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RCAC reopens with new exhibits, classes

Change and crisis can be sparks of inspiration for artists, especially during current times.

So for the three months the Rockmart Cultural Arts Center was forced to close its doors out of an abundance of caution because of the COVID-19 pandemic, center director Peggy Cline planned and waited for the time she could welcome people to the three-story building again.

The center, located in the City of Rockmart Government Complex at 316 N. Piedmont Ave., officially reopened June 15 with a new juried art exhibit in its gallery and local artists ready to take advantage of the spaces made available to them.

“We are thrilled to be reopened,” Cline said. “It was hard because we had to cancel so many concerts and our usual theater camps — that was probably the hardest part. But we’re open again and ready to see people.”

Cline said she has been fascinated over time with the number of new residents to Rockmart and Polk County who come to the gallery asking about what there is to do, and she wants to continue providing an outlet for all residents to find something that inspires them at the center, whether it is performing, visual or literary arts.

The center’s main gallery is hosting a juried art show featuring works by artists from Polk County as well as Dunwoody, Cartersville and Marietta. Different mediums are also on display, from different painting methods to carvings to clay.

The show will culminate in a reception and awards ceremony on Aug. 1 from 4-7 p.m., but the exhibit will be on display through Aug. 6.

Meanwhile, local artists have returned to the center and used its studio space rentals to continue their work, regular art classes have returned and two art camps are scheduled for later this month, although with smaller numbers to promote social distancing among the participants.

Paul Craighead offers a pottery class on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, while Madelyn Stringer gives piano lessons on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and James Hill instructs a drawing and painting class on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Summer art camps are the Magic of Art Camp from July 13-17 and a pottery camp July 20-24. The Magic of Art Camp lasts from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day and includes drawing, painting and sculptures with $100 per person. The pottery camp is from 9:30 a.m. to noon each day and is $95 per participant.

More information on all of these activities can be found on the arts center’s Facebook page, or by calling 770-684-2707.

During the closure of the center, new hand sanitization stations were added throughout the building and signs have been posted to encourage visitors and artists to stay healthy and safe.

Cline said they recommend visitors wear a mask, but it is not required.

County commission approves change orders for runway extension

More change orders and supplemental agreements for the runway extension project at Cornelius Moore Field were approved by the Polk County Commission during a special called meeting last Tuesday.

County Manager Matt Denton brought the items to the board with revised cost estimates based on revised pricing and the scope of the project, which began last June and is still in the first phase of a three phase plan.

The costs for the change orders will be funded by the state Department of Transportation and Holt Consulting, which is handling the project. All items were unanimously approved by the commission.

The runway extension is part of an effort by the state of Georgia to make improvements to metro-area and rural runways and facilities at 11 airports across the state. Former Gov. Nathan Deal came to Polk County in 2018 to sign the amended state budget that included much of the funding for the runway extension.

With a 5,000 foot runway, Cornelius Moore Field will be able to accommodate a greater number of aircraft, including small business jets.

A supplemental agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation will fund the cleanup of mud and debris that occurred at the site of the extension last July. Two change orders with Astra Group, Inc., will allow them to continue work on the project with respect to the clean up and other fill and buffer work at the site.

Denton told the board they have come across some savings, but the change orders would increase the total amount of the project, with Holt obligated to cover the county’s portion of the increase, which is estimated to be $37,512.30.

In other news, a new landfill convenience center is opened near Aragon to replace the one that closed a few months ago.

The Prospect Road Convenience Center is located at 1683 Prospect Rd. near Aragon, just a couple hundred yards from the site of the former center. The entrance is across Prospect Road from Long Station Road.

The county runs five other convenience centers for use by county residents to dispose of household waste. All centers are open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Health officials investigating "multiple" COVID-19 cases at Tip Top in Rockmart

Reports of a small outbreak of COVID-19 at a Rockmart plant coincided with a foreboding milestone for Polk County last week as the new coronavirus continues to be a threat to high-risk age groups.

Officials with the Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed last Thursday that they are investigating multiple employees of Tip Top Poultry in Rockmart who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Logan Boss, Northwest Georgia public health district spokesman, said in an email they have identified nine cases at the chicken processing plant located at 479 Nathan Dean Bypass.

He said they have provided management with recommendations on health and safety to keep other employees safe, but did not go into specifics.

