Forestry service urges no burning at this time

A forestry service representative has released the latest update on the current wildfire situation in Alabama.

“Over the past few days we have experienced an increase in wildfire activity across central, northeast, and east central Alabama,” said Colleen Vansant, Wildland Urban Interface Coordinator Firewise Communities/USA State Coordinator.

“We are in our usual fall fire season but the extended drought across much of the state, particularly from I-65 east is creating greater problems for wildland firefighters. In the past few days, dry conditions combined with low humidity and an increase in wind is creating a favorable weather environment for wildfire. Yesterday, Wednesday, September 28, 2016 the state had 38 wildfires for 282 acres. In the last seven days we have had 137 wildfires for approximately 1,540 acres. Most of these fires have occurred east of Interstate 65 and north of Randolph County to the Tennessee line.”

“Although we are under no burning restrictions at this time, the Alabama Forestry Commission is urging everyone to use extreme safety precautions when doing any type of outdoor burning,” said Vansant. “The best thing to do is postpone any burning until measurable rainfall is received.”

Cedartown joins in extension of burn ban past Oct. 1

The City of Cedartown is joining with Rockmart in extending the expiration of the burn ban in the area past the beginning of October. 

According to Cedartown Fire Chief Darrell Stephens, the ban is being extended until the western portions of Polk County within the city limits get more rain. 

The City of Rockmart announced earlier this week it would extend its ban past Oct. 1 in order to prevent the potential spread of fire during drought conditions. 

Stephens said the extension is currently indefinite, but that an announcement will be made when the burn ban is lifted and permits are being issued again. 

YOUTH BASKETBALL: RFPRD Youth Basketball Early Registration ends Sunday

Registration for youth basketball is going on now at Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation, and Sunday is the final day to take advantage of the early registration fee of $65.

Starting Monday and running through Oct. 28, registration will be $75, and for multiple siblings, registration is $65 once the first child is registered. After Oct. 28, registration will be based on availability and will be $90.

The age control date for basketball is Jan. 1, 2017. For 5- and 6-year-olds, teams are co-ed, but for 8U through 14U, girls and boys play on separate teams.

Team formation is slated for the first week of November and practices begin Nov. 9 for the season that begins on Jan. 3.

For those who have questions, contact Parks and Recreation headquarters at 706.291.0766. Registration can be completed at


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.