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Landfill lawsuit coming to court on April 17

A judge from outside of Polk County and the Tallapoosa Circuit will be in charge of the lawsuit between Polk County and Waste Industries, based on filings in Superior Court.

She comes into a case that will have a first hearing date on April 17 after suit was filed by Polk County against ETC of Georgia, LLC. The company was bought out many years ago and ended up in the hands of Waste Industries, who operates the Grady Road Landfill.

In last year's filing, the county sought both fixes to many complaints on the site just off the highway intersection of U.S. 278 and Grady Road.

Along with financial compensation to the tune of $811,552.40 for two specific violations in the contract, stemming from the company overcharging the county on fuel fees, and additionally from underpayments of host fees. Those include interest derived from the overcharges and host fees due.

The suit was originally set to go before Judge Michael Murphy, who retired in October.

Case filings on both sides have been going on since the initial complaint was filed. They include a response from attorneys for Waste Industries, a amended filing of the complaint, requests for discovery, and in most recent weeks a request from the county to allow for unannounced inspections of the site. The April 17 hearing seeks to determine the status of an additional recent filing for an Injunction or Restraining Order filed to abate nuisances at the Grady Road Landfill, such as buzzards and odors that have been a persistent problem.

Attorneys for Waste Industries provided a statement on the discovery in a press release as follows:

"ETC has been attempting through litigation discovery procedures to require the County to identify any specific violations of ETC's contract, its permits, or applicable law. The County has not yet provided the information ETC has requested," Matt Martin of Dentons Law Firm said. "The upcoming hearing on April 17 is not a trial on the merits, but rather seeks to impose a 90-day trial period during which certain remedial measures would be attempted. ETC offered to discuss these remedial measures with the County, in lieu of a hearing, but the County refused. ETC intends to file its written response to the requested relief this Friday."

Polk County officials were sought for comment on the forthcoming hearing, but did not wish to make a statement on pending litigation.

Waste Industries Regional Vice President Jason Zepp also provided the following statement on the record as well:

"ETC of Georgia has been in partnership with the Polk County Commission since 2004 when the County turned operations over to ETC due to substantial operating costs, debt, and increased burden to Polk County taxpayers. Since then, ETC have maintained not only to be best-in-class landfill operations, but also remained a responsible corporate citizen. It is unfortunate, the County Commission chose to spend its time and taxpayers' dollars on an expensive lawsuit with broadly stated claims fail to identify any specific issues or breaches."

The statement continued: "The Georgia Environmental Protection Division inspects the landfill randomly, and on a regular basis. The site consistently scores in the 95 to 100 percent range. We are confident that our operations meet or exceed all State and Federal regulatory requirements, as well as our contractual obligations to the citizens of Polk County. It has always been ETC's preference to work these issues out cooperatively rather than through the expensive and slow-moving legal process."

Adele Grubbs, who retired in 2016 from the bench in Cobb County Superior Court, will be sitting in on the forthcoming arguments in the Tallapoosa Circuit. Grubbs became the first female assistant district attorney hired in the Cobb Judicial Circuit, and later served as a Juvenile Court judge before she became a Superior Court Judge in 2001.

She's still serving as a senior judge in the Cobb Superior Court after a 15-year career on the bench and comes into the Tallapoosa Circuit with 50 years of legal experience.

Grubbs was appointed to oversee the case in January by Judge Ralph Van Pelt Jr., who is the administrative judge for the Seventh Judicial Administrative Circuit.


Cedar Valley Arts Festival coming soon to Cedartown

The Cedar Valley Arts Festival is coming soon to Peek Park in Cedartown, and this year marks the 55th year the Junior Service League gets the community to come out and see what youth and adult artists alike have to offer.

With some slight changes to the 2019 offerings like a shake-up of the annual 5K, organizers are about a month out from the April 27 and 28 event with most of the event staying the same. Parents and art lovers alike will be able to find student work hung on the fences of the Peek Park tennis courts. Vendors will be on hand with food and drinks, a variety of crafts and even plant sales to help raise money for local causes.

However this year instead of kicking off the opening day with a 5K and fun run, this year participants better be ready to go the distance as instead the race now offers a 5K and 10K offering for the 22nd year of the race.

Registration for the race can be found at Active.com, and includes the guarantee of a t-shirt for those who get payment in by April 13. Awards will be given out to race winners and age category winners.

Following the race, the event kicks off at 10 a.m. on April 27 and continues through 7 p.m., and includes a car show from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ($15 registration fee per car.)

On Sunday, April 28 the festival opens at 10 a.m. and continues through 5 p.m., and includes the 2 p.m. Arts Festival dog show.

Areas will also be available for youth arts and crafts, plus some small rides on site as well during both days. Local youth artwork on display in the tennis courts represent student work from all across Polk School District.

All items are handmade by vendors at the festival from local and area artists and producers, and coming to Peek Park over the weekend to take part and walk around is free of charge.

