Meet The Candidates In Smyrna Election

Smyrna voters will get the opportunity to meet the candidates for Mayor and city council positions at a forum sponsored by the Smyrna Business Association on Oct. 24.

“This is an excellent chance for residents to meet and interact with their potential elected leaders,” said SBA President Barb Allen.

An informal meet-and-greet will begin at 7 p.m. at the Smyrna Community Center, followed by a question and answer session with the candidates moderated by Cathy and Allan Lipsett, publishers of The Bright Side newspaper. Attendees will be asked to submit written questions prior to the forum.

More details of the event can be found at smyrnabusiness.org/.

With the decision of Max Bacon not to seek reelection, an open Mayor’s post has drawn five candidates. The candidates for Mayor include:

Alex Backery, a retired airline worker who has lived in Smyrna since 1981; Ryan Campbell, son to Jamaican immigrants who operate Chris’ Caribbean Bistro; Laura M. Mireles, a former law enforcement officer and Air Force Veteran; Derek Norton, Ward 1 Councilman and Government Affairs Director for the Medical Association of Georgia; and Steve Rasin, a retired Navy Commander, Airline Pilot and owner of a real estate business.

In city council races Glenn Pickins, a project manager, is unopposed for the open Ward 1 seat; Charles ‘Corkey’ Welch, and engineer, is unopposed for reelection to the Ward 4 post, and Tim Gould is unopposed for the Ward 6 seat.

Ward 2 has incumbent Andrea Bluestein, a real estate associate broker, facing Austin Wagner, a consultant.

In Ward 3, incumbent Maryline Blackburn, an entertainer, is challenged by Travis Lindley, a business owner.

There are three candidates in Ward 5 as incumbent Susan Wilkinson, an independent designer, is challenged by Suz Kaprich, a nurse executive, and James ‘JD’ Smith, a former fire department lieutenant and owner of Neighbors Feed and Seed.

Ward 7 is an open post with David W. Monroe, a former hotel management exec and real estate broker, facing Lewis A. Wheaton, a professor at Georgia Tech.

Whitefield Academy will host a debate On Tuesday, October 22 at 7 p.m. among all five Smyrna mayoral candidates. The debate will be co-moderated by Whitefield students and Whitefield faculty member, Dr. Jeff Horner.

The Whitefield debate is a ticketed event. Tickets are now available and can be reserved at no cost by visiting www.smyrnamayoraldebate.com. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. and the debate will begin at 7 p.m.

Whitefield Academy’s Head of School, Kevin Bracher, notes that “not only is the election of a new mayor a momentous event in Smyrna history, but hosting the debate is also an incredible opportunity for our students to practice servant leadership in the civic arena. Whitefield cares deeply about Smyrna and our community, and we are excited to contribute to having a community of informed voters.”

Smyrna’s election will be held Nov. 5.

From the October 2019 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

Taste Of Smyrna

Taste of Smyrna “Festival of Delectable” presented by Superior Plumbing is coming to satisfy palates, quench the thirst, fulfill the need for music and entertainment, and please the kids, Sept. 14.

Visitors will be able to sample more than 30 Smyrna restaurants on the beautiful Village Green and Market Village in downtown Smyrna.

Admission to the Taste is FREE with food samples costing $1 to $4 each.

Diners can experience tastes from more than 30 restaurants including: Tin Drum, Taco Mac, Williamson Bros. BBQ, Bruster’s Ice Cream, Copelands of New Orleans and more to tempt the taste buds and fill the senses. 

There will be live music all day during the festival from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

There will be interactive children’s activities from a Quad Bungee, inflatable slides, bounces, Special OPS obstacle course and much more.  

The Taste of Smyrna bottled water and soft drink sales will benefit the Smyrna Education Foundation.

There will be acoustic sounds from Scott Thompson entertaining patrons from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. adjacent to the Veteran’s Memorial, and more live music throughout the event from open to close.      

From the September 2019  issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.   

Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon To Retire

Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon dropped a political bombshell in July as he announced he would not seek reelection.

“It’s time for me to go,” Bacon said in a Facebook post. “I can no longer give the 110% that I have given the last 40 years. I will miss serving all the citizens of Smyrna…but will be ok. Smyrna will always be the best place to live.”

Bacon was speaking to a sellout crowd fr his annual “State of the City” address to the Cobb Chamber of Commerce and Smyrna Business Association on July 10.

