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Rockmart’s Dryden keeps blood drive going

Every other month, the community center at Rockmart’s First Baptist Church is turned into a blood donor center. And Dora Dryden has been a key part of keeping that happening.

The retired high school science teacher has been the lead American Red Cross blood program leader for Rockmart the last two years, and during that time has seen the need for blood become more and more critical.

The November drive happened Thursday, Nov. 18, and Dryden was there helping check people in and making sure they got all the snacks and food they wanted after donating.

“We’ve had a pretty good turnout I would say for the times,” Dryden said. “We’re getting around 40 donations, total and our goal today is 35. It’s been lower recently because of various things.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic started last year, blood supplies began running low because of a lack of donations as people stayed home and stopped traveling to public places.

Angela Truelove, account manager for the Red Cross Georgia Blood Services Northwest Georgia Region, asked Dryden to start holding two blood drives every two months. That continued until this month when it returned to a single drive every other month.

In August, Dryden was honored by the Red Cross as the Blood Drive Coordinator of The Year for Northwest Georgia. The award was presented to volunteers who foster innovative relationships between their organization and the Red Cross and contribute to priorities around safe blood products and a strengthened blood program.

“I’ve been working with the Red Cross volunteering in various ways for several years but only as the program leader for the last (two),” Dryden said. “I started when Martha McDurmon passed away. I’ve been donating blood since I was 17. So I’ve been with them a long time.”

McDurmon passed away in December, 2019 and worked with the Red Cross for over 10 years coordinating the blood drives in Rockmart.

After a period of holding the drives at the Nathan Dean Community Center, the drive returned to First Baptist Church and has been a fixture for the church and the community. Members of the Rockmart Masonic Lodge No. 97 prepare barbecue sandwiches for the donors, and Dryden makes sure to prepare a cake or dessert for them as well.

“It’s something that I felt strongly about since I started donating at 17, and it’s just such a worthwhile thing. I’m just happy to help. We have a lot of good helpers,” Dryden said.

The American Red Cross continues to address an ongoing emergency blood shortage, and donors are urged to give now to combat the lowest blood supply levels at this time of year in more than a decade.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu cases reached an all-time low last year due to masking, physical distancing and shutdowns across the country, and many Americans may have reduced immunity this year.

When seasonal illness increases, the number of healthy blood donors tends to decrease. Paired with winter weather, busy holiday schedules and ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the already-struggling blood supply could be further impacted throughout winter.

There is no blood donation waiting period for those who have received a flu shot or a Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine or booster, so long as they are symptom-free.

Donors are urged to schedule an appointment now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Rockmart’s next Red Cross blood drive is scheduled for Jan. 20 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. A bimonthly blood drive is also hosted at First Baptist Church in Cedartown with the next drive set for Dec. 6 from 2-7 p.m.

New playground built with help from community

Children in Cedartown and Polk County have a new space to climb, slide and swing thanks to a special grant and the dedication of some local residents.

A new playground structure was installed at Cedartown’s Bert Wood Park recently, with several community members and organizations answering the call to help with the build. The structure was purchased thanks in part to a special grant from KABOOM!, a national nonprofit that works to achieve playspace equity for kids.

The City of Cedartown put out a call for volunteers to assist with the installation of the new playground, which was purchased through BCI Burke and installed by PlaySouth Playground Creators.

Volunteers arrived at the park on the morning of Nov. 13 and got to work on the red, black and silver structure — the colors for Cedartown High School. Employees from Oldcastle APG were part of the group, and the company donated 50 yards of mulch for the play area.

Chick-fil-A donated free biscuits for volunteers and everyone from Cedartown city employees and city commissioners to local civic organizations and school groups helped get the playground built in a single day.

The plan is to add more equipment to the playground in the future.

State Senate passes new congressional map

ATLANTA — Georgia’s state Senate adopted a Republican-drawn congressional map on Friday over the objections of Senate Democrats. The Georgia House was expected to follow suit on Monday, ending a months-long partisan battle to decide the state’s political future for the next decade.

The GOP-controlled Senate voted along party lines, 32-21, to approve the map.

The General Assembly has been meeting in special session for two weeks as lawmakers redraw legislative and congressional boundaries to accommodate changes in population reflected in the 2020 U.S. Census.

Lawmakers have already approved new state House and Senate districts during the last two weeks.

The 14th Congressional District, which includes Polk and Floyd counties, would move out of Pickens and Haralson counties and move into portions of southwestern Cobb County including Powder Springs and Austell.

While that does dilute the deep red 14th District with recently blue areas of Cobb, it appears the district overall remains solidly Republican.

Sen. Michael Rhett, D-Marietta, complained that the Republican map moves the Northwest Georgia district of controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome, south into some of the most heavily Black areas of Cobb County.

“That’s not sitting well with my constituents,” he said.

Sen. John Kennedy, R-Macon, the committee’s chairman, said the change was made to meet the legal requirements that all congressional districts be virtually even in population. He said the map has to be viewed as a whole, with populations shifts in each district affecting others.

“None of this is done in a vacuum,” he said.

The map approved by the Senate adds more white voters to the 6th Congressional District by extending it north through all of Forsyth and Dawson counties and eastern Cherokee County. As a result, the 6th District’s white voting-age population would increase to 66.63%.

That makes the reelection prospects of U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta, problematic at best. McBath won the seat representing East Cobb, North Fulton and North DeKalb counties in 2018 after it had been in Republican hands for decades.

Under the new map, the 7th Congressional District would take in most of Gwinnett County and a portion of North Fulton, increasing its concentration of minority voters and, thus, making it safer for freshman Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, D-Lawrenceville.

The Republican map also makes the 2nd Congressional District in Southwest Georgia held by Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, more competitive by slightly lowering its Black voting-age population and raising its white VAP.

Legislative Democrats and civil and voting rights advocates criticized the Republican congressional map at House and Senate committee hearings Wednesday as ignoring communities of interest in favor of giving the GOP a partisan advantage.

Standard Journal Area Calendar of Events from the Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 edition

The Rotary Club of Polk County and the Rockmart Merchants Association present Silver Comet Fest on Saturday, Nov. 27, in Downtown Rockmart. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will feature arts and crafts vendors, food trucks, kids activities and live music.

The RCAC Art Gallery at 316 N. Piedmont Ave. is hosting an exhibit by local artist Susan Waters titled “O Holy Night” through Dec. 23. Receptions will be held Nov. 30 and Dec. 4 from 4-7 p.m. Nov. 30 will coincide with the Rockmart Library’s Grinchmas event, and Luther’s Mountain Bluegrass Band will perform on Dec. 4.

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.

American Legion Brown-Wright Post 12 is holding its 77th annual Empty Stocking Fund Drive. Members of the Legion, its auxiliary, and SAL will be at local businesses collecting toys and gifts for families in need throughout the holiday season. Applications for families can be picked up at the post, the Rockmart Library, or local elementary schools.

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 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.

Tallatoona CAP is accepting appointments for the Low Income Home Energy Heating Assistance Program for the Senior households 65 years of age and older and Homebound households. The general public can begin scheduling appointments beginning Dec. 1. 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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