Cedartown police seek GBI help in Covenant Christian School probe; bounced payroll checks raise questions

The Latest Local News from the Cedartown Standard

CEDARTOWN — The Cedartown Police Department has asked for the GBI’s help in looking into a possible case of fraud at Covenant Christian School.

Police Chief Jamie Newsome said staff at the school called in officers late last week after it was found that all the payroll checks initially bounced.

Newsome said money was moved back into the account to cover the bounced checks, allowing the staff to get paid.

“Detectives with the police department, with my approval, sought out and are receiving assistance from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to look into this matter to determine if any criminal activity occurred, and if so, by whom,” Newsome said.

He said the department is also in the process of finding financial records from the school that date back two years, which would include all bank transactions.

Covenant Christian School, a private institution, uses the Cedartown Boys & Girls Club as its campus during the day.

According to the website, the school is led by president Darrell Forrister, vice president Andrew Roper, secretary and treasurer Jolie Miller, Steve Fetkenhour, Robyn Hubbard, Jody Smith and Jennifer Racine.

Roper said he is no longer a board member after his children changed schools “a couple of years ago.”

According to documents available on the Georgia Secretary of State’s website, Forrister is listed as the chief executive, chief financial officer, secretary and agent on the school’s annual registration for its nonprofit status.

The Polk County Standard Journal was unsuccessful in attempts to contact Forrister on Friday. Racine said she had no comment on the issue.

Source: Cedartown Standard

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Cedartown Performing Arts Center hosting Rocktoberfest on Saturday

The Latest Local News from the Cedartown Standard

Looking for something to do this weekend? Check out ROCKTOBERFEST, a free concert at the Cedartown Performing Arts Center.

There is no admission charge, but organizers ask that you bring canned food items to donate.

These items will be collected and distributed to local food pantries.

Americana-Folk band, Kamikaze Dali will take the stage at 7 p.m. followed by the Booze Mountaineers.

A cash bar will be available.

The Cedartown Performing Arts Center is located at 205 East Avenue in Cedartown.

Source: Cedartown Standard

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The Tech Corner: Oct. 23, 2015

The Latest Local News from the Cedartown Standard

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

Microsoft ‘Bing Predicts’ and the future of gambling

‘Bing Predicts’ made headlines recently by beating the Las Vegas odds in predicting winners for week one of the NFL season. Its previous successes include correctly predicting the outcomes of all 15 games in the 2014 Brazil World Cup and almost all the results of the 2015 Academy Awards, including the winners of best picture, best director, best actor, and best actress. In regards to predicting NFL winners, the AI algorithm take into account such diverse variables as a team’s previous margins of victory, player statistics, stadium surfaces, weather conditions, and so on.

Netgear Routers under Attack

Threatpost has posted a story about a previously disclosed Netgear exploit that is now publicly being used to hack Netgear routers. It allows a remote user to gain access to the administrative section of routers without knowing login credentials as long as Remote Administration is enabled on the router.

After the router is compromised, attackers are modifying its server settings so that any DNS requests are being routed through the hackers’ servers. This allows them to perform man-in-the-middle attacks or redirect users to fake banking and shopping sites in order to steal credit card information or account credentials. It has been reported that approximately 10 thousand routers have been affected by this vulnerability.

This exploit was first discovered by Compass Security who informed Netgear about the vulnerability on July 21, 2015. A month later, Netgear sent them a beta firmware to test and Compass confirmed that the vulnerability was fixed. Netgear never released the firmware to the public and thus this vulnerability still exists. On September 29, 2015, Shellshock Labs also discovered the vulnerability and publicly disclosed it. It appears that this defect has been around since April of 2013. All Netgear users should disable Remote Administration on their routers. The known affected Netgear models are JNR1010v2, JNR3000, JWNR2000v5, JWNR2010v5, N300, R3250, WNR2020, WNR614, and WNR618.Call us and we will email you instructions on how to disable remote administration and change your password.

Darkode Returns Following International Raids

The main administrator was not arrested. It’s been a little more than a week, and darkode has returned. Originally the main admin known as “Sp3cial1st” had posted a statement on Pastebin (hackers favorite place to exchange information) declaring that he wanted to wait and see who all of the 70 users arrested were before bringing the forums back online.

The message states that that darkode will operate from a Tor hidden web service, but each user will be given their own address to the forum. This allow the darkode admins control over who gets access, preventing people from accessing a hacked account without the proper url; it would also allow them to monitor who views what by creating an individual log file for each user, meaning they could quickly weed out leakers. Darkode had a problem with people using hacked accounts to leak information to law enforcement and journalists.

