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Cedartown man killed in multi-vehicle wreck

A Cedartown man was killed Friday afternoon after he was involved in a multi-vehicle wreck on the Cedartown Bypass.

Harold Grogan Gary, 84, was pronounced dead on the scene by Polk County Coroner Norman Smith after the 2009 Dodge Dakota pick-up truck he was driving was hit by a tractor-trailer truck at the intersection of Fairgrounds Road on Ga. Loop 1.

According to the Georgia State Patrol:

The Dodge Dakota was traveling north on the bypass, while the tractor-trailer was traveling southbound in the left lane. A Dodge Ram 3500 hauling a flatbed trailer was in the right lane traveling southbound next to the tractor-trailer.

As Gary attempted to turn left onto the westbound ramp he entered the tractor-trailer’s lane. The driver of the tractor-trailer swerved to the right to avoid him and struck the left side of the Dodge Ram.

The tractor-trailer then struck the right side of the Dodge Dakota as the Dodge Ram went off the west side of the road and came to rest in a large ditch. The Dodge Dakota came to a stop in the southbound right land and caught fire.

The tractor-trailer went off of the west side of the road before coming back on the roadway and turning over on its right side. The southbound lanes of the roadway were shut down for an extended amount of time because of the investigation into the wreck and efforts to upright the tractor-trailer.

There were no other passengers in the Dodge Dakota, and no other information on any other injuries was provided by GSP. The report was not complete as of Saturday afternoon.

Returned check leads to need for special election; Qualifying set for next week

Local officials have determined the course of action after a prospective candidate for the upcoming Cedartown City Commission race had her check for her qualifying fee bounce.

Jessica Brewster Payton announced in a statement Friday morning that a banking error on her part led to her disqualification from the November general municipal election as her check for the $54 qualifying fee was returned for insufficient funds.

Payton, who is serving her first term on the city commission, had filed as a candidate for the upcoming election with the Polk County Office of Elections and Registration during the three-day qualification period last month.

“This turns out to be an unprecedented situation in that my candidacy was unopposed and my bank account was before and is now in good standing,” Payton said in her statement. “Georgia state law is clear that if a check fails to clear, the candidate is disqualified. There are no gray areas here.”

Polk County Elections Director Brande Coggins said she worked with state elections officials as well as city and county attorneys to find the appropriate course of action.

The decision was made to have a special qualifying period and hold a special election for Payton’s seat in conjunction with the Nov. 2 election.

Coggins said qualifying will be held Wednesday, Sept. 15, and Thursday, Sept. 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday, Sept. 17, from 9 a.m. to noon. All interested candidates must qualify at the county elections office located at 144 West Ave. in Cedartown. The fee will remain $54.

Payton noted in her statement that she intends to qualify for the special election.

“I appreciate the understanding and efforts of the City of Cedartown, the Polk County Board of Elections, Polk County, and USAA in working to find the legal and ethical solution for this situation,” Payton said.

Coggins said while the situation does put her office in a crunch to try and have everything prepared for early voting and the municipal elections, she was certain that holding the special election with the November election was the best decision.

“We are navigating this the best way that we can. Although it puts us in a tight timeline and is tough on our office to have everything ready on time, it is a better situation than having to hold a freestanding special election in March in the middle of redistricting while also preparing for the May 2022 primaries,” Coggins said.

The city of Cedartown, along with the city governments of Aragon and Rockmart, have entered agreements with the county to facilitate their municipal elections. The county elections office is responsible for making sure all candidates properly qualify and voting procedures are properly carried out.

Early voting for the Nov. 2 election in Polk County is scheduled to start Oct. 12 and run on weekdays through Oct. 29, with Saturday voting open on Oct. 16 and 23. Locations will be the Polk County Elections Office as well as the Nathan Dean Community Center in Rockmart. The Rockmart location will not be open on Oct. 23.

The Nov. 2 election will include contested races for Rockmart City Council Ward 1 and Aragon City Council, while also featuring alcohol referendums for each of the three cities. A vote on an extension of the current education special purpose, local option sales tax for the Polk School District will also be put to all Polk County voters.

Standard Journal Area Calendar of Events from the Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021 edition

A new exhibit is on display at the Rockmart Cultural Arts Center, located at 316 N. Piedmont Ave. Ginger L. Lowry’s “Art of the Horse” exhibit will be on view through Oct. 21 in the RCAC Gallery with a reception scheduled for Sept. 18 from 4-6 p.m. Susan D. Waters’ “O Holy Night” life-size nativity made out of wire and papier mache is scheduled for Nov. 4 through Dec. 23. Church or civic groups are welcomed to sign up to visit this exhibit. For more information visit rockmart-ga.gov/RockmartCulturalArtsCenter.aspx or call 770-684-2707.

Mosaic Place will celebrate its third anniversary as part of its annual Recovery Rally on Sept. 14 at Peek Park in Cedartown. The event will last from 5:30-8:30 p.m. with live music, recovery speakers and a recovery walk around the park. For more information call 678-901-1445.

The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive at First Baptist Church of Rockmart, 311 E. Elm St., on Sept. 16 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Hours have been extended and more appointment slots have been added. There is a critical need for blood at this time due to many people traveling and on vacation. For more information and to schedule a time, visit redcrossblood.org/give.html/donation-time and search for “Rockmart.”

Polk County Historical Society cemetery tours are back with a new tour of Cedartown’s Greenwood Cemetery. Tours are available each Friday in September and October at 6 p.m. Those interested can email polkgahistory@gmail.com with a group size, date and phone number. Cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children 5 and up.

Keep Polk Beautiful will hold its annual Rivers Alive clean-up on Sept. 25 from 8 a.m. to noon in Cedartown at the Goodyear foot bridge off of West Avenue. The public is invited to come out, register and help with the efforts to keep our waterways and green spaces clean. Free T-shirts will be provided for the first 125 to register. For more information contact Randy Cook at 678-246-1083 or email RCook@cedartowngeorgia.gov.

Fall art classes are in session at the Rockmart Cultural Arts Center, located at 316 N. Piedmont Ave. Classes available include pottery, drawing, painting, fused glass, and weaving, as well as children’s pottery and mixed media classes. Form more information on these classes, including times and costs, visit rockmart-ga.gov/RockmartCulturalArtsCenter.aspx or call 770-684-2707.

The Polk County Historical Society and Museum is continuing to offer free story time and kids craft on the first Saturday of the month through December. Geared toward children ages 3-9, a member of the community will read a book followed by a craft. Each story time begins at 11:30 a.m. at the museum located at 117 West Ave., Cedartown.

Sons of the American Legion Post 12 in Rockmart hosts a $5 All-You-Can-Eat spaghetti and meatball supper the 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 Northwest Georgia Center for Independent Living holds a COVID-19 Peer Support call every Monday at 2 p.m. via the Zoom website and by phone. For the link and password, or if you need assistance, contact Christina Holtzclaw at 628-246-1825 or choltzclaw@nwgacil.org.

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