‘Be Still My Soul’

In the late 90s, Kennett native and singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow became involved with the Scleroderma Research Foundation. Little did she know that in a short time that disease, scleroderma, would claim the life of a long-time family friend, Kent Sexton. 1KENTSHERYLCrow

Now Crow is doing her part to honor the memory of Kent as well as raise funds for the foundation through a limited edition CD.

Empowered by her strength

At a very busy time in her life, Crow was asked to play a couple of songs at a fundraiser for a foundation researching a little-known disease, scleroderma.

While at the fundraiser, Crow met the founder of the foundation, Sharon Monsky.

“I was empowered by her strength and determination,” Crow said.

Monsky established the Scleroderma Research Foundation in 1986 after being diagnosed with the rare, chronic disease.

“She was told she had less than two years to live and that she would never have children,” Crow said. “She ended up living 20 more years and had three kids.”


Monsky became committed to finding a cure. She created a foundation that networked research from scientists and doctors via the Internet in order to find a cure for scleroderma. The foundation is now considered the premier research organization on the scleroderma.

Crow describes the disease as a “very present disease that people don’t know about.”

Scleroderma usually affects the skin, causing it to become hard and thick. It can also cause the same reaction in organs such as the heart, lungs and kidneys. In some cases, the disease causes the body’s immune system to attack normal tissues in the body. More than 300,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed with scleroderma.

Crow, along with others such as Bob Saget and Jason Alexander, are using their celebrity-status to bring the disease to the forefront and help those affected by the crippling disease. She began doing her part in supporting the Scleroderma Research Foundation even before Kent was diagnosed.

Something was wrong

When Kent first began show symptoms of scleroderma, doctors did not know what was affecting him.

“He knew something was wrong but no one could tell him what it was,” Kent’s wife, Viretta Sexton, said. “We thought it was lupus for a long time.”

He went to specialist after specialist. Then Kennett physician Lanny Geary suspected Kent could be suffering from scherloderma. Geary sent Kent to a specialist with a letter stating he might be suffering from scleroderma.

And it was.

Suddenly the disease that Crow had supported financially for years had a personal connection.

Crow began working to use her ties to the foundation to aid Kent in his battle.

After two years of Crow’s persistence, Kent agreed to see the nation’s leading specialists on scleroderma.

“The disease was at a point where not much could be done,” Viretta said. “But we felt better knowing we had seen the very best.”

A family friend

“I’ve known Kent since I was zero,” Crow said. “Our families have known each other for a long time.”

According to Crow, the families, once neighbors, share a lot of the same interests including a love of music and church families.

“They are well loved by my family,” Crow said.

According to Viretta, when her husband realized he was losing his battle with Scleroderma, he began making plans for his memorial service.

“He wanted Bernice (Crow) to sing at the service,” Viretta said.

But his wife has another plan in mind. She contacted Crow in September or October and asked her to sing “Be Still My Soul.”

“I never told Kent and he never heard it,” she said. “I couldn’t bring myself to.”

Crow was in the middle of recording her recent album “C’mon, C’mon.” The artist welcomed the break from writing and working on a new album to record the traditional hymn.

Crow rented a studio to record the piece for Kent’s memorial service. While at the studio, she worked along side engineer assistant Chris Reynolds. Reynolds is the son of Jim Reynolds, a close friend of both the Crows and Sextons.

“It really meant a lot to him,” Crow said.

The two listened to the finished recording and, according to Crow, it was an “extremely emotional” moment.

Viretta played the recording at the end of the Kent’s memorial service in January 2002. She immediately had people asking for copies of Crow’s version of the hymn.

She again contacted Crow.

“I asked her if there was something we can do,” Viretta said.

Right away, Crow began working on making the version available to the public. It took some time but the version became available on November 8, 2002.

The CD is available from Crow’s website at www.sherylcrow.com.

The proceeds from the single will be donated to the Sheryl Crow Fund in honor of Kent Sexton at the Scleroderma Research Foundation.

Although the website states it is a limited number available for purchase, the artist plans to make the CD available on a permanent basis.

“It is a traditional hymn that is timeless,” Crow said. “I’m going to keep it going with all of the proceeds going to the Scleroderma Foundation.”

Very missed

Crow continues to remember Kent fondly. She recalls sending him a copy “C’mon, C’mon.”

“He sent me a full report, including a couple of opinions in it,” Crow said. “But that’s why you loved Kent. He told it like it was.”

“He is very missed,” Crow said.

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Gingrey Introduces Immigration Legislation

U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) has introduced HR 878, named the Nuclear Family Priority Act. It is meant to limit so-called “chain migration,” where extended families of legal immigrants are given priority for receiving visas.

