Police seeking suspects in Thursday night armed robbery in Polk

Polk County Police detectives are seeking help from the public in finding three men who got away with an undisclosed amount of merchandise and money from a Rockmart area convenience store Thursday night.

According to Polk County Police Assistant Chief Kiki Evans, Detective B. Brady is working the case following the robbery at gunpoint which happened around 10 p.m. Thursday night at Grand’s store at 998 Cedartown Highway. 

She said the men, covered from head to toe, entered the store and demanded cash from the register. 

They only left the store after holding up the clerk once the owner, who was working in the office at the time, came out during the middle of the robbery holding a samurai sword and scared the trio away, according to Evans. 

Despite a police search Thursday night including the use of K-9 dogs, no suspects have yet been found. 

Evans said video evidence from the store is still in the process of being obtained. 

Any information the public might have about this robbery should be directed to Brady by calling the Polk County Police Department at 770-748-7331. 

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Standard Journal area new arrivals from the Aug. 24, 2016 edition

Kaci Holland and Matthew Wray of Cedartown announce the birth of a son Holland Thomas Wray. He was born on Aug. 6, 2016.

Jennifer Edwards and Christopher Edwards of Aragon announce the birth of a daughter Addison Faith Edwards. She was born on Aug. 5, 2016.

Carrie Crowley of Cedartown announces the birth of a son Clinton S. Crowley. He was born on Aug. 3, 2016.

Tiffany Shea Thurmon and Bradley Thurmon of Lindale announce the birth of a son Riley Thurmon. He was born on Aug. 2, 2016.

Breanna Perez and Brett Johnson of Cedartown announce the birth of a son Damien Elijah Johnson. He was born on Aug. 1, 2016.

Lori Shiver and Neal Shiver of Rockmart announce the birth of a son Liam Neal Shiver. He was born on Aug. 12, 2016.

Chelsey Byars and Matthew Byars announce the birth of a daughter Remy Ava Grace Byars. She was born on Aug. 1, 2016.

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Polk County unemployment rate slightly up for July figures, down from 2015

The unemployment rate went back up for the month of July in Polk County according to preliminary figures released by the Georgia Department of Labor early today. 

The preliminary July 2016 rate came in at 6.3 percent, up one-tenth of a percentage point from the revised June figure of 6.2 percent. 

Polk County’s rate was down eight-tenths of a point from the July 2015 rate of 7.1 percent, according to state figures. 

The number of claims rose slightly from 1,126 in June to 1,160 in July, according to the state’s statistics. 

The unemployment rate in the Northwest Georgia region was unchanged at 5.6 percent from June to July. The rate in July 2015 was 6.4 percent.

While the rate was unchanged, the number of employed residents grew by 3,293 to 386,826. At the same time, the number of unemployed residents rose by 427 to 23,076. The labor force, which consists of employed people and those who are unemployed but actively looking for jobs, grew by 3,720 to 409,902 in July.

The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 1,677, or 61.8 percent, to 4,390 in July. Most of the increase came in manufacturing and administrative and support services, which includes temporary staffing agencies. And, over the year, claims were up by 755, or 20.8 percent, from 3,635 in July 2015.

Metro Gainesville had the lowest area jobless rate at 4.6 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 7 percent.  

Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for July was 5 percent, down from 5.1 percent in June. It was 5.7 percent in July 2015.

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The Tech Corner: Aug. 24, 2016 edition

Data overage charges

AT&T is dropping overage charges for mobile data plans. Instead of charging extra fees, it will slow down the connections of users who exceed their monthly data allowance.

The move is accompanied by a general price increase, though it will only affect new customers or those existing customers who choose to change plans.

T-Mobile dropped overage charges in 2014. Customers who hit their data allowance aren’t charged but get a slower connection for the rest of the month unless they buy a data “top up.”

Verizon introduced an optional “Safety Mode” that lets customers have a reduced speed rather than pay overages. Choosing this option carries a $5 per month fee.

With all three carriers, the reduced speed after hitting a data limit is 128 kilobits per second, approximately equivalent to 2G mobile speeds. This is just about fast enough for emails and basic web browsing, with painful waits, but it makes audio or video streaming nearly unusable.

