Things to do in Cherokee County Monday, Aug. 29

Centre Rotary Club meets at noon on the second floor of the First Southern State Bank Building.

The Party Bridge match is played at Centre First United Methodist Church. Call 256-927-7754 for more information.

Visit the beautiful Rock Village, home of some of the best hiking and rock climbing throughout the world. Enjoy fresh air and beautiful scenery. Go to the intersection of U.S. Highway, to the intersection of County Road 36 and County Road 70, turn left and follow 411 and Highway 68 in Leesburg, turn right, turn left on Cherokee County 36 the signs.

Visit the historical Cornwall Furnace on Cherokee County Road 92 in Cedar Bluff.

The Cherokee County School System is giving notice that records retairned for five years after the end of special education services will be destroyed Oct. 1, 2016. Parents or students may call 256-927-8049 to request records.

Sand Rock finishes runner-up to Plainview in Sardis Volleyball Invitational

SARDIS – Sand Rock went 5-1 and finished runner-up to Plainview on Saturday in the Sardis Volleyball Invitational.

In pool play, the Lady Wildcats (7-1) defeated Ider (25-17, 25-21), Fyffe (25-21, 25-17), and Oneonta (25-16, 25-13).

In the tournament quarterfinals, Sand Rock outlasted Cherokee County 25-20, 25-27 and 15-11, setting up a rematch with Fyffe in the semifinals. The Lady Wildcats defeated Fyffe again 24-26, 25-20 and 15-8 to secure their spot in the finals against Plainview. Sand Rock fell to Plainview 20-25, 21-25.

For the day, August Gilliland collected 32 kills, six blocks, 34 digs and 17 aces. Audrey Richardson added 55 assists, 28 digs, six aces and seven kills. Haylie Pruitt had 31 kills, three blocks and eight aces. Savannah Blackwell contributed 31 kills, 31 digs and six aces. Erin Langley accumulated 52 assists, 22 digs and eight aces. Paige Norris posted 60 digs. Madelyn Chambers had 15 kills and four blocks. Kynleigh Chesnut finished with 11 kills.

Sand Rock hosts Cedar Bluff and Ashville on Tuesday.

Polk Medical Center lands on list for state donation program; Donors get tax credits in 2017

Beginning next year, Polk Medical Center will be able to accept up to $4 million in donations for which donors will be allowed to receive tax credits.

That’s because PMC is among 48 rural hospitals across the state slated to receive aid through state Senate Bill 258, signed into law in April by Gov. Nathan Deal.

Statewide, some $50 million in tax credits will be available for donors to eligible rural hospitals in 2017, $60 million will be available in 2018 and $70 million in 2019.

To be eligible the medical facility must be in a rural county with a population under 35,000, be a nonprofit organization, and treat indigent patients or patients on Medicare or Medicaid.

PMC fell under those qualifications, and could receive a total of $4 million per year in donations, which is the cap for annual donations to a hospital.

“We were just notified this week that we were potentially going to participate in this program,” PMC Administrator Matt Gorman said. The hospital is managed by Floyd Medical Center in Rome. “Anything that can be done to help bolster rural healthcare in the state of Georgia is a positive thing.”

Eligible hospitals will be ranked through a needs-based assessment on the financial condition of each hospital, and a final list will be issued on Dec. 1.

Due to the recent reception of the news, Gorman said, a discussion considering how donations will be spent has begun, but what it will be specifically used for is still up in the air.

“One of the big campaigns that we have right now is what we call ‘Live Well Polk’ … it’s our initiative as a healthcare facility to reach out to the public and provide resources for wellness and education.”

The campaign provides education to patients through an online health library, where information on health conditions and treatments can be researched. “That’s one of the most likely ways that we will use contributions … where we’re reaching out to the community and providing better education and access to care,” Gorman added.

The program will last three years, Gorman said, unless further legislative action is taken to extend the program.

Any donations during that time would be welcome and appreciated, Gorman continued, but it doesn’t dispel concerns about the state of rural hospitals.

