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County districts to see slight changes in 2022

A slight increase in the population of Polk County over the last 10 years means there will be some small tweaks to the county commission and school board district maps this year.

Just as the Georgia General Assembly went through state redistricting last November following data from the 202 U.S. Census, local governments must do the same in regards to the districts for municipal and school board elections.

“With the 2020 census being done, state law requires us to examine the district maps and the boundary lines that make up the districts,” Polk School District Board of Education attorney Rob Monroe said. “And we have to determine whether or not the districts are still an equivalent size and whether or not we’re still adhering to the concept of one person, one vote that the Constitution requires.”

The state’s Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office made recommendations for the new districts based on data from the once-every-10-year census. Board members then reviewed those changes and approved the new maps to be sent to the county elections office.

Local state legislators — Sen. Jason Anavitarte in Polk County’s case — must sponsor the new maps in the General Assembly to be passed and approved during the regular session, which began Monday and runs through March 31.

With Georgia’s primary election scheduled for May 24, that will create a tight window for Polk County Elections Director Brande Coggins to go through the new district maps and make sure any voters who have had their districts changed are notified before going to vote.

Coggins said there are not a large number of voters who will be affected by changes after her analysis of the new district maps. The biggest change that will come first is to the school board districts, which are separated by voters.

While county commission candidates must live in the district they represent, the seats are voted on at large by county voters. The same is true for Cedartown City Commission seats.

The only other governing body where voters are separated by districts is Rockmart City Council, which, like Cedartown, has some extra time to figure out their redistricting since neither is scheduled to hold any board elections until 2023.

The reapportionment office recommended slightly enlarging the size of Polk County Commission District 2 and decreasing the sizes of Districts 1 and 3, according to county officials.

Commissioners whose seats are up for election this year are Gary Martin (District 1), Linda Liles (District 2) and Hal Floyd (District 3).

School board members whose seats are up for election this year are Britt Madden (District 1), Bernard Morgan (District 2), Vicki Mayes (District 4), and Tommy Sanders (District 7).

District 1 includes all of Polk County west of Cedartown, including Prior Station, Esom Hill and Blooming Grove communities. District 2 is most of downtown Cedartown and south Cedartown. District 4 is Youngs Grove, the northwest portion of the Antioch community and eastern Lake Creek. District 7 includes the northeast corner of the county, including North Rockmart and Aragon.

Qualifying for all posts will be held March 7-11.

The deadline for county election offices to turn in changes to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office is Feb. 18. Once the state has the new voting districts, any voters affected will be sent new voter registration cards.

Voters can also check their status after Feb. 18 on the Georgia My Voter Page online.

Local events scheduled to honor MLK legacy

Two community events are planned this month to allow everyone to come together and celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The 19th Annual MLK Jr. “Youth Infusion” and Community Service Rally will be held on Sunday, Jan. 16, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine, in the parking lot across from Friendship Baptist Church, 321 MLK Jr. Blvd. in Cedartown.

Then, The Rev. Martin King Jr. Organization of Cedartown Inc. will present its 17th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Walk on Monday, Jan. 17 at 1 p.m. down Main Street.

Both Youth Working Together for a “ Speedy” Awareness and The Rev. Martin King Jr. Organization of Cedartown Inc. presented their plans to the Cedartown City Commission during the board’s regular meeting in December, with Chairman Andrew Carter issuing a proclamation marking Jan. 17 as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Cedartown.

The youth infusion rally is presented by Youth Working Together for a “ Speedy” Awareness, a nonprofit literacy and reading program headed up by Pamela Baker-King. The theme of this year’s event is “Rise Up: Dream and Keep Moving.”

The drive-thru service and program will consist of free books for children, and YWTSA is asking everyone to bring canned foods for needy families. This event is free to the public.

The mistress of ceremonies will be Coy Frasier, who attends Northside Elementary School, while Georgia State Rep. Trey Kelley, R-Cedartown, will bring the greetings and Cedartown City Commissioner Jessica Payton will read the 2022 proclamation by the city.