Official Windows 10 upgrade details are unclear

Upgrade to Windows 10 within the first year and it is free… forever. Really Microsoft, that’s not hard to spell out.

The best answer came from an official company spokesperson is in a blog post by Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Operating Systems. In it he states:

“We announced that a free upgrade for Windows 10 will be made available to customers running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 who upgrade in the first year after launch. This is more than a one-time upgrade: once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – at no cost.” That’s ok, but it’s buried in a blog. Microsoft should put this on the Windows 10 front page itself. And yet, despite all this, the myth that Windows 10 will eventually add a subscription cost for free upgrades continues. On multiple occasions this year Microsoft has said it sees itself as a service company moving forward and that it views Windows long term as a subscription service, not a buy once platform as it has been up to now.

Calculator or Hidden App? Teens Are Disguising Content With Apps

Teenagers are more tech savvy than most adults. They chat on their smartphones with their peers, download all the popular apps and are greatly familiar with their device settings. Another recent thing that a lot of teens do on their smartphones is hide pictures, messages and apps. Find out how teens are doing this and discover what you should be looking for on teens’ phones.

Hiding Apps

The most popular way to hide apps or any other content on your phone is by using an app that does that. Both Apple Store and Google Play have a lot of hiding apps for download and the majority of them are free.

One such app is KeepSafe (Android or iPhone, free). It allows you to upload pictures and videos into the app from the phone gallery and keeps them secured under a password. An interesting aspect of this app is that it has a built in feature called Safe Send. You can send a picture that will be visible for 20 seconds before self-destructing. The application developers claim that KeepSafe Safe Send is like Snapchat but works with everyone, even if they don’t have the app. The recipient receives a link via text message that takes them to the picture that the KeepSafe user sent.

Vault (Android or iPhone, free), is also a popular hiding app that allows users to hide photos, videos, text messages, contacts and apps. Just like KeepSafe, it is only accessible via password. The application is free, however if you upgrade you can have additional features such as creating a decoy Vault account. When a parent or adult insists on seeing the content of an app, teens can show them a fake app through Vault.

Smart Hide Calculator (Android, free) and Secret Calculator (iPhone, free) appear as calculators on the icon and when you open them. Hide it Pro (Android, free) is a functioning audio manager that can be used to turn volumes up and down. The user usually has to perform a combination of tasks in order to access the content, for example, pressing and holding a specific button and entering the password.

Source: Cedartown Standard

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Wildflowers grow in Polk

The Latest Local News from the Cedartown Standard

Goldenrod, swamp sunflowers and cosmos are some of the many wildflowers that attract attention of residents and visitors as they travel through Polk County and Georgia.

Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) provides one of the last big color shows of late summer and fall. Like Indian corn, pumpkins and corn shocks, goldenrod is one of the true harbingers of fall. Goldenrod is often wrongly accused of causing hay fever and allergic reactions. The real culprit is usually windborne pollen from ragweed that blooms during the same time. Ragweed produces inconspicuous green flowers.

There are 10 goldenrod species native to the Southeast. Goldenrod grows 3 to 6 feet tall and is a perennial that forms long, spreading rhizomes that make large colonies. Stems are usually straight and unbranched below the flower. Leaves are alternately arranged. The large, bright yellow flowers are branching and often arching in many species. They are frequently found in low, wet sites along roadsides, fence rows and ditches. Flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies, and songbirds eat the seeds.

Goldenrod prefers morning sun and afternoon shade. It also likes moist, well-drained soil. Cut back plants in early spring to encourage new growth for the season. Divide goldenrod plants in late winter or early spring for transplanting. Collect seeds in the fall when flower heads dry and become fluffy. Seeds can be planted right away or held dry at 40 degrees Fahrenheit for later planting. Temperatures of 70 F or higher will enhance germination.

Cosmos bipinnatus are the annual wildflowers you may have seen planted alongside the exit ramps on Interstate 75 in Georgia that tend to stop traffic. Cosmos grow 3 to 5 feet in height and truly provide a “wildflower look.” Flowers are 2 to 3 inches wide and range from stunning magenta red, to white, soft pink, lilac and lavender in color. Cosmos are open, sprawling plants that also make a good cut flower.

Cosmos require very little moisture once established. A native of Mexico, it can easily adapt to all regions of the United States and performs best in full sun. Leaves are deeply dissected, almost threadlike in appearance. Although most annual wildflowers are seeded in the fall, cosmos seeds can be sowed in early spring for summer blooms. If the plants begin to decline in summer, re-sow the seeds directly into the beds, in and among plants already there. The second planting will keep the color through the fall.

