A question of increasing the safety of local parks and also trying to deter criminal activity is one reason why the City of Cedartown is looking at the idea of installing some outdoor security cameras at places like Turner Street and Peek Park.
Yet the sticker shock of how much it would take to install just a few cameras at every park on an annual basis from Georgia Power isn't one the entire board is ready to take on just yet.
Assistant City Manager Edward Guzman presented his first official research project to the board during discussion time set aside for the issue during a special called session of the city commission, and outlined a plan that includes cameras setup in strategic locations around local parks to both keep an eye out in specific areas where vandalism has been a past issue, and also as a general crime prevention since activities in parks would be recorded and stored for a time if needed for police investigations and prosecutions.
Where Commissioners had issue was swallowing the cost. At Turner Street Park for instance, Georgia Power bid a cost of $340 a month to install cameras in the area, for an annual figure of $4,080.
A $600 cost monthly at Peek Park would end up being $7,200 annually.
Cameras installed in the parks provide a real time link via the internet and connections included from Georgia Power to give instant access to police in the program, which is also available to private businesses. The company does all the hard work of maintaining the equipment and storage of video footage the city can then download if needed at no extra cost.
A figure for Bert Wood Park wasn't available when Guzman was asked by commissioners, and he said Georgia Power had promised but not yet provided it for review. Georgia Power would provide services on the contract with a month-t0-month right for the city to pull out.
Guzman said it was likely a better price was possible for monthly expenses if a long term agreement were reached with the company.
When asked, City Manager Bill Fann said the annual costs of cameras wouldn't justify the potential decrease in the cost of vandalism in the parks, since only a few hundred dollars is spent to replace anything broken.
"I think the last time we had a break-in at Bert Wood, and they didn't get much," Fann said. "What else can they get over there but candy bars?"
He added that "usually we have to replace picnic tables or park benches."
See SAFETY, A9
He added that the real positive of getting the quotes from Georgia Power is having information in hand about generalized cost, they can now develop more specifics and put it out for bid.
"Now we have all this, and you take this and you say 'give us a price on this,'" Fann said.
When the board discussed how to move forward, Commissioner Dale Tuck pushed for security cameras to be prioritized for Turner Street Park and Peek Park as a start.
She said in a follow-up discussion that security cameras will be her priority as the commission continues to discuss and look at all options for how to move forward. It will likely be 2019 before anything is installed as budget costs are looked at in the months to come before the year's end.
Cedartown's budget will be worked out before the end of December, when their fiscal year comes to a close and the new year brings a new set of funding numbers.
Other topics will be up for review and vote during their Aug. 13 session which was held after press time. Check back online for more on the votes in that meeting at polkstandardjournal.com.
The Polk School District started the school year with a new force to protect students in the classroom thanks to their newly formed police department.
Now those women and men of law enforcement are duly sworn after a special ceremony before Probate Judge Linda Smith.
Before swearing in the officers, Smith said she understood the need for their presence in local schools, and voiced her appreciation for their service.
"I think that it is wonderful that we now have an officer in every school to protect our children," Smith said. "I'm proud that we have that."
After the new force raised their right hands and agreed to protect and serve, Superintendent Laurie Atkins also read off a Code of Ethics statement each officer was given a copy of to sign. It provided clear guidance about their responsibilities to protect the faculty, staff and student body at local schools as well as remind the officers that their conduct should always be above board.
Superintendent Laurie Atkins said last Wednesday the additional police presence provided by an in-house police force – like those on college campuses across the nation – gives peace of mind to all in the Polk School District.
"Our main purpose and goal is to make sure that our students and employees are kept safe on a daily basis," she said.
Prior to the new force, that was
handled by a school resource officers from Cedartown and Rockmart police departments, who had to share time between schools depending on the day-to-day needs of the school district.
With the increase of high-profile shootings at schools across the country in past years, and a call from the State Superintendent for local school districts to create their own police departments internally, the district turned to forming their own campus security force with some beginning steps last spring.
Additional security improvements were in place by the time students returned to classrooms this year. For instance, a new partition and doors that only open from inside into the main campus area of Cedartown High School are now in place to funnel visitors into the front office, where they can then report their presence.
The added layer of personnel ensures that any potential incident at the school can receive an immediate response from a trained law enforcement officer.
"We want to make sure that all of our schools are occupied at all times with safety personnel, and this is the only way we could do that," she said at the conclusion of the Aug. 8 ceremony. "We don't want overburden our local agencies. They serve such an important role in our community, but we're very grateful that they have joined us in this partnership."
