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Local
More than 4,000 cast ballots early in Polk County

A healthy early voting period came to a close Friday in Polk County as local election officials prepared the final touches for election day on Tuesday, May 24.

More than 4,000 voters cast their ballots during early voting in Polk County, which ran for three weeks and included two Saturdays. The last day saw a surge in people voting at both the Cedartown and Rockmart locations to add 541 votes to the tally for a total of 3,888 ballots cast in person.

In addition to those who voted at either of the two early voting locations, 190 of the 229 absentee ballots issued have been returned to the Polk County Elections Office.

Anyone who has an absentee ballot can either mail it in or drop it off at the elections office at Polk County Elections Office in the county annex building in Cedartown at 144 West Ave. before 7 p.m. on Election Day.

The Polk County Standard Journal went to press prior to Tuesday’s elections and will have complete results and full coverage of the election online at polkstandardjournal.com.

Most of the local races will be decided on the Republican primary ballot, except for the 14th congressional district race. State House District 16 will be decided in the primary, as well as the three county commission seats that are up for election.

On each of the partisan ballots, voters have the opportunity to answer nine non-binding questions about party issues, including elections, education and freedom of speech.

Voters can find their precinct and view a sample ballot on the My Voter page on the Secretary of State’s website.

The crowded 14th District race for the post currently held by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome, includes six Republicans, three Democrats and one Libertarian.

As for Polk County and state races, all three county commission seats up for election will be decided in the May 24 primary, as will the 16th District Georgia House seat currently held by Rep. Trey Kelley, R-Cedartown, since each race saw only Republican candidates qualify.

The non-partisan superior court judge seat for the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit currently held by Meng Lim is being contested by Cedartown lawyer Andrew Roper. That race will be decided on in the May primary as well.

According to campaign contribution reports filed with the Georgia Campaign Finance Commission, Lim had raised more than $60,000 during the reporting period ending April 30, while Roper had raised $19,795.

PRECINCT CHANGEOne Polk County voting precinct location is different for the 2022 primaries as Aragon precinct voters now vote at Aragon United Methodist Church located at 101 New Prospect Road.

This change was made to allow more space for voters and more voting machines in accordance with new state election laws.


Local
A new chapter: Pizza Farm Restaurant reopens in new location after fire

A day more than 14 months in the making finally came last week.

Surrounded by family, co-workers, and friends, owner Tommy Sanders welcomed everyone to the official grand re-opening of one of Polk County’s landmark restaurants at the new location of the Pizza Farm Restaurant in Rockmart.

“This means a lot to us. And I’m sure it means a lot to you. I’ve got a lot of family here. Got a lot of friends. Everybody’s welcome. I’m not much for speeches. So let’s get this thing started,” Sanders said before presiding over the ceremonial ribbon cutting.

An early morning fire on Jan. 9, 2021, ravaged the nearly 50-year-old establishment at its Knox Mountain Road location, gutting the inside and causing most of the roof to collapse. In the months since, the structure was completely demolished and cleared away.

Jeremy Stewart 

The main dining room of the new Pizza Farm Restaurant features several antique farm tools, toys and Rockmart High School sports memorabilia and uniforms.

The recently-completed Pizza Farm Restaurant sits on Marquette Road just off of Ga. 113 across from Rockmart High School. Visible from the road, the pole barn-style building provides a more spacious kitchen and dining area as well as plenty of room for antique farm equipment, toys and Rockmart High School sports memorabilia and uniforms.

Sanders’ wife, Amanda Sanders, spoke to those gathered and said the journey they have taken, from moving on from the fire to maneuvering through obstacles to get the new restaurant finished, could not have happened without the support of so many in the community.

“I think that it has meant the world to Tommy. Very few people get to see how much impact they have on the community in their lifetime, and he’s in awe. He never dreamed that his work meant something to someone else other than us. It’s just given him a sense of peace that his life has meant something,” Amanda Sanders said.

Jeremy Stewart 

Owner Tommy Sanders is joined by family and employees as he cuts the ribbon for the grand reopening of the Pizza Farm Restaurant on Marquette Road just off of Ga. 113 in Rockmart on Thursday, May 19.

It took nine months to build and furnish the Pizza Farm’s new location, but general contractor Eddie Benefield, owner of E.A. Benefield Inc., said the experience could not have been more rewarding for him and his family.

“After people found out that we had worked it out, and I was going to build the restaurant, I had a lot of folks tell me, ‘you don’t know what you’re getting into,’ Benefield said with a laugh as he spoke before saying a prayer before Thursday’s opening.

“And I want to say that I didn’t. Not only have you been wonderful clients, you’ve become friends. And it means so much to me and my family just to be a part of this. You’re a huge part of this community. And just to be a little part of getting this back has been such a blessing to me.”

The restaurant’s reputation and legacy were evident on the first day of business at its new location.

Frank and Jimmie Hatch sat outside on a bench near the front door an hour and a half before the restaurant officially opened to the public. The retired couple had driven from Ball Ground, more than 60 miles away, to eat on the establishment’s first day back open.

“I grew up in Hiram and ate here when I was living there,” Jimmie Hatch said. “I still have family in Paulding County and they were letting me know when they were getting ready to open back up.”

Generations of families have not only eaten at the Pizza Farm, they’ve worked there as well.

Tommy Sanders’ children, grandchildren, siblings, in-laws, and more all have been employees at the restaurant.