Narrowleaf, or swamp, sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius) is a large, perennial plant (5 to 8 feet tall) with multibranched stems. Leaves are rough textured, 3 to 6 inches long and a half-inch wide, lance-shaped, with an occasional purple tinge. Numerous showy, yellow flower heads, 2 to 3 inches across, appear from September to October in terminal clusters. Ray flowers (petals) are bright, golden yellow and disk flowers (center) are red-brown to purple.

Swamp sunflower will adapt to dry habitats, but it grows shorter when moisture is limited. A lemon yellow variety found in the trade is one of the latest blooming sunflowers, adding a splash of color to the late fall landscape. The flowers attract butterflies, finches eat the seeds and deer like to graze on this plant.

Swamp sunflower is easy to cultivate. It thrives in sun or partial shade and moist soil. It does not like dry sites. It may need staking in wet years. It spreads by rhizomes and may require periodic thinning, especially on damp sites. Pruning in mid-summer encourages more compact growth and branching. Divide plants in the spring for transplanting. Collect seeds in November and plant them directly in flats maintained at 70 F. Germination should occur in about two weeks.

Keep in mind that many wildflowers are very prolific seed producers and can spread rapidly. Depending on perspective, one person’s wildflower is another person’s weed. Be prepared to contain them in a small area to keep friends and neighbors happy.

Source: Cedartown Standard

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Standard Journal Pet of the Week from the Oct. 21, 2015 edition

The Latest Local News from the Cedartown Standard

This week’s Pet of the Week is Journey, a young adult weighing in at 65 lbs., but not to worry. This youngster is already learning tricks and commands, and walks on a leash without pulling.

Help Journey find a loving home today by calling Polk County Animal Control at 770-749-8908 and ask for Journey, ID # 29876982.

The Cedartown Humane Society provides the Standard Journal with Pets of the Week.

Source: Cedartown Standard

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New pastor welcomed at Calvary

The Latest Local News from the Cedartown Standard

Levi Wyatt is the new pastor of Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, located at 160 Springdale Road in Rockmart.

Pastor Wyatt graduated from Champion Baptist College in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in Church Administration. Since graduating, he and his wife, Cora, have been serving with his father, Pastor Eddie Wyatt, at the Happy Valley Baptist Church in Villa Rica. While there, he served as Youth Pastor, Sunday School Director and taught adult Sunday school classes, and at the Bible Institute. Mrs. Wyatt led a ladies’ ministry.

On October 4, 2015, Levi Wyatt was ordained as the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church. Pastor Wyatt’s preaching is Bible based and expositional, as well as topical.

He invites the public to “come worship with us” at Calvary Baptist.

Source: Cedartown Standard

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Polk 4-H’ers participate in fair

The Latest Local News from the Cedartown Standard

Polk County 4-H’ers participated in the recent Polk County Fair and manned a booth during the event.

The theme, “4-H Grows Here”, was selected and showcased in the décor that highlighted the organization’s history.

This included a display of the first Boy’s Corn Club and the Girl’s Tomato Canning Club, which would eventually form the first 4-H Club.

Other information included the Head, Heart, Hands and Health, the four values members work on through fun and engaging programs, Head for managing and thinking, the Heart for relating and caring, the Hands for giving and working and Health for being and living.

Also, opportunities given to 4-H members: camps, conferences and community service were outlined.

Local 4-H’ers assisted with the Animal Farm, where children could get a close up look at rabbits, calves, goats, chickens, guinea and quail. They won more than 20 ribbons for portfolios.

Current activities Polk 4-H’ers include Junior Conference at Rock Eagle in November, Cottonboll and Consumer Classes, Make A Difference Day and more.

For information on upcoming meetings and activities with the Polk County 4-H Club contact us at 770-749-2142 or email at uge2233@uga.edu.

Source: Cedartown Standard

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Friday forecast: fog early, sunshine through the day with a high of 79

The Latest Local News from the Cedartown Standard

Another day of sunshine is in store in Polk County, but not before some patches of morning fog burn off before noon according to the National Weather Service forecast, which calls for clear skies for half the weekend, and cloudy for the other.

Today’s forecast calls for areas of fog before 10 a.m. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 79. Calm wind becoming east around 5 mph.

Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 58. Calm wind.

Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 78. Calm wind becoming southeast around 5 mph in the afternoon.

Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 59. Calm wind becoming southeast around 5 mph.

Sunday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 75. Calm wind becoming southeast around 5 mph.

Sunday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 59.