The problem appeared to be driven by tablet users who consumed more data than expected due to watching full-screen, high-definition video.

Windows 10 anniversary update causes lockups

Microsoft has confirmed some Windows 10 computers may freeze up after the latest update. It says starting in Safe mode is one way to get around the problem while a permanent fix is developed. Users will just have to be patient and use their computers in this reduced performance mode that many do not even know how to enter. In Windows 10 the traditional ‘tap the F8 key before Windows starts’ to get into Safe Mode has been disabled.

Microsoft states that users can roll back the update. Doing so in Safe Mode is a little different to the normal process, so Microsoft has published the steps to do so.

Audi to reveal red light secrets

Audi will soon fit its cars with a technology that can coordinate with traffic lights in several US cities. The new feature is being built into an existing navigation and information service called Audi Connect, with a $25 a month service fee. The theory is that this will let drivers figure out whether they have time to safely attend to other measures such as checking on a child in the back seat, or checking their smart phone before returning their attention to driving.

The countdown will disappear from the screen with around three seconds to go.

Audi says that’s intended to stop drivers using the information to help them in impromptu races with neighboring cars while waiting for the lights to turn green.

Australian porn site members targeted school girls for nude images

Members of a pornography website targeted dozens of Australian schools so they could view and swap graphic sexual images of female students and other non-consenting women.

News.com reports that members of the site have posted and shared more than 2,000 images. Those nude photos made their way to the forum after users nominated a specific high school or region along with the full names of girls they were “hunting.”

Other members then “contributed” by looking up personal information about the targeted women, including their physical addresses, phone numbers, and links to their social media profiles. News.com does not say how site members obtained nude photos of their victims. Those with more technical expertise might have obtained the images by infecting their victims with a remote access Trojan. Then demanding sexual content in exchange for the return of their “slaved” computer.

Victims have responded by asking that their pictures be taken down. Most of them are ignored, some have been laughed at and ridiculed.

Criminals earn $195K in July with cerber ransomware affiliate scheme

Check Point Software, along with IntSights, have released a detailed report on the Cerber Ransomware and its Ransomware as a Service affiliate system.

The revenue generated by the Cerber affiliate system is staggering, with Cerber generating $195,000 in profits for July and the malware developer taking a 40 percent cut from this total. This equated to the malware developer making $78,000 in July and a forecasted $946,000 for the year!

Check Point, discovered Cerber in February 2016 when the malware developer posted about the new ransomware on an underground criminal web site in order to recruit affiliates.

The Cerber developer manages the Command and Control servers, the affiliate system, the support center, and the programming of the ransomware, while the affiliates would distribute the ransomware in order to infect victims. Both the developer and the affiliate would then split the ransom payments, with the developer keeping 40 percent of the profits and 60 percent going to the distributor.

Distribution campaigns performed by Cerber affiliates include email campaigns and other methods.

The shark ransomware project allows you to create your own customizerd ransomware

A new Ransomware as a Service called the Shark Ransomware Project has been discovered. The Shark Ransomware Project offers would-be criminals the ability to create their own customized ransomware without needing any technical experience by filling out a form and clicking a button.

Visa alert and update on the Oracle breach

Credit card giant Visa on Friday issued a security alert warning companies using point-of-sale devices made by Oracle‘s MICROS retail unit to double-check the machines for malicious software or unusual network activity, and to change passwords on the devices. Visa also published a list of Internet addresses that may have been involved in the Oracle breach and are thought to be closely tied to an Eastern European organized cybercrime gang.

When Oracle bought MICROS in 2014, the company said MICROS’s systems were deployed at some 200,000+ food and beverage outlets, 100,000+ retail sites, and more than 30,000 hotels.Oracle urged MICROS customers to change their passwords, and said “we also recommend that you change the password for any account that was used by a MICROS representative to access your systems.”

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Ensley: identifying common garden problems

Problems may involve direct injury, abnormal growth, or both. There may or may not be a remedy.

Some problems may affect all vegetables, others one crop, one variety, or sometimes one or two plants.

Some Common Problems

Failure of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant to set fruit (blossom-drop): If the plants are growing well this is frequently due to adverse night temperatures below 60 degrees F and above 75 degrees F. Also heavy use of nitrogen fertilizer will cause blossom-drop especially when applied at or closely after flowering.