Bernard Morgan, executive director of The Rev. Martin King Jr. Organization of Cedartown Inc., spoke about the annual walk and celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King during the city commission’s December meeting.

Everyone is welcome to assemble at the corner of Rock Street and Thompson Street prior to 1 p.m. on Monday, and the walk will conclude at Sterling Holloway Park in front of Polk County Courthouse No. 2 in downtown Cedartown.

“Martin Luther King was actually for everybody ... and we do the walk every year to keep his dream alive,” Morgan said at December’s city commission meeting.

The walk is hosted by Cedar Springs Missionary Baptist Church, Rev. James G. Wright, pastor, and the theme is “Why We Can’t Wait.” The keynote speaker will be Marcus Flowers, Democratic candidate for Georgia’s 14th congressional district

For more information regarding the youth infusion rally, call 205-617-8979. For more information on Monday’s walk and celebration, call 678-232-7675 or 770-546-0725.

Status hearing in Rockmart quadruple murder case postponed

A hearing to address pretrial preparations for a man facing the death penalty in the shooting deaths of four people has been continued at the request of the defense.

Daylon Delon Gamble is charged with murder in the January, 2019 deaths of Helen Rose Mitchell, Jaequnn Davis, Arkeyla Perry and Dadrian Cummings.

The shootings took place on the same night at two different nearby locations in Rockmart. Another victim was shot but survived.

A status hearing was scheduled for Monday, Jan. 10, at the Polk County Courthouse in Cedartown, but Tallapoosa Circuit District Attorney Jack Browning confirmed Friday that a request by defense attorneys to postpone the hearing had been granted by Polk County Superior Court.

Gamble was arrested in Indianapolis, Indiana, days after reportedly fleeing from Rockmart after the shootings. He was captured and brought back to Polk County.

Browning has announced his intention to seek the death penalty in the case.

During a short status conference last July, Jerilyn Bell with the Georgia Capital Defender’s office told the court that her office was working to get qualified attorneys assigned to the case.

During an April 2019 pretrial hearing, GBI Special Agent Amanda Carter testified that Gamble was hanging out with several of the victims until 7:44 p.m. She also testified that all five of the shooting victims, including the sole survivor, Peerless Brown, were shot in the head.

Brown identified Gamble, who used to babysit him, as the shooter.

Witnesses in the case said Gamble was believed to be under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time of the crime, Carter told the court.

Standard Journal Area Calendar of Events from the Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022 edition

Habitat for Humanity-Coosa Valley is accepting applications for homeownership for families in Polk County. Applications are available online at and are due with all supporting documents by Feb. 25, 2022. An information session for those interested will be held Jan. 18, 2022, at 6 p.m. at Cedartown City Hall, 201 East Ave., Cedartown. Attendance at the session is not required but is highly encouraged. To register call the Habitat office at 706-378-0030.\

Anna Kresge Memorial UMC, 15 Booger Hollow Rd., Cedartown, is hosting a GriefShare program in support for those grieving the loss of a loved one starting Jan. 27. The 13-week course includes videos, group sharing and a workbook for daily exercises. Meetings will be held from 7-9 p.m. each Thursday both online and in person. Registration is $20 to cover materials, but scholarships are available. Register at or at a meeting. For more information contact Linda Stanton at 770-468-5957.

Second Baptist Church in Cedartown, 152 Evergreen Lane, is offering English classes to speakers of other languages in November, December and January. The free classes are on Sundays from 5:30-7 p.m. For more information contact

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 Low Income Home Energy Heating Assistance Program for all households. Schedule an appointment online at, or by phone 770-817-4666, Option 2, or 770-773-7730, Option 2.

Tallatoona CAP is accepting appointments for the Low Income Home Water Assistance Program only for households with disconnected service or a past due account balance. Appointments can be scheduled starting Jan. 3 for households with disconnected service or a past due account balance, senior households 60 years of age (all household members must be 60 years of age or older excluding minor children), or households with children 5 years of age and under. All other households may begin scheduling appointments starting Feb. 1. Schedule an appointment online at, or by phone 770-817-4666, Option 2, or 770-773-7730, Option 2.

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

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