It was a reversal from Bacon’s May announcement to run and he said he had even ordered campaign signs and t-shirts that read “I Heart Bacon.”

While still dabbing at tears, he offered a discount on campaign shirts.

“Don’t forget about those T-shirts now — $6,” he joked.

The political bombshell has drawn at least four probable candidates for the mayor’s post. They include:

Ward 1 Councilman Dereck Norton, Government Affairs Director for the Georgia Municipal Association; Laura Mireles, an Air Force veteran who worked in law enforcement; Steve Rasin, a retired Navy Commander, Airline Pilot and owner of a real estate business; and  Alex Backery, a perennial candidate who is retired.

Candidate qualifying will be Aug. 20-22 at city hall.

During his presentation, Mayor Bacon cited numerous accomplishments from his four decades in public office.

From the August 2019 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

Get Rid of Bulky Trash

It’s time to clean out your closets, basements, garages and rooms. The City of Smyrna and Keep Smyrna Beautiful are hosting the first Bulky Trash Amnesty Day Saturday, Aug. 17 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Smyrna residents are invited to bring their unwanted items and drop them off at the Smyrna Public Works Department on Atlanta Road.

This event is FREE and for Smyrna residents only. Please bring proof of residency: City of Smyrna utility bill preferred but a drivers license is fine.

Items accepted include: Furniture, carpet, mattresses and box springs, grills, car parts (doors, fenders), lawn furniture, and non Freon containing appliances (washers, dryers, etc).

Items NOT accepted include: paint, any household hazardous waste, refrigerators, freezers, tires, construction debris, lawn mowers, or propane tanks.

“We are encouraging neighborhoods to work together to bring items,” said Janet Liberman. “For example: join together and rent a truck or offer to bring a neighbor’s items if you have a pickup truck and they don’t have a car big enough.”

From the August 2019 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

Smyrna Museum Adds To Collection

The Smyrna Historical Society hosted an event at the Smyrna Library in July seeking donations for the remodeled museum and included a large display of Smyrna related artifacts. 







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Corky Welch donates City Hall sign to Smyrna Museum Manager Jennie Eldredge, and Mike Terry.

Jennie Eldredge, Museum Manager was joined by historian Mike Terry, and board members Linda Evans, Bill Marchione, and Nancy Geisler as the community turned out in record numbers to become members of the new society and enjoy viewing numerous unique and historic artifacts.

Among the donations was the original sign from the new city hall that opened in 1996. Ward 4 City Councilman Corky Welch brought the sign to the collection event at the Smyrna Public Library. Terry said the sign was on the old city hall…the white brick building…so it is about 30 years old. Not exactly an antique, but an important part of Smyrna History.

On display was the original cast-iron zero mile marker post from 1872 donated by Harold Smith, an unusual plug-tobacco cutter from an old Smyrna general store, a rare stereoscope viewer, many 1900 era kitchen items, a collection of Civil War uniform buttons, and hundreds of old photographs. 

Visitors were also given the latest information about the revitalized history museum; a grand opening is expected in October. 

To join the society, or to get more information about the history of Smyrna, contact  Mike Terry at 770-438-6182 or Linda Evans at 770-436-8062.

From the August 2019 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs, and Austell, GA.

‘Shrek The Musical’ In Smyrna

Smyrna Village Players’ cast and crew invite you to experience SHREK THE MUSICAL in an all-new light in four performances on July 18, 19 and 20.

This new age fairytale is full of sidesplitting laughs, heartfelt friendships and harrowing adventure.

Smyrna Village Players is an outreach of SFUMC and the local Methodist community. The group offers an outlet for individuals to share their talents and gifts and seeks to bring joy and unity to our neighbors by working as a collaborative team to tell compelling stories.

The unique interpretation of this beloved tale brings our favorite renaissance heroes into modern times. We’ve embraced a vibrant, rock’n’roll inspired aesthetic and the jam-packed performance is guaranteed to keep you engaged and on the edge of your seat.

Performances are July 18 at 7 p.m.), July 19 at 7 p.m. and July 20 at 2 and 7 p.m. Performances are in the Fellowship Hall of Smyrna First United Methodist Church, 1315 Concord Road, Smyrna. The performance offers professional ASL interpretation at the Saturday 2 p.m. matinee show and welcome all members of the Smyrna community to enjoy this upbeat, family-friendly production. General Admission tickets are $15 and Student/Senior tickets are $12. Tickets are on sale now at www.smyrnavillageplayers.com.