Blossom-end rot of tomatoes: Caused by insufficient calcium when fruits are forming, rot is characterized by a large dry brown to black and often depressed leathery area at the blossom end of fruit. Calcium deficiency usually results from improper soil pH, excessive nitrogen fertilization, rapid plant growth, and drastic fluctuations in moisture caused by heavy rainfall or drought.

Poor plant growth and/or small fruit size of tomatoes: Often a result of using old, large or overly hardened transplants. Young transplants (5-6 weeks from seeding to planting in the garden) with 5-7 true leaves normally produce the best yields and fruit size.

Cucumber plants suddenly start wilting, leaves may show dead areas and fruit may be mottled: cucumber mosaic virus, a common disease problem in Georgia. Select mosaic-resistant varieties. Sudden rise in temperature or depleted soil moisture can cause wilting too, but plants will recover.

Poor or slow germination of seed: Can be several causes, like soil temperatures too low or too high, poor seeding techniques (too deep – lack of firming), maggots feeding on the seeds, birds, lack of moisture, too much moisture, soil surface becomes crusty, etc.

Generally slow or poor growth of all crops: low pH, low fertility, cool weather, lack of sunlight, poor drainage, too little/too much moisture, poor soil structure.

Lettuce and spinach going to seed: This is normal for these crops under warm temperatures and long days. Spring and fall planting and proper variety selections are remedies.

Onion bulbs fail to reach desirable size: Wrong planting date, non-adapted variety, crowding of plants or lack of moisture, especially early in growing season.

Irregular kernel development of sweet corn ears: May be due to inadequate pollination.

Planting sweet corn in blocks of several short rows rather than in long single rows may help.

Garden peas cease flowering: A natural occurrence when summer temperatures arrive. Peas perform best when planted in the spring or fall.

Off-shaped cucumbers (crooked, nubbins, etc.): Often due to a shortage of soil moisture. Cool temperatures at time flowers are developing can be a cause. Poor pollination due to lack of bees or low number of male flowers is another possibility.

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New books at the Rockmart library

New books and movies are now available at the Rockmart Library, located at 316 N. Piedmont Ave. For more information, call 770-684-3022.

Fiction

All Summer Long – Dorothea Benton Frank

Charcoal Joe – Walter Mosley

The Defender of Shannara: The Sorcerer’s Daughter – Terry Brooks

Foreign Agent – Brad Thor

The Games (A Private novel) – James Patterson

The Highwayman – Craig Johnson

Vengeance – Zane

The House of Secrets – Brad Meltzer

Troublemaker – Linda Howard

Marrying Winterborn – Lisa Kleypas

The Emperor’s Revenge – Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison

Non-Fiction

Tipping Point for Planet Earth – Anthony D. Barnosky

The Hunting Ground – Kirby Dick and Any Ziering

Balanced and Barefoot – Hancort

You Don’t Have to Be a Shark – Robert Herjavec

Make: Getting Started with 3D Printing – Wallach Kloski

New Movies:

Zootopia

The Good Dinosaur

Gods of Egypt

Race

Rise of the Legend

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Bubble Guppies- Fun on the Farm

Wild Bill Hickok: Swift Justice

Grace and Frankie (Season One)

Risen

Deadpool

Hail, Caesar

The Confirmation

I Am Potential

Sofia the First – The Secret Library

Ride Along 2

Cedar Cove (Final Season)

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FOOTBALL: Piedmont scores in final minutes to overcome Cedartown, 29-22

PIEDMONT, Ala. — The Battle of the Border double-header ended with Piedmont closing out Cedartown who attempted a final seconds shot at one last score and a win across the state line. 

The defending Alabama Class 3-A state champion Piedmont Bulldogs won 29-22 after scoring with less than a minute left on the clock and giving Cedartown the ball back and a set of downs to try for the end zone and a last second win. Trevon Wofford, who in the first half drove the Bulldogs down the field to two touchdowns and a tied ballgame through the third quarter, couldn’t find the perfect pass before the clock ran out and sent Cedartown home with their first loss of the season. 

