Those who want to head to the polls and avoid lines in November have this week and next left to get to the Board of Elections office on weekdays.
Otherwise, the ballot is set and Election Day on November 5 is coming up fast for votes in the cities of Aragon, Cedartown and Rockmart.
Three contested races — one in each city — will determine a mayor's race in Rockmart, a special election for a Cedartown Commission seat and two seats on Aragon's city council.
The Board of Elections will accept registered voters during their offices hours on Monday through Friday to vote early at their office at 144 West Ave., Cedartown to allow city residents to cast ballots for the Aragon, Rockmart or Cedartown races.
Voter registration wrapped up on Oct. 7. Those who want to know their status can visit sos.ga.gov/myvoter page to find out more, or contact the Board of Elections at 770-749-2103 to receive help. Absentee ballots can also be obtained by contacting the Board of Elections at their phone number.
The final week of early voting will also see a location open for Rockmart voters at the Nathan Dean Community Center, located at 604 Goodyear St., Rockmart from Monday, October 28 through Friday, November 1, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Of additional note, there's no Saturday voting in Polk County for city elections in 2019. The Saturday vote will return in 2020 with presidential elections upcoming.
On the ballot in 2019 is a four-man Aragon City Council race for 2019. That includes Council Member and local business owner Judd Fee seeking a new term in office this year, longtime Aragon resident and former council member from years
past Buddy Tanner, former Aragon City employee and volunteer firefighter Mike Long Jr., and Aragon resident Gary Shindelbower. In Rockmart, the decision is being made to determine who replaces Mayor Steve Miller after he concludes two terms in office and steps down as he promised to do when he first ran for the seat.
Former council member and businessman Sherman Ross is running for the seat against Mark Lumpkin, a two-plus decade veteran of the Polk School District as an educator and in recent years Central Office administrator, and co-owner of WZOT Radio.
In Cedartown, the special election to determine who fills the rest of the term previously held by Commissioner Jordan Hubbard is between Sam Branch and Randell Brazier.
Branch, a native of Cedartown who works at Suntrust Bank and Gammage Funeral Home, announced his intentions to run ahead of qualifying in past weeks. He also is a member of the Cedartown Civic Arts Commission, and is a member of the Exchange Club.
Brazier, former Code Enforcement Officer with the Polk County Police Department after a long career in public safety, seeks to extend his involvement in helping the community by seeking the seat as well.
Uncontested candidates this year include Aragon's future mayor Debbie Pittman, who was the only person to qualify for the seat after she decided to give up her current position on the city council. In January, she'll be replacing outgoing Mayor Garry Baldwin after he chose not to run for a new term.
In Cedartown, Andrew Carter and Dale Tuck will both get to start new terms in January without opposition as well. The incumbent pair qualified back in August to keep their seats and went uncontested in the upcoming city vote.
They are also joined by several Rockmart City Council members who are on the ballot in November by themselves. In Ward 2, Marty Robinson will be replacing James Payne on City Council without competition, and Rick Stone will get a new term in office as well. Rockmart's special election to fill the unexpired time of Ross will be filled by Mike Bradley.
The final week of early voting will also see a location open for Rockmart voters at the Nathan Dean Community Center, located at 604 Goodyear St., Rockmart from Monday, October 28 through Friday, November 1, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The City of Cedartown will get to save some cash by the time that all of the bonds sold in recent years are completely paid off.
A timely lock-in on Oct. 7 before rates began to climb again allowed the City of Cedartown to get a decrease from above 2.7% interest down more than a percentage point with a new deal in place through Stifel, Nicolaus & Company.
Andrew Tritt, who came to represent the firm, explained the City of Cedartown was able to get one great deal in the process.
"It was at really a low point for all of 2019," Tritt said. "We're in a volatile market with everything that has been impacting rates... The good news is that you were originally at a rate of 2.77%, and we were able to bring that to a lower, tax exempt rate of 1.67%. That creates a net savings of $400,000."
On average, Tritt said that was around $30,000 a year in savings in the payments made back to bond holders, which will increase annually from $354,772 with the bond refinancing completed in 2020, to $671,022 when the last payment is made in 2033.
Commissioners approved the new bond refinancing plan unanimously during their October 14 regular meeting
after they were able to lock in rates during their Oct. 7 work session. The city initially purchased the bonds in 2013 to complete sewer lift station work on the new line out to Floyd Polk Medical Center on Highway 27, as well as complete the Asberry lift station replacement.
City Manager Bill Fann said a refinancing deal in 2017 allowed the city to saved more than $200,000 in the process, which now brings a total savings of more than $600,000 on the pair of deals.
