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.

Boxing Champ Honored

Nathan Lugo, a 15-year-old Smyrna boxer, won gold at the Bornemissza Tournament in Eger, Hungary, by winning three matches, with one by decision and two by stoppage. Lugo left Hungary as the top-ranked 154-pound junior-class boxer in the world.

Lugo was honored with a proclamation at the Aug. 5 Smyrna City Council meeting congratulating him on being the most decorated amateur boxer in Georgia.

“In 2014, Lugo was the only boxer in Georgia to win a national title for our great state. Many overlooked the then 9-year-old boxer who was making history,” the proclamation reads. “Nathan is a current member of Team USA and has over 200 recorded bouts, 12 national titles, and a gold medal in the biggest junior international tournament, he is the essence of what our city and country are built on — hard work.”

After winning gold in Hungary he presented his father with the medal in honor of Father’s Day. He is the son of Michael and Angela Lugo, and has one younger brother, Elijah, who is also a national level boxer.

Lugo is a three-time National Junior Golden Gloves winner and four-time National Silver Gloves winner.In December, he became a member of Team USA by defeating then-Team USA member Elijah Garcia.

‘Smyrna Reads’ The Constitution

Every year, Smyrna Library promotes a book for the community to read and discuss. This year, we will revisit America’s Founding Era and read the U.S. Constitution.

Free copies will be distributed while supplies last, but numerous other copies will be available for checkout. Events throughout the month are scheduled to supplement your reading.

This program is part of “Revisiting the Founding Era,” a three-year national initiative of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History presented in partnership with the American Library Association and the National Constitution Center, with generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Smyrna Reads is also sponsored by the Friends of Smyrna Library.

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

Register For Spooktacular Chase

Registration is now open for the 11th annual Spooktacular Chase through Historic Downtown Powder Springs on Oct. 12.

This annual Halloween themed 10K/5K supports the life-changing services provided by Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia (VRS) to individuals of all ages who are blind or visually impaired across 31 counties of North Georgia.

Registration is at spooktacularchase.com/.

The 10K Course is one of the few 10k timed runs in the area. The Spooktacular 10K is a verified qualifier for the Peachtree Road Race.

The 5K Course is a family friendly timed fun run that is also pet ready. Please bring your costume and your smile.

Only 1,000 spots are available so don’t miss out.

Who should sign up? Runners looking for a flat course to qualify for the AJC Peachtree Road Race, runners looking for a great race and a charity to support, and families looking for an event to celebrate Halloween.

Don’t want to run but still want to participate? Sign up to be a Phantom Runner or help by fundraising. Runners are encouraged to dress up for Halloween.

Campbell Lady Spartans Win State



Campbell Lady Spartan medalists are, kneeling from left, Jameah Alston, Raina Perry, and Jada Alston; standing, Jaleah Alston, Mekenze Kelley, Lailah Malone, Zionn Rice, Akilah Parrish, Rachel Swain, Ashton Lindley, Makayla Jones, Makylah Jones and Camille Trottman.

The Campbell Lady Spartans Track & Field team just completed their most successful season ever by winning their first GHSA State Track and Field Team Championship in school history and only the second GHSA State Championship since Softball won in 1994.

This talented and well-coached team won the State Championship by 50 points, and with the highest point total (112 points) ever scored in the largest classification (7A) in the state. 

The track and field program first won the Region 2-7A Championship, and Cobb County Championship, leading to the State Championship.

Ashton Lindley, a junior, was GHSA State Championship Athlete of the Meet. SAhe was also Cobb County Athlete of the Meet at the Cobb County Championship.  At State, Ashton scored on the winning 4x100m and 4x400m Relay teams, won the 300m Hurdles with a time (41.46) that ranks her as US#11, and placed fifth in the Long Jump as well as second in the 400m dash.

Campbell scored points in 12 different events, and won Gold in four events.

The other individual Gold medalist was Mekenze Kelley, a sophomore, who ran a blazing 53.65.  This performance ranks her as US#13 and #2 in Georgia. Kelley also won Silver in the 200m Dash and ran on both winning relay teams.

The other medalists include:

• Camille Trotman (JR) 4x100m Relay and High Jump

• Jaleah Alston (JR) 100m Dash, 200m Dash, and both Relays

• Raina Perry (SR) 300m Hurdles, and both Relays

• Lailah Malone (JR) Shot Put and Discus

• Jada Alston (SR) Triple Jump and both Relays

• Zionn Rice (FR) 100m Hurdles and both Relays

• Jameah Alston (JR) both Relays

• Makylah Jones (JR) 4x400m Relay

Also contributing as alternates who ran in the prelims of the 4x400m Relays were Loryn Smith (FR) and Akilah Parrish (SO).