“In general there are more and more changes that are occurring in healthcare at a very rapid pace … (and) for small hospitals there aren’t the same resources to be able to accommodate those unfunded mandates that come through the federal government,” he said.

“Hospitals are being squeezed in terms of their revenue sources and without any action, currently at least, for the uninsured population in the state there’s not an offset for those payment reductions.”

Gorman is referring to changes under the Affordable Care Act impacting rural hospitals like PMC.

Rural hospitals, prior to the ACA, would receive federal “disproportionate share payments” to cover costs associated with patients failing to adequately pay their medical bills without insurance coverage, Gorman said.

“And for a lot of hospitals, especially those with a high Medicaid population, it was an important source of revenue.”

A Supreme Court ruling in 2012 stating Medicaid expansion or non-expansion would be decided at the state level trumped the presumption of the ACA that all states would expand the governmental health coverage, Gorman said.

Georgia’s legislature has opted out of expanding Medicaid and federal funding hasn’t made up for the lack of state level funding, Gorman added. That means rural hospitals haven’t been reimbursed adequately for treating patients without insurance.

As far as those donating to the 48 hospitals, for each tax year, an individual would receive a tax credit of $2,500 or 70 percent of what they donate, depending on which value is less. Married couples filing a joint tax return can receive 70 percent of the donated amount or $5,000.

Corporations donating can’t receive tax credits up to 70 percent of what they contribute or 75 percent of their income tax liability, whichever is less.

PMC is set up with “robust healthcare foundation” to assist in reaching out to potential donors, which is a resource other rural hospitals don’t have, Gorman said.

Other rural hospitals may reach out to third-party consulting firms to handle the administration of the donation program to “maximize the exposure of their facility to potential contributors,” he added.

Georgia Health News, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, tracks state medical issues on its website

Gordon Hospital to host Robot Day and Gordon Urology Open House

(Calhoun, Ga.) — Gordon Hospital’s Robot Day and Gordon Urology Open House will both be held on Sept. 1, 2016. Robot Day will be held in the East Entrance of the hospital where people are invited to get a closer look at the da Vinci surgical system from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Gordon Urology Open House will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. and will allow the community to visit one of our newest practices and meet Dr. Hak J. Lee, urologic oncologist and director of Gordon Hospital’s robotics program.

The da Vinci surgical system is the latest in robotic surgical technologies. Surgeons use the system by operating through small incisions with a 3D high-definition vision system and wristed instruments that act much more efficiently than hands. On Robot Day, those who attend will be able to test-drive the da Vinci robot with the guidance of an intuitive representative. Attendees will also have the opportunity to learn and ask questions about robotic surgery and how it has changed the health care field.

Gordon Urology Open House will also be open to the public and will provide the community with an opportunity to meet the Gordon Urology team. There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony and light refreshments will be served.

For more information on Robot Day or Gordon Urology Open House, please contact Sharon Bass at 706-629-2895 ext. 4052.

Founded in 1935, Gordon Hospital is proud to be a member of Adventist Health System. With 46 hospitals in 10 states, Adventist Health System is a faith-based healthcare organization headquartered in Altamonte Springs, Florida. A national leader in quality, safety, employee engagement, and patient satisfaction, Adventist Health System’s more than 78,000 employees maintain a tradition of whole-person health by caring for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of every patient.

Harriet Whisnant Rogers

Mrs. Harriet Whisnant Rogers, age 92, of Rome, passed away at her residence Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016.

Mrs. Rogers was born in Summerville, Ga., November 24, 1923. She was the daughter of the late John B. Whisnant and Sarah Fay Taylor Whisnant. She was also preceded in death by her first husband, Lt. William A. Henson, II of Conyers, Ga., who was killed in WWII; and her second husband, David Rogers to whom she was married May 10, 1948.

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She attended Shorter College and was active in many civic organizations. Mrs. Rogers was a member of First United Methodist Church, Rome.