The second round of bond refinancing on the bonds for the lift station came just in time, as the bond market in recent days moved back upward toward the 2% mark again according to information provided by Tritt.
Commissioners gave praise to Tritt and his firm for their due diligence in bringing down costs for the city's repayment of the bonds.
"I want to thank you for doing a heck of a job here," Commission Chair Matt Foster said.
He later added "the fruits of your labor are certainly appreciated."
Fann had additional good news about savings during the meeting, reporting back that their health care provider Cigna once again lowered the cost of the city's insurance premium for the year, resulting in a 1.1% decrease for the upcoming year. He said it marked a more than 4% decrease in health care costs for the city over the past two years.
The news came as the city continues to get ready for the 2020 fiscal year beginning of January 1, 2020, and is set to be approved in December ahead of year's end.
The Polk County Chamber of Commerce's annual review of what local governments, lawmakers and organizations have accomplished is coming up next week with tickets going fast for the evening event.
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Blair Elrod said the event will offer insight into what's happening in local government in Cedartown, Rockmart and Polk County, the Polk School District and College and Career Academy, as well as give opportunity for lawmakers like State Rep. Trey Kelley and State Sen. Bill Heath to talk about accomplishments on the state level as well.
It also acts as a chance to review the successes of the Chamber, the Development Authority of Polk County and others who seek to help Polk County grow and prosper every year. This is the sixth year the Chamber has hosted the event to bring Polk County leadership, business and more together.
The Chamber will also be honoring several of their board members who served over the past years now coming off the board at the conclusion of 2019.
The State of the Community event also gives a chance to review upcoming initiatives being launched by municipalities and organizations as well.
The event at In the Woods in Rockmart on Cartersville Highway is $25 per person and includes a buffet dinner before presentations start and a chance to network with local leadership. Seats can be reserved at polkgeorgia.com now.
The doors open at 6 p.m. for the event, set to wrap up by 8 p.m.
Find out more about the event at firstname.lastname@example.org now.
Get out the plastic pumpkins, find a fun outfit and head out to events across Polk County as Halloween is right around the corner.
Already there's been Slime Time, Spooky Spokes and fall festivals aplenty across the area, but now the real fun begins as the time to trick (or trunk) or treating events and more are on the calendar in the days to come.
It starts this Thursday with a free movie event at the Georgia Northwestern Technical College campus in Rockmart, where fun can be had for all ages at Hocus Pocus Family Night.
The event kicks off at 6 p.m. and will include a special screening of "Hocus Pocus," plus trick-or-treat bags, popcorn, a coloring station and a chance to win a "Hocus Pocus"-themed door hanger during the event. All ages are invited to participate.
More is coming up this weekend across Polk County as well for the kids to take part in ahead of the real fun on Halloween night.
Starting with a Saturday event, A trunk or treat is being held this weekend on Saturday, Oct. 26 at Mosaic Place in Cedartown on West Avenue from 2 to 5 p.m. Those who want to participate can find out more on Mosaic Place's Facebook page.
Alongside hosting their Homecoming service on Sunday morning, Anna Kresge Memorial United Methodist Church in Cedartown is holding an evening Trunk or Treat event from 5 to 7 p.m. for those who want to come out and participate. This year also marks their 15th in their home on Booger Hollow Road.
Cedartown First United Methodist is also hosting a Trunk or Treat event, but have a Fall Festival going on as well on Oct. 27 starting at 6 p.m. Find Candy, hot dogs, games and more at the upcoming free family event.
Second Baptist Church in Cedartown's Fall Festival and Chili Cook-Off is also coming up on Sunday, Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. They'll have a Trunk or Treat going on too, as well as a silent auction to raise funds for Operation Christmas Child. They
ask kids to wear "not-so-scary" costumes to their event.
The big Halloween events downtown are coming up too. Make sure to stop by Main Street in Cedartown for their annual Trick or Treating in downtown event. Local businesses will be out with candy on Halloween afternoon starting at 3:30 p.m. and continuing onward until 5:30 p.m., when a Halloween costume contest for youth will follow in Holloway Park.
A dog costume contest will follow that in the park as well.
Rockmart's Festival of Treats is also being held on Thursday, October 31 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Local businesses will be out with candy for Trick-or-Treaters, there's a costume parade open for all participants in this year's event, and much more.
The event is being sponsored by Family Savings Credit Union, the Downtown Rockmart Advisory Committee and the Polk County Chamber of Commerce.
