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.

Congratulations To The Class of 2018

High school graduation ceremonies saw seniors don caps and gowns as they picked up their diplomas throughout southern
Cobb in May.

Whitefield Academy recently hosted the class of 2018 graduation ceremony at the Church of the Apostles in Buckhead, graduating 59 seniors.

Pebblebrook High School had 520 graduates, as some 90 percent of  the senior class earned diplomas. Seniors also received in excess of $13.5 million in scholarships.

Campbell High School saw some 622 seniors graduate. At least one will be attending
an Ivy League college. South Cobb High School had 460 graduates for the class of 2018
Of the more than 8,000 Cobb County School District seniors graduating as part of the Class of 2018, about 76 percent will continue their educational journey in college.

“Every one of the 8,000 graduates who are walking across stages this week have success stories to tell,” said Superintendent Chris Ragsdale. “Whether the next step in their journey is college or career, each student’s
success is a reflection of their hard work, their family’s involvement, and their teachers’ dedication.”

Whitefield Academy named Katie Cella as valedictorian.

Campbell High School named Jennifer Shen as valedictorian. She is the daughter of Shyh-Chiang Shen and Minya Huang, and will be attending Georgia Tech, majoring in industrial and systems engineering.

Campbell High School named six Salutatorians, including:

  • Grant Adams Brown, son of Dick and Lisa Brown, will be attending Georgetown University majoring in international business, Spanish, and Portuguese.
  • Andrew Stephenson Huffman, son of Trey and Kristen Huffman, who will be attending University of Virginia, majoring in finance.
  • Patrick Jacob Kramer, son of Andrew and Jennifer Kramer, who will be attending Georgia Tech, majoring in biology.
  • Emma Lynn Sollenberger, daughter of Alan and Stacy Sollenberger, who will be attending Northwestern University, majoring in secondary education.
  • Jeniveve Alexandra Vaia, daughter of Jason and Siley Vaia, who will be attending Georgia Tech majoring in material science and engineering.
  • Patrick Theodore Will, son of Geoffrey and Celeste Will, who will be attending Georgia Tech majoring in economics.

Pebblebrook High School named Brinkley Madison Doherty as valedictorian. She is the daughter of Wendi Doherty and Frankie Doherty. She will be attending Tulane University, majoring in cell and molecular biology and dance.

Pebblebrook High School named Erin Victoria Davis as salutatorian. She is the daughter of Gretchen Davis and Eric Davis. She will be attending Boston University, majoring in acting with a minor in political science.

South Cobb High School named Zainab Molumo as valedictorian. She is the daughter of             Sade and Bolaji Molumo. She will attend Emory- Oxford University, majoring in human health, pre-med or pre-optometry.

South Cobb High School named three salutatorians, including:

  • Donni-Margree Lenora Crenshaw, daughter of Jeffery Crenshaw & Donna Crenshaw. She will attend University of Georgia, majoring in biology with a concentration in neuroscience.
  • Paige Nicholas, daiughtter of Kevin and Susan Nicholas. She will attend the University of Georgia, majoring in biology.
  • Sha’kira Thomas, daughter of Natasha Thomas. She will attend Mercer University, majoring in biology.

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

 

Smyrna Garden Tour Set for May 19

The 2018 Keep Smyrna Beautiful Garden Tour will lead visitors though five beautifully landscaped private gardens within the community.

The Tour is Saturday, May 19 from 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Advance tickets are $15 ($20 the day of the event).

The gardens offer an assortment of sizes, styles, terrain, and plantings to ensure each visitor leaves with at least one idea they can use in their own garden.

“This is the 10th anniversary for this wonderful event and Keep Smyrna Beautiful intends to make it exceptional,” said Janet Liberman, Executive Director Keep Smyrna Beautiful.

Though you may begin your tour at any of the garden locations, tour organizers recommend your first stop be at the newly renovated Reed House. The 1910 historic home on Atlanta Road will host a plant sale, sponsor tables, a raffle of great prizes, and refreshments. The tour is self-guided between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Keep Smyrna Beautiful is honored to have the Charyn Darby Foundation as the tour’s presenting sponsor for yet another year.

All proceeds of the tour will be awarded in grants to Smyrna area schools in support of gardening, recycling and academic goals.

Tickets can be purchased now at the Smyrna Community Center, Smyrna Recycling Center and other neighborhood retail establishments: Vickery Hardware, Love Street and Neighbors Feed and Seed. Tickets may also be purchased with credit cards thru KSB office Monday – Friday. Call Keep Smyrna Beautiful at 770-431-2863 for more information.

