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Rome set to finalize 10 p.m. teen curfew Monday, discuss tennis center management proposal

Rome City Commissioners are expected to finalize a 10 p.m. teen curfew at their Monday meeting, scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall, 601 Broad St.

The city-wide curfew is currently set at 11 p.m. for children under 17 who aren’t accompanied by a responsible adult.

A first reading was accepted at the board’s late August meeting, although there was some debate about the implications.

Commissioner Sundai Stevenson noted that Rome High School football games at Barron Stadium usually go over the proposed 10 p.m. deadline for teens to be off the streets. And Commissioner Wendy Davis said it could send a signal to young people that they’re not welcome in the city.

However, police and the city’s Public Safety Committee have recommended the time change, noting the now-infamous Aug. 14 brawl downtown is just one example of the problems that stem from unsupervised youth in the evening hours.

Assistant Police Chief Debbie Burnett has said officers would take a reasonable approach to enforcement — using the curfew to crack down on loitering but not interfering with legitimate activity.

Commissioner Bonnie Askew, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, is spearheading the creation of a task force to come up with things for young people to do in the city. They hope to involve representatives of the downtown community, faith-based leaders, law enforcement and youth.

Discussion about hiring Cliff Drysdale Tennis to manage the city-owned Rome Tennis Center at Berry College also is on the agenda.

Georgia’s Rome Office of Tourism took over management of the tennis center in June 2020 but there have been calls in the community to have a tennis professional in charge of the venue.

A request for proposals by the city netted a response from CDT that the General Administration Committee is slated to present to the full board on Monday. The response, dated Aug. 22, states that CDT has visited and analyzed the potential of the facilities and would be willing to negotiate a management agreement.

The City Commission starts its premeeting caucus at 5 p.m. and both sessions are public.

Amanda Scholl sings the national anthem at the Sept. 11 memorial ceremony on Saturday afternoon at the Firefighters Memorial Plaza in downtown Rome. During the ceremony a firefighter rang an antique bell in remembrance of those first responders who lost their lives after the attack.

Left: A large American flag hangs between fire truck ladders on Broad Street during the ceremony Saturday. Top: A placard states the cross displayed Saturday was made from the steel of the World Trade Center buildings. Above: A bagpiper with the Rome-Floyd Fire Department Honor Guard leads members of all local public safety agencies in honoring those who rushed in to assist 20 years ago.

Rome Shakespeare Festival looking to consolidate, organize and expand

The Rome Shakespeare Festival is looking to expand, while keeping its roots local and its players from inside the community.

The festival’s executive director Julie McCluskey and artistic director Drew Davidson, a professor at Shorter University, want to keep the talent local but said they’re also looking to institute some professional standards for directors and actors

The festival, which has performances of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” scheduled on Sept. 22-26, is also looking to organize a troupe of players to perform regularly — and they’re wanting to take some shows on the road regionally.

A small scale version of the idea took place recently with the production of “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” which was performed at Summerville’s Jazz Festival in August.

Think of the idea as a festival, which it has always been, that’s also looking to become a full time theater company.

Paying homage to all the work Rome Shakespeare Festival founder Gail Deschamps did to bring the festival to life, Davidson said they’re looking forward to expanding her vision.

They’d like to keep the focus on Shakespeare’s varied plays at the start of what Davidson described as a 3- to 5-year plan, but they also would like to work in performances of other works as well.

Referencing the now defunct Georgia Shakespeare Festival, Davidson said he feels Rome is in a good place to take on that role.

“I can see this thing becoming a draw for the entire region,” he said.

However, they both emphasized that they want to keep it local. Often, as regional theaters grow larger they begin to hire professional actors instead of grooming and training local talent. McCluskey and Davidson don’t want to go that route.

“Broadway is just a street in New York,” he said. “We have a Broad Street here.”

Rome GA Cares takes in over $9,000 for Hurricane Ida relief, still hoping for more

Although Rome GA Cares has taken in over $9,000 worth of donations, they’re still in need of a lot more to provide relief for those impacted by Hurricane Ida in Louisiana.

Floyd County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain David Thornton said they have been blessed with donations from Lowe’s, Home Depot, local food banks, Community Share in Cedartown, Ace Hardware and Walmart for their trip to LaFourche Parrish in Louisiana.

“The Lowe’s in West Rome gave me 12 pallets of cleaning supplies,” Thornton said. “Everywhere we buy something, we get donations too.”

Local food banks also donated pallets of Chef Boyardee cans and boxes of cereal.

About 16 air conditioners have also been donated and will be set up at “cooling sites” around the parrish where people can take a break from the heat and humidity.

With all the donations they have now, they’ll be able to fill one semi-truck and another semi-truck halfway. The group is hoping to take at least two semi-trucks full of supplies and food with them when they leave Sept. 20.

They’re still in need of more cases of water, cleaning supplies, paper towels, bug spray, plastic containers, box fans and tarps to give out to people they’ll meet during their trip, Thornton said.

Volunteers will also be handing out backpacks with toys, Bibles, candy and toiletries to kids they meet in the community.

“Every kid we run across will get a backpack,” the chaplain said. “Redmond Regional Medical Center and Floyd Medical Center have donated drawstring backpacks already.”

People can stop by North Rome Church of God at 1929 N. Broad St. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays to drop off supplies and donations. They can also sponsor a bucket of cleaning supplies for $75.

You can also drop off checks at the Floyd County Jail’s administrative offices at 2526 Calhoun Highway or donate to the Square Account under RomeGaCares.

Local fall festivals still on,for now, despite rising COVID cases and deaths

Coordinators of three local fall festivals have all tentatively confirmed their events are still on for October, despite the rising COVID case numbers in the area.

Coosa Valley Fair will kick off the first of three big festivals and will run from Oct. 5 through Oct. 9.

Rome Exchange Club President John Fortune said they will follow guidance from Gov. Brian Kemp and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the festival, which draws thousands to the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds every year.

Fiddlin’ Fest was the only fall festival that wasn’t canceled in 2020 and it will go on again this year on Oct. 9 in Downtown Rome.

Downtown Development Authority Marketing and Events Coordinator Megan Treglown Otwell said if they make any different call on the event, they’ll do it as the date gets closer.

Chiaha Harvest Fair will be hosted at Coosa Valley Fairgrounds this year to allow for extra space and encourage social distancing. The fair will run from Oct. 23 through Oct. 24, and like the Coosa Valley Fair, will follow state guidelines.

However, Alton Holman Heritage Arts board members have canceled their annual Rolater Regatta this year “due to the rising number of number of deaths due to COVID-19.”

As of Monday, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported 226 Floyd County residents have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began — and another 48 are listed as probable deaths from the disease.

Since September began, 22 residents have died, making this month the most deadly for the county since February, where 19 people died from the virus over 28 days.

Georgia DPH also reported 110 new confirmed positive cases in Floyd County on Monday. That brought the total to 1,956 new cases in the last two weeks.

The vaccination rate continues to plateau in the county, with just 43% of eligible residents receiving at least one dose.

A placard states the cross displayed in Rome at the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was made from the steel of the World Trade Center buildings.

A bagpiper with the Rome-Floyd Fire Department Honor Guard leads members of all local public safety agencies in honoring those who rushed in to assist people 20 years ago during and after a series of terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.