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Two queens to be crowned on Friday

Homecoming is this week at both Cedartown and Rockmart High Schools, and on Friday night both campuses will get a halftime show featuring this year's courts and a new queen crowned for 2018.

As the Cedartown Bulldogs welcome Southeast Whitfield Raiders to town, they'll also be introducing 18 young ladies from the freshman through senior classes as this year's court.

That list includes seniors Tamera Beeman, Madison Coffin, Holly Duncan, Faviana Escalante, Grayson Smith and Shae Smith.

Representing the junior class this year is Leslie Cervantes, Destiny Griffin, Alli Hicks and Raegan Westmoreland. The sophomore court is made up of Ava Allred, Emily Haney, Reagan Peek and Farleigh Glen.

Freshmen are being represented this year by Rossy Cruz, Alyssa Griffin, Graci McElwee and Gracee Privett.

Over on the other side of the county at the same time, Rockmart's court will be presented during the first region game of the season against the visiting Armuchee Indians.

The court this year includes senior ladies Jennifer Crawford, Mallorie Dover, Logan Patterson, Anna Snider, Cambree Stanley, and D'Nya Wilson.

Juniors Carlee Graham and Valerie Williams, sophomores Cameel Owens and Shayla Stephens and freshmen Takiyah Cummings and Landyn Wigley round up the girl's homecoming court for 2018.

The boys court is represented by seniors Sam Depew, Zoryan Hendricks, Grant Morris, Jesse Taff, Zabrion Whatley, and Kohl White.

Juniors Baye Blackwell and Jukeyvious Boozer, sophomores Allan Murrieta and Dalton Sprayberry, and freshmen Omarion Garrett and Cooper Yanzetich round out the court.

Rockmart's homecoming parade was held ahead of the big game on Monday after press time (see the Sept. 19 edition for more photos.) The theme this year was "together we swarm" and several days of dressing up are also being held at the school this week.

Cedartown's Homecoming Parade is being held this Friday on Main Street in downtown starting at 4:30 p.m.

It'll include schools, community league teams and other entries, plus the Cedartown High School Bulldog Marching Band.

The Bulldogs also hosted dress-up days for their students, including the opportunity to take on memes and vines today, Disney and cartoon characters tomorrow, and are asked to wear Black and Red on Friday.

Check back in next week's edition for more on Homecoming 2018.

Report, personnel file sheds light on past Aragon cash problems
• Dunn discusses mistakes in 2012 letter to City Council, later admits to no wrongdoings in 2017 resignation

A new report from Williamson and Company, the auditors for the City of Aragon, shows there were more checks stashed away and likely never cashed.

Without complete bank records, they however stated in this report provided to the city that they can't reconcile exactly what happened to the money that at the time was under the control of only one person at the city, former City and later Court Clerk Lori Dunn.

As previously reported, Dunn's father Mayor Garry Baldwin previously decided to recuse himself in the matter. A document to that effect was part of Dunn's personnel records, which stated that any administrative or personnel issues pertaining to his daughter were to be referred to then Chief Marc Riley, or to Aragon's Municipal Court Judge Terry Wheeler.

Wheeler was previously Dunn's supervisor when she served as the city's court clerk.

Contents of the report include an outline multiple financial documents from a time period ranging from 2004 to 2016 which were made available to Williamson and Co. for review from the city.

With the report sent onward to the city, it is now up to officials on how they wish to move forward, Christopher Hatch of Williamson and Company stated in the seven page document.

So what's in the files?

Williamson and Company's assessment of past financial records, made available to the Standard Journal via an open records request, went over the analysis of the contents of seven files presented to the firm for review.

This was sought in 2017 after numerous checks were found in filing cabinets at the City of Aragon from a time period when Lori Dunn, former city and court clerk, was in charge of the finances.

A request was made and fulfilled to receive copies of these checks and other items that were supplied to Williamson and Company by the Standard Journal, but they are so numerous that additional reporting time will be required before a final tally of the number of checks and how much was left in Aragon's files over the years.