Linda Keeney Scholarship Awarded

The King Springs Foundation awarded its second annual Linda B. Keeney Scholarship for King Springs Alumni April 26 to Campbell High School Senior, Spencer Ford.

Ford will be attending the University of Miami to pursue a degree in Musicianship, Artistry Development, and Entrepreneurship. 

The Linda B. Keeney Scholarship for King Springs Alumni was established in 2018 to honor the career of King Springs’ long-time principal upon her retirement from public education.

In 2018, the King Springs Foundation awarded a $1,000 scholarship.  In 2019, the award was doubled to $2,000. In 2020, the King Springs Foundation has a goal of once again doubling the award.  If you would like to contribute directly to the scholarship, please go kingspringsfoundation.org/.

From the June 2019  issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

Lawn Chairs Now Okay At Renovated Amphitheatre

Visitors check out the new terraced seating area that allows lawn chairs at the Mable House Barnes Amphitheater during a recent open house.

The Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre’s season is underway and concert goers and performers are benefitting from extensive renovations.
“We have a robust concert series that we are this hosting on behalf local promoters,” said Robert Edwards, general manager. The amphitheater is a rental only facility.

“One of our promoters, Royal Entertainment, has brought in some 20 concerts over the summer.”

Royal also helped facilitate moving all of the Kiss 104.1 Flashback series from Lakewood Amphitheater. Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends have back to back concerts.

“It’s going to be a fun series over the summer,” Edwards said during an open house at the facility in May.

A new movie series on the first Friday of each month called Movies , Band and Brew, will be a nostalgic evening with the theme of an individual artist and film.

“We are teaming up with the Arts Center so the first Friday in July is a Prince experience. A national touring, exhibit, then have Hero, The Band playing music of Prince and the movie Purple Rain.

An Evening of Jazz series is already underway.

Edwards said that in the winter of 2017 renovations began the backstage area, including the green room and dressing areas.

“We ripped up all the floors which now with polished concrete, bought new furniture, and gave it a new look. We really spruced up the place to give the artists a better impression of our backstage,” he said.

“This past winter we redid the lawn area so it is now terraced instead of a steep hill. Now we allow all of our patrons to bring in their own lawn chairs. It’s a big deal since we never allowed that in the past. We have new bar areas in the venue so we have full cash bars available to the public,” he said.

The entire SPLOST renovation was $2 million spread out over two years.

The seating area remains the same capacity at 2,500 with 1,500 under the roof and 1,000 on the lawn.

“It’s just a more user friendly lawn area,” he said.

Here are some of the shows coming this summer and fall at the Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre.

An Evening of Jazz series:

• June 22 – featuring Gregory Porter, Ken Ford and Kathy Kosins.

• July 6 – featuring Boney James, Avery Sunshine and Alex Bugnon.

• Aug. 3 – featuring Brian Culberson and Najee.

• Aug. 17 – featuring Jeffrey Osborne and Jody Watley.

• Sept. 21 – featuring Jonathan Butler, Kirk Whalum, Eric Darius and Nick Colionne.

July 20 – The Gentlemen of Soul featuring Peabo Bryson, Freddie Jackson and Howard Hewett

Kiss 104.1 Flashback Festival:

• Aug. 31 – The Whispers with Ruben Studdard, and Evelyn Champagne King.

• Sept. 1 – Cameo with Midnight Star, and Glenn Jones.

Also, Sept. 7 – Sounds Good Medicine with Dave Koz, Gerald Albright, Rick Braun, Kenney Lattimore, and Bryan Thompson, hosted by M.C. Lightfoot.

The Wednesday night children’s series, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, will feature free movies such as Black Panther on June 12; Spiderman Into the Spiderverese on June 26; A Wrinkle In Time on July 10; and How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World on July 24.

First Fridays feature Movie, Bands and Brews:

• July 5 – Purple Rain, featuring Hero, the Band, playing Prince music.

• Aug. 2 – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, featuring The Neon Queen.

• Sept. 6 – Nine to Five with a performance by Diva Royale.

• Oct. 4 – Bohemian Rhapsody featuring a Queen tribute performance by the Georgia Players Guild.