Polk County Police's third annual Trunk or Treat will be held on Halloween as well, scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. at their headquarters at 73 Cline Ingram Jackson Road in Cedartown. All are invited to come and take part.
As part of the Chamber's Halloween Hoopla schedule of events, local businesses are encouraged to dress up together in a theme on Halloween day next week. This could be a movie, a decade, anything.
Those who want to participate can send photos to email@example.com by 12 p.m. on October 31 to be posted on the Chamber Facebook page by 1 p.m.
Each "like" on the costume photos on the Chamber's page counts as a vote. The business with the most likes on November 1 at 12 p.m. wins a trophy.
In recent days, the Downtown Cedartown Association also announced on their Facebook the winner of this year's Scarecrow contest. The "Bob Ross" scarecrow took first prize, put up by the Cedartown High School Art Club. Second place went to Brianda Pineda's "Mariachi Florindo de Dia de Muentos" and third went to the Polk County Historical Society's fancy entry.
Are there other Halloween events out there? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or message the Standard Journal Facebook page with details, and additional information will be posted as it becomes available.
Also, make sure to email photos or share them with us on Facebook of your Halloween decorations and costumes to go into the Oct. 30 edition of the Standard Journal.
Construction continues off of Main Street, transforming old office space into a new addition to Cedartown's pair of museums in the downtown area.
The Morris family is bringing their resources and success with the Cedartown Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia around the corner and plan to open a new space
dedicated to the collection of Polk County native golfer Doug Sanders, who is one of several honored already in the Sports Walk of Fame in front of the court house.
Jamie Morris, co-owner of Cedarstream, said the family is working to create a space to showcase a large collection of golf memorabilia that Sanders collected over decades of playing on the professional stage.
"We are expecting it to be a nice addition to the City of Cedartown, and one that honors a man with a great legacy in our community," he said. "Most of the people here know him, and people have been asking me 'when, when, when.'... I'm glad to see it finally get off the ground."
There's a lot to include in the future museum. Sanders, who has played 18-holes with Presidents, astronauts and celebrities from all walks of life, amassed a collection of memorabilia and photographs in his house in Texas over decades as a professional golfer.
Much of that collection was turned over to the Morris family to help it be preserved and shared with his hometown in Cedartown after Sanders came to take part in the Ayers-Beck Celebrity Golf Tournament several years ago. The Morris family flew out in years past to discuss taking over the items and establishing a museum and bringing the idea to life.
"We'll have a revolving selection of his collection," Morris said.
Work on the new museum began several weeks ago and is continuing at a fast pace. Morris said the work is expected to be completed in early 2020 on the major phase of rehabilitating the old law offices they purchased in years past, and then finish the conversion by late summer 2020.
"We expect we'll be open this time next year," Morris said. If everything goes smoothly.
Morris said plans for the future include bringing Sanders' statue on the Sports Walk of Fame to the front of the building and tie in the back portion of the museum to the back of the Coca-Cola museum downtown in one large complex in a next phase of construction in future years with the rest of the Walk of Fame statues with a park.
"The idea is to be able to go back and forth between the museums," Morris said.
Cedarstream, which moved out of downtown Cedartown with the completion of their new facilities in the Northside Industrial Park, now gives the Morris family additional space to also increase the collection on display at the Coca-Cola museum as well.
He said it is their hope to expand into space previously used in the former bottling plant building making up most of the 200-block on the east side of Main Street to allow for display of vehicles and other items they've had in their private Coca-Cola collection for several years but didn't have the room to include in the museum over the past few years since it opened.
Additionally, Morris said the hopes are as the museum grow to also begin a golf tournament to benefit junior golfers.
"One of Doug's (Sanders) main areas is providing support to young golfers," Morris said. "He grew up poor, didn't have much. He has a heart for giving back... For me what would be ideal is to help middle school age children learn the game of golf and help them with equipment."
The hope being that by lowering the expensive barrier to playing golf for youth, participation in the sport will grow.
Sanders, who lives in Houston, Texas these days, no longer gets out on the course now that he's 86 years old. The PGA professional retired after he won 24 events and four runner-up finishes in major championships across a his career. He was also a member of the 1967 U.S. Ryder Cup team that was played that year in Houston.
"We're hoping once it opens that he can come out here and see it," Morris said.
The logo for the new museum honors his title of "Peacock of the Fairways" for his flamboyant dress and joking character.
Plan to get in costumes and come out and enjoy an evening of fun during the Hocus Pocus Family Night as part of the annual Halloween Hoopla events organized by the Polk County Chamber of Commerce. The event is being held on Oct. 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. and the community is invited to participate at the Rockmart campus of Georgia Northwestern Technical College for a special showing of Hocus Pocus. All ages are invited to participate.
