can all be proud to call home," Pittman said.

Baldwin did not choose to seek a second term in office in November.

Pittman is being joined on the ballot in a four-man council race for 2019. That includes Council Member and local business owner Judd Fee seeking a new term in office this year, as well as three more in the race. Longtime Aragon resident Buddy Tanner — who in recent years help established the Library room within city hall — is seeking one of the two seats up this year.

The two are also joined on the ballot by Mike Long Jr., and Gary Shindelbower.


Voting for Best of Polk 2019 is now underway

Voting opens today to decide the best of the best in 120 different categories locally in the 5th annual Best of Polk awards, and those who want to see their favorite business win have just a few weeks to participate.

Those who want to take part can head to TheBestofPolk.com through Friday, September 20 to cast ballots in major areas of everyday life like shopping, real estate and finance, or health and wellness to others like kids and education, beauty and food and drink.

Additional major categories include auto and recreational vehicles, and entertainment and recreation.

Note that this year, The Best of Polk will not accept any paper ballots cast and only votes that are cast online will be accepted. A sample ballot for readers to see who is nominated will be included in this week's paper and on our Facebook page.

Nominations ran from mid-June through mid-July. Head over to the website for more about how to participate.


PolkX's brings leaders to speak for second year

People from all walks of life in Polk County gathered together at the College and Career Academy's campus at Cedartown High School to get a leg up on their leadership skills this past weekend.

The second annual PolkX Leadership Summit brought several speakers from out of town to take part in the event this past Saturday, giving attendees the opportunity to learn different aspects of leadership skills they might not have thought of before.

PolkX was organized to help aspiring leaders in business, education and in life to benefit from the knowledge and experience of this year's speakers.

Those included PolkX organizer and Chick-fil-A of Rockmart owner Zach Thomas. He is already well versed in providing leadership training in the community with his longstanding Lunch and Learn series still going in Polk County through the Chamber of Commerce.

Thomas also invited another Chickfil-A alum to the event this year in the form of Bing Oliver. Hailing from North Carolina, the former restaurant owner is now a business coach with Peake Consulting.

Joining Thomas and Oliver in leadership training on the stage was Steve Dennis, founder of Motivation Unlimited. The organization was created to help inspire people professionally and personally to make positive changes in their life.

Attendees had good reason to pay attention to the presentation given by Dr. Alan Kemper this past weekend as well. The Pointe University business professor helped people understand where organizational changes come into play with leadership and how to keep up continuous improvement with a business or group.

Wrapping up this year's event was U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Ned Linch, retired, who came to talk about the psychology of leadership. He specialized in sport and performance psychology in his education doctorate in his studies.

Additionally, Jared Stump who is the Chief Storyteller for Chick-fil-A of Rockmart acted as emcee for the event.

Those interested in learning more about PolkX can navigate now to polkx.com. This year's event was sponsored by the Chick-fil-A of Rockmart and FOR Polk, and organized with the help of the Polk County Chamber of Commerce.


Former Juvenile Court Clerk appeals termination to County

County Commissioners made no decisions during a Personnel Committee hearing last week to hear from the former Tallapoosa Circuit's Juvenile Court Clerk who was fired back in July.

Commissioners Hal Floyd, Scotty Tillery and Chair Jennifer Hulsey presided over the committee hearing, with County Attorney Brad Mc- Fall running proceedings.

Former clerk Seana Cobb presented through her attorney Stewart Duggan of Brinson, Askew and Berry more than 100 pages of documents that included a 12- page timeline of events that sought to refute reasons why Juvenile Court Judge Laura Lundy Wheale dismissed her from service in July.

They contended that the reasons Wheale gave for Cobb's dismissal were just as much at issue as Wheale's alleged behavior. Those included a previous verbal warning for use of inappropriate language in the clerk's office, telling deputy clerks not to help Wheale with simple tasks, authorizing County Manager Matt Denton to transfer an employee for Wheale to have as a secretary, insubordination, and failing to follow through with instructions in a June 25 email over attorneys appointments on cases in her court.

Cobb, previously Seana Campbell, was married back in June. Along with her service in the courts, she served in law enforcement in Cobb County and spent 12 years in the United States Marine Corps. According to her attorney, she had no negative employment history up until her dismissal by Wheale.

In documents turned over to the county from Cobb's attorney and shared with the Standard Journal, they laid out their side of the case that included numerous allegations of Wheale acting in a hostile and inappropriate manner with the former clerk from when she was appointed as the Chief Juvenile Court Judge in March through mid-July, when Cobb was dismissed.

Those included allegations of several verbal reprimands during the final months of her employment, Cobb's concerns over budgeting issues, and that Wheale's mother was "essentially working for free as Laura's unofficial secretary."

In a concluding written statement rebutting Wheale's termination letter, Cobb and her attorney address the volunteer issue.

"The irony is that while Judge Wheale had violated juvenile confidentiality laws by allowing her mom and/or brother access to restricted records, she fired me for what were essentially misunderstandings that could have been cleared up with open communication," the letter stated.

Duggan said that Cobb was just 78 days from being vested in the county's retirement program when she her employment was terminated with the court, and that she was never dismissed from a job in her previous experience in law enforcement. She additionally had vacation time and 120 hours of sick leave built up during her tenure as the juvenile court clerk.

Her attorney asked the county to reinstate her at her old position — which has already been filled — or to find one of similar responsibility and pay scale for her to return to until she is able to find other employment. In lieu of that, they want her to receive money back from her paid time off she earned over the years, and to have the opportunity to be vested in the county's retirement.

She was escorted out by deputies and given 10 minutes to pack her belongings after she was fired by Wheale at day's end on July 16, 2019.

