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Local
Lim resigns as Tallapoosa Circuit superior court judge

Meng Lim, who has been embroiled in an ethics investigation by the state judicial qualifications commission the past year and a half, resigned as chief judge of the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit on Tuesday, July 5, less than six months before the end of his term.

Lim came into the post in 2015 and was celebrated as Georgia’s first Asian American elected superior court judge.

However a series of ethics complaints took its toll and Lim lost his re-election bid in May to Cedartown attorney Andrew Roper by 8,195 votes to 5,663 among voters in both Polk County and Haralson County.

Roper received 64.2% of the vote in Polk County and 52.7% of Haralson County’s votes. His term starts in January.

Lim told the Polk County Standard Journal he had received a job offer at an Atlanta-area law firm and resigned to begin work there but did not provide the name of the firm.

He declined to comment any further.

Rumors about Lim’s resignation began to circulate in the days before the July 4 holiday, but the Polk County Standard Journal was not able to confirm it until July 5 when Gov. Brian Kemp’s deputy director of communications, Andrew Isenhour, responded to a request.

Isenhour said they had received the letter and it has been accepted but could not share any further information at this time. He added that the governor would announce any appointment when the time comes.

The letter, addressed to Kemp, is dated July 1 and consists of a single, simple sentence stating his resignation as chief judge of the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit effective July 5, 2022.

The Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit covers Polk and Haralson counties. Tallapoosa Circuit Superior Court Judge Mark Murphy remains on the bench.

Lim was elected to superior court judge in 2014, but in July 2021 he was charged with 16 separate violations of the state Code of Judicial Conduct. Those accusations related to him allegedly having a romantic relationship with a former Polk County Court Clerk’s Office employee and using his influence and personal relationship with a participant in the Tallapoosa Circuit Drug Court program to get him preferred treatment in 2016.

The JQC added eight new counts of judicial misconduct to the state’s inquiry in January after additional complaints were filed in September 2021, bringing the total number of formal charges against Lim to 24.

A date for the final hearing in the matter has not yet been determined.

Lim came to Georgia as a child after escaping his homeland of Cambodia. He grew up in Bremen and began practicing law in 1998. He was elected to superior court judge in 2014 and ran unopposed for a second term in 2018.


Local
Hall of Fame coach Escue Rodgers joins ranks of Polk County greats at unveiling ceremony

The stories were colorful and also plentiful on a hot early July day. The kind of day that Escue Rodgers likely had his football team practicing in the grove near the former Cedar Hill High School.

But this was not a day for practice but for gratefulness to a man who helped shape not just the lives of the people he taught and coached, but also the community in which he served.

Over 100 gathered in the newly built Polk County Sports Walk of Fame park in downtown Cedartown on Saturday, July 2, to pay tribute to Rodgers as his bronze statue was unveiled among the rest of the athletes and coaches whose likenesses are represented.

“Today represents the culmination of six years of commitment and dedication by numerous people and organizations to make this a reality,” said Robert Baker, a Cedar Hill alum and member of the Cedar Hill Alumni Association support committee.

“Thank you to everybody who worked behind the scenes in a big way, and in a small way, as part of this journey. This definitely took a village and we wouldn’t be here today without the collective effort of everyone.”

Jeremy Stewart 

Cedar Hill High School alum Ed Weaver reacts after helping unveil the statue of former coach Escue Rodgers at the Polk County Sports Walk of Fame on Saturday, July 2. Rodgers made a reputation for himself as one of the top coaches in the state during his time at CHHS and was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame last year.

Rodgers was a teacher and coach at Cedar Hill for more than two decades during the 1950s and 1960s. His teams won 85 trophies in 24 years in football, basketball, and track. During the time of segregation, Rodgers was named head coach of the North Team, the first ever Georgia Interscholastic Association Football All-Star Team.

Rodgers was honored during his lifetime with numerous coaching and teaching awards including Coach of the Year from Fort Valley State in 1953, Morris Brown College Outstanding Coaching Achievement Award in 1956, and the distinguished Coaching Award from the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association in 1974.

Rodgers passed away in 1978 and was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame last year after a campaign by the Cedar Hill Alumni Association. The group marked the completion of their fundraising efforts to have the statue made and approved by the Walk of Fame committee nearly a year ago.

The group of alumni, visitors and dignitaries contending with the sweltering midday sun in the midst of a new place to honor the legacy of the past did not lose sight of the meaning of the moment.

