THE Bright Side™



February 2009


The city of Smyrna is hosting an exciting new event Feb. 28.  The “Run Thru the Forest Inaugural 5k” will start and finish in Brinkley Park.  The race begins at 8 a.m. and the course will be through the Forest Hills neighborhood.   The purpose of the race is to raise awareness of organ transplant and help raise needed funds for transplant recipients.

            The race organizers contacted Campbell High School graphic arts teacher Janice Matthews to enlist the talents of the students in the logo design.  There were many great designs submitted by the students and the winning design was created by Gabby Melendez.  Gabby was awarded $50 in “Moe’s Bucks” donated by Moe’s Southwest Grill in Village Green.   Congratulations Gabby!

 This year the “Run Thru the Forest Inaugural 5k” will benefit the Bruce Crandle fundraising account with the Georgia Transplant Foundation.  Mr. Crandle is awaiting a kidney transplant.  The annual follow up costs for a transplant recipient is more than $60,000. Post-transplant medication costs alone range from $25,000 to $30,000 per year and are a life-long requirement for continued wellness. For more information on organ transplants and the Georgia Transplant Foundation go to

Sign up now to participate in the exciting new event in Smyrna.  Register on the race website:  or by completing race registration flyers available at various local stores including Big Peach Running Co., 1625 Ridenour Blvd,
Kennesaw, GA 30152  or West Stride, 3517 Northside Pkwy. Suite #11, Atlanta, GA 30327.



The Pace House in Vinings, nominated for the National Registry of Historic Places, had its request approved by Georgia officials and the nomination is now on its way for approval at the national level within the next 12 months.

Built between 1865 and 1874, The Pace House is a 3 room, wood-frame Victorian gable-ell cottage.  A wood-frame wraparound porch stretches the length of the west and south facades.  The house retains the historic heart pine finish floors.  The Pace House is one of very few extant structures of the historic village of Vinings.  Once a small settlement and popular rural day trip destination located on the Western and Atlantic Railroad and the Chattahoochee River, Vinings today is characterized largely by modern residential and commercial development.  The Pace House is located on the eastern edge of what is currently considered to be the historic village of Vinings.

Hardy Pace, the first of the Pace family to occupy the Pace House property, was born in 1785 in North Carolina.  He moved to Georgia in 1809 and operated a ferry across the Chattahoochee River for which Paces Ferry Road, West Paces Ferry Road and a host of other areas streets, businesses and neighborhoods, would eventually be named. 

During the Civil War, Federal forces arrived in the area on July 5, 1864, and by that afternoon, were in possession of Vining's Station.  General Sherman's troops occupied the area for 11 days while the troops recuperated and General Sherman repaired the railroad, established telegraph communication in the area, accumulated supplies and strategized for the upcoming Battle of Atlanta. General O.O. Howard, commander of the 4th Corps of the Army of the Cumberland, established his headquarters at the Hardy Pace House, where he remained until moving his troops north for their July 17 crossing at Pace's Ferry. 

Vining's Station and the Pace House continued to serve as locations of Federal activity, including a hospital.  Sometime immediately following the taking of Atlanta, Hardy Pace's residence was reportedly burned to the ground, leaving behind on the granite slab stair that remains extant on the west fašade of the present-day Pace House.  Hardy Pace had gone back to Milledgeville and died on December 5, 1864.  His body was brought back to Vinings and buried in the family plot on top of present-day Vinings Mountain.

According to deed records, Solomon Pace, the son of Hardy Pace, and his wife, Penelope returned to Vinings.  Solomon rebuilt the house sometime between 1867 and 1874 on the same spot where the family home had been, with only the granite steps from the Hardy Pace home remaining.   Solomon built a Central Hallway Cottage, which he enlarged around 1883 into a Gabled Wing Cottage in the Folk Victorian style.  After the death of Solomon and Penelope's daughter in 1907, the property went through a series of owners before Ruth Carter Vanneman, the great -granddaughter of Solomon Pace, purchased the property in 1952.

