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Planning Commission backs townck棋牌s on empty lot in Between the Rivers District

The Rome-Floyd Planning Commission is backing plans to build a gated townhouse community on an empty lot on Third Street in the Between the Rivers historic district.

The lot is a little over half an acre and sits right behind the federal courthouse on First Street. Applicant and owner JFB Development is requesting the lot be rezoned from office-institutional to urban-mixed-use.

Planning commission members recommended approval of the rezoning Thursday. The Rome City Commission will make the final decision following a public hearing Monday.

Senior planner Brice Wood pointed out that there are very few empty lots in the district and that it’s one of the few ways to add to the district without tearing down a building.

Chuck Hardin, an engineer with Southern Engineering and Surveying, said he believes it’s a good area for the construction. Hardin would be one of the engineers working on the project.

“We feel like it’s a good fit ... There’s already mixed use in the area, a mixture of commercial and office and residential,” he said.

Hardin said the townck棋牌s would each have two bedrooms, two stories and one-car garages.

“With the placement of where they are, we want people to be proud to drive by it,” said Jackson Barksdale of JFB Development.

Planning commission member Tom Bennett made the motion to approve the request. The motion passed unanimously.

Members also recommended approval of a rezoning in South Rome at 50 Pollock St.

Laurel Street Residential wishes to rezone the 15-acre lot from high density traditional residential to multi-family residential. Lee Cochran, a representative for Laurel Street Residential, said they plan to build a two-story apartment complex for mixed-income residents.

South Rome Redevelopment Corp. is the current owner of the parcel and has worked with the applicant in the past.

Director Charles Looney said he and the rest of the nonprofit organization look forward to working with the applicant again.

Planning commission members recommended approval unanimously.

The requests will go before the City Commission at their meeting on Monday at 6 p.m. over Zoom. The meeting will be livestreamed on the city government’s Facebook page.

Voccio: 'We're going to see some bumps'

There is no question that the COVID-19 curve has flattened across Northwest Georgia, according to Dr. Gary Voccio, the district public health director.

“You have to give all of the credit to the primary care providers here across Northwest Georgia,” Voccio said. “We certainly are seeing a decline in the COVID-19 crisis.”

But that’s only here and now. While there is currently antibody testing and work toward the development of a vaccine, they won’t likely come in time to prevent a second outbreak.

Voccio spoke with members of the Rome Rotary Club during a videoconference Thursday.

The Thursday midday report from the Department of Public Health indicates Floyd County had 153 cases, 12 deaths and 40 hospitalizations. That’s an increase of three cases and one death from the Wednesday report.

The Floyd County rate of infection is about 150 cases per 100,000 people. Bartow County is double that, largely because of the super-spreader event at one church.

The 10-county region now has eight testing sites for COVID-19 and is doing between 200 and 250 tests a day at this time. The state is using a number of private labs to try to get results back quicker.

Test results have been holding fairly steady at about 5% positivity — which the doctor called “unbelievably good.”

As testing continues to increase, and more people get out and in contact with each other, Voccio told the service club that a significant increase in cases is predictable.

“We’re going to see some bumps and we’re going to see probably an increase in hospitalizations and we’re going to see some death,” Voccio said.

Another issue is whether people who have had the disease are immune to further infection. At this point, antibody testing has not provided an answer to the question, Voccio said.

“The FDA has not approved any of the antibody testing at this time,” Voccio said. “People have retested for their antibodies for some reason and the tests were different on the second testing.”

The physician said Remdesivir and plasma therapies both seem to be promising treatments for people who have contracted COVID-19. But as far as developing a vaccine goes, we really won’t know if an effective vaccine has been created until there is another outbreak, he said.

“I’m not very optimistic about a vaccination at this time, but we’ll see,” Voccio said. “The influenza vaccination is 60% effective, so if we have a coronavirus vaccination I hope it’s more potent than the influenza vaccination.”

Voccio is predicting a second wave of COVID-19, with intermittent spikes in certain cities because of the lack of a vaccine coupled with the lessening of the shelter-at-ck棋牌 restrictions.

The public health chief said his office has seven epidemiologists performing contact tracing almost around the clock. When there is an infection, they track the person’s movements back 48 hours looking for anyone who may have come in close contact. They then give that person information about isolation methods and quarantine procedures.