Gingrey made the following comments:

“Chain migration is a ticking time bomb. Under current law, one legal immigrant could potentially yield visas for up to 273 other legal immigrants in a 15 year period. You can imagine what would happen if Congress granted amnesty to the 12 million illegal immigrants currently in our nation – each one of them could start the chain migration process. I don’t understand why we are giving the second-cousin of a legal immigrant visa priority over someone with good job skills and an education. My bill would limit family migration to the nuclear family: spouses, dependent children and parents. This would reduce the ‘chain’ to a maximum of about 30 visas.

“As a father, I absolutely understand the importance of uniting nuclear families so spouses and young children can stay together. But chain migration isn’t a nuclear family program – it’s an intergenerational relocation program. America was founded on the idea that anyone can succeed through skill and hard work. Our immigration system shouldn’t be sending the message that family lineage is more important that work ethic and education.”

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GNTC Prep Central Football Scoreboard Oct. 9

The Latest Local News from the Rome News

[embedded content]

Team First Second Third Fourth Final
Armuchee  0  0 7
Model  7 29 36
Team First Second Third Fourth Final
Calhoun  21 10 7 0 38
Sonoraville  0 0 0 0  0
Team First Second Third Fourth Final
Coosa 0 14 0 0 14
Gordon Lee 14 10 7 7 38
Team First Second Third Fourth Final
Darlington 14 0 0 7  21
Dade County 3 0 7 0  10
Team First Second Third Fourth Final
Gordon Central 0
Coahulla Creek 26
Team First Second Third Fourth Final
Pepperell  8 24 11 7 50
Rockmart  6 0 0 7 13
Team First Second Third Fourth Final
Rome 0 9 0 0  9
Dalton 7 7 0 14 28

Since 1962, Georgia Northwestern Technical College has been instrumental in providing quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. The mission of Georgia Northwestern Technical College is to provide accessible, high quality technical education and workforce development opportunities.  Serving the nine counties of Catoosa; Chattooga; Dade; Floyd; Gordon; Murray; Polk; Walker; and Whitfield, GNTC has five convenient campus locations in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties. With programs of study in business, health, industrial, and public service available, students have the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree, diploma, or a certificate from GNTC.

Source: Rome News

Composition by Shorter's Terry Morris to be premiered in Three Rivers Singers Concert on Sunday

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Sunday’s Three Rivers Singers 15th Anniversary Concert marks a significant milestone for not only the choral ensemble but also for Shorter University faculty member and longtime Rome resident Terry Morris.

The Three River Singers, Rome’s community chorus, will present “Celebrating 15 Years of Singing,” an anniversary concert, on Sunday, Oct. 11, at 4 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in downtown Rome. In addition to favorite music from past performances, the concert will include the premiere of Dr. Morris’ choral composition, “Happy the Man who Fears the Lord.” The piece is written for choir, organ and French horn; it is Morris’ first composition.

“Happy the Man who Fears the Lord” is dedicated to the late Charles Whitworth, who served as dean of the college at Shorter from 1962 to 1985 and was a longtime member of the Three Rivers Singers.

For Greg Richardson, Fuller E. Callaway professor of economics in Shorter’s Ledbetter College of Business and a baritone with the Three Rivers Singers, performing Morris’ selection has special meaning. Richardson joined Shorter’s faculty in 1982 and was at Shorter for Whitworth’s last two years as dean.

“‘Happy is the Man’ brings together two of the men I’ve liked and admired the most in my life. Dr. Whitworth embodied for me the Roman virtue of ‘gravitas,’ and Terry Morris’ music captures that beautifully,” Richardson said.

The performance of “Happy the Man who Fears the Lord” will be used to remember former members of the choir.

“Terry’s piece is based on Psalm 128,” said Len Willingham, who has served as director of the Three Rivers Singers since 2011. “It will be dedicated to Dean Whitworth and other members of the Three Rivers Singers who have passed away.”

Richardson is one of three current Shorter faculty and staff members who sing with the Three Rivers Singers. Daniel Huey, assistant professor of music at Shorter, is a tenor with the group, and Dawn Tolbert, the university’s associate vice president for university communications, sings alto.

“I am excited to perform ‘Happy the Man who Fears the Lord’ by Dr. Morris,” said Huey. “The first time that I remember meeting Terry was when I was practicing the organ in Brookes Chapel. He came in with the very composition that we are singing this Sunday. It was nearly completed, and he wanted to hear some of the parts so we both played some of the parts from it. [Since then] I have crossed paths with him and discussed the enjoyment that we have had rehearsing the piece and talking about the recurring themes, the irregular meter (it is written in 5/4 time), and the beautiful harmonies that the choir has been mastering in making our performance of the piece a success.