Here is just a brief description of the beauty and creativity you can expect to see on the tour:

The Freeman garden is a two-acre visual feast of hydrangeas, roses, bridges, hollies, rhododendrons, ferns, waterfalls, and more. The home has been featured on the Atlanta Botanical Garden Tour.

The Bennett garden offers ideas on how to reuse and recycle in your garden. The owner-constructed and maintained garden offers koi and turtle ponds, a circular patio and arbor nested between planting beds.

The Jordon’s took a mature garden from a previous owner and put their stamp on it. The Jordan’s set out to create a garden that would be easy to care for in their retirement years by replacing grass for flowering shrubs and perennial beds. The back garden offers raised vegetable beds and pea gravel paths.

The Lindley garden is a peaceful sanctuary tucked within the busy streets of Smyrna. The garden is home to a variety of roses, boxwoods and maple trees. Bird houses and fountains bring many feathered friends to the garden.

The Kirk garden was designed to accommodate a steep slope and drainage. The backyard features a koi pond, dry creek bed and kitchen garden. The homeowner has incorporated plants from her childhood along with heirloom roses and other flowering perennials.

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

WellStar Vinings Heath Park Opens Surgery Outpatient Center

The final piece of the new WellStar Vinings Health Park fell into place with the opening of the Outpatient Surgery Center in April.

The 20,000 sq. foot surgery center includes 17 private prep and recovery rooms, three operating rooms and three procedure rooms.

The new center will also provide onsite treatment and testing, pharmacy and pathology support and   a private patient discharge elevator.

“Tonight is special because it another event in the yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of Cobb Hospital allowing us to serve our community closer to home,” said Callie Andrews, President of WellStar Cobb Hospital.

The Vinings location opened in September of 2017 as the third Health Park in Cobb. A fourth will open in Cherokee County in February.

Dr. Bill Mayfield, WellStar chief surgical officer, “what we have done here, is that we have reinvented the future of surgery.”

The new facility is “designed for patient safety, patient experience and patient flow. (The center is) packed with technology and connected by one electronic medal record.”

“Opening our Vinings Health Park Outpatient Surgery Center will allow us to meet the growing demand for outpatient care in the local market,” said Joe Brywczynski, senior vice president of WellStar Health Parks Administration & Development. “This addition allows us to offer a variety of outpatient medical services and procedures to patients close to home, in one location for increased convenience.”

The addition will create 25 new jobs, increasing the total employment at the Vinings Health Park to more than 175 team members.

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

Belmont students Name K9 Max

The Smyrna Police Department’s newest officer got a rousing reception from students at Belmont Hills Elementary School May 2.

K-9 Officer Max is a chocolate Labrador that will be sniffing out drugs and searching for missing persons.

The Smyrna Police Department purchased Max after retiring K-9 Officer Paco.

Officer Travis Seller, a four year veteran of the Smyrna Police Department is partnered with

K-9 Officer Max and they will be assigned to the Special Operation Division of the Smyrna Police Department.

K-9 Officer Max is trained in illegal narcotics detection and scent detection for people and articles. K-9 Max will also play a vital part as a community relations tool because of the Labradors fun loving temperament.

The students at Belmont Hills Elementary held a name contest last fall when the Smyrna Police Department first purchased its new canine and the students came up with the name “Max.”  “Max” was the first choice of four classes and second choice in three.

Police Chief David Lee said his first call after hearing the name choice was to Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon to see if approved of the name.

“I love it,” said the mayor.

For all of their enthusiastic support and help, the Smyrna Police Department treated all of the classes that helped in naming Max to a pizza party as well as the opportunity to interact with Smyrna Police officers.

K9 Max has been in training for several months in Gainesville, Ga. and he and his handler Officer Seller still have another week of training before being on the job.

K9 Max was born in October 2016. “He still has a little puppy in him,” Seller said.

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

Smyrna Hosts Spring Jonquil Festival

Smyrna will host the annual Spring Jonquil Festival on the Village Green, April 28 and 29.

This free event, presented by Superior Plumbing, features more than 175 Arts & Crafts booths, 15 food booths, an entertainment stage, and a variety of children’s activities.

Bring the family and shop, play, eat, drink and just have a great day together.

Artisans from all over the southeast feature their own hand-made crafts, paintings, clothing, furniture, jewelry and much more.  The festival foods include: cotton candy, candy apples, corn dogs, hand-dipped ice cream, snow cones, polish sausage, chicken sandwiches, and BBQ.  The huge interactive children’s area includes big and small inflatable activities, sand art, and more.  So whether it’s your child or the child in you, there are plenty of food and activities for the whole family to enjoy.