That relationship will continue with resource officers still taking a part from local departments, she said. Atkins added they are taking part as partners in the creation of the Polk School District Police Department.
New officers at the schools marked one of the many additions underway as the school year began. Atkins said everything went smoothly through the opening of class on Aug. 3, and through the first full week back overall.
A specific positive she noted that has helped with the Polk School District Police presence on campuses is moving traffic along the mornings and afternoons.
"The presence of the officers, and being able to build a relationship with them right off the bat is very important," Atkins said. "We think it is going to be a great year."
The creation of the new department makes it the sixth local law enforcement agency in the county at large, joining three city police departments, the county police and the Sheriff's Office with sworn officers.
With Barn Belly Burgers now open and doing business, Aragon locals can now get classic American food without venturing across the highway into Rockmart.
The restaurant saw its grand opening at 2536 Rome Highway on Aug. 8, and patrons have been dining on burgers, wings, and sandwiches since.
Those interested can stop by on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. through 8 p.m., Wednesdays from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. through 9 p.m.
Customers can expect to spend around $7 to $10 for entrees, but kids options cost around $4 to $5. Also available are homemade desserts and vegetarian options. They've also got a few appetizers on the menu, including a variety of quesadillas. Platters also include options of chiken, ribs, and fish, and there's a heap of sides to choose from too.
The new owners on their Facebook page thanked the community for taking interest on their grand opening day on Aug. 8.
"We look forward to serving the City of Aragon and its neighboring cities," the post read.
Barn Belly is also overseeing the revival of the flea market located next to the restaurant.
Those interested in renting a booth and selling their items can still call 404-528-0040 for more information on becoming a vendor.
The market will be open Fridays through Sundays from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. once ready.
Barn Belly takes over the space formerly used by RW's Snack Shack in Aragon, which was open for around a year on the side of Highway 101 next to Euharlee Creek.
Additional dollars to help fund projects of all sizes is the hoped for outcome of votes from local municipalities seeking to keep in place a sales tax fund on this year's ballot.
Of course that's only if voters give the Special Purpose, Local Option Sales Tax extension past 2020 their approval on the November ballot.
The County Commission were the final board to give the agreement for the extension, which would keep the
penny sales tax in place through 2026. They voted on the intergovernmental agreement, and then resolution seeking the ballot measure, during their Aug. 7 regular session.
"All the cities have met and approved it," county manager Matt Denton said.
The SPLOST, or special-purpose local-option sales tax, won't be reinstated until the also approved special election happens later in the year. If accepted, the cities could use the tax money on everything from recreation to city projects.
"It's a state requirement," Denton said. "Any addition to the ballot is a special election."
The cities and county had a Thursday, Aug. 9 deadline to seek to get the agreement and individual resolutions calling for the ballot measure for this year's midterms.
The Cedartown City Commission met the night before and gave it a thumb's up as well.
City Manager Bill Fann told his board the agreement mirrors the one still in place for the 2014 SPLOST approved by voters some four years ago to continue the fund through 2020.
This go-around the county and cities seek $32 million to fund various projects and purchases allowed by the fund, which varies between the municipalities.
Fann said since the city needs the funds for capital investments like replacing vehicles in the fleet – everything from dump trucks to police cars to repairs on vital infrastructure – can be funded through a sales tax that everyone pays, or via property tax increases
"In my eyes this is the fairest way to do it," Fann said. "I think most people feel the same way."
He added that approval came up fast for local governments due to the cycle of elections, and the need to get the SPLOST onto the ballot with enough voters to take part and approve it, but also before the current fund runs out.
Polk County gets the largest slice of the SPLOST funding overall between the county's four municipalities, with Cedartown getting the second largest since it has the highest population of the three cities after the unincorporated areas.
Rockmart receives the next largest portion, and Aragon the smallest slice of the pie.
The municipal SPLOST is not the same as the education-only SPLOST, or E-SPLOST that was approved by voters for an extension through the 2020s as well.
Each local government has options on how they can spend their SPLOST funds over the six year period in general categories, but usually earmark the money for a variety of replacement equipment, upgrades for facilities or new buildings.
Collections come in monthly for each group based off the percentage negotiated in the intergovernmental agreements between Denton, Fann, Rockmart City Manager Jeff Ellis, and Aragon Mayor Garry Baldwin.
Fann, like Ellis when Rockmart approved the irresolution and the intergovernmental agreement, said he wished the City of Cedartown's portion was larger.