Upon her death in 1992, she conveyed the Pace House estate to the newly-formed Ruth Carter Vanneman Foundation, also known as the Vinings Historic Preservation Society..  The VHPS began an intensive renovation of the Pace House in 1998 and the house was opened as a special events facility in 1999 and currently functions as such.  It is one of the few remaining buildings in downtown Vinings that still embodies the area's local narrative and historic charm , and is representative of the original development and architectural characteristics of Cobb County.

The Pace House was listed on the Cobb County Register of Historic Places in 2004.  In late 2007, the Vinings Historic Preservation Society began its endeavors to nominate the property for listing on the National Registry of Historic Places.  Two Georgia State Graduate students, Stephanie Cherry and Kimberly Wescott, volunteered their time and worked diligently on the nomination and completed it in late 2008.  On Jan. 30, the nomination went before the Georgia National Register Review Board and the nomination was unanimously approved at the state level.  The Georgia Historic Preservation Division will now prepare the nomination to be sent to Washington for approval at the National level. 


Some 200 residents, business owners and prospects of the Cumberland Galleria area got a report card on progress and infomercial on future growth at the 2009 Spotlight on Success, Cumberland Galleria Showcase, at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center Feb. 11.

With a daytime population of 120,000 workers, 100 restaurants and 17,000 residents, the Cumberland-Galleria area has had a $145 billion impact on Cobb County's economy over the past 15 years. Over the next 20 years the area is expected to add another 16,000 residents.

The Cumberland-Galleria Community Improvement District, formed in 1988, is a self-taxing district using the revenue for infrastructure improvements.

Tad Leithhead, chairman of the CID and Senior VP with Cousins Properties, said one of the greatest attributes of the area is traffic flow. He said that the CID has been able to leverage $75 million in revenue to pay for $500 million in road improvements, including the Kennedy Interchange on I-75. In addition, some 100 vanpools attract more than 1,000 riders, taking cars off the road.

"This area is superbly position for growth," said Cobb Commission Chairman Sam Olens. He predicted an additional traffic relief in a light rail line linking the area with Town Center, then on along I-285 east to Gwinnett County and a connection to MARTA.

Cobb County, once considered a bedroom community, now attracts theatergoers from throughout the metro area for performances of the Atlanta Ballet and Atlanta Opera, both resident companies at CEPAC, in addition to shopping at Cumberland Mall and jobs.

Kennesaw State University Economist Dr. Don Sabbarese outlined the negative economy but predicted that "Atlanta was one of the fastest growing areas of the US before and it still has so many positive features. The housing sector will lead us out of the recession."


The Smyrna Kiwanis will have its annual pancake breakfast for the purpose of raising funds for Kiwanis sponsored youth projects. The funds raised will benefit local youth through donations, sponsorship and scholarships.

The event will be held on Saturday, March 7 from 7 to 11 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church located at 1315 Concord Road, Smyrna.

You will receive some of the best pancakes in Cobb County along with the recognition that you are concerned about the youth of today and wish to make a difference! Your generosity is greatly appreciated. See you there.



February 2009


South Cobb Blue Eagle Marching Band members will have two memories of January 20, 2009 to last a lifetime; marching in a historic Presidential Inaugural Parade, and the cold.

"A lot of our students don't know what cold is," said Band Director Zach Cogdill. "They know now. Our training did not help with the cold."

The South Cobb Band was invited to be the only band from Georgia to march in the Presidential Inaugural Parade. While the band earned the invitation on merit, many band members feared they could not raise the $70,000 needed to make the trip. The community rallied and more than $100,000 was raised.

"The story about the band had been featured on local news and CNN and national news," Cogdill said. They were also featured recently in a full page story in People Magazine. "It is amazing how far our story travelled. We had so many fans along the way."

Assistant Superintendent Phillip Lanoue had high praise from the band and its director.

"Zach made this happen. It's a bright spot for our school. It revealed the support we have for the school and band that we don't see every day."

After a pep rally and send off at the school the Friday before the event, the band travelled by bus to Washington, D.C. While there they did sightseeing, took a dinner cruise on the Patomic River and rehearsed their two musical numbers, “Georgia On My Mind” by Hoagy Carmichael, and “Summon the Heroes”, a tune composed by John Williams for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Since they were staying in a hotel 30 minutes south of the District, Cogdill got the band up at 2:30 a.m. for the big day in order to get through security and be on time for the parade.