New for 2018 is an educational Grizzly Bear Show and exhibit. The Show brings an in depth into the life of North America’s most prestigious predator, the Alaskan Grizzly Bear. Tonk, the 13-year-old 700-pound grizzly and the two juveniles, Yogi and Maggie delight crowds of all ages with their impressive sizes and amazing behaviors. Throughout the day patrons will witness Tonk, Yogi & Maggie interacting with their handler and showing the amazing bond between grizzly and man.

Wildlife Wendy is an informative and interactive bird show containing birds from all over the world. Gaze in wonder at their vibrant colors & fun personalities. Wendy’s tropical birds will provide an up-close and personal encounter with the most entertaining species of the bird world.

Lady Houdini, an escape artist who has successfully performed thousands of public feats and broken Harry Houdini’s record for the most water escapes ever. Kristen Johnson is no “lovely” magician’s assistant. She is currently the only female anywhere in the world attempting the water torture cell.

Robocars are unique and fun brightly colored, life-size, transforming robot vehicles currently featuring Cars, Trucks, Motorcycles and Tractors. Operator driven, they walk and drive creating endless excitement and photo opportunities for the whole family.

Kids and adults alike will be thrilled to hear Scott Thompson of Peachtree Station performing all the songs you know and love on the Veteran’s Memorial grand lawn adjacent to the Spring Jonquil Food Court. Bring a blanket, sing-a-long, and relax in a beautiful setting with the family.

The Jonquil Jog will kick the festival off Saturday morning at 8 a.m., with the 5K Run/Walk. The jog will be held at the City of Smyrna Municipal Building next to the Village Green. Registration is required. Call 770-319-5401 or on-line at www.smyrnacity.com.

The festival hours of operation are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., on Saturday, April 28, and noon – 5 p.m., on Sunday, April 29. Admission is FREE.

The festival is a wonderful experience for the whole family! The Village Green is located just off I-75 to  (Windy Hill Rd.) head west approximately 3 miles to Atlanta Rd., turn left onto Atlanta Rd. and the festival will be one mile on the right. For more information call Tod Miller or Bill Watson at 770-423-1330.

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

Campbell Retires Lautsch’s Jersey

Campbell High School retired the jersey of Christie Lautsch, the all-time leading basketball scorer for the Lady Spartans, in a ceremony Jan. 9.

Lautsch averaged 20 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks per game while at Campbell. She was named to Georgia Class 5A all-state first team and Street & Smith honorable mention All-America honors in 2003.

Christie was a second team all-state selection in 2002 and as a freshman, was an Adidas Top Ten Camp Underclass All-Star, also earning all-county and Street & Smith honorable mention All-America honors. Breakdown Magazine rated Lautsch the ninth best post in the nation and the No. 40th player overall. She entered the 2004 season ranked nationally as No. 51 by Blue Star Index and No. 65 in All Star Girls Report.

In 2004 Christie was awarded Marietta Daily Journal Player of the year, 5A State Player of the Year, 5A All-State Teams-First Team, and Atlanta Tip-Off Club Naismith Trophy. She is the all-time leading Lady Spartan with 1,907 points, second in Campbell history to Brian Oliver. Christie’s record high game was scoring 45 points and a career total of 1,137 rebounds, and 407 blocks.

According to Randy McClure Sr., Varsity Lady Spartans basketball Head Coach, Lautsch earned all type of basketball accolades through her high school and college careers.

“Christie’s story is a true heart string type story,” McClure said. “What everyone did not know is that before she came to high school her father had died of cancer and all the time she was in high school her mother was battling cancer.

“Her mother, Janet Lautsch, would lose her battle with Cancer just before graduation. In a truly great gesture, Principal Kehl Arnson and Florida State head Coach Sue Samurai held a private graduation ceremony at her home before she passed so that Christie’s mom could see her actually graduate.

“She was well aware of her condition, but was determined to see Christie, the youngest of her three children and a basketball superstar, graduate from high school. Coach Samurai also promised that she would make sure that Christie would graduate from Florida State.

“I am very happy that we can honor this great young lady who certainly helped lift our program into one of the best in the state of Georgia and especially in Cobb County where the basketball has always been very competitive statewide,” he said.

Lautsch lives in Smyrna and works nearby. She said the honor is “bittersweet” without her mother, but was awed by the honor.

“It’s an awesome feeling to know that hard work does pay off,” she said.