"But it is what it is," Fann said.
Voters ultimately decide whether they will continue to allow for the one-cent collections on purchases within the county, which apply equally to residents and visitors. If the vote were to fail to pass on this year's ballot, the four municipalities can seek to get it into the 2019 municipal elections ahead of the expiration in 2020.
Collections would end in 2026. Additional information about the projects will be forthcoming in the weeks to come as the midterm vote draws closer.
Editor Kevin Myrick and Correspondent Sean Williams contributed to this report.
Just Us Ministries is hosting "Wendy's Ride" on Saturday, Aug. 18, starting with a 9 a.m. registration and kickstands up at 11 a.m. The ride will begin and end at Victory Baptist Church at 15 Hendrix Road and a police escort will be available. $25 donation per bike, door prizes and cash giveaways are part of the fun. Spaghetti plates available for $6 each. Dine-in or Carry-out from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Advanced tickets can be purchased this week and next for $5 at Victory Baptist Church. Rain date is Aug. 25. Call Allen Ray at 770-687-3009 or Mark Brady at 678-988-3194 for more information.
Operation Christmas Child Shoebox is holding a Pinto Bean fundraiser on Saturday, Aug. 18, at 5 p.m. at the Live Oak Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 150 Live Oak Road. Donations accepted. All proceeds will go toward shipping costs. Meal includes pinto beans, fried potatoes, coleslaw and all the fixings.
Come join the Ware's Grove Missionary Baptist Church, 200 Potash Road, as they celebrate Homecoming service on Aug. 19, at 3 p.m. Rev. James Wright, Pastor of Cedar Spring Missionary Baptist Church will deliver the gospel message. Revival services will be conducted the following week beginning at 7 p.m. nightly. Rev. John Harris, Pastor of Thankful Baptist Church, Kennesaw will be the speaker.
Take part now in helping local youth continue their education by purchasing a ticket today for the Mamie Hammock Scholarship Banquet, coming up on Aug. 25. The event starts at 6 p.m. at the Cedar Lake Christian Center in Cedartown. Tickets are $20, and can be purchased from April Welch by calling 678-988-1499, or contacting Estella McDermott at 706-506-8924.
Everyone is invited to take part in Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church's to celebrate Men and Women's Day with the congregation on Sunday, Aug. 26 at 3 p.m. The speaker for the evening event is Minister Rita Prior, daughter-in-law of Deacon and Deaconess Clarence and Brenda Prior. For more information contact Deacon Prior at 770-546-6668. The church is located at 194 East Point Road, Cedartown.
Get ready for the Polk County Fair, coming up this year on new dates starting on Tuesday, Aug. 28 and continuing through Sunday, Sept. 2., with the first ever Sunday afternoon fair date. The 2018 Polk County Fair will have some other updates this year, so stay tuned for more. Be sure to check out the fair Facebook page at facebook.com/PolkCountyFair for updates on contest entries, entertainment listings and more.
Mark those calendars now for the Cedartown First United Methodist Church's 44th annual Flea Market at the church at 201 Wissahickon Ave., Cedartown. The market begins Friday, Sept. 7 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and continues Saturday, Sept. 8 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. House wares, furniture, a variety of clothing, toys and books are a few of the many items available for sale. Contact the church at 770-748-7862 to learn how to donate items.
Cedar Christian School is accepting students for enrollment for the start of classes this fall. Those interested in Christ-focused education for their youth can contact them at 678-901-3500, email CCS@sda1844.org, or visit the Cedar Christian School Facebook page. The school located at 625 West Ave., Cedartown.
The Bold and Beautiful Red Hatters is hosting "A Journey in Time," and strap on some high buttoned shoes for a family fun night on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Polk County College and Career Academy campus at Cedartown High School. Tickets are $15. Wear the best costume from the 1860s to 1960s and be eligible to win prizes. Dance the night away with Dink Wilkes acting as DJ. Call Queen Patricia Smith Cannon at 770-546-4717 or Queen Sheila Angel at 770-883-3201 for more or the purchase tickets. All proceeds will be used for charitable giving.
Come hungry for the American Legion Post 12's upcoming spaghetti dinner this Wednesday, August 15. Meal of spaghetti, meatballs, garlic toast and salad served from 5 to 7 p.m., $5, all-you-can-eat. All proceeds go to veteran and children's charities. Enjoy a great meal with the American Legion.