Voccio said he hopes to get as many as many as six more contact tracers in the coming weeks.

Avagail Barksdale, a fifth-grader at Johnson Elementary School

Census motorcade coming through Friday afternoon

A group of people who live, work and serve Rome and Floyd County are ready to raise awareness of the ck棋牌 U.S. Census by cruising town.

Count Floyd County — the local census count committee consisting of business and community leaders — will host a census motorcade Friday afternoon. Participants will drive from East Rome to West Rome along Turner McCall Boulevard and Shorter Avenue while displaying signs and waving to pedestrians and fellow motorists.

Braden Keith, owner of Romega Digital and chair of Count Floyd County, said they are trying to find ways to keep awareness of the census up while still practicing social distancing amid the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m hoping we have a bunch of people come out,” Keith said. “We want them in their most interesting looking vehicles or just their average looking vehicles. The goal with the census right now is to drive awareness. We hope this will get people to remember to fill out the census as we drive through town.”

Motorcade participants will meet in the parking lot of Walmart, 825 Cartersville Highway, at 1 p.m. They’ll drive as a group down Turner McCall to ck棋牌 Depot, 103 Hicks Drive, and then down Shorter Avenue. They’ll end at Lowe’s ck棋牌 Improvement, 2338 Shorter Ave.

Residents can respond to the census by going to myck棋牌census.gov, calling 844-330-ck棋牌 or returning the form they receive in the mail. Everyone is required to respond, and doing so now will minimize the need for census takers to go out into communities to follow up once this initial phase is completed.

The results of the once-a-decade count determine the number of seats each state has in Congress and are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

Data collected also affects planning and funding for infrastructure and the distribution of federal funding to hundreds of government programs — including Medicaid, community development, school lunch programs and Section 8 housing.

Floyd County’s rate of response to the ck棋牌 U.S. Census had increased to 55.7% as of Wednesday from 54.1% on Saturday. The rate is the percentage of households in the county that have completed the census. Rome’s rate was 52.3%, while Georgia’s rate was 53.9%.

“We’re doing great right now,” Keith said. “I lean on the positive and tell people, ‘look, your peers and neighbors are doing it, so join them and show the state and the nation what we can do when we come together.’”

Floyd County’s response rate for the 2010 census was 74%, down from the 2000 census, according to Keith. He said the census is the thing people can take part in to have their voices truly heard in reshaping their communities.

“Corporations and businesses who are looking to relocate look at the census data for an area, so it’s important that the numbers are correct and accurately portray the make-up of Floyd County in order to attract those businesses,” Keith said.

He suggested that people make the census a family project and have children fill out the census for the household, either online or by mail.

Darlington pre-school teacher engages students and friends with daily social media challenges

To help keep up the spirits of her students and friends each day, one Darlington teacher has taken to posting her own challenge videos.

Beth Smith has been teaching preschool at Darlington for over 25 years. Smith said she loves working with her “smarties,” as she calls them, and doing hands-on activities.

However, Smith was faced with the challenge of how to continue teaching through technology and social distancing.

“I had to start being a little more inventive and videoing everything under the sun,” Smith said.

With her daily videos, Smith greets her smarties and does what they would normally do during their circle time. Smith goes over the date of that day, how many days they’ve been in school and reads them a story related to the topic of the day.

The teacher makes daily challenge videos to engage her students and help them stay focused and entertained. She even sometimes dresses up as different characters to go with the theme.

“One example is, go in your back yard and find things that begin with A through F. And then I run around my back yard to find things that begin with those letter sounds,” she said.

The students then send back videos of them doing the challenge.

“Pretty much everything that I would normally teach, I’m videoing them,” Smith said.

The videos have quickly taken off from being some challenges her current students are doing to former students and friends participating in the challenges as well.

“I started it out just for my smarties ... and it’s funny because I thought I would just do a couple and now I have all these people responding on Instagram and Facebook saying ‘Oh my gosh, I look so forward to your messages every morning,’” Smith said.

Some of Smith’s other challenges include collecting sticks, thanking mail carriers and garbage pickup crews and drawing something inspirational in their driveways.

“It sort of helps me to pick myself up as well, since I’m not seeing a lot of people either,” she said.

Smith hopes to continue doing some of the challenges after the school year ends, but probably won’t be doing them on a daily basis.