Tony Mathis also showed his speed at running back once again, driving the Bulldogs down the field into scoring position several times but mostly to no avail, with the exception of two touchdowns in the second quarter and a final score in the fourth with a two point conversion to take the lead. 

“We got off to another slow start, and I went for a fourth down early that gave them short field and hurt us,” said Cedartown head coach Scott Hendrix after Friday’s game. “But the kids fought back and played with a lot of emotion, too much emotion at times which got us in trouble. But I’m proud of the effort they played with.” 

Piedmont’s first win of the season didn’t come easy, said head coach Steve Smith, who had high praise for Cedartown’s effort following the game. He said his team has plenty of work to do before their next game on Friday against area rival Cherokee County as they seek to defend their Class 3-A title. 

Smith said he was especially proud of the effort his own offense put up on the gridiron in Piedmont’s final drive of the game as Taylor Hayes put up a 6-yard pass to Darien Bossie.

“We had to have it there with the game on the line, and I thought it showed a lot of guts for our guys to be able to answer that and take the lead at the end,” he said. “It was a wonderful way to start the season. I’m tickled to death that our guys got the win, but I know that Cedartown is going to win a lot of football games this year.”

Smith said his team had plenty of work to do in preparation for their coming rival game on Aug. 26 against the Cherokee County Warriors, who will come into the game 0-1 after losing to the Rockmart Yellow Jackets earlier Friday night 54-20 in the first round of the Battle of the Border.

“We’ve got to improve a lot over the next week, because they’ll do some things that can exploit some weaknesses we have and we’ll have to go back to the drawing board,” Smith said.  

A 1-0 Rockmart plays host to rival Cedartown on Aug. 26 for bragging rights only in this year’s game, with both teams now in different classifications. Hendrix said his team will also have to prepare for what he expects to be a tough game. 

“We want to make sure that we play well and get better as the season goes along,” Hendrix said. 

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Charges made against clerks, citations issued to stores selling alcohol to minors

Charges were made against two store clerks and two businesses were issued citations in a recent operation conducted by the Cedartown Police Department and the Georgia Department of Revenue.

The operation, targeting underage selling of alcohol at local stores, was conducted on Aug. 17. Officers with the CPD worked in conjunction with individuals provided by the Department of Revenue who were under the age of 21. “No individual store was targeted,” explained Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome. “We conducted this operation at all stores within the City limits that have licenses for package sales. The minor individual walked into the store, grabbed an alcoholic item and set it up on the counter. When proof of age was requested, as in all but two instances, the individual simply walked away,” Newsome said.

Two stores – the Amoco Food Mart at 804 East Avenue and the Cedartown Convenience Corporation store at 101 N. Main Street – were both cited by the Georgia Department of Revenue with violation of regulations.

Amoco Food Mart store clerk Yazmin Ameri and Cedartown Convenience Corporation store clerk Sara Wood were both charged by the Cedartown Police Department with local violations of the City’s ordinance regarding the selling of alcohol to minors.

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Scouts work on merit badges

Brody Brown, Trace Barber and Zane Butler, members of Scout Troop 23 from Rockmart, are working on their Citizenship Merit Badge.

Leaders Kirby Brown and Belinda Baker accompanied them to the August meeting of the Rockmart mayor and city council.

They were recognized by Mayor Steve Miller and were asked to lead the pledge to the American flag.

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The Tech Corner for Aug. 17, 2016

The Tech Corner is a weekly technology news and advice column presented each week courtesy of Melvin McCrary at Ga. Computer Depot in Cedartown.

HP Slipstream

If you are the owner of an HP Slipstream or any of the competitor’s bargain Laptops, please be aware that the hard drive on these machines is very small (usually 20 GB). Additionally these hard drives are imbedded which means they are an integral part of the Motherboard. This makes it very expensive to upgrade to a larger drive. Also if there is a HDD failure, it will likely require a new Motherboard. The intent for these machines is to store files in the cloud which could get expensive and not easy to utilize if there is no internet available.

Update scams

If you receive this screen on your Computer, Do Not Download it!!!

It is a scam. This is not from Mozilla/Firefox: If you get a pop-up message asking to update Firefox or plugins or scanning for malware then such a message is likely a scam and you should never respond to such an alert to avoid getting infected with malware.