For showtimes and tickets visit mablehouse.org or call 770-819-7765.

From the June 2019  issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

Harvest Festival To Be Held at Mable House

The Harvest Festival will be held at the Mable House Historic Grounds on October 12, 2019.

Produced by The Friends of The Mable House in partnership with Cobb Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, The Harvest Festival was formerly the Storytelling Festival.

“The Friends organization wanted to rebrand the event to create an enhanced family experience,” said Libby Geiselmayr, Mable House Arts Center Coordinator.

Professional storytellers Josie Bailey and Joanna Maddox will be telling tales, plus, there will be musical performances, food and other activities.

This free event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. will include Hay Rides given by the South Cobb Lions Club, a sweet potato garden, corn shucking, butter churning, homemade Johnny cakes, professional blacksmith Wind Chapman, farm animals, live storytellers, arts and crafts with clay throwing demonstrations, old time games, sweets and drinks by the girl scouts, live musical performances, Mother Goose, and gold panning.

There will be Historic House Tours with live demonstrations of quilting, spinning, weaving and sewing.

The South Cobb Lions Club will be selling BBQ both Saturday and Sunday.

Musical performances are set by FlatPickin’, Inc., and Soulful Praise, the Pebblebrook High School Gospel Choir.

From the October 2019 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

Smyrna History Museum Closes For Remodel

The Smyrna History Museum is closed as of July 2 to allow the museum manager, city workers, and volunteers time to clean up the museum storage space in preparation for a massive renovation.

The new Smyrna Historical Society, which was created to support and aid the museum in its operations, is playing a significant role in the museum’s renovation. Once the cleanup has completed

The museum, which dates back to 1992, has been in its present location in a former railroad station for almost two decades. The cleanup is the first step in a complete renovation to its exhibits. This renovation will bring a chronological, narrative layout to the museum that will be accessible to all visitors.

In the next couple of months, a company will be hired to create and build all new exhibits for the museum. Requests for proposal are due on July 20. The projected start date for the renovation project will be Sept. 3.

Museum Manager, Jennie Eldredge, began work in October and has been inventorying the collection.

“It’s a long term process of taking all the objects and measuring and determining what stories they can tell about Smyrna History,” she said.

Previously run by volunteers, Eldredge is the first museum professional in the job.

In 1985 the Smyrna History and Genealogical Society started collecting records, photographs and objects until opening a physical museum in 1992. It moved to the present location in 1999.

Recently, the Smyrna Historical Society was created by the city council to support and aid the museum in its operations.

“We recognize the massive efforts that Harold Smith, his late wife Betty, and all of the members of the Smyrna Historical and Genealogical Society have undertaken to preserve Smyrna history.” Eldredge said. “Without their interests and efforts, Smyrna would not have a history museum, and much knowledge and physical evidence of Smyrna’s history might not have survived in such abundance. They have truly created a great legacy.”

A native of Marietta, Ms. Eldridge earned an Anthropology degree from Georgia State University and has done field work in archeology

“I wanted to focus on museum work to marry my love of objects with bringing their stories to a public audience. She previously worked at the Atlanta History Center.

While the 1,500 sq. ft.museum building will not be expanding, an open scaffolding concept will maximize space.

“As we redo the exhibits in the museum, they will show a more chronological walk though Smyrna’s history,” she said. The preliminary design breaks Smyrna history into six time periods and themes and includes a temporary exhibit space for rotating exhibits.

The scope of the museum will be limited to the southern Cobb area, she noted. “Vinings has a historic society, but it’s not a collecting society. We will also work with the Marietta Museum. It’s about telling the story and what you see in Smyrna today.”

The items that have been on display make up only a fraction of the collection. There are more than 10,000 items in inventory, many of them stored in the basement.

“They never really said no to anyone donating,” she said. “We have the original ballot box that was used for early city elections plus an X-ray machine from Dr Crow’s office, and old medicines.”

Ms. Eldredge said she will be writing a guide to collections to judge future donations.

“My archeology background has come in handy in the museum basement. It’s like an excavation,” she said. “I’m recording the location of objects that I find in the basement storage.”

“We are not actively collecting at this time as I am still going through what we have.”

If you are interested in helping, the Smyrna Historical Society is looking for volunteers at all levels, including board members. Please email them at smyrnahistoricalsociety@gmail.com  and let them know you want to help.

From the July 2018 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.