Wheale was not present to present her side of the story during the August 21 hearing, but did email a rebuttal to the commission that was provided by Polk County in an open records request.

Her written rebuttal refutes much of what Cobb described in the presentation made to the personnel committee. She also stated in her rebuttal that she would have not dismissed Cobb had she realized how close she was to being vested in the county's retirement program.

"I can confidently say that had I known about the vestment date, I would have delayed action, given her years of service and as a professional courtesy," Wheale's rebuttal stated. "I also do not question the sincerity and authenticity

Additionally, Wheale denied that any of her actions caused the workplace to become hostile, and that much of the problems caused in the past months within the court have been due to actions of Haralson and Polk County administrations and commissions.

She also stated in her rebuttal that she had no conversations or was presented with any formal complaints about any workplace issues within her court, and did cite that Cobb followed correct procedure in reporting problems to the county administration.

One point she did clarify in her rebuttal was the use of family volunteers within the court with the executive director of the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

"He expressed that it did not inherently violate any judicial canons," her rebuttal stated. "Candidly, I also wanted people I could trust to be near me. This practice was stopped shortly after it was started and both Mr. Denton and Mr. McFall reprimanded me, without full investigation."

Wheale, being represented by her own attorneys, has since filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against both Haralson and Polk counties commissions, Superior Court Judge Mark Murphy, District Attorney Jack Browning, and others. She alleges discrimination since her salary and budget requirements were not the same as those of Murphy, who previously served as Chief Judge of the Juvenile Court in the Tallapoosa Circuit for more than 20 years.

Additional open records requests have been made and fulfilled, and additional information will be shared after they have been reviewed.


AREA CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Mark those calendars now for the Holloway Hunny Pot Festival and Artisan Market coming up on Sept. 7 in Cedartown. The day is scheduled for Big Spring Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information regarding vendor spots for the forthcoming event, contact Aimee Madden at amadden@cedartowngeorgia.gov or by calling 770-748-3220. Reminder: the application deadline has passed.

The Cedartown-Polk County Humane Society is hosting a low cost rabies clinic coming up in Rockmart at the Hogue Gym at 436 Hogue Ave., Rockmart on Saturday, Sept. 7 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cats and Dogs are $10 each. Other services like embedding a microchip in pets for $10, and Precious Paws

will be on hand for nail trimming for $5. All proceeds go to the Humane Society.

Spooky Spokes is coming to Cedartown on October 12 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Bert Wood Youth and Athletic Complex! Civic clubs, community organizations and more are invited to take part in the bike ride and Halloween Village. Find out more by calling the city at 770-748-3220.

Join the City of Aragon for a day of fun at their upcoming Fall Festival at Tom Pittman Field on Saturday, October 12 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free, and a screening of "Hocus Pocus" will be part of the day.

{div}A Benefit for Shriners' Hospitals for Children presenting the "Sounds of Jericho" a traditional male quartet from Flowery Branch. The members of the quartet are Stacy Bragg, Stephen Sigmon, Ken Thomas, and Matt Tyler. Each member loves the Lord, and ministers to others through music. Each member has extensive musical experience, is well founded in Southern Gospel. In 2014, Sounds of Jericho was nominated in the Top 10 New Traditional Quartet category, by "Singing News Fan Awards". This presentation is from the Cedartown Shrine Club at the Cedartown Performing Arts Center on Sept. 28, 2019. For tickets call 770-748-4168.

The Exchange Club of Cedartown is excited to invite the public to return to the fairgrounds for the annual Polk County Fair, starting September 10 through September 14. Check back in the September 4 edition for a schedule of entertainment, costs and more.

Get ready for the 45th annual Flea Market at Cedartown First United Methodist Church coming up Friday, September 6 and Saturday, September 7 in Cedartown. Times are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. The sale will feature house wares, furniture, clothing for all ages and sizes, toys, books and much more. Call the church at 770- 748-7862 to learn more.

A one night revival is coming up at Cross Factor Church in Rockmart with Bishop Alan Mushegan starting at 7 p.m. This breakthrough event invites all those who are in need of fellowship and the love of Christ. Doors open at 6 p.m. Find the church at 1057 Nathan Dean Parkway in Rockmart.

The Polk Gathering is sponsored by the Polk County Historical Society and is directed by Spivey McIntosh. The first Gathering of the People event is scheduled for September 20 through 22, 2019 at the Polk County Fairgrounds, located behind the Polk County Police Department off the Highway 27 bypass in Cedartown. Hours for the event begin 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Call 770-862- 4188 or email polkgahistory@gmail.com for more information. Visit polkgathering.com to find out more about the event. Sponsors, vendors and advertisers are being sought.

The Cedartown Farmer's Market has a new location and time for the 2019 season. Market-goers are invited to come out to the corner of Ware and South Main Street in Cedartown continuing on Tuesdays from 1 to 5 p.m. Contact Five Cedars Farm to participate at 678-246- 1216 to learn more about becoming a vendor.

Join Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church to celebrate their annual Men and Women's Day program at 194 East Point Road on Sunday, August 25, at 3 p.m. The Rev. Susan H. Buckson of the Allen Temple AME Church of Atlanta will be the guest speaker. For more information call 470-370-3290.

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

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 Journal 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.

The American Legion in Rockmart is hosting their monthly all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner coming up this Wednesday, August 21. 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.

Save the date: The Boys and Girls Club of NWGA is hosting a Polk County Golf Tournament on Friday, Aug. 16 at 9 a.m. at the Cherokee Golf and Country Club. Find more information at bgcnwga.org or call 706-234-8591.

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 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.

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.

Need to get an item onto the Area Calendar of Events? Email kmyrick@polkstandardjournal.com today! All items must be in at least two weeks before the event to appear in the Standard Journal on time.