• Only update Firefox via “Help > About” or by downloading and installing Firefox from the Mozilla server and never via a pop-up or link on a web page. HDD

• All updates should be downloaded from the provider web site; anytime you get an update notice from anyone, check the address bar, if it is not from the software named, it is probably a scam.

Bug bounties

Black hat Firm Offers $500,000 for Zero-day iOS Exploit; Double That of Apple’s Highest Bounty

Last week, Apple announced a bug bounty program for researchers and white hat hackers to find and get paid for reporting details of zero-day vulnerabilities in its software and devices.

The company offers the biggest payout of $200,000, which is 10 times the maximum reward that Google offers and double the highest bounty paid by Microsoft.

Exodus Intelligence is offering more than double Apple’s maximum payout for zero-day vulnerabilities affecting the newest versions of iOS.

The company is willing to pay more than $500,000 for zero-day vulnerabilities and exploits affecting iOS 9.3 and above.

Although Exodus labeled itself as ‘Research Sponsorship Program,’ the company actually makes money by buying and selling zero-day vulnerabilities and exploits.

On Wednesday last week, Exodus launched its new bonus structure for the acquisition of details and exploits for zero-day vulnerabilities.

Microsoft accidentally leaks backdoor keys to bypass UEFI secure boot

Microsoft has accidentally leaked the Secret keys that allow hackers to unlock devices protected by UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) Secure Boot feature and it will be impossible for Microsoft to undo its leak.

Yesterday, Microsoft released August Patch Tuesday that includes a security patch for designing flaw in Secure Boot for the second time in two months, but unfortunately, the patch is not complete.

Car thieves can unlock 100 million Volkswagens with a simple wireless hack

Some 100 Million cars made by Volkswagen are vulnerable to a key cloning attack that could allow thieves to unlock the doors of most popular cars remotely through a wireless signal, according to new research. The new attack applies to practically every car Volkswagen has sold since 1995.

There are two distinct vulnerabilities present in almost every car sold by Volkswagen group after 1995, including models from Audi, Skoda, Fiat, Citroen, Ford and Peugeot.

First-Ever ransomware for smart thermostat is here

Internet of Things (IoT) is the latest buzz in the world of technology, but they are much easier to hack than you think. Until now we have heard many scary stories of hacking IoT devices, but how realistic is the threat?

Just think of a scenario where you enter in your house, and it’s sweltering, but when you head on to check the temperature of your thermostat, you find out that it has been locked to 99 degrees.

And your room thermostat is demanding $300 in Bitcoins to regain its control. Your Thermostat has been hacked!

This is not just a hypothetical scenario; this is exactly what Ken Munro and Andrew Tierney of UK-based security firm Pen Test Partners have demonstrated at the DEFCON 24 security conference in Las Vegas last Saturday.

The hackers chose a US thermostat with a large LCD display that runs a modified version of Linux, and has an SD card slot to allow its users to load custom settings or wallpapers, which they said, “makes it so easy to hack.”

Facebook will to block ad-blockers

Facebook says it will stop ad-blocking software from working on its website. It says ads are a core part of using Facebook, but will give users more control over which ads they see.

Hulu abandons free service; to become subscription only

Hulu is ditching its free TV service, though it will still be available in a different form. Analysts believe the move was forced on it by the television industry.

Data breach at oracle’s MICROS point-of-sale

A Russian organized cybercrime group known for hacking into banks and retailers appears to have breached hundreds of computer systems at software giant Oracle Corp. The attackers have compromised a customer support portal for companies using Oracle’s MICROS point-of-sale credit card payment systems.

Oracle acknowledged that it had “detected and addressed malicious code in certain legacy MICROS systems.” It also said that it is asking all MICROS customers to reset their passwords for the MICROS online support portal.

MICROS is among the top three point-of-sale vendors globally. Oracle’s MICROS division sells point-of-sale systems used at more than 330,000 cash registers worldwide. When Oracle bought MICROS in 2014, the company said MICROS’s systems were deployed at some 200,000+ food and beverage outlets, 100,000+ retail sites, and more than 30,000 hotels.

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