For many, including Tommy’s sister-in-law, Christy Sanders, it was her first real job when she was growing up.

“Those who have worked here already know how much Pizza Farm means to not just Polk County, but Bartow County, Paulding County. Growing up and working at the Pizza Farm, I met some of the best people I’ve ever met and they went through my life with me. Everyone that works here knows the Pizza Farm is very important to all of the surrounding area, and we’re proud to see it open again finally,” Christy Sanders said.

Jeremy Stewart 

Just like the original location, the new Pizza Farm Restaurant contains several antique items displayed on the walls in the dining areas.

With much of the antique items in the original restaurant destroyed or damaged by the fire, Amanda Sanders said they worked to get more of those type of items in the new location by going through relatives’ homes and purchasing them through online auctions.

There are also three antique wagons next to the road. Two of them were donated by Johnny Kendrick, while the other — painted in the Pizza Farm’s classic green and orange — came from the original location and was restored.

“The five tables in the party room came from the (original) Pizza Farm, and there’s a few various things that survived, but not many,” Amanda Sanders said.

Some things that will be displayed at the new location in the coming months are the four murals that decorated the walls of the original Pizza Farm. Amanda Sanders said they were salvaged from the building and are being restored by Eastside Elementary art teacher Jennifer Bradshaw.

The Pizza Farm Restaurant is open Thursday through Sunday at 4 p.m., closing at 10 p.m. on Thursdays, and Sunday, and 11 p.m. on Fridays, and Saturdays. There is currently a “soft opening” menu to choose from to ensure smooth customer service. This includes appetizers, pizzas, hamburger steaks, salads and sandwiches. To-go orders can still be placed by calling 770-684-9332.


Local
20-year-old Polk County man convicted of robbery conspiracy, acquitted on felony murder charge

A jury found a 20-year-old man guilty Friday of conspiring to commit a robbery in an incident that led to the death of a 57-year-old Shannon grandmother, but acquitted him of a felony murder charge.

A week of testimony wrapped up Friday for Tyree Kozel Daniels, who prosecutors say conspired to rob another teen and introduced a gun into the plan.

Jurors found Daniels guilty of conspiracy to commit a robbery, criminal attempt to commit a felony and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Jurors deliberated just under two hours Friday before pronouncing the verdict and Floyd County Superior Court Judge Bryan Johnson set sentencing for June 6.

Of the four people who participated in the Aug. 24, 2020, incident, Daniels was the only one who was technically an adult at 17 years old. The three others shooting were juveniles at the time of the crime.

The shooter, Marvin Leedale Cronan, pleaded guilty in January to a number of charges — including murder and conspiracy to commit robbery — for the shooting death of Laura Regina Ross.

Thomas Lane Dean Jr. and Selena Jenae Barnes pleaded guilty to charges related to the crime in October 2021. Neither Dean nor Barnes has been sentenced.

The indictment in the case states that Barnes, Cronan and Dean conspired to rob the victim’s grandson Owen Dotson. They decided to rob Dotson and split that money. Prosecutors said Daniels brought a .380 Smith & Wesson from his father’s storage box in Polk County.

Cronan testified in his plea hearing that Daniels had brought the gun but said that he was the only person on the porch when he fired the gun into the home killing Ross.


Local
Standard Journal Area Calendar of Events from the Wednesday, May 25, 2022 edition

Second Baptist Cedartown is holding a Memorial Day cookout and outdoor movie on May 29. Regular Sunday evening activities begin at 6 p.m. with a cookout at 7:30 p.m. on the front lawn of the church, 152 Evergreen Lane, followed by the movie “The Croods: A New Age” outside at 8:30 p.m.

The Rockmart Library has several summer events happening that invite children, teenagers and adults to visit the library at 316 N. Piedmont Ave. First is the kick off of its Summer Reading Program on May 31. Registration is happening throughout the day and Creative Discovery Museum is hosting a Family Literacy Night from 4-6 p.m. The Southeastern Reptiles show will be Jun 9 at 2 p.m. in the Rockmart City Gymnasium, June 21 will include a petting zoo from Cook Family Farm from 10 a.m. to noon, and the Floyd County ECO Center will be on hand for a presentation June 29 at 11 a.m. For more information call 770-684-3022.

Sons of the American Legion Post 12 in Rockmart hosts a $5 All-You-Can-Eat spaghetti and meatball supper each third Wednesday of the month from 5-7 p.m. at 1 Veterans Circle. Each meal comes with garlic bread, salad and tea, and all proceeds got to veterans’ and children’s programs.

The Good Neighbor Center Food Pantry, 71 Woodall Road, Cedartown, is open the second and fourth Sunday of each month from noon to 3 p.m. for anyone in need of food assistance. The pantry is located next to the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. For more information call 678-901-9184.

Tallatoona CAP is accepting appointments for the LIHEAP Cooling Assistance Program for households. Appointments can be scheduled online at tallatoonacap.org, or by phone 770-817-4666, Option 2, or 770-773-7730, Option 2.

The Rockmart Cultural Arts Center has several art classes scheduled for children and adults in 2022. Take time this year to learn something new and bring out your creative side. For more information, visit the RCAC Facebook page at facebook.com/rcac.ga or contact the Arts Center at 770-684-2707 or rcac@rockmart-ga.gov.

Want to get your event or announcement on the calendar? E-mail JStewart@polkstandardjournal.com.


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