Rome-Floyd County Fire Department gets 3 donated kayaks

Rome-Floyd County Fire Department water rescue personnel received three new kayaks, which will help them get to people who have become lost or injured on Rome’s rivers.

Vibe Kayaks, manufactured in Kennesaw, and Kayak Bass Fishing Magazine donated the kayaks Wednesday.

“With water conditions the way they are out there now (and) even when the river is much higher, we can’t get to some of these places in the power boat,” said Capt. Grant Collier.

All three of the kayaks will be based at Station 4 — next to Etowah Park — the closest station to the Dixon Landing boat ramp on the Etowah River at Grizzard Park.

Collier said that the Etowah River between the Allatoona Dam and Rome has more native fish weirs, or fish traps —formed by stacking rocks across the river — than any other river in the state. The rocks are stacked in a V-pattern in the water to force fish through an opening at the bottom of the “V” where the fish could easily be caught.

The fire department has what they call a rock-proof jet boat to help them navigate over the weirs during extremely low-water periods. However, Collier said there are some places on the river they can’t access by the traditional powerboat, and the kayaks could be used in its place.

“We actually had a call Sunday night where we were on our way to get kayaks because a lady was lost in Big Cedar Creek and nobody could get in touch with her,” Collier said.

The woman was ultimately recovered safely, he added.

Todd West with Vibe and KBFM said he uses the Etowah River a lot and knows the river can be very low and difficult to maneuver the jet boat across at times.

“In some of these situations, people aren’t hurt, they just need guidance to get out,” West said. “With these (kayaks), they can use them as lead boats and lead people out.”

Each of the kayaks has been fitted with a spotlight provided by Ram Mounts. NOCQUA, an adventure gear company, donated very small compact batteries, which allow the spotlights to be used as hand held devices that could be used to make searches by land easier.

West said RiverDog Paddle Co. in Rome also made a contribution to the rescue kayak project.


Gordon Central celebrates Homecoming, parade this afternoon

The Gordon Central Warriors welcomes students to Celebration Island this week, in celebration of Homecoming 2016.

Students are participating in dress-up theme days this week. On Monday, students celebrated Castaway Day, dressing as if stranded on an island. Students celebrated Islander / Camo Day on Tuesday, dressing in attire from their favorite island. Surfing USA, “Cowabunga Dude,” is today’s theme, where students are wearing their best surf style. Tomorrow, students will dress in Pirates of the Caribbean theme and on Friday, the school will celebrate Blue Crush Spirit Day.

This year’s Homecoming Court nominees included: freshmen Jaky Alverez, Madison Reyes, Lily Glass; sophomores Wyatt Bishop, Morgan Frank, Emilie Moser, Emily Land; juniors Jabresha Evans, Karen Cervantes, Dayla Brock, Cassidy Tinch; and seniors Sammy Tomasello, Valentin Avalos, Grant Thomas, Louis Olivares, Colyn Nix, Cayla Turley, Beyda Martiniz, Yesenia Jacobo, Kathryn Hill and Leah Coats.

On Thursday, Sept. 29, Gordon Central will hold their Homecoming Parade at 3:30 p.m. in downtown Calhoun.

This Friday, Gordon Central hosts Dade County at 7:30 p.m. for their Homecoming game, where the Homecoming Queen will be crowned during the halftime ceremony.

On Saturday, the Gordon Central Homecoming King will be crowned at the annual Homecoming Dance.

Rick McKee’s cartoon

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Things to do in Cherokee County Thursday, Sept. 29

The Family Care Center in the Piggly Wiggly Shopping Center in Centre includes a Thrift Store open to the public Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. The Family Care Center helps others by giving clothing, food and possibly hope to families in their time of need. The Center asks for your help by supporting its thrift stores. There are currently three locations, the one in Centre, another at 5511 Main St. in Hokes Bluff and another in Cedar Bluff. The Center is currently helping more than 100 families per week and thanks the community for its continued support. Director is Cindy McGinnis.

The Highway 411 Yard Sale begins Thursday, Sept. 29 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 2.

In high school volleyball action, Cedar Bluff, Asbury at Fyffe, TBA; Jacksonville at Cherokee County, TBA; Collinsville at Sand Rock, 4 p.m.; Gaylesville, Sacred Heart at Spring Garden, 5 p.m.

An Art Class is held each Thursday from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Cherokee County Public Library. Participants are urged to bring two Number Two pencils and an 8 X 10 sketchbook

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

The Tech Corner for Sept. 28, 2016

HP Accused of Sabotaging Non-HP Ink Cartridges

123inkt, a Dutch reseller of printer ink cartridges, has accused HP of intentionally sabotaging non-HP ink cartridges through a failure date, pre-programmed in the firmware of some HP laser ink printers.

Tests revealed that all the HP printers started showing the error during September 2013. After media coverage and complaints on its support forums, HP issued a statement via Dutch TV. HP stated “the failure point is there to protect innovation and intellectual property”. HP could face serious legal repercussions from the EU’s strict customer protection agencies.

