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.

Smyrna FUMC Sets Egg Hunt

Some 17,000 eggs are being stuffed with candy and treats as Smyrna First United Methodist Church prepares for “Easter in the Park” on Saturday, April 20, at Cobb Park in Smyrna.  Members of Smyrna’s largest United Methodist Church host nearly 1,000 people each year for the annual Easter Egg Hunt and Hotdog lunch beginning at 11 a.m.  This event is free to the community and everyone is invited to join fun as hundreds of children hunt thousands of eggs.

Interim Children’s Ministry Director, Kathryn Davis, Children’s Council Chairwoman, Jennifer Young, and Outreach Chairs, Kelly and Sherry Vinings, are joining forces to lead what is expected to be the largest event to date.  What began nearly 20 years ago, as a mission project to show the love of Jesus to children in struggling families has become one of Smyrna’s largest Easter Egg hunts.  It has grown more than founders, Wayne and Judy Waldrip, who are still hiding eggs, manning grills, and handing out homemade desserts each year could have ever imagined. 

The mission of Smyrna First United Methodist Church is to “Make Disciples of Jesus Christ who Make Disciples of Jesus Christ” and Senior Pastor, Derek Porter, will tell you “we do that by loving the person in front of us”, a theme repeated often by members of the nearly 3,000-member church.  Easter in the Park is one of many events the church hosts to support the Smyrna Community. 

Smyrna First United Methodist Church, located at 1315 Concord Road, will host Easter Services on Sunday, April 21, at 7:30 a.m., 8:45 a.m., 8:55 a.m. and 11 a.m.  For more information please visit www.smyrnafumc.org.

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

‘Mamma Mia’ Is At Mable House

The Theatre Project presents its production of ‘Mamma Mia!’ April 12 – 14 at the Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre.

The music of ABBA’s hit songs tell the hilarious story of a young woman’s search for her birth father. This sunny and funny tale unfolds on a Greek island paradise. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago.

Above, The Dynamos singers include, from left, Sophie Faust, Kaylan Royston, and Gracie Price. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or online at ticketmaster.com.

General admission tickets are $10 and children 12 and under are free.

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

Pat Terry Concert Is Friday

Smyrna singer and songwriter Pat Terry will hold a concert to launch his new album, “How Hard It Is To Fly,” benefitting the Homeless Pet Foundation.

The March 22 concert will be at the Smyrna Community Center.

“I’ll be joined by my friends Jim Hettinger on keyboards, and Carole Ford and Vanessa Conner singing like the angels they are,” Terry posted on Facebook.

The evening begins with a cocktail hour featuring Luke Smith at 6:30 p.m. Followed by Terry until 9 p.m.

VIP tables are available in limited supply, $120 for a 6 seats table including 12 drink. Individual tickets are $25, including two drink tickets. Tables and Tickets can be purchased at www.smrynaga.gov/. The event is sponsored by Dr. Good Vet Clinic, Pet Spa, and Smyrna Parks and Recreation Department.

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

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.