A memorial service for Harriet Whisnant Rogers will be held on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 11:30 a.m. at First United Methodist Church in Rome, Ga. A reception to celebrate her life will follow in the Wilder Center at the church.

Survivors include four daughters and one son: Harriet Powell, Conyers, Ga.; Sally Johnson, Rome, Ga., David Rogers, Rome, Ga., Milda Rogers, Prescott, AZ, and Elizabeth Yancey, New Smyrna Beach, Fla. Also surviving are several grandchildren, nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the First United Methodist Church, 202 East 3rd Ave., Rome, Ga. 30161.

Daniel’s Funeral Home has charge of the arrangements. Please visit our website at to share memories and post tributes.

Local Scouts donate supplies to Baton Rouge

In the spirit of ‘A Scout is Helpful. A Scout is Kind,’ members of Calhoun’s Scout Troop 22 and Pack 22 pulled together to respond to a plea for help from the Istrouma Area Council in Baton Rouge. Two van loads of needed supplies were donated and the boys helped fill the vans. The items needed – bottled water, baby formula, disposable diapers, personal toiletry items, bleach and cleaning supplies – will be taken to the Rome Service Center where Scoutmaster Robbie Harrison of Watson, La. has made arrangements to deliver them to those in need. Good job boys!

Crossville Daycare owner arrested on drug charges

Dekalb County law enforcement agents have arrested a Crossville Day Care owner on drug charges.

The DeKalb County Drug and Major Crimes Unit along with DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office and Crossville Police Department acting on anonymous tips from concerned citizens, went to a daycare in Crossville to investigate possible drug activity, according to a press release for Dekalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris.

Agents and officers spoke with Leslie Bright, 40 of Crossville, who is the owner of Bright Beginnings Daycare. Ms. Bright cooperated with agents giving them consent to search her vehicles and belongings. During the search methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia were found inside the daycare, the press release state.

Alabama Department of Human Resources Child Daycare workers were notified. Bright was arrested and charged with two counts of unlawful possession of controlled substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Bright is being held at the DeKalb County Detention Center awaiting bond, the press release stated.

Sheriff Harris states, “Our Task Force is doing a great job. They work hard investigating tips from concerned citizens. I encourage the citizens to continue to be watchful of their communities and to report any suspicious activity by calling our office or via our website at

MY 2 CENTS: Intern spends summer with Homeland Security

Laura Ayres is a senior at Shorter University majoring in computer information systems and minoring in applied music: vocal performance. She plans to go into the computer programming/software development field or the cyber security field when she graduates in May.

You spent the summer interning at the Department of Homeland Security. How competitive was the program?

“The summer intern program in which I participated was a research program … There were around 5,000 applicants, around 60 of who were admitted to the program.”

Why were you interested in the internship?

“I am interested in looking into working for the government as a career. Also, the program seemed to have a lot of interesting projects that were related to the computer science/IT industry. They also had project opportunities all over the U.S. God really blessed me with the opportunity to participate in this program.”

Where did the internship take place and how long was the program?

“I was stationed in New London, Connecticut, at the U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center for a 9-week long intern program.”

What were your responsibilities while working at the CGRDC?

“My responsibilities included attending some training programs offered and working on my development project. My project was to develop a software interface to help locate hoax callers.”

What was a typical day like for you?

“I would go to the office in the morning and work on programming software in my cubical most of the day. Some days I would also have to go down to the computer lab to test my software.”

How will these skills you learned translate to a future career? Do you foresee yourself working for the government in the future? 

“Through participating in this internship program and getting to work on this project, I gained experience and training in cyber security and learned a new programming language. Both of these skills will translate well for my career wherever I end up in the IT industry. Working for the government is certainly a career path that I am considering.”

Did any courses at Shorter help you prepare for your internship? 

“All of my computer classes combined gave me a very good baseline that helped prepare me for this internship. Specifically, Introduction to Information Security and Introduction to Programming were both excellent classes to help prepare me for the work I was doing.”

This conversation was compiled by Rome News-Tribune Staff Writer Blake Doss. He can be reached at