It was very cold as we gathered at the Pentagon. We had a police escort to the (staging area) at the White House ellipse. "On both side sides the bus you could see it was just a sea of people," he said.  

From the tent on the White House lawn they were able to watch the inauguration ceremony on jumbo TV screens. During the ceremony you could hear a pin drop.

The band only got 15 minutes of warm up time before setting out for the parade route which required a mile and half march to the staring point. They then stood on Constitution Avenue for two hours waiting for the parade to start with the wind howling.

"They learned so much about will and character under those conditions. When we did step off they were so inspired, they never felt cold again," he said.

"When we got up to the reviewing stand on Pennsylvania Avenue, I locked eyes with Vice President Biden" he said. The dance team did a marching twirl that finished with a shout of "Obama." As they passed, they said he winked back and waved.

"So many people from all over the community, county and state have come together to make this a reality," said Principal Grant Rivera. "The outpouring of support from the community and the school district made this trip possible."

"It was an epic journey," Cogdill said. "Four years ago the image of our band was not so great. Our community has forgotten about any negative image of our band and our school."

The excitement hasn't worn off either. Band members were given security pins by the Secret Service.

"Our students walk around the school still wearing them," Cogdill said. "They have so much pride."

"Our work is not done," Cogdill said. He plans to apply for the band to march in the 2010 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.


The Cobb County Public Library System (CCPLS) semi-annual book sale will be held March 6-8 at the Jim R. Miller Park on 2245 Callaway Road in Marietta. The event will take place Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday, 1–5 p.m.

“The book sale is a fabulous opportunity for all readers,” Program Coordinator Patty Latch said. “Books of all kinds are affordable. It is truly a great time for ‘book people.’”

Donated items for the book sale include soft-cover and hard-back books, magazines, computer programs and comic books. Prices range from 10 cents to $2.

Proceeds from the sale go directly to the CCPLS and are used to purchase new books and other library materials. With great deals at the sale and a chance for libraries to provide new materials to patrons, the CCPLS book sale is a win-win opportunity, Latch said. 

Last year, CCPLS book sales generated more than $50,000 which enabled the library staff to purchase new books, CDs and DVDs.

Items at the book sale are a culmination of book donations provided year-round throughout the 17 Cobb County Public Libraries. 


Please mark your calendar now to attend the Mableton Improvement Coalition Annual Community Meeting at 7:00pm on Mar 5 at the South Cobb Community Center, 620 Lions Club Drive in Mableton.  The Board of Directors will report on accomplishments over the past year, plans for the coming year, budget and finances.  MIC has been active with master plans for the River Line Historic Area, Boys and Girls Club, Adopt-a-Mile cleanups, zoning and other important issues.  This annual meeting will include election to six Board of Director positions for 2-year terms.  Only MIC members can vote for the candidates and candidates must be MIC members.

If you are a Mableton resident over 18 years of age and not already a member, you can join MIC any time between now and the annual meeting.  Membership dues are only $5 annually to help cover the cost of operations for this volunteer organization.  For more information about what MIC is all about and join online, visit their website at


Join the citizens of Mableton and the Mableton Improvement Coalition for its quarterly Adopt A Mile event Feb. 28 at 8:30 a.m. MIC participates in the Keep Cobb Beautiful program by cleaning up Floyd Road between Hicks and Clay roads. 

Supplies will be provided and refreshments will be served. Please wear sturdy shoes, jeans and bring work gloves and meet at the Publix Parking Lot- Floyd Road, Mableton. Contact Anne Michelle Taylor for more information at 678 571-8838 or email Information about MIC can be found at


Woody Thompson, Cobb County Commissioner for District 4, will hold a town hall meeting on Feb. 26 from 7 – 9 p.m. at the Freeman Poole Senior Center, 4025 South Hurt Road, Smyrna.

This is an excellent opportunity for the public to share their questions and thoughts with the commissioner, as well as learn more about progress and actions taken in their community. All District 4 residents are encouraged to attend. For more information, call 770-528-3312.





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The Bright Side
300 Village Green Parkway, Suite 201
Smyrna, GA 30080