“To be able to honor such an esteemed person is reason to celebrate, further reason to celebrate is that coach Rodgers is the first African American person to be recognized with a bronze statue at the Polk County Sports Walk of Fame,” Baker told the crowd during his welcome.

Jeremy Stewart 

Robert Baker, a Cedar Hill alum and member of the Cedar Hill Alumni Association support committee, welcomes those gathered for the unveiling of the statue of Escue Rodgers on July 2.

The new Walk of Fame park was overseen by Jamie and Darcy Morris, whose family owns and operates the Doug Sanders Golf Museum next door. The unveiling of Rodgers’ statue served as the official opening of the park. It will be open to the public during the day Monday through Friday.

The statue was sculpted by Cedartown native and professional artist Julia Trawick Knight, who also sculpted the likenesses of the first six athletes unveiled for the Walk of Fame — Howard “Doc” Ayers, Ray Beck, Edgar Chandler, Jimmy Hightower, Doug Sanders and Whitlow Wyatt.

She said she usually researches the subjects of her sculptures through personal stories and memories but never knew Rodgers, so she turned to those who had, including her mother.

“As an artist, I prefer to rely on personal observation but not having met coach Rodgers, I was totally reliant on the photographs that were provided,” Knight said.

After failing to find photos in old newspapers, Knight turned to going through yearbooks provided by CHHS alumni and gathering with groups of alumni to talk about Rodgers.

“Thank you for the honor of allowing me to tell this part of your story. Through this enduring bronze sculpture thereby adds to the rich history of Cedartown, Georgia, African American heritage, and our shared experiences,” Knight said.

Jeremy Stewart 

Sculptor Julia Trawick Knight speaks to the crowd about her process of creating the likeness of Escue Rodgers during the statue’s unveiling ceremony on July 2.

Several Cedar Hill alumni were in attendance as they made the statue unveiling part of their annual reunion weekend and made a point to come up to the statue after the ceremony and have photos taken.

Yahya Eli Mohammed, a member of the CHHS class of 1967, walked up to the statue and, after gazing at it for a moment, patted it on its side and said, “OK ‘Cue.”

As part of the ceremony, Cedar Hill alum Ed Weaver presented Polk County Historical Society Museum Director Arleigh Ordoyne with the framed acceptance letter from the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and the award from Rodgers’ induction to be preserved in the museum.

A few alumni who were former players under Rodgers also spoke during the ceremony. Marilyn Edmondson, Cedar Hill Class of 1954, is a former basketball player and track athlete who presented his background and career at Cedar Hill, including meeting his wife, a music teacher named Alice White.

Jeremy Stewart 

The statue of former Cedar Hill High School coach Escue Rodgers stands above the group of alumni and guests at the statue’s unveiling at the Polk County Sports Walk of Fame on Saturday, July 2.

Edmondson confessed she didn’t know why she was asked to speak since she had been on a girls basketball team Rodgers had called “the worst ever.”

“We made it to the district but in the finals we were massacred. I mean, we were beat so bad by Cartersville,” Edmondson told the crowd. “All the girls crowded on the bus back to Cedartown. He let the boys stay. He walked up and down that aisle of that bus, and I cannot say the words that he said. He said, “Never let anybody beat you by a hundred points ever again.’

“So I’ve taken that lesson with me through all my education. I excelled when I left Cedar Hill and became a pretty good forward in basketball, and I never let anybody beat us by 100 points.”

Jeremy Stewart 

Yahya Eli Mohammed gazes up at the statue of coach Escue Rodgers following an unveiling ceremony at the Polk County Sports Walk of Fame on Saturday, July 2.


Local
Brazier stepping down as probate judge due to health

Polk County Probate Judge Tony Brazier will resign his position July 15 after complications from back surgery have forced him to step down.

Brazier’s resignation was confirmed in an email sent by County Manager Matt Denton to county administrators and commissioners Wednesday afternoon, July 6. Brazier also confirmed his resignation when reached by the Polk County Standard Journal.

A resignation letter was sent to Gov. Brian Kemps office stating Brazier would be stepping down effective July 15.

“Lord knows I love serving the people. All I’ve done since serving this county since 1979 is serve faithfully with compassion and dedication,” Brazier said. “I will miss taking care of the people that come under my office’s care. But when your health begins to affect how you serve, you have to listen to the doctors.”

Brazier had back surgery in April and has recently developed complications that led surgeons to schedule a procedure that will severely limit his ability to move around as much as he would need to, according to Brazier.

“It’s hard, and it breaks my heart to do so, but I will have to stand down,” Brazier said.