A "Movie in the Park" hosted by Cedartown First United Methodist and Smith & Miller Funeral Home is coming soon. The family-friendly new live-action "Aladdin" will be shown on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. in Peek's Park. Popcorn and drinks provided. Organizers encourage families to bring chairs and blankets.
Anna Kresge Memorial United Methodist Church in Cedartown is hosting their Homecoming Service on Sunday, October 27 with worship to begin at 10:55 a.m. The church is celebrating 15 years in their sanctuary at 15 Booger Hollow Road. The public is invited to come out, and then return later in the evening from 5 to 7 p.m. for a Trunk or Treat event.
Cedartown First United Methodist Church invites the community to come take part in their Fall Festival and Trunk or Treat event on Sunday, October 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. Candy, hot dogs, games and more will be available for the upcoming free family event.
Who says adults can't have fun? Businesses are encouraged to dress up together in a theme on Halloween day. This could be a movie, a decade, anything. Send photos to email@example.com by 12 p.m. on October 31. Photos will be posted on the Chamber Facebook page by 1 p.m. Each "like" counts as a vote. The business with the most likes on November 1st at 12 p.m. wins a trophy.
Rockmart's Festival of Treats is coming up on Thursday, October 31 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Local businesses will be out with candy for Trick-or-Treaters, there's a costume parade open for all participants in this year's event, and much more! The event is being sponsored by Family Savings Credit Union, the Downtown Rockmart Advisory Committee and the Polk County Chamber of Commerce.
Coming up on Halloween afternoon, Main Street in Cedartown will be taken over by goblins and ghouls for the annual Trick or Treat event downtown from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. A children's Halloween Costume Contest starts at 5:30 p.m. in Holloway Park for those 12 and under. The Dog Halloween Costume Contest to follow.
Second Baptist Church of Cedartown is hosting their annual Fall Festival and Chili Cook-Off on Sunday, Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. The event includes bounce houses, free food and a Trunk or Treat. A silent auction is also being held by the WMU. All proceeds will go benefit Operation Christmas Child. Be sure to get the kids dressed up in "not-so-scary" costumes to be entered into our costume contest.
Tickets are on sale now for the 2019 State of the Community Address coming up on Tuesday, October 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. The annual gathering is returning to In the Woods in Rockmart and covers topics that are insightful and relevant for the business community. A buffet dinner will be served. Visit polkgeorgia.com to learn more and register now.
The annual Thanksgiving meal in Rockmart at the Nathan Dean Community Center provided by the Stocks Family is coming up on Saturday, Nov. 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The meal is offered up for free, and will include live entertainment throughout the midday event from Inspirational Voices, Men's Passing Through, Marvin Williams, Sharon Whatley, Apostle Trixie Morgan, and more. Those in need will also be able to take home food baskets, clothes, coats and blankets. Toys for children in attendance will also be given out during the meal. God's Loving Angels will be assisting with the annual event. T-shirts will be on sale for $12; contact Floreace Stocks at 678-719-1981 for more information on how to purchase, or how to help put on the annual feast.
The Rockmart First United Methodist Church is hosting a barbecue fundraiser on Friday, November 8 2019, in their fellowship hall. They'll be serving plates from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pulled pork, coleslaw, baked beans, bread, and dessert. Tickets for sale at church 770-684-6251. Walk-ins are welcome.
Wendy's Whimsical World Art Exhibit continues through Oct. 26 at the Rcokmart Art Gallery in the city hall complex on Piedmont Ave. The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 4 pm. on Wednesdays through Saturdays, or by appointment. Call 770-684-2707 to learn more.
Celebrate Recovery meets every Monday night at the First Baptist Church of Rockmart starting with dinner at 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Large Group at 7 p.m. and Small Share Group at 8 p.m. They'll be hosting their 5th anniversary celebration on November 11, 2019 starting with dinner at 6 p.m. The guest speaker will be Kris Castro.
Cedartown's Christmas parade is coming up on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. on Main Street! This year's theme is "Candy Lane" and entries are being accepted to participate. Visit Cedartowngeorgia.gov to learn more now!
The holiday season is coming up soon for Rockmart's annual Christmas parade, kicking off a weekend of events on the evening of Friday, Dec. 6 through the downtown square on South Marble Street and ending with the annual Christmas tree lighting. The Unwrap the Joy of Christmas event will continue on Saturday, Dec. 7 and Sunday, Dec. 8 in downtown, including carolers, a Christmas 5K and much more. Check back for more in the weeks to come.