USB Killer Damages Computers and Other Devices with USB Ports

A device allegedly has the ability to fry a number of electrical devices by sending an electrical charge to USB ports.

“Hardware designers/testers of public machines: photo booths, copy machines, airline entertainment systems, ticket terminals, etc. ­ with exposed USB ports should ensure that their systems resist electrical attacks via the USB port.

Leaked NSA Hacking Tools Were ‘Mistakenly’ Left By an Agent on a Remote Server

A former NSA employee carelessly left hacking tools on a remote server three years ago after an operation and a group of Russian hackers found them according to Reuters news services.

The leaked hacking tools enable hackers to exploit vulnerabilities in systems from big vendors like Cisco Systems, Juniper, and Fortinet, were dumped online by the “The Shadow Brokers.”

NSA officials have admitted to the FBI that their employee acknowledged the error shortly afterward, and hence the agency was aware of this for the last three years. Instead of warning the affected companies that their customers were at risk, the NSA maintained the silence.

“After the discovery, the NSA tuned its sensors to detect the use of these tools by other parties, especially foreign adversaries with strong cyber espionage operations, such as China and Russia.”

Cisco and Fortinet confirmed that the vulnerabilities were legitimate and issued patches to fix those exploits. Cisco and Fortinet are still waiting for comments from the NSA, the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Yahoo Admits 500 Million Accounts Were Hacked by ‘State Sponsored’ Hackers

Over a month ago, a hacker was found to be selling login information related to 200 million Yahoo accounts on the Dark Web, although Yahoo acknowledged that the breach was much worse than initially expected.

User account information was stolen from the company’s network in late 2014 by what it believes is a state-sponsored actor,” reads the statement.

Users’ names, email addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, passwords, and in some cases, encrypted and unencrypted security questions-answers were stolen from millions of Yahoo users. Yahoo says it does not believe the stolen information includes credit card information or any bank details of the affected users.

These reports come just as the company is trying to negotiate a deal to sell itself to Verizon for $4.8 Billion. The breach could negatively impact its share price, if so it could cost the company and its shareholders a large slice of its buyout value.

iPhone 7 Jailbreak Has Already Been Achieved In Just 24 Hours!

It has only been a few days since the launch of Apple’s brand new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus and it appears that the new iPhone has already been jail broken.

Someone is Dropping Malware-infected USB Sticks

Don’t plug in that found USB stick. It will probably infect your computer with malware and viruses. Smash it with a hammer.

A group of researchers from the University of Illinois, the University of Michigan and Google revealed that nearly half of people would not only plug a USB drive they’ve found on the ground into their PCs, but would also open files and click on unfamiliar links.

Photos on Dark Web Reveal Geo-locations Of 229 Drug Dealers

Two Harvard students have unmasked around 229 drug and weapon dealers with the help of pictures taken by criminals and used in advertisements placed on dark web markets.

Digital images contain image dimensions, date and time (when it was originally taken and modified), the model of camera and its settings, information about the software used for editing, it’s creator and copyright information, as well as GPS co-ordinates of the location where the photo was taken.

Thousands play Pokemon Go while driving, US research suggests

Thousands of people are playing Pokemon Go while driving, say US researchers who have studied social media posts. There were “more than 110,000 instances where drivers or pedestrians were distracted by Pokemon Go,” the study, which looked at 10 days of Twitter activity, suggests. Some of these distractions also resulted in crashes, doctors who worked on the research say.

Comcast is Getting Into Cellphone Service

Comcast is to offer cellphone service next year, targeting its existing customers. It will use a combination of cellphone towers leased from Verizon and its own wireless hotspots. Customers Own Routers Part of Network

That network is so large because it not only covers devices in public places such as coffee shops but also uses a “guest mode” on the wireless routers of many cable customers. That setup already allows customers to access the Internet wirelessly when they are near the property of another Comcast customer who also has the mode activated. Exactly how the cellphone service will work hasn’t been confirmed, but it appears voice calls and text messaging will go through the Verizon network. Data use such as mobile web browsing will go through the WiFi hotspots where available with Verizon’s data network used as a backup.

Comcast won’t be totally reliant on Verizon if the cellphone service takes off. It’s reported to be among the bidders in a series of secretive government auctions of unused wireless spectrum that could be used for cellphone services. Of course, there’s no guarantee it will win enough of those auctions to be able to go it alone, or that it would be prepared to build equipment such as cellphone towers to take advantage.

Floyd County open 3rd early voting station; Supervisor expecting record turnout

The Floyd County Board of Elections will open a third early voting location this year, at Garden Lakes Baptist Church.

“We’re going to have at least a 70 percent turnout and I want to push it up as much as possible,” Elections Supervisor Willie Green III said Tuesday. “All over the country …they’re predicting record turnout, the biggest in history. I want to make sure nobody has a long wait in line.”

