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Local
Two more rallies planned for weekend in Downtown Rome, events planned for the 4th

As a month of weekend rallies comes to close, two more have permits and are scheduled for this weekend.

A march in support of the Black Lives Matter movement will begin at Trinity United Methodist Church Saturday. The 2 p.m. march will go from the church on Turner McCall Boulevard and end at Rome First United Methodist Church on Third Avenue.

Organizer Carson Glass said the protest is a “youth led march and prayer to increase awareness for Black Lives Matter.”

The Rev. Robert Brown of First UMC and the Rev. Nanci Hicks of Trinity UMC will both be in attendance and are in supprt, Glass said.

We Matter Rally will have its fourth consecutive weekly gathering in front of City Hall this Sunday, from 3 to 5 p.m.

The past few rallies have drawn hundreds of people to the front steps along Broad Street and numerous speakers, such as Rome Mayor Bill Collins and Floyd County Commission candidates. Organizer Candice Spivey originally had a permit for only the past three rallies, but recently added this Sunday to her application.

On July 4, an Independence Day Celebration rally will take place at the Law Enforcement Center from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Plans are to march from the Law Enforcement Center, down Broad Street, and end at the Heritage Park pavilion.

“The event will open and close in prayer for our nation and citizens to ensure the longevity of our great country,” organizer David McKalip said.

“The celebration will include music, reminders of our founding principles and a display of monuments and tributes to the men and women who have fought and died to secure our liberty,” he said.

Independence Day will also include the annual Cave Spring Parade and a fireworks display over Rome skies, launched from Jackson Hill.


Education
Rome school system to discuss budget, back to school plan in called meeting Friday

Two significant items for any school system are the topic of a called Rome City Schools board meeting — the budget and when classes will start back for the upcoming school year.

The special called meeting will take place Friday at 3:30 p.m. and will be streamed on the Rome City Schools website.

Discussions about the plan to return to school began at the regular school board meeting in early June, but the board wished to have more teacher and parent input before making any decisions.

“Right now the plan is to start back up in August,” said Superintendent Lou Byars. They will discuss an updated plan in the Friday called meeting.

In the June 9 meeting, Byars had planned to recommend a flexible instruction premise — allowing students to either attend classes in person or participate in virtual learning from home.

That plan included several requirements for students and teachers to follow that promote health and safety during the time of COVID-19, including guidance on wearing masks, social distancing and hygiene.

The instruction option favored by Byars gives parents the option to keep their child at home and have them log into class through their school-issued Chromebook, where they would be able to see their teacher instructing their regular class.

Just as importantly, the school board will discuss the proposed budget.

“We’ll hopefully give them a good update on where we are on the budget,” Byars said.

The legislature still had not approved the state’s budget when Byars spoke Thursday afternoon, but Rep. Eddie Lumsden, R-Armuchee, said there was word late Thursday that House and Senate negotiators reached a compromise with cuts of 10%.

Gov. Brian Kemp initially asked for 14% cuts to all state agencies but later lowered it. The compromise budget softens the cuts to education, but it was unclear Thursday night how each school system would be affected.

The Rome City school board earlier approved three unpaid, nonwork days for all employees as a part of the 2020-21 school year — potentially saving the system about $660,000.

The days will be the employee’s first two days they are scheduled to return to work and their last day of the school year. For teachers, that means two of those days would be at the beginning of the five-day preplanning period at the end of July, with the third one on the last day of post-planning in May 2021.


Local
Birthday parade surprises 100-year-old Rome native and former Possum Trot student

Family and love surrounded Martha Lee Rogers in her front yard Wednesday as she celebrated her 100th birthday.

Affinity Hospice helped put together the party and provided a tent, cake and balloons. Granddaughter Christy Patrick had the musical family The Bagnells and Humans come and perform some of Rogers’ favorite hymns, such as “Amazing Grace” and “It is well with my soul.”

After they finished, her daughters came up to Rogers and told her Patrick had a special surprise planned for her.

When she saw the line of cars driving down the road, she exclaimed, “Oh my goodness!”

The parade was made up of family friends and church members. People waved and gave out cards from their cars, honking the whole time. Friends Alan and Roxanne Brinson made a big birthday sign for Rogers and led the parade.

The 100-year-old had a bright smile on her face the whole time as she watched with her daughters by her side.

Rogers was born and raised in Rome. She attended Mount Alto Elementary School before transferring to Possum Trot School when she was a young girl. Patrick talked about how, one day, she began carving her initials into her desk, but didn’t get the chance to finish before her teacher scolded her. Around sixth grade, Rogers had to drop out to help support her family.

A few years ago, the family visited Possum Trot and Rogers pointed out her desk. Patrick confirmed that you can still see the attempted carving on the desk today and she loves to tell that story to her friends.

She married Marvin Leon Rogers in 1937, when she was 17.

Patrick commented that they loved having the same initials, “M.L.R. and M.L.R.”

Together, the two had four children, seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. She spent her life as a homemaker and has been a member of Shorter Baptist Church for 81 years. She also taught Sunday School there for 60 years.

“She’s very dedicated to the church,” Patrick said.

After the parade finished up, Rogers said “I’ve never been happier in my whole life.”


Local
River sites safe: CRBI bacterial monitoring from June 23

CRBI conducted bacterial water monitoring at three sites that included Neel's Landing off of U.S. 411, Grizzard Park, Heritage Park and Ga. 156 near Calhoun on June 23. The results of those monitoring efforts showed that 26.6 cfu/100mL were present at Neel's Landing (Hwy. 411), 28.2 cfu/100mL of E.coli were present at Grizzard Park, 66.9 cfu/100mL of E.coli were present at Heritage Park. This means that the amount of E.coli found at each site is considered safe for recreational use by the state of Georgia.

If you are interested in learning more, or if you would like to nominate a site for future testing, please contact Ashley Ray, outreach coordinator, at 706-232-2724 or aray@coosa.org.