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Cities take part in CREATE program to help develop strategies for attracting small businesses

The City of Cedartown, together with the City of Rockmart, took part in a CREATE workshop and tour last week.

The CREATE program is a multi-year cohort program developed in partnership between Georgia Power Company, Main Street America, and the University of Georgia Office of Public Service and Outreach. CREATE is an acronym that means Cultivating Rural Entrepreneurs And Transforming Economies. Elizabeth Elliott, Georgia Department of Community Affairs Downtown Preservation Planner was present, as was Matthew Wagner, chief program officer with Main Street America.

Polk County was selected as one of the first communities to take part in the cohort, along with Baldwin, Bleckley, Hart, Pickens, and Toombs County.

The CREATE program provides technical assistance, seed capital, and guidance to help support and attract entrepreneurs and small businesses to participating communities. Investing in entrepreneurship is critical for job retention and creation in rural towns. In fact, firms employing 50 people or less account for 42 percent of overall employment in rural communities nationwide.


Cedar Valley Chops owner Mark Richardson talks to the group touring the business during the CREAT workshop.

As part of the tour along Main Street in Cedartown, CREATE participants visited Cedar Valley Chops, an axe throwing entertainment venue, and the soon-to-be new home of Sugarless Sweets & Eats, a restaurant and bakery that is Keto friendly, sugar free, gluten free and soy free, and several other places of business, including Antiques on Main, owned by Richard Long.

The cohort will be tasked with developing and implementing a targeted growth strategy for their local and regional economies. Later this year, communities will receive $5,000 in seed capital to kick-start their implementation efforts.

Local disaster relief team deployed to Kentucky floods

Unit 34 Polk/Haralson Baptist Association’s disaster relief team was requested by Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief headquartered in Duluth Georgia to send equipment and cleanup and recovery personal to Neon and Jenkins Kentucky after torrential rains flooded the area July 26-29.

Unit Director Jeff Carter, of Aragon, assembled a team of 11 individuals within 24 hours and left from Rockmart August 2 where the team members gathered to ride share.

Their mission was to provide relief, recovery, and healing to thousands that lost everything. Fifteen inches of rain fell in a short period of time, leaving death, destruction, and heartbreak across Eastern Kentucky.

Thirty-eight lives were lost, with still others missing. Entire towns and communities were completely swept away, leaving thousands without a place to live.

Unit 34 is one of many disaster relief teams established and owned by churches, associations, and others under the guidance of Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief in times of natural disaster, floods, hurricanes, fires, and tornadoes. In addition to cleanup and recovery, GBDR provides incident command, chaplains, family care, showers, laundry, and feeding units.

Georgia was one of five states to initially respond to the call out that went nationwide. Other units will continue to deploy in weeks to come until manpower is exhausted or the need is no longer requested.

To learn how you can help, please contact or if you are interested in Serving Christ in Crisis, call Jeff at (770) 324-0522 for information on how to become a blessing to those in need, but don’t be surprised if you are the one being blessed.

Woman killed, another wounded in shooting

A 57-year-old man has been arrested and charged with murder after a young woman died and her mother was injured in an early-morning shooting last week in Cedartown.

According to the Cedartown Police Department and Georgia Bureau of Investigation:

Police said Summer Bryant, 26, and her mother, Julie Thigpen, 50, were walking along East Gibson Street in Cedartown with an unidentified man around 3 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16, when Randy Felicianno McClarity Sr. drove up to the group in his vehicle and began to shoot.

Bryant was killed by the gunfire while Thigpen suffered a gunshot wound to the face. She was treated at a Rome area hospital and later released. The man walking with the two women fled and was unharmed.

After an investigation, police began the search for McClarity and found him less than an hour after the incident. An officer with the Polk County Police Department located him in the Collard Valley Road area in Polk County, and he was taken into custody.

The GBI said Bryant and Thigpen were living in the same home with McClarity although a motive for the shooting has not been released.

McClarity is currently booked in the Polk County Jail on charges of murder, malice murder and three counts of aggravated assault. He was denied bond after his first appearance.

Both the Cedartown Police Department and the GBI are actively working the case.

Rockmart man killed in single-vehicle wreck

Juan Roman Flores

A Rockmart man was killed in a late-night wreck Thursday, Aug. 18, in Floyd County, leaving behind a wife and family.

According to Floyd County Police:

Juan Roman Flores, 41, was driving a Toyota Tacoma pick-up truck south on Ga. 101 around Wax Road when the truck crossed over the northbound lane of traffic and went off the east side of the roadway near the Silver Creek Post Office.

The truck flipped end over end about 400 feet before coming to a rest on its roof against a tree. Floyd County Coroner Gene Proctor said Flores was pronounced dead at the scene.

The report from Floyd County Police was not complete as of Friday afternoon, but it did include that a person had called Floyd 911 prior to the wreck to report that the vehicle driven by Flores had passed them going over 100 mph while heading south on Ga. 101.

Meanwhile, funeral arrangements for Flores were already made Friday afternoon. He leaves behind a wife, four children and two grandchildren. Services were held at Henderson & Sons Funeral Home in Rome with interment place at a later date in his hometown of Temaxcalapa, Mexico.

Standard Journal Area Calendar of Events from the Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022 edition

God’s Loving Angels will host a fish fry fundraiser Aug. 27 in Seaborn Jones Park to raise money for the group’s annual feed the community event in November. The event is from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. with live entertainment throughout the day. Fish plates are $10 each and hotdog plates are $8 each. Donations are also appreciated.

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.

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.

Tallatoona CAP is accepting appointments for the LIHEAP Cooling Assistance Program for households. Appointments can be scheduled online at, 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 or contact the Arts Center at 770-684-2707 or

Want to get your event or announcement on the calendar? E-mail with details at least two weeks before the event begins.