It’s Girl Scout Cookie Time!

Girl Scout Cookies Season is coming this month.  The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world.  In buying these cookies, you power the scouting experience. All proceeds stay local with the individual troops or the Greater Atlanta Council.

Girls in the Greater Atlanta Council have been going door-to-door or taking digital orders since January 1.  The cookies arrive in Atlanta Feb. 16 and girls will be delivering them after that date. You will see Cookie Booths pop-up all-over town.  Scout leaders ask that you support these girls as they work to raise funds to use to expand their scouting experiences through travel, enrichment, and of course, camping.  Another option girls have is to donate cookies to support their communities.

Cookies are $4 per box for Thin Mints, Samoas, Trefoils, Savannah Smiles, Tagalongs and DoSiDos and $6 for the Specialty cookies, S’mores and Toffee-Tastics.

In 2018, a local scout with the support of long-time customers Judy McMillan and Janet Rau, both of Smyrna, was able to donate 60 boxes of cookies to The Center for Children & Young Adults (CCYA), a non-profit in Marietta.  CCYA provides a home for youth who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by their caregivers. The Center is located on a 4.9-acre comprised of three residential programs: Another Chance (co-ed ages 12-15), Open Gate (girls ages 12-15) and Life Works (co-ed ages 16-18).  The Center provides comprehensive services, including housing, food, clothing, care, supervision and transportation for 40 youth.

The scout was asked by her donors to find a place that would accept “sweet treats” that youth would not normally receive. CCYA resonated with the scout, Courtney Waybright, a sophomore at Campbell High School’s IB program because “this is a place I or any of my friends could come to if something happened and we needed a safe environment.” She was impressed with the facility and its innovative practices of incorporating music, art, horticulture and animal therapies, community partnerships, a culture of care and a unique collaborative model to assist youth in overcoming childhood maltreatment, exposing them to new opportunities and allowing them to learn and practice life skills. The mantra of CCYA is that the “Best is Yet to Come!”

To support Courtney and her troop’s next philanthropic adventure, email the troop at GirlScoutTroop1872@gmail.com; they will gladly collaborate with you and develop a plan for donating to a mutual cause.  In the past, the troop and Courtney have donated cookies to fire fighters, police, and veterans.

To learn more about the cookie program, please see https://www.girlscouts.org/en/cookies/all-about-cookies/support-girls-success.html.

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

Darlene Duke Reflects on Service To Sweetwater Mission

For more than two decades Darlene Duke has been helping feed, clothe and educate people in south Cobb and Douglas Counties.

She stepped down as executive director of Sweetwater Mission at the end of the year but will continue part-time as business director.

Brian Hamilton took over as executive director this year. He is retired as General Manager of Georgia Operations from Thompson Tractor, the Caterpillar Dealer in Alabama, where he worked 34 years.

“Darlene has set a high standard of Excellence that I am committed to continue,” he said.

Sweetwater Mission, located at 6130 Hotel St., Austell, began in 1968 as members of several churches came together with a plan to help low-income families in their community. Volunteers formed a small used clothing distribution center and soon began to offer food and financial aid to neighbors in need. Community Action Mission Program or CAMP was formed – later known as Sweetwater Valley CAMP and now simply Sweetwater Mission.

Mrs. Duke began her career at the charity in 1994 as a volunteer though her church. The first Director, Ruth Reed, later asked her to join the board of directors. As it grew, the board sought to hire two part-time employees and Mrs. Dukes suggested they combine the jobs to make it full time. She went to work full time in 2003 and became director in 2005.

“I was doing client intake in the morning and financial aid appointments in the afternoon. That’s how I was able to do both jobs,” she said. “Since the first day there, it’s been a pleasure to go to work every day.”

Sweetwater Mission now serves some 1,500 clients per month with some 200 volunteers and four full-time and four part-time staff. Some 75 clients a day visit Monday through Saturday for donations of food, clothing and educational programs.

“We had some record breaking days right before Thanksgiving with 105 to 108 people back to back.” She said.

The agency may be small, but has gotten noticed by United Way of Metro Atlanta which placed a pilot program, Kid’s Home Initiative, to deal with homeless students at Sweetwater.

Comparisons to other agencies are difficult, but Mrs. Duke said that “Annual report to annual report, on a half million dollar budget we’re giving away more food, more items of clothing, and more financial aid than MUST was doing on an $8 million budget. But it’s a different model.”

Sweetwater does not government money. That allows them to assist undocumented clients.

“If the federal government will pay to send them to school, don’t tell me that I can’t pay to feed them,” she said.

The food program relies on cash donations from business, churches and individuals to stock a food pantry with items from the Atlanta Food Bank.

“It’s a walk in service – there’s an easy sign in process – but it doesn’t require a Social Security card and anyone can get food,” she said. “We rely heavily on donations of clothing and personal care items.”

While they have a good selection of women’s clothing, there is a need for men’s clothing and clothing for school-aged children.

On her two days off from work Mrs. Duke will stay busy with her volunteer work. She is Vice-President of Georgia Church Women United and wants to get more involved in United Methodist Women’s group at her church, Powder Springs United Methodist. She is active in the South Cobb Rotary, serving as past-president and treasurer.  She chair as backpack program and is on the board of the Douglas County homeless coalition.

What is she most proud of in her term with Sweetwater?

“It’s a tossup,” she said. “I love the food program because of how it really helps people. I’m also proud of the kid’s home initiative.”

“We have two people on our staff who formerly received assistance from us,” she said and it’s wonderful to have them feel good about the experience.

Keep Smyrna Beautiful Wins Awards

Keep Smyrna Beautiful was honored with a 2nd Place award for its overall programs in 2018. The award was presented by the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation on Dec. 6, and marks the 23rd consecutive year the local non-profit has been recognized for excellence in environmental efforts.