“The piece is a challenge,” Huey added. “It is rewarding and gives me a sense of pride to know that such a brilliant piece of music comes from a fellow faculty member at the institution where I teach and to have an inside connection with the composer through composition.”

The Three Rivers Singers was formed in 2000 under the direction of Dr. Brian Horne. Horne and fellow former music directors Kam Malone and Suzanne Scott will return for the concert, joining current director Len Willingham. The group is accompanied by Joan Hill. The concert is open to the public at no charge.

Morris, a 1964 graduate of Shorter College, has served as a member of Shorter’s faculty for more than 50 years. He currently serves as Professor of History and is one of four longtime faculty members to be honored by the university through the establishment of Legends of Teaching Excellence Scholarships in their honor. After earning his undergraduate degree in History from Shorter, Dr. Morris completed the Master of Arts in History at Emory University and graduated from the University of Georgia in 1976 after earning a Doctor of Philosophy in History. A member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Morris teaches Sunday School and sings in the church choir. He studied music informally at Shorter, is a past choir leader, and enjoys singing.

Morris is married to the former Janet White, a 1970 graduate of Shorter College. He is the father of Elizabeth Tucker, Frances Fowler, and John Morris, who earned his Master of Business Administration from Shorter in 2004. They have three grandchildren, including Hannah Fowler, a 2012 graduate of Shorter.

Source: Rome News

‘Balance billing’ draws legislative scrutiny

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A patient scheduled for surgery makes sure that both the hospital and surgeon are in the health plan’s network prior to the operation.

But after the surgery, a surprise bill arrives for hundreds of dollars. It turns out that the anesthesiologist used in the procedure was not in the patient’s insurance network – and the patient had no idea.

Such “balance billing’’ situations often confound and upset consumers receiving medical care – and can lead to tough collections practices.

A state legislative panel hearing Thursday discussed surprise billing for medical care. The subcommittee was chaired by state Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), who said she has heard from many constituents complaining about medical debt, bankruptcies due to medical bills, and credit rating downgrades.

“It’s so hard on the consumer,’’ said Unterman, chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

Physicians and members of the hospital and insurance industries testified on surprise medical bills, pointing to varying reasons for their use. They agreed, though, that it’s something that can hit consumers hard.

Balance billing occurs when a hospital, physician or other health care provider sends a bill to a managed care patient after the patient’s health insurer has paid its share. The patient owes the balance.

Large bills can occur when an out-of-network provider charges a patient an out-of-network rate, usually higher than the rate that in-network providers charge.

Donna Hatcher of the Georgia Hospital Association told Unterman’s subcommittee that medical providers often ‘’have no choice but to bill the patient for the balance.”

“No hospital wants a patient to be financially disadvantaged,’’ she added.

Hospitals generally don’t know what health plans that physicians belong to, Hatcher said. Nor do hospitals have any control over the rates paid to doctors who are not employed by the hospital, she added.

The recent trend toward more limited insurance networks has created more opportunity for surprise billing, Hatcher said.

Writing off patient debt

Physicians also blamed the rise of such “narrow networks.”

Dr. Todd Williamson, a Gwinnett County neurologist, said that with more limited choice of medical providers, patients often have “little to no access to doctors they need.”

“Insurance companies have posted record profits’’ in recent years, Williamson said. Meanwhile, he said, “insurance companies have ratcheted (down) payments (to medical providers) to ridiculously low levels.”

He added that doctors write off large amounts of unpaid debt.

Dr. John Rogers, an emergency medicine physician in Macon, said that insurers have shifted more of the cost of medical care to the patient, through higher deductibles and copays. An ER balance bill is typically just $100 or less, Rogers added.

Marcus Downs, who represents the Medical Association of Georgia, said his organization calls the practice “fair market billing.”

The practice often occurs with emergency room care, and physicians who are out of network, Downs said. “It may be a surprise to the patient,’’ he said. “It’s unfortunate. The physician works there — they always had the intention of getting paid.”

But Leanne Gasaway of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), an industry trade group, said surprise bills are not caused by ‘’inadequate networks.” They’re often triggered when an anesthesiologist, pathologist or another specialist is brought in to assist in a patient’s care, and that physician is not in that patient’s network, she said.

“The problem is getting worse,’’ Gasaway said. That’s why, she said, “We believe this is a consumer protection issue.” AHIP says that out-of-network providers can charge a consumer whatever rates they choose.

She cited as possible solutions a system that would pay fair and reasonable amounts to non-network providers, and creating a dispute resolution process.

‘Completely unregulated’

More than a dozen states have passed laws aiming to protect managed care patients from exorbitant balance billing, the Kaiser Family Foundation has reported.