More or less, the contents of the folders mainly contained records of "cash disbursements paid from the City funds and receipts collected from citizens, customers, insurance carriers and state agencies," but also contained several internally generated documents including records from Dunn's personnel files that shed light on what was happening during some of this time. Those were also requested by the Standard Journal under Open Records laws and were turned over.

Overall, Williamson and Company made one thing clear in their examination of the file contents turned over to the city: one person controlling the finances wasn't a good idea.

"Each file contained numerous transactions that made it evident that there were either no internal controls in place regarding the city's cash disbursements and receipts, or the controls were either disregarded," the report stated.

The amount of information is staggering, and to prevent being overwhelmed by it all, below is a brief overview of what Williamson and Company was provided by the city, or at least the portions pertaining to Dunn's tenure at the City Clerk, and for much of that time period was the only person working on finances.

The information noted includes:

• In file 1, officials from the city included communications between Dunn and former Mayor Ken Suffridge about a consistent pattern of negligence displayed by the former City Clerk, who also acted at the time as treasurer. There were two additional documents generated by Dunn herself, the first admitting a number of errors on her part including failure to ensure that software being used to withhold payroll taxes was working.

• In file 2, there were 159 checks totaling $16,554.49 that at the time didn't seem to have been deposited in the bank. The firm also noted two cash advances totaling $4,300 that were made at the time on the city's credit card, but don't have matching receipts to provide records of it being used for a approved purpose by city officials.

• In file 3, additional copies of checks found were presented, which included duplicates of the checks found in File 2. Also there were some checks within the file that needed further explanation but didn't have any, including $575.25 signed by Dunn and a council member to herself; one for Municipal Court Judge Terry Wheeler for $438.95 signed by Dunn that he later explained was cashed at the city for payroll at the time, a practice he undertook commonly; and more financial records without any explanation as to why they were collected or disbursed.

• In File 4, additional payroll checks were found for Dunn, plus other financial documents including blank check stock and five unsigned checks plus a check reorder form, an email from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation dated May 30, 2017 that didn't say they weren't going to look into the matter, but about their lack of interest were not of investigatory value to the GBI. The file also included vendor receipts and more.

• File 5, 6 and 7, additional records were provided or left empty, plus two checks from Dunn that bounced for lack of insufficient funds made on Aug. 15, 2014 and Oct. 3, 2014 were included, which totaled $290.

• Files also included a stamp of former Mayor Brenda Gazaway's signature.

• Also of note in the records was a copy of a check written by Amy Kelley, wife of State Rep. Trey Kelley who was then new to office, to pay for a speeding ticket in July 2013 written in the amount of $195. The file included a receipt generated two months later in September 2013 for a $95 payment. That check was among those found in filing cabinets at the City of Aragon that was never cashed.

Internal records shine light on

finance issues

During Suffridge's administration, he sent along a number of communications to Dunn that were included in her personnel records.

However the first of those to admit to some responsibility for the mess Aragon was in and continues to try to untangle was in her letter dated May 12, 2018.

Dunn started the letter dated Mat 18, 2018 that "I would NEVER do anything intentional to hurt this city. I was born and raised here. I came back in 1999 because I loved my city and wanted to help it keep going. And I appreciate the confidence that you have placed in me over the last 12 years to be a part of it."

However, she went on to explain how payroll taxes went for so long without being paid.

"A few years ago I got behind on making withholding tax payments," the letter read. "After catching up I placed confidence on our financial program to automatically generate reports and automatic payments to withholding. I have just found out that something went wrong and I did not set up the procedure right."

Those payments according to Dunn's Dec. 18, 2014 termination of probationary period totaled up to $152,000 to both the state Department of Revenue and the Internal Revenue service.

According to Suffridge's list of offenses laid out in that 2014 document, the state didn't receive payroll taxes for employees for four years before the 2012 discovery.

Her May 2012 letter also admitted the following:

"As you know, also a few years ago I made a gigantic mistake that has resulted in a law suit against the city. I failed to post a citation payment and a girls license was suspended. She was incarcerated for the suspended license. I have found out last week that she is (suing) me as an individual also. Anybody who knows me

School board gives OK to field trips in work session

Polk School District students will be learning everywhere from Perry to Savannah thanks to the board of education approving several new field trips across various schools.

