If getting in better shape, or simply taking better advantage of nature's bounty across Georgia, is a part of your plans for 2019, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources is presenting a series of "Club Challenges."
Each Challenge encourages visitors to go hiking, biking, paddling and even dog walking all over Georgia.
The Canyon Climbers club involves hikes to the top of Amicalola Falls, the bottom of Providence Canyon, across the bridge at Tallulah Gorge and a journey down, then up the breathtaking staircase in Cloudland Canyon.
The Tails on Trails club designates 12 trails for you and your dog explore including hikes at Fort Mountain and more than 30 other parks. .
The Muddy Spokes club is for mountain bikers and again involves riding a dozen trails at parks across the state, including Red Top Mountain outside Cartersville.
Finally, the Park Paddlers club involves trips on at least 12 of the state's waterways, including the Okefenokee Swamp at Laura S. Walker State Park.
There is a $15 registration fee for membership in each club, but that includes a t-shirt and certificate after the challenge is completed. Additional information is available online at GaStateParks.org/ParkClubs.
West Rome Animal Clinic gets accreditation
The West Rome Animal Clinic, 2012 Shorter Ave., has attained the highest level of veterinary excellence with national accreditation from the American Animal Hospital Association.
The designation was earned following a review of the hospital’s practice protocols, medical equipment, facility and client service.
Unlike human hospitals, not all animal hospitals are required to be accredited. Accredited animal hospitals actually make the choice to be evaluated close to 900 quality standards which typically exceed state regulations.
Dr. Dan Pate said pet owners generally look for accredited hospitals because they value their pet’s health and trust the consistent, high-level of care provided by the entire health care team.
For more information about the accreditation process, check out aaha.org/petowner, or connect on Facebook and “like” the American Animal Hospital Association.
Support for South Rome program still available
South Rome Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Charles Looney has indicated that support from this community for the agency's first year of participation with the Georgia GOAL Scholarship program has been "incredible."
Looney said his office has received confirmation that the $100 million cap for 2019 Education Tax Credits has not yet been met.
"This means that the deadline for registering has been extended beyond the December cutoff," Looney said.
GOAL offers contributors the opportunity to take a tax credit while earmarking funds for specific programs such as the South Rome Early Learning Center at Anna K. Davie Elementary School. The program limits scholarship assistance to deserving families. GOAL also implemented a REACH-GOAL Fund that serves corporate contributors who want to specifically target low-income families.
Potential contributors can sign up online at www.goalscholarship.org/for_donors/tax_contribution_type.asp.
Labor force continues to shrink
Data shows that the civilian labor force in Rome and Floyd County continues to decline. The latest data for November showed 44,199 residents in the workforce, down from 44,480 in October and down from 44,356 in November of the previous year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported the November unemployment rate for Floyd County at 3.7 percent, down from 4.5 percent in November a year ago.