Tip Top is one of the top employers in Polk County. The plant remains opened and there has been no indication that the virus was spread between employees.

Dr. Gary Voccio, health director for the Northwest Georgia public health district, has said the new coronavirus continues to be a fairly communitywide spread, meaning it is possible to contract it in public much like the flu.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Polk County stood at an even 200 as of press time last Friday. The total was after an increase of 22 in a week as Georgia closed in on 73,000 cases statewide since the outbreak began.

While Polk County’s total number of cases has continued to steadily increase, the number of residents who have been hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 have remained at 15 for several weeks. One death of a county resident due to COVID-19 was reported in May and is the only one so far.

Hospitals in Rome confirmed a total of 10 patients were being treated for COVID-related issues as of Friday, a slight increase from recent weeks.

Since May 29, Polk County’s number of cases has grown by 87. Many public places and restaurants have reopened with health officials continuing to encourage people to wear face masks and regularly wash or sanitize their hands.

Standard Journal Area Calendar of Events from the Wednesday, July 1, 2020 edition

The 35th Annual Cave Spring Fourth of July Parade will be held Saturday at 9 a.m. in downtown Cave Spring. Participants should line up between 8-8:45 a.m. Wheeled vehicles should line up on Perry Farm Road, while walkers should gather at Joe Hill’s Lawnmower Shop at the Old Depot on Alabama Street. Spectators can watch the parade from the Town Square and up Alabama Street. Everyone is asked to comply with CDC and social distancing guidelines. For more information call 706-802-8773.

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

The NWGA Center for Independent Living is offering free Personal Protection CARE Kits to people with disabilities who live in Northwest Georgia. The kits include three face masks, two disposable thermometers, give pair of gloves and alcohol wipes. To request a kit and become a consumer, contact the center at 706-314-0008 or

The Rockmart Farmers Market is back in business, though with social distancing and sanitation guidelines in effect. Come take part in the market on Waters Street in downtown Rockmart on Thursday starting at 2 p.m. Find weekly updates about available produce and more at

Rockmart Cultural Arts Center’s Juried Art Show is underway at the Rockmart Art Gallery, continuing through Aug. 6, 2020. A reception and Awards ceremony is planned from 4 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 1. For more information call 770-684-2707 or 770-231-9094.

The Arts Reignited Arts Exhibit is coming up after having to re-schedule the annual exhibit and gala that was postponed. The “A Night with Local Artists” Gala is now being held for the exhibit starting later this summer on Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Skellenger Gallery at the Cedartown Performing Arts Center. More than 200 works of art will be available for view, and guests will have the opportunity to enjoy live music, wine, and an opportunity to engage in coversation with artists. Find more at

Gospel in the Mountains will be July 11 from 12 to 6 p.m. at 75 Cross Road in Ellijay. For more information or directions call 706-671-7988.

The 8th Annual Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Georgia Polk County Golf Tournament will be Aug. 21 at Cherokee Golf and Country Club in Cedartown. Check in begins at 8 a.m. with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. Lunch and awards will follow. For more information and to register online visit

The Sterling Holloway Hunny Pot Festival is making a 2020 return, schedueld for Sept. 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Big Spring Park in Cedartown. The second annual celebration of Cedartown native Sterling Holloway, the original voice of Disney’s Winnie the Pooh, will be a fun-filled day designed around the iconic yellow bear. Check out for more information as the festival date draws closer.

The Spooky Spokes Bike Ride and Halloween Village is being planned for Oct. 17 from 4 to 7 p.m. at 605 Lynton Drive. This is not your typical trunk or treat. In fact, there are no trunks, only good-old fashioned fun. Join us for seasonal kids’ activities, hay ride, a costume contest, bike ride and more! Keep up with event updates on

Market on Main is coming up this fall on Nov. 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in downtown Cedartown. The annual festival on Main Street will showcase a variety of vendors, along with the annual parade, dog contest, kid’s activities, food and more. Visit to find updates on Market on Main.

Milltown Music Hall has information on shows that are being scheduled for this summer at

Want to get your event or announcement on the calendar? E-mail

Coverage of weekend graduations online

Due to The Polk County Standard Journal’s deadline, coverage of both Cedartown and Rockmart high school’s graduation will be published in the July 8 edition.

Photos and coverage will be posted on the newspaper’s website,, as soon as possible, so please visit our website for content prior to next week’s print edition.

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