While many won't be happening until later in the year, early trip approval is fundamental for raising the required funds and awareness.

"These are getting later in the year, but they like to go ahead and get these approved so they can go ahead and start raising money," superintendent Lauri Atkins said.

The board's approval meant the Rockmart High School thespians were allowed to visit the Sept. 7 and 8 leadership conference and the Rockmart, and Cedartown High auto departments will soon be allowed to visit the UTI and NTI colleges on Sept. 13 and 14.

Later field trips include the Rockmart High Ag department's participation in the Perry fair October livestock show, Rockmart Middle School's participation in the November Beta Club Competition, Cedartown High's participation at the February Thespians conference, West Side Elementary's gifted PEP field trip to the Georgia Aquarium later in March, and Van Wert Elementary's gifted PEP trip to the aquarium shortly afterwards.

Learning in the class should be easier with the board formally editing the retest policy for clarity and ease of understanding.

Highlighted in the document is the portion that states those who choose not to use the policy for either quarter will find their lowest test grade dropped at the end of the semester.

So, those who score well

well on all of their tests and don't need to retake can still benefit from the rule.

"We're updating the portion at the end to change the name from 'Move on When Ready' to 'Dual Enrollment' because the state has gone back to 'Dual Enrollment,'" Atkins said at a previous meeting. "And just clarifying some of the pieces for retesting throughout the year. It needed to be a little more specific."

The board has another regular session scheduled for Sept. 11 after press time, before moving into a special combined work and regular session on Oct. 2 because of fall break.

The usual routine matters will be covered, but the group has planned a merit award ceremony to recognize the various achievements of its servers.

Cedartown hosting a "Blue Christmas" parade in December

Blue lights, blue ornaments, blue icicles, snowflakes, tinsel and trimmings: this is the stuff the Cedartown Christmas Parade will be made of this year.

The City of Cedartown encourages residents, businesses, schools, industries and churches to participate in this year's Christmas Parade. Planned for Thursday, December 6 at 6 p.m., the annual event attracts thousands to downtown Cedartown.

Pick a place along Main Street in Historic Downtown – any sidewalk gives a good view.

The theme for this year's parade is "Blue Christmas." Groups wishing to be eligible for prize money for best float must stick to the blue Christmas theme.

"Folks can get creative using blue lights, blue ornaments, blue trees or stockings, tinsel and balloons. The key is to use the color blue as a major theme for your float design," explained Aimee Madden, Christmas Parade Committee member.

Prizes will be awarded in three categories and all entries will be judged based on the theme.

Category one will be a church division with a $500 first place prize, a $300 second place prize and a $200 third place prize. Category two will be an open division with a $500 first place prize, a $300 second place prize and a $200 third place prize. Category three is "Most Outstanding" with only a first-place award of $500.

The City is pleased to announce that the parade's grand marshals will be Jim and Anne Wright.

The Wrights dedicated decades of service to the City of Cedartown and its residents by serving in the water, wastewater and utilities department.

The parade will feature the county's public safety officials and first responders. They hand out special "viewing glasses" to


When worn, the glasses transform Christmas lights into special shapes.

"We really hope the kids will enjoy the glasses and we feel that our county's first responders will enjoy handing them out," Madden said.

Any first responder – fire, police, EMT, EMS, 9-1-1 dispatcher – are welcome to help lead the parade. First responders wishing to participate should contact City Clerk Carol Crawford.

The deadline to enter a float in the 2018 Cedartown Christmas Parade is Friday, Nov. 30 at 5 p.m.

Registration forms and rules can be found online at and on and Twitter Financial account. Advisor.

The City 514 N of Main Cedartown Street contributed Cedartown, this GA report 30125 to the Standard 770-748-3469 Journal.


Mark those calendars now on Sept. 29 for the upcoming Outreach Tabernacle's night of southern gospel at the church at 1351 Co. Road 31 in Muscadine, Ala. They'll be hosting The Masters Touch from Valley, Ala., and Chattanooga's His Call and The Yarbroughs from Bremen. Outreach Tabernacle's church choir will also perform under the direction of GW Cash. The night of song starts at 5:30 p.m. Central.