Visit cedarvalleyartsfestival.com to learn more about the upcoming event, and check back ahead of the festival for updates in the coming editions of the Standard Journal.


Kelley's devotion to the state house

State Representative Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown) said complaints about lines from a devotional his father Doyle Kelley made in the state house last week are unwarranted.

Kelley said his father, who has acted as Chaplain of the Day in year's past for the State House, delivered a long devotional on "having a healthy heart for Jesus" and that overall he received praise and well-wishes from both sides of the political divide in the chamber during the March 26 session.

The honor to serve as the House Chaplain came just a year after the football coach, former baseball coach and pastor suffered from a heart attack. Joining in the ceremonies earlier in the week were his mother, brother, wife and other loved ones at the Capitol with Trey Kelley, who is serving as this year's Majority Whip.

It was Doyle Kelley's fifth time serving as Chaplain for the State House.

"It was a great day for me and my family," Trey Kelley said.

Then late on the night of March 27, Kelley received word about the complaint made by Democratic State Rep. Josh McLaurin of Sandy Springs to House Speaker David Ralston's legal counsel in a letter that Doyle Kelley's words to the chamber might have violated a separation of Church and State.

According to reporting from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's reporting last week, the freshman member challenged whether Kelley's father went too far near the end of a devotional on Tuesday based on the following lines:

"The command is there: Do all in the name of Jesus Christ. People always ask me, 'Why are there so many lost people in the state of Georgia?'

"The statistics came out that there's 70 percent of the people in the state of Georgia that are lost. That are lost. Seventy percent. There are over 10 million people in the state of Georgia. That means there are 7 million people lost.

"Now you want to hear it in Baptist terms: Seven million people that are lost are dying and on their way to Hell. That's what that means."

Kelley said in an interview while on break from the March 28 session that the statistics are some his father have used in and out of the pulpit for years and refers to the number of people who don't claim church membership or religious affiliation (7 out of 10) in a poll.

Those figures were published in year's past in the Christian Index, a newspaper that is circulated to churches for planning purposes, according to a clarification made by the elder Kelley.

Doyle Kelley did not wish to speak further about the issue.

Along with being the Athletic Director and head football coach for Cedartown High School, Kelley is also the pastor at Worldview Baptist Church.

His son added the statistics had nothing to do with McLaurin's claim that Doyle Kelley was speaking out about abortion.


Playground celebrates 20th anniversary

A long weekend some two decades ago to bring to life a real palace of play at Peek Park in Cedartown is coming back around as improvements are planned for a once controversial project.

At the end of last week, workers were at the playground and had it closed off as much-needed mulch was installed around the wooden structure and swing sets, and more is planned for the future according to city officials.

The same company who helped bring the project to life is being sought for help in the opening stages of renovation work, according to City Manager Bill Fann.

He contacted Leathers & Associates, the company that designed and assisted with the original volunteer project. He added that they were planning to send an official from the company this week to look over the structure and space to give the city an assessment and proposal to "get it back in shape."

The potential for a upgrade and restoration of the playground comes just days ahead of a big anniversary of it's construction in the late 1990's, spearheaded by a community volunteer effort over a four day span.

Leslie McFall, who with her friend Carol Ferry, spent more than a year and raised $150,000 in an effort that culminated in hundreds of volunteers from April 14 through April 18, 1999 coming together to bring to life the playground children continue to use today.

McFall, like many who helped in that effort with sons and daughters of their own that got to enjoy the facilities at Peek Park in the years hence, was shocked to think so much time had passed.

She said the efforts began when she was still a newcomer to the community, and wanted to have a place for kids to play like McFall saw built in other places. Her model — one that Leathers & Associates brought all across the country at the time — was based off similar projects already completed in Marietta and on Lookout Mountain in the Chattanooga area.

It wasn't without local community input before plans went to the Cedartown City Commission at the time.

McFall said Leathers & Associates went to local elementary schools to ask what they'd like to see built in Cedartown and "listened to the kids and what they wanted and had to put it all together."

"We had all of that done and paid for not knowing whether we were going to have one or not," she said.

Ahead of construction and approval from the city commission of year's past, the idea was tabled for months as opposition to the playground was voiced. However, the effort to block the playground only made it grow in popularity and ended up giving McFall more support than they'd ever dreamed of having.

It even became an effort that drew in family members who flew from all corners of the country to come and help with construction when after months of work, the project was near the finish line.

McFall said the 400 to 500 volunteers — which included equipment provided by the Tillery family and services from Trammell Lawn Care and Georgia Power, among many others — worked in three shifts a day for those four days in April to get the playground finished.

"Everyone came together and made it happen," she said.

She said efforts here ended up helping to get projects in Rome, Rockmart and one in Paulding County completed as well. and the 10 years the volunteer organization agreed to keep up the park ran out in 2009, and McFall turned records over to the city for its care.

McFall said if renovations and upgrades are completed — like a recent donation of a handicapped swing installed to increase accessibility — the playground will continue to serve generations growing up to come.

"It is a part of the park that will last forever if it is taken care of, just like a home," she said.