The Cedartown Farmer's Market has a new location and time for the 2019 season. Market-goers are invited to come out to the corner of Ware and South Main Street in Cedartown continuing on Tuesdays from 1 to 5 p.m. Contact Five Cedars Farm to participate at 678-246-1216 to learn more about becoming a vendor.
RCAC has classes for toddlers, children and adults at the Rockmart Cultural Arts Center in drawing, painting, photography, yoga, chorus, piano, whittling, and pottery. For more information, call 770-684-2707 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Give a child a safe place to go after school and learn valuable lessons about community, life and academics by getting involved in the Boys & Girls Club of Northwest Georgia in Cedartown. Visit their center at 321 E. Queen St., Cedartown from 2:30 to 6 p.m. on weekdays and bring your children ages 5-18 for afternoon activities. For more information on how to participate or volunteer, call our office at 770-749-0869 or email email@example.com.
The Rockmart History Museum on South Marble Street in downtown Rockmart is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and on Saturday 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. The Museum welcomes visitors and group tours. Contact Pat Sampson at 678-764-5201 for information. RHM meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month and volunteers are welcome and encouraged to take part.
Interested in becoming a Foster or Adoptive Parent? Open your heart to a child in need and find out how you can help. Join others who seek the love of a child every second Tuesday night of each month at 6 p.m. at Polk County Division of Family and Children Services office, 100 County Loop Road in Cedartown. Information sessions explain what is required to become a foster or adoptive parent in Georgia. For more information call Robin Forston at 404-895-6517 or email robin. firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-877-210-KIDS. Visit www.fostergeorgia.com for more information.
The Polk County Democratic Committee Meets on the second Saturday of every month at 9:30 a.m. In the "even" months (February, April, June, August, etc.) the organization meets at The Rockmart Library at 316 N. Piedmont Ave., Rockmart and during the "odd" months (January, March, etc.) they meet at the Cedartown Welcome Center, 609 Main St., Cedartown, GA 30125.
The American Legion in Rockmart is hosting their monthly all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner coming up this Wednesday, October 16. Meal of spaghetti, meatballs, garlic toast and salad, $5. They hold dinners on the third Wednesday of every month. Join the group for a good meal and to support veteran and children's programs. The Legion is located at 1 Veterans Circle, Rockmart.
USAPA Pickelball Ambassador Daneen England is holding a free pickleball clinic every Monday (weather permitting) from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Rockmart Tennis courts, located at 436 Hogue Avenue, Rockmart. Loaner paddles and all necessary equipment will be on hand to learn t he sport. This is a free event for anyone and they just need to wear comfortable gym clothes and tennis shoes. Contact England at 770-356-1282, or by email at email@example.com for more information.
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.
Lutheran Services of Georgia's Heritage Adoption Program partners with DFCS to find Forever Families for children waiting in Georgia's foster care system. Information Sessions are held on the third Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. at the Rome Office, located at 336 Broad St., Suite 200. Individual sessions may be scheduled to accommodate families as needed. For more email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 706-506-0649.
Did you know that nationwide the American Red Cross assists 53 people every 60 seconds during personal and local disasters? Our Northwest Georgia Red Cross Chapter serves Polk County. If you'd like to do some meaningful volunteering, please contact Arthene Bressler at 762-231-9896 and visit our website at www.redcross.org/local/georgia.
Do you think you might be pregnant? You can know for sure. Contact Life Matters Outreach today to schedule a free pregnancy test. You have a right to know all the options available to you. We offer free evidence-based education and resources so that you can make a well-informed decision. The services provided at LMO Pregnancy Care Center are free of charge. Clients are treated with respect and unconditional acceptance. We are here to help YOU. Call 770-748-8911 for more information.
Anna Kresge Memorial United Methodist Church will be sponsoring a clothing bank for children ages infant to 5 years old on the first Thursday of each month beginning in September from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the conference room of One Door Polk in Cedartown. Contact 770-748-6811 for more information on how to donate or participate in the giveaway.
Victory Baptist Church's Bread of Life Food Pantry is now open. One bag of nonperishable food, five items to pick from produce, eggs and milk and two items from frozen meats, breads and others will be available. ID is required. Limit of two IDs per address. Regular hours are Mondays, 1 to 3 p.m.; Tuesdays, 5 to 7 p.m.; and Thursdays, 8 to 10 a.m.
Need to get an item onto the Area Calendar of Events? Email email@example.com today! All items must be in at least two weeks before the event to appear in the Standard Journal on time.