Tickets are on sale for this Saturday's return of Katie Deal to the Cedartown Performing Arts Center, this time in a duo with Jason Petty for the Classic Nashville Roadshow. Seats start at $15, and the show will feature the music of Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, George Jones and more. Visit to order now, or call 770-748-4168.

Don't forget this Saturday is your chance to get your dog a low cost rabies shot, along with other services in Rockmart. The clinic is being held this Saturday, Sept. 15 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Hogue Avenue gymnasium at 436 Hogue Ave., Rockmart. Cats and dogs are $10 for rabies shots. Other services include Precious Paws nail trimming for $5. Proceeds go to the Humane Society.

Starting this Sunday, the Marietta Street United Methodist Church

holding their 149th Church anniversary at 3 p.m., with their theme as "Look Where He Brought Us From" as the theme of this year's event. Rev. Christopher M. Bonner of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Carrollton, is this year's guest speaker. Revival services follow from Monday, Sept. 17 through Wednesday, Sept. 19 nightly at 7 p.m. Speakers include the Rev. Mattylin Hubbard, Crawford Chapel UMC, Bremen on Monday; Rev. Gilbert Richardson of Wares Grove Baptist Church, Cedartown on Tuesday and Rev. Ralph Thompson, Jr., Columbia Drive UMC of Decatur will close out as speaker on Wednesday night. The public is invited to attend all of the church's celebrations, located on Robert L. Parks Blvd., Cedartown. Attend weekly and join in worship with the congregation led by the Rev. Bobby Chuch. Find out more information about this weekend's anniversary and upcoming revival by calling Annie Vaugh at 770-748-4200.

Outreach Tabernacle on Muscadine, Ala., located at 1351 County Road 31, is holding their revival services on Saturday, Sept. 22 and Sunday, Sept. 23 with guest evangelist Rev. Robert Paul Lamb and Debbie Lamb preaching the gospel. Services get underway on Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. central, and 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 23. For more information contact Pastor Rouzelle Sanders at 770-712-1032.

Cedartown's 41st annual Fall Festival is coming up on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and applications are now open for vendors to sign up and take part. Arts and Crafts vendors are $40, food vendors $50, and booths for information only are $25. Children's activities are $75. Additional fees are required for power and drinks. Find forms on to fill out and return to the Downtown Cedartown Association as soon as possible to be a vendor. Patrons can enjoy the parade, festival and more free of charge. Call or e-mail Ramona Ruark, Main Street Director at 770-748-2090, or e-mail her at

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, e-mail, or visit the Cedar Christian School Facebook page. The school located at 625 West Ave., Cedartown.

Do you have interest in studying the Bible and prophecies within? Contact Dr. Idel Suarez about a new study group being formed locally for serious scholars of the text. Contact him at 813-310-9350 for more information about how to participate and future meetings.

The Bold and Beautiful Red Hatters is hosting "A Journey in Time," and strap on some high buttoned shoes for a family fun night coming up this 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.

Rivers Alive is coming up this month, 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 or call 678-246-1083.

Join the Cedartown-Polk County Humane Society for their annual Spayghetti Dinner, this year being hosted by the First Presbyterian Church of Cedartown on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 4 to 8 p.m. It's a dine-in or take-out meal, and a 50-50 raffle is also being held. $10 per person. Call Charlotte Harrison at 706-252-4412 for more information.

The Harrell-Weaver Reunion is coming up in October, and family members are Journal invited to come take part in the annual gathering. Relatives are asked to come to Fairview Baptist Church in Rockmart on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bring food enough to feed immediate family members, and additional to share. E-mail for more information.

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, Dan Bevels at, or to take part as a sponsor by emailing

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 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 -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 e-mail for more information or questions. The church also updates weekly on their website at

The next West Georgia Spay/Neuter Clinic is coming to the Cedartown-Polk County Humane Society again on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 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 Oct. 3 and Oct. 24

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 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, e-mail, or visit

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

The Sit and Stitch is back to sewing 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. 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 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 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 Readers 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

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.

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.