Polk County's latest commission meeting was spent on finances, ordinance reviews, and honoring Rockmart's male tennis team, but an item of note was delegate Jerome Smith's complaint of airport noise.
Smith mentioned his inability to sit on his porch or read a book without the intruding noise of the vehicles and skydivers interrupting him, and the landfill's offensive odor makes the situation reportedly even more unbearable.
Smith spent approximately 16 hours collecting names and working on a petition to address his concerns.
“I've got 71 people that have signed this petition,” Smith said. “I'd like to read this petition tonight to speak on behalf of my community.”
“Is it bad enough that most mornings the aroma of the landfill ruins your cup of coffee on the porch?” the document reads. “And that doves that once sat on the poles have been replaced by buzzards? Or the ever-present fear of drinking water that might be contaminated? After the skydivers who fill our conversation on Saturdays and Sundays on our back decks with conversations from the sky, we now have gyrocopters. These gyrocopters are a nuisance. You can not sit on the porch, have a peaceful cup of coffee, read a book in the privacy of your own home, work in the yard or shop.”
Smith listed many more inconveniences before mentioning the plane's low flight patterns, and how they have become even more common.
He hoped that the fliers would be held to their contract of operating five days a week from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. so the locals could enjoy their weekends peacefully.
The commissioners, while unable to take immediate action, offered some advice on how Smith could resolve the issue.
“This is the first I've heard of the gyrocopter noise,” county commissioner Scotty Tillery said. “We to find out what the regulations are, find out what flight elevation they're supposed to be flying at, and what they can and cannot do.”
The group took their delegates contact information and promised to relay the issue to the airport manager before moving on.
Tennis Team Honored
Rockmart's tennis team has been all over the county receiving accolades for their deed of saving a man's life, and they finally made their way to the county commission where the board declared them heroes.
They were asked to tell their story before a packed room of attendees.
“A car in front of us swerved into the median and over-corrected,” tennis team member Jackson Norris explained. “It hit the guardrail on the right side of the highway and it started to flip, and it hit the treeline and started to stop. A person, a man, flew out of the vehicle and rolled down the embankment with the truck and it trapped him.”
The team earned hero status when they abandoned their bus and rushed to save the man. The group was previously awarded medals from Redmond Medical Center, and their actions were shared on television.
“We were told to stay in the car,” Norris said. “When a lot of the adults assessed the situation, all of the players at that moment were told someone was trapped, so we ran down the embankment and pushed the truck up.”
County chairperson Jennifer Hulsey read a proclamation to honor the team before they each received one.