Students celebrate finish of Polk Youth Leadership program

Local youth who took on the task of learning all about leadership opportunities celebrated the completion of the program for the 2018-19 school year at a breakfast to wrap up the week ahead of the start of Spring Break.

A dozen sophomores each from Cedartown and Rockmart High Schools made up the graduating class of 24 for the year, which took on the task of learning all about leadership and what it entails, like communicating effectively with people and building and maintaining teams of people to accomplish a task.

"They learned all about how to communicate with each other, and to operate together as a team," Polk County Extension Coordinator Ricky Ensley said. He's also the head of the program for Polk Youth Leadership, which is organized with the help of the Polk County Chamber of Commerce.

Ensley said the curriculum for the class also saw students gaining a better appreciation for the difference between people, but to use them as strengths toward a team effort to accomplish a goal.

"Superintendent Laurie Atkins taught a session on the Polk School District's Report Card, and encouraged these school leaders to get their classmates to come to school every day and graduate, to do their best in class," he said.

Graduates this year included Lauren Allred, Micah Arbuthnot, Trudi Baines-Floyd, Sara Carlton, Parker Crawford, Daisy Cruz-Rangel, Cade Dingler, Mehiji Floyd, Tayte Fuqua, Isaac Gober, Emy Gomez-Vasquez, Emily Haney, Evan Holder, Ethan Lester, Kendy Lopez, Andrew Lumpkin, Suzanna McElwee, Tyler Paschal, Sid Patel, Anna Claire Sides, Gracie Tan, Michael Walker, Cody Williams and Kearston Winston.

During the March 29 ceremony to honor the 24 who participated in this year's program, Cedartown Performing Arts Center Director Oscar Guzman provided inspiration for those sophomores in the audience looking toward the future.

A Cedartown High graduate less than a decade out from earning his diploma, he said he never foresaw right out of college he'd be running a non-profit, or be hired on full time with the city to run the Performing Arts Center as part of the newly formed Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

He told students that so long as they continue to work hard and ask for current leaders to help them achieve their own goals, they can do as much and more than him in the future.


AREA CALENDAR OF EVENTS

The Easter Bunny will be hopping into Cedartown ahead of the holiday this 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 the April 3 edition.

Come join the fun next weekend at Anna Kresge Memorial United Methodist Church on Saturday, April 13 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. for Brunch with the Bunny. The event will include the opportunity for youth to enjoy fun and games, bunny-shaped pancakes and photo opportunities with the Easter Bunny. Call the church at 770-748-4308 for more information.

Join the Second Baptist Church in Cedartown for their annual Easter Egg Hunt on April 20th starting at 11:30 a.m. There will be free food, bounce houses, egg hunts, and prizes for all age groups of kids. Register and find more information at www.sbcedartown.org.

Anna Kresge Memorial United Methodist Church's Men's Club is holding a Fish Fry fundraiser coming up this Saturday, April 6 from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., or until the food is all sold out. The menu includes catfish, slaw, hushpuppies, fries and a drink. Eat in or carry out is $9 a plate. Call 770-748-4308 to learn more.

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 annual Lost Cost Rabies Clinic sponsored by the Cedartown/Polk County Humane Society is coming up on Saturday, May 4 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Cedartown Boys and Girls Club at 321 E. Queen St. Cats and Dogs are $10 and horses are $20. Pet owners can get their dogs and cats micro-chipped for an additional $10, or have Precious Paws provide nail trimming for $5. All proceeds go to the Humane Society.

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.

The American Legion in Rockmart is hosting their monthly all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner coming upon Wednesday, April 17. 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. Check back for an updated date in the coming edition of the Standard Journal's Calendar of Events.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

Churches

Polk County is invited to take part in Holy Week events at several churches around Rockmart and Aragon coming up ahead of the Easter holiday, starting on Monday, April 15 and continuing through Easter Sunday on April 21. That includes a Monday worship service at Rockmart First Methodist on April 15 with First Baptist Pastor Jason Odom leading the service, on Tuesday, April 16 at Rockmart Presbyterian Church with Rockmart First Methodist's Rev. Martha Dye leading the service, on Wednesday, April 17 at Aragon First United Methodist Church featuring Earl Johnson, and Thursday, April 18 at Rockmart First Baptist with Jaye Sawyer leading worship. On Friday, April 19, Rockmart First Baptist is hosting services with James Hannah, and then a sunrise Easter Service on April 21 will be led by Maryellen Hittel at Rockmart Presbyterian Church.

A revival is starting this coming week at Lakeview Baptist Church featuring the Rev. Brent Tatum from April 8 through April 13 at 7:30 p.m. nightly. The evening will feature special singing each night.

A day of gospel and praise is planned with the Hess Family Band at the Cedartown Flea Market coming up this Sunday, April 7, starting at 11 a.m. The event is free to the public, but a love offering will be collected during the event. Everyone is welcome to attend at 591 West Ave., Cedartown.

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. 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.