Rivers Alive is coming up later this summer in September, and officials are asking volunteers to mark their calendars now. Come take part in the annual cleanup of local streams and waterways in Rockmart on Sept. 22, with more details to come soon. Contact Randy Cook for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 678-246-1083.
Get tickets now for the upcoming Farm to Table on Marble, set for Oct. 6. The dinner will take place in downtown Rockmart in the outdoors, with tickets starting at $60 for individuals or $225 for a whole table of six, stretching 200 feet in total. The meal will feature locally grown products, and will start at 6 p.m. Purchase tickets now by contacting Shonna Kirkpatrick at email@example.com, Dan Bevels at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to take part as a sponsor by emailing email@example.com.
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.
The Rockmart Youth Football Association evenings of drills and conditioning continues through the summer from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday nights at Hilburn Field in Rockmart. Ages 5-12 are eligible to practice. Signups for all Polk County football players can also be completed while drills are being held at Hilburn Field. Call Ruben Galvan at 706-346-8682 or Dante Jones at 770-878-8282 for more information.
The Polk County Democratic Committee meets on the second Saturday of every month at 9:30 a.m. During even numbered months the group meet at The Rockmart Library at 316 N. Piedmont Ave., Rockmart, and during odd numbered months the party meet at the Cedartown Welcome Center, 609 Main St., Cedartown. All are welcome to take part! Check out more information at the Polk County Democratic Committee at facebook.com/Polk-County-Democratic-Committee-GA-850067035038585/.
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.
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 email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or questions. The church also updates weekly on their website at rockmartumc.org.
The next West Georgia Spay/Neuter Clinic is coming to the Cedartown-Polk County Humane Society again on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018. Head over to the organization's office at 608 Adamson Road, Cedartown, on Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m. or Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to fill out an admission and prepay for the surgery. Those wanting more information can call 678-361-7304 for more information. Vaccines and tests are available for extra cost as well. Transports won't be scheduled again until Aug. 22.
Members are invited to join the Cedartown Exchange Club weekly on Thursdays at 6 p.m. at the Cherokee Country Club for meetings and dinner. New members from across Polk County are encouraged to get involved by contacting club president-elect Edward Guzman at 770-546-2482 to take part in the organization that is involved in a wide range of community projects. Visit their website at cedartownexchangeclub.com to learn more. Annual dues are required to be a member.
Just Us Ministries Inc. Food Bank has distribution every Tuesday and Thursday at 904 Young Farms Road in Cedartown. On Tuesday the distribution is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. A picture ID is required. For more information call 770-687-1009 or 678-901-3354, email email@example.com, or visit Justusministries.com.
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.
The Rotary Club of Polk County meets weekly at the Richardson Field Depot in Rockmart for lunch at noon every Tuesday and are encouraging members and potential new members to take part. Contact Missy Kendrick with the Rotary Club at 770-584-5234 for more on how to participate or become a member. Annual dues are required to be a member.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cedartown, hosts a genealogy group that meets from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday nights, except holidays. There are no fees for these sessions and they are open to anyone. Please bring all of your basic family history (if you have it) such as names, birth-dates/death dates of parents, grandparents, children, etc. Bring your laptop or tablet, if you have one. If not, we can still help. Questions? Contact us at 678-477-2861 and leave a message or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FamilyQuest42/
The Sit and Stitch will meet at a new day this year at Rockmart First United Methodist Church in the fellowship hall. The group will meet the first and third Monday's of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., starting on Aug. 6, 2018. Participants can bring any craft they choose or help with a ministry project this year. The group is making crochet or knitted caps for donation to Helping Hands. A pattern will be provided and the group has crafters who can help those in need of instruction. Bring a sack lunch. Coffee or tea provided. Any questions please call Madeline Brown 678-435-5032.
The Kiwanis Club of Cedartown encourages members to take part in weekly meetings on Fridays at noon at the Cherokee County Club. Potential new members are asked to get in touch with Rhonda Heuer, Club Secretary at 770-748-1016 to learn more about how you can take part in making the community a better place. Annual dues are required for membership. Visit kiwanis.org to learn about the club.
Check out the Rockmart Farmers Market at the Silver Comet Trailhead behind Southcrest Bank on Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m. Visit Rockmartfarmersmarket.com for details about vendors and upcoming classes.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints provides opportunities to local residents interested in hearing the message of Jesus Christ. For more information about how you can speak to local Elders, contact 687-852-7497, or visit their meeting house at 10005 N. Main St., Cedartown for worship services at 10 a.m. on Sundays.
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.
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.