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

Jacobson Named Smyrna Citizen Of Year

She is a jewelry professional by day and a philanthropist around the clock. For that reason and many others Rhonda Jacobson was named Smyrna Citizen of the Year.

The award was presented in November by the Smyrna Division of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce.

“Rhonda does so much good for her community,” said Dan Byers, division chair. He noted that she is active on boards and organizations such as the WellStar Foundation Board of Trustees and co-chair for WellStar Foundation – Women in Philanthropy as well as a member of the advisory council for the WellStar Vinings Health Park where the meeting was held.

In her “day job,” as Buyers put it, she is vice president, human resources and graduate gemologist at Cumberland Diamond Exchange in Smyrna.

She gives her time to the liveSAFE Resources board and is chair-elect/VP, SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center, Cobb Executive Women and Cobb Chairman’s Club.

“As co-owner and founder of Cumberland Diamond Exchange, the businesses involvement in the community and partnerships with non-profits are key differentiators. Their Cufflinks +Charms 4 Charity makes custom designed jewelry for resale and recognition with proceeds benefitting the corresponding charity,” Byers said. In FY2016 the business made $79,593.98 in gifts, merchandise and cash donations.

The family-owned store was founded by Rhonda and Mark Jacobson in 1982. It has been named “Jeweler of the Year” in 2016 and was named Cobb Small Business of the Year in 2015.

According to her nomination, it was said, “Rhonda has the biggest heart and truly cares about others. Jewelry is her business but philanthropy is where her heart is.”

“I am overwhelmed,” Mrs. Jacobson said. “It is all about giving back.”

As a surprise, she was joined by family members, friends and staff of the business who revealed themselves after she was announced as the award winner.

From the December 2017 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

Silva Is Smyrna Business Person Of The Year

Charles Silva was named the Smyrna Business Association Business Person of the Year at the September meeting.

Silva, who currently serves as secretary of the group had a long tenure as treasurer.

Presenting the award are, left, Dennis Harding, last year’s recipient and Jabar Dozier, right, president.

A native of St. Louis, Silva grew up in St Louis Missouri and spent most of his career as a banker, working his way up to bank president. After volunteering for the Arthritis Foundation, Silva headed the Arthritis Chapter of Eastern Missouri and came to the Atlanta area as CFO of the National Arthritis Foundation in 1997.

“Today, Charlie continues to use his financial and consulting skills to assist small businesses in the Smyrna area,” Harding said. “We are fortunate that Charlie has brought his experience and talent to serving as a Board member of the Smyrna Business Association.”

He and his wife, Katie, have two grown children.

From the September 2017 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

‘Twisted Cyclone’ Roller Coaster Coming To Six Flags In 2018

Six Flags Over Georgia—the Thrill Capital of the South— announced the all-new Twisted Cyclone hybrid roller coaster will arrive in 2018. Twisted Cyclone will offer guests the best of both worlds—a classic wooden structure combined with a modern, steel track for multiple inversions and a smoother, more thrilling riding experience.

“Six Flags was the first in the industry to introduce this hybrid technology and Twisted Cyclone is a shining example of Six Flags innovation at its very best. Year after year, our park keeps delivering unique thrills for all ages and this state-of-the-art hybrid coaster is an absolute game-changer,” said Park President Dale Kaetzel. “Our guests are going to be blown away by the unbelievable features of this coaster.”

Twisted Cyclone highlights include:

  • An insanely steep 75-degree initial drop from nearly 100 feet into a jaw-dropping reverse cobra roll sending riders perpendicular to the ground;
  • Three hair-raising upside down inversions and 10 airtime moments along 2,400 feet of track at speeds of 50 miles per hour;
  • The feeling of weightlessness through a 360-degree zero gravity roll;
  • One-of-a-kind custom coaster trains modeled after a classic 1960’s sports convertible; and
  • A smoother, sleeker, more intense ride than ever before.

Construction on Twisted Cyclone is underway and the ride is expected to debut in the spring of 2018. For more information about next season at Six Flags Over Georgia, visit www.sixflags.com/overgeorgia/newfor2018.

Six Flags Over Georgia is also announcing the start of 2018 Season Pass sales with its special Flash Sale through Labor Day weekend featuring the best deal of the year— savings up to 70% off on a 2018 Pass!

August 31 through Sept. 4, guests will receive a free upgrade to a Gold Combo Season Pass with every Pass purchased. Gold Combo Season Passes include admission to Six Flags Over Georgia and Six Flags White Water, and any other Six Flags theme park, as well as free parking and special admission offers for friends.