Green said he chose the church at 2200 Redmond Circle because of its accessibility and the willingness of church leaders to make it available.

“Based on the survey I did on early voting at the Rome Civic Center and (Floyd County Admini­stration Build­ing), parking was a consideration,” he said. “Garden Lakes has plenty of parking.”

The church and the county administration building on East First Street will open for walk-in voters beginning Oct. 17 and the Civic Center will open Oct. 31. All three sites will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 4.

Green said there’s also a printable in-person ballot application on the county elections website that can help voters save even more time.

“Fill it out before you go, walk inside, show your ID and vote,” he said.

Oct. 11 is the deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 8 election. Infor­mation is available at the elections office, 706-291-5123, its Web page at, or the Georgia Secretary of State’s My Voter Page.

As of Sunday, there were 43,976 active registered voters in Floyd County — an increase of 640 since the beginning of the month.

There also are another 11,498 voters listed as registered but inactive, which means they haven’t voted since before the last presidential election. Inactive voters eventually will be purged from the list, but that’s done in odd years, Green said, and only after a card is mailed to alert them.

“They’re still on the rolls now, they still can vote,” he said.

Five contested local races will be decided, along with the next president of the United States. Georgia also has a U.S. Senate seat on the ballot and a Public Service Commission contest.


Annual rock lighting at The Garden set for Sunday

For the past eight years, the lighting at The Garden, a popular attraction located at 1411 Rome Road behind the Seventh-day Adventist Church, has fascinated hundreds of people looking to experience the “peaceful, healing place to meet with God and other people.” Visitors call the annual lighting “quite magical” and “peaceful.”

Surrounded by hand built stone castles, beautiful foliage and a stream, The Garden will be lit during the annual event this Sunday, Oct. 2, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

According to organizers, at least 300 visitors each year visit the annual lighting. Candles will be provided at the ceremony to place along the pathways and in the miniature stone buildings in The Garden.

Organizer Old Dog Boyd told the Calhoun Times last year that The Garden was originally built as a place to play a game.

“Many years ago, when I had little kids, we invented a game where everybody has a clay person that you talk for,” Boyd said.

Boyd said the child would talk for their clay person and that allowed them take on an alternative personality

“When I moved to Georgia, I wanted a place for my family to play this game with me,” he said. “It was always traditional at the end of the game to light it up with candles, and so once a year, to honor that tradition, we light up The Garden with candles.”

The garden, which is owned by the Calhoun Seventh-day Adventist Church, began after Boyd first moved to Calhoun and began attending the church; he talked to a groundskeeper and asked to make the garden, which he has worked on since.

Boyd, an artist by trade, said he gave himself the name Old Dog because an old dog is as devoted to his master as he is to God.

“The name gives me the opportunity, whenever it comes up, to tell people how much the Lord has done for me,” he said.

The event is free to the public. For more information call 706-263-1937.

Torched slide, bathroom graffiti are latest incidents of damage to public facilities

A melted slide was removed from Banty Jones Park on Tuesday, the latest instance of vandalism plaguing Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation facilities.

Parks Supervisor Todd Wofford is asking people to be alert to what’s going on around them, and if anyone has information on the incident to call him.

“It was a big, stand-alone plastic slide and they just torched it,” he said. “It’s just so frustrating. It ends up costing everyone more money to replace things, or we just don’t replace them.”

The slide is valued at $7,000.

Wofford said new playground equipment for the park on Crane Street in Rome is budgeted in the 2013 special purpose, local sales tax package. A $1.1 million earmark is funding new units at 10 parks around the county.

But that’s not the point, he said, and money isn’t always available to repair damage or pay for the labor involved.

Garbage cans at Banty Jones Park also have been burned, and someone just spray-painted “SSL” on a wall and inside the bathroom at Wolf Park in Lindale — for the second time this month.

Wofford said vandalism is an ongoing problem and the RFPRA could use help from the community.

“There are a lot of eyes out there,” he said. “If anyone is walking or out in the park and sees something unusual, please call 911 and protect the parks.”


LEPC to host annual Health & Safety Fair this Saturday

The Local Emergency Planning Committee will be hosting the annual Health & Safety Fair at the Home Depot, located on Curtis Parkway in Calhoun, this Saturday, Oct. 1 from 9 a.m. – noon.

The LEPC will be giving away Home Depot buckets to the first 200 families, along with instructions on how to begin your own Emergency Preparedness Kit.

Various emergency service agencies will provide health and safety tips to children visiting, including the Calhoun Fire Department, Calhoun Police Department, Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia National Guard, Gordon County 911, Gordon County Child Fatality Review, Gordon County EMA, Gordon County EMS, Gordon County Fire & Rescue, Gordon County Sheriff’s Office, Gordon Hospital and the U.S. Forest Service.

There will be a free Home Depot Kids Workshop, popcorn, slushies balloons and other freebies throughout the day.