Keep Smyrna Beautiful’s programs touch on water quality, solid waste and recycling issues, trees, beautification, community sustainability (the community garden and outdoor market), mobility (bike racks), and community involvement (Adopt-A-Mile and other volunteer programs).

As Keep America Beautiful recently stated:

“Today, Americans are moving faster and doing more with the modern conveniences our society provides. But this comes at an expense to our natural resources, beauty and community cohesion we work every day to improve.

“Our national challenges with litter, recycling and beautifying communities will be even more relevant in the years to come as they were in 1953 when national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful was founded … more than in 1967 when canine TV star Lassie appeared as a mascot for our anti-littering public service campaign … and more than 1999, when we launched the Great American Cleanup.

“Because of our history, many people believe Keep America Beautiful is just an anti-litter organization. After all, “Every litter bit hurts!” But we are much more!”

As Keep America Beautiful is more than anti-litter, so is Keep Smyrna Beautiful.

“We are the official organization for all things environmental in the City of Smyrna. We have begun to work on projects such as Atlanta Regional Commission Green Cities Designation, EV Charging Stations, a Tree Save program. We are moving forward every day to help the City of Smyrna be the best it can be”, said Janet Liberman, Executive Director.

To volunteer, please contact Julie Barwig at jbarwig@smyrnaga.gov. To learn more about Keep Smyrna Beautiful, https://www.smyrnaga.gov/your-government/departments/keep-smyrna-beautiful

Barbara Hickey Named South Cobb Citizen Of Year

Volunteer, philanthropist and community leader are among the many titles that Barbara Hickey has accumulated in the past two decades. In November she was named South Cobb Citizen of the Year by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, the South Cobb Business Association and the South Cobb Rotary Club.

“This person has had a long history of service… She has been everywhere in the community, contributing, really pouring her heart into whatever need is there,” Cobb Chamber President and CEO Sharon Mason said. “Many of us know her as a great friend, as a mentor in our lives, whether it was her leading Diaper Day or forming the Cobb County Coalition of Business Associations (CCBA) to bring all the business associations together or meeting pretty much any need that was out there for non-profits, she has been there for so many people in this community.”

Wayne Dodd, president of the South Cobb Business Association, said Mrs. Hickey “saw a need and came up with a solution.”

“Her heart and her love has always been in South Cobb,” Dodd said. “Her past efforts will pay dearly for years to come.”

Albert McRae, president of the South Cobb Rotary Club, said Mrs. Hickey was always elegant and well spoken. “She’s a doer, a person of action. Barbara Hickey represents service over self,” he said.

Austin Eads, a past Rotary president said, “now most likely The world is a much better place because of Barbara Hickey, especially in South cob.”

Hickey, who is suffering from health problems, was not at the meeting. Her son and daughter-in-law Sean and Cecilia Rowe accepted the award in her place.

Sean Rowe said his mother loves Cobb County and its people, refusing to leave even when her husband Jim Hickey was offered a prestigious job elsewhere.

“She is a beacon of light,” Sean Rowe said. “We are so proud of her as a mom, as a citizen, as a grandmother, as a friend… For those of you who loved her for so many years, just know that it didn’t go missed. She knows it. She felt every ounce.”

Harvest Festival To Be Held at Mable House

The Harvest Festival will be held at the Mable House Historic Grounds on October 13.

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

Ideas Sought For Mableton Town Square

The Mableton Improvement Coalition invites residents to come to the Mableton Square on Friday, Oct. 12 from 2 to 6 p.m. and share ideas for the square. What should be there? A playground? Benches? Bandstand? Or something else?

Cobb PARKS will be on hand to collect your ideas and answer your questions along with MIC’s Parks Committee. All ideas and input are welcome!

The Square is part of the master plan for Mableton’s historic center. It was constructed with SPLOST funding, and is actually larger than the original design. Given the size, there is opportunity for uses that weren’t envisioned in the planning stages.

“Right now, there isn’t funding for construction. But, we can’t seek funding without a plan that lays out what we want,” said Joel Cope, MIC President. “And that’s where you come in. We need to hear from you and get your ideas. We’ve followed the Facebook conversations, but this event will give us the chance to talk in person and for you to talk with experts who can answer your questions and evaluate your ideas.”

The Real Mexican Vittles food tent will be onsite with food for purchase for your dining pleasure. Bring a chair or a picnic blanket and enjoy a late lunch or dinner on the Square.

Parking at the Square is limited, so please be patient and courteous.

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

Author To Visit For ‘Smyrna Reads’

In Thomas Mullen’s novel, Darktown, the reader follows the investigation of the murder of a young woman in post-WWII Atlanta. The investigating officers, Boggs and Smith, are two of the first African-American officers to integrate Atlanta’s police department.

Among shady moonshiners, duplicitous madams, crooked lawmen, and the constant restrictions of Jim Crow, Boggs and Smith risk their new jobs, and their lives, while navigating a dangerous world—a world on the cusp of great change.

Smyrna Public Library has chosen Darktown for its 2018 “Smyrna Reads” campaign, an annual
community-wide read initiative. The library will sponsor a book discussion on Friday, Oct. 12, at noon in the library meeting room. The discussion is free of charge and open to the public.

An appearance by author Thomas Mullen will conclude the “Smyrna Reads” events on Sunday, Oct. 14, at 3 p.m. at the historic Reed House.

The author will discuss Darktown and its sequel
Lightning Men as well as his other works. A book sale and signing will follow, hosted by Bookmiser New & Used Books. Refreshments will be served. Reed House is located at 3080 Atlanta Road in Smyrna.

Mullen’s appearance is sponsored by the Friends of Smyrna Library and is free of charge. Seating is limited, so attendees must RSVP to sreference@smyrnaga.gov.

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.