“This is completely unregulated’’ in Georgia, Gasaway said. She called for a solution among all entities involved. “We will all have to change. We believe it’s a shared responsibility to protect patients.”

And Barbara Barrett, assistant vice president of human resources for Langdale Industries, based in Valdosta, told the panel that “the consumer doesn’t have any idea what they’re going to be charged.”

Then, after a medical procedure, Barrett said, “there are some very aggressive (tactics) to collect debt.’’

Unterman said after the hearing that she was not sure what approach Georgia should take on these billing practices.

Beth Stephens of Georgia Watch, a consumer advocacy group, said after the hearing that “the consumer in a surprise billing scenario is often the least informed and least able to discover when they might be subject to a surprise bill, and of providers and insurers, they have the least capacity to effectively resolve issues related to balance billing.

“Without protections, consumers are left holding the bag and may have to pay huge medical bills,’’ Stephens said. “We want to see the consumer held harmless in situations where they unknowingly encounter providers outside of their network, particularly in an emergency room setting.”


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

Source: Rome News

Minor injuries reported in 3 car wreck on Martha Berry

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Only minor cuts and bruises were reported in a three car wreck at the intersection of Martha Berry Highway and Redmond Road on Friday afternoon.

According to Rome Police Department PFC Matt Rumphol:

J.W. Bowen of 106 Warwick Way was driving southbound on Martha Berry Highway in a Ford mini-van when he ran a red light and hit a Volvo sedan who was waiting on Redmond to turn left. The Volvo was then pushed into a Toyota Tundra who was also on Redmond turning left.

The driver of the Volvo and The driver of the Toyota, Herlinda Cortez Lopez of 105 Cherry St. was driving without a license and was arrested by police.

Bowen was cited for failure to obey traffic controls.

No one was taken for treatment by Redmond EMS.

Source: Rome News

Police: Rome man stabbed woman with a butcher knife

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A Rome man used a butcher knife to stab a woman in the back on Thursday, reports stated.

According to Floyd County Jail reports:

John Derrick Smith, 57, of 1602 High St. was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after he stabbed a woman in the lower back late Thursday evening. The victim told police that he was trying to slice her spine.

The victim was taken to Floyd Medical center and released Friday morning.

Smith is being held in jail without bond.

Source: Rome News

Pepperell first grader Kameron Brock honored with a 2015 Young Hero Award

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Kameron Brock, a six-year-old first grade student at Pepperell Primary School, has been named a recipient of the 2015 Young Heroes Award. Emergency Management of Rome and Floyd County, in conjunction with 911, awards the honor.

The presentation was made on Friday, October 9 at 10 a.m. at Pepperell Primary. On hand for the special school assembly were emergency responders who participated in the trauma call and other representatives of the Rome/Floyd Fire Department, the Floyd County Police Department, the Floyd County Sheriff’s office, the 911 Call Center, and emergency medical responders.

Kameron’s Father has a serious heart condition, and when he experienced medical trauma about 10 days ago, Kameron came to his rescue. She dialed 911 and provided information that was needed for dispatchers to assure that they could get to the home quickly.

“Kameron is a very brave young lady who remained calm and got help for her dad quickly,” said Rome-Floyd E-911 Director John Blalock as he presented the award.

The first grade class at Pepperell Primary joined in on the presentation and 176 first grade children applauded their classmate as Blalock made the presentation. “Kameron knew that her address would show up on our system when she called from her home phone so she disconnected from the cell phone she first call 911 on and called right back on her home phone,” Blalock said. “With the right address, emergency crews quickly responded to the scene.”

“Kameron showed exemplary character as a responsible young hero as she handled the situation to assure that life-saving measures could be taken for her father,” stated Carmen Jones, principal of Pepperell Primary.” “Kameron used PBIS expectations taught to children at this school as she demonstrated responsibility, respect and safety.” PBIS is a positive behavior incentive program used at the school. Jones added, “The school stresses the importance of being safe, respectful and responsible everywhere students go.”

Floyd County Commissioner Irwin Bagwell addressed the assembly. He said, “You listened to your teachers and followed their directions – this day is about you being a hero.” Floyd County Board of Education member Dr. Tony Daniel was also on hand for the presentation.

Source: Rome News

Cave Spring woman charged with possession of morphine pills

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A Cave Spring woman was in jail Friday after police found morphine pills in her possession, reports stated.

According to Floyd County Jail reports:

Tieva Caila Swanson, 37, was arrested at the Citgo gas station on Alabama highway after police found morphine pills without a medical container in her car. She is charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance and drugs not in original container.

She is being held on $3500 bond.

Source: Rome News