Monday: A 30 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 72.

Monday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 57.

Tuesday: A 50 percent chance of showers. Cloudy, with a high near 68.

Tuesday Night: Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Cloudy, with a low around 57. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent.

Wednesday: Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Cloudy, with a high near 68. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent.

Wednesday Night: A 40 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 54.

Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 67.

Source: Cedartown Standard

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Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade grant goes to PCFD

The Latest Local News from the Cedartown Standard

Polk County firefighters have an extra few thousand dollars they weren’t expecting after the department received a grant from Georgia-Pacific, officially receiving the check earlier today from the company. 

The Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade grant was awarded to the fire department in the amount of $4,000 to allow firefighters to purchase more turnout gear.

Polk County Public Safety Director Randy Lacey said he wasn’t sure yet exactly how the money will be spent, but he hopes to add it to $45,000 he asked for in capital improvement money in the 2016 fiscal year budget.

The county fire department is among 45 grant recipients of Georgia- Pacific’s Bucket Brigade program this year. The department will receive $4,000 to help fund equipment

“We have a strong relationship with our local fire departments, so we are very pleased to help them stay well‐equipped,” said Mike Reardon, plant manager at Georgia‐Pacific’s Rome Lumber facility. “These grants show our gratitude for their selfless dedication.”

The fire department says the grant will go toward the purchase of full‐body protective gear to replace aging gear that no longer meets standards set by the National Fire Protection Association. Each set costs about $1,800. 

“This grant is a huge step forward in keeping our firefighters safe,” said Fire Chief Randy Lacey. “It will help to reduce injuries and fines due to delinquent gear.”

This year, Georgia‐Pacific awarded $207,000 in grants to fire departments for equipment critical to firefighters’ safety. Since the program started in 2006, Georgia‐Pacific has given more than $1.75 million to fire departments that serve the company’s facility communities across the country.

“We want to help fire departments have the means necessary to not only keep our communities safe, but protect the firefighters who are putting themselves in harm’s way,” said Jim Hannan, chief executive officer and president of Georgia‐Pacific. “We’re especially proud to support fire departments in the communities where Georgia‐Pacific employees live, work and volunteer.”

This year, Bucket Brigade grants ranged from $1,000 to $8,000. Grants are based on need and are funded by the Georgia‐Pacific Foundation and local Georgia‐Pacific facilities. Funds are typically used to purchase new protective clothing and replace items such as damaged safety gear and aging equipment.

Additionally, Georgia‐Pacific gives all grant applicants free memberships to The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), which provides access to tools, resources, programs and advocacy for first‐responders across the nation.

“The Georgia‐Pacific Bucket Brigade Program provides funds directly to departments in need,” said Heather Schafer, NVFC’s chief executive officer. “The NVFC is pleased to partner with Georgia‐Pacific to maintain the health and safety of the fire service and the citizens they serve.”

The fire departments receiving grants this year span 22 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

He said he was excited to have the extra money, and hoped that another grant through the National Forestry Commission would add some more extra dollars to the county fire department’s coffers, which the department applied for this month.

The forestry grant would give the county fire department another $10,000, but the county would be required to match it if it is awarded.

County commissioners approved accepting the $4,000 Georgia Pacific grant during their October session, and also gave their permission through unanimous vote to seek out the forestry grant.

Source: Cedartown Standard

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Unemployment rate flat in Polk for September, down from 2014

The Latest Local News from the Cedartown Standard

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that the unemployment rate in the Northwest Georgia region for September was 5.6 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from 5.8 percent in August. The rate in September 2014 was 6.9 percent.

The rate declined as the number of employed residents increased by 1,420 to 372,502 from 371,082 in August.

Polk County’s statistics for the month came in unchanged between August and September, remaining at 6.5 percent with 1,172 on the rolls for last month, compared to the 1,164 from August.

The rate was down in Polk over the year from 7.3 percent in September 2014, a decrease of eight tenths of a percentage point.

At the same time, the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 338, or 15.3 percent, to 2,550 in September. Most of the increase came in manufacturing. Over the year, claims were down by 566, or 18.2 percent, from 3,116 in September 2014.

Metro Gainesville had the lowest area jobless rate at 4.7 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 7.5 percent.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for September was 5.8 percent, unchanged from August. It was 6.9 percent in September 2014. Over the month, Georgia gained 9,100 jobs, and is ranked third nationally in monthly job creation. Over the year, Georgia gained 84,200 jobs.

Local area unemployment data are not seasonally adjusted. Georgia labor market data are available at www.dol.georgia.gov.

Source: Cedartown Standard

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