Denton’s email stated that Associate Probate Judge Shayne Green will serve in the interim until November when a special election will be held along with the general election.

Brazier has served Polk County in a public safety or public service capacity since 1979, including as an EMT and coroner. He was elected probate judge in 2020 when he narrowly defeated Bobby Brooks in the primary election.

Brazier said he expects a smooth transition in the probate court with Green and his chief clerk making sure there is no interruption of service.


Local
Cedartown PD advises new speed cameras ready in school zones

Drivers traveling near Cedartown High School and Cedartown Middle School will have an extra reason to check their speed once classes start back Aug. 2.

Cedartown Police posted a notice on its Facebook page advising the public that new school zone speed cameras have been installed and will begin operation on the first day of the new school year.

The camera systems are located on the Cedartown bypass/Ga. 1 in front of Cedartown Middle School and on Ga. 101 at the main entrance of Cedartown High School at Fran Lott Drive.

Cameras are placed on each side of the roadway facing in opposite directions to capture images of any vehicles, including their license plates, between 7:20 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. when classes are held. Any vehicles captured traveling more than 10 miles over the posted speed limit will be sent a civil citation.

This citation will be for $75 for the first violation and $125 for each additional violation by the vehicle. These citations are civil and would not affect a driver’s insurance points.

The option to place the cameras in school zones to catch speeding drivers is allowed by Georgia House Bill 978, which was passed into law during the 2018 legislative session.

Flashing yellow lights will be turned on from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and also from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. to signal a decrease in the speed limit by 10 mph within each school zone. The speed limit in front of the middle school will go from 60 to 50, and the limit on Ga. 101 at the high school’s main entrance will change from 55 to 45.

Although the cameras will be in operation starting Aug. 2, drivers will have a 30-day grace period where any speed violations will be followed up with a warning and require no follow-up from the driver.

The start of the camera systems is the culmination of over two years of work by the city of Cedartown and the Cedartown Police Department.

The Cedartown City Commission had to approve an ordinance and tentative contract with the company RedSpeed to install and maintain the cameras. Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome then went to the Polk County Board of Education in December 2020 to get approval to request the permits from the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Once those were applied for and received, work began earlier this year in setting up the cameras as well as the proper signage clearly notifying drivers of photo-enforced speed zone cameras at each location.

All speeding violations marked by the radars attached to the cameras must be reviewed and verified by a Cedartown Police officer before a citation is mailed to the person to whom the vehicle is registered. If cited, owners will be given an opportunity to meet with the police officer, review the evidence and dispute the charge prior to any court hearing.

In addition to slowing traffic during busy times, speed zone cameras allow law enforcement to input specific tag numbers into the system to notify them of any person of interest. This can include registered sex offenders, individuals wanted by the law and others who are not allowed on school property.


Local
Standard Journal Area Calendar of Events from the Wednesday, July 13, 2022 edition

The Polk County Historical Society is hosting Children’s Story Time on Thursdays in June and July. Different storytellers hold free story times at the museum starting at 11:30 a.m. every Thursday. The Polk County Historical Society Museum is located at 117 West Ave. in Cedartown.

Oak Grove Baptist Church will host a one-day vacation bible school on July 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the church, 1937 Rome Highway, in Cedartown. The day will include games, lunch, a bounce house, bible lessons and music. To register a child visit oakgrovecedartown.org.

Cedartown Seventh-day Adventist Church, 71 Woodall Road, Cedartown, is hosting its free Vacation Bible School July 18-22 for children ages 5-11. Each day’s activities will last from 2-5 p.m. and the theme is “Jasper Canyon — Where Every Kid is Treasured by God.” Please call 678-901-9184 and leave a message with your name, number of children, names and ages.

A free notary training class presented by Polk County Clerk of Superior Court Stacie Baines and the Georgia Superior Court Clerks Cooperative Authority will be July 20 from 1-2:30 p.m. The class will be conducted via Zoom web conferencing. This presentation will cover best practices, Georgia notary law, and examples of do’s and don’t’s. To sign up contact Angel at the clerk of superior court’s office at 770-749-2114.

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 American Red Cross will hold a blood drive at First Baptist Church of Rockmart, 311 E. Elm St., July 21 from 12:30-6:30 p.m. There is a critical need for blood at this time. The local Masonic Lodge will be serving barbecue sandwiches and refreshments will be provided. For more information and to schedule a time, visit redcrossblood.org/give.html/donation-time and search for “Rockmart.”

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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