“This is a young and talented team with only two seniors graduating, so the future continues to be bright for the program,” said Michelle Lanier, Head Girls’ Track Coach.

Smyrna ‘Antiques Roadshow’ Coming

The new Smyrna Historical Society isn’t waiting for the doors of the newly-renovated Smyrna Museum to open in September, according to Nancy Geisler, board member.

“The 2019 Program is here, and most events are open to all and free. Please visit www.Smyrnahistoricalsociety.org to register for communications about events. For those who are able to do more, please consider donating to the future of the historical society by becoming a Member,” she said. 

Two collection events are set for June 15 and July 27, Noon – 4 p.m. at the Smyrna Library. Bring your photographs and other historic items to the experts. They will be scanned and returned or accepted to the permanent museum collection. It’s our “Antiques Roadshow” with a Smyrna flair.

For a limited time, the society is offering a special Founder’s membership. For a one-time donation of $100, your name will be listed on a permanent plaque to be displayed in the museum. You will also be invited to a special pre-opening ceremony. This is an easy and inexpensive way to show your support for a resource that will service our community for many years. 

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

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.

WellStar Cobb Celebrates 50 Years

WellStar Cobb Hospital, one of the premier healthcare providers offering top quality, community-based professional healthcare services to the residents of Austell and South Cobb communities, marked the 50th Anniversary of its opening on June 3.

What began as a 50-acre peach orchard is now a nationally recognized campus for hope and healing with 382 licensed beds and 2,200 staff members who care for more than 104,000 patients annually. From the first patient treated 50 years ago, to the millions seeking care and comfort since, WellStar Cobb Hospital continues to fulfill its founding vision of being there for patients every minute of every hour of every day.

“For 50 years, this hospital has been a proud example of what a community can accomplish when they come together for the better of all,” said Callie Andrews, president of WellStar Cobb Hospital. “This year isn’t just a celebration of the hospital and our team, but also for the surrounding communities as we reflect on what we’ve been able to accomplish together. As we look toward the future, we will continue the hospital’s legacy of focusing on patient experience and quality care to create a healthier, hope-filled community.”

No history of WellStar Cobb Hospital would be complete without recognizing the tireless dedication and support of Charles “Pete” Wood. From his participation in 1962 as founding Trustee of the Hospital Authority of Cobb County, to his leadership as Chairman of the WellStar Board of Trustees, Wood gave freely of his talents and time to ensure quality healthcare for Cobb County residents. WellStar Cobb Hospital’s Therapeutic Horticulture Garden – completed in 1993 for recovering patients and their families – was dedicated and renamed the Charles “Pete” Wood Garden in 2000 to honor him for his many decades of service.

The 50-year history of the hospital is filled with many milestones, most notably its merger with Kennestone, Douglas, Paulding and Windy Hill hospitals in 1993 to form a robust health system, Northwest Georgia Health System, Inc. On March 6, 1998, the name WellStar was introduced as the umbrella for these community hospitals. The words “Well” represent the mission of providing for the health of the community, and “Star” represents leadership, innovation and commitment to excellence.

“WellStar Cobb Hospital has a longstanding history of providing high-quality healthcare services focused on improving the health and wellbeing of the individuals and communities served. For the past 50 years, the physicians, caregivers and team members at WellStar Cobb have strived to exceed the expectations of our patients and consumers by creating an outstanding hospital and medical community that has expanded and thrived,” said Candice L. Saunders, president and CEO of WellStar Health System. “We are excited to celebrate this milestone and look forward to building upon our legacy as the healthcare partner of choice for greater South Cobb and its surrounding communities.”

Dedicated physicians work hand-in-hand with nurses and others to bring the best in modern medicine at WellStar Cobb Hospital. The hospital offers several exemplary programs, including a recently renovated burn and wound unit, a state-of-the-art cardiac program and women’s center and a leading cancer program that will have a new facility unveiled in late 2018.

“Physician leadership was instrumental in the hospital’s early history,” said Thomas Gearhard, MD, family medicine for WellStar Cobb Hospital and member of WellStar Cobb regional health board. “Dedicated medical staff provided family care, delivered newborns and served those in need in Cobb County where healthcare services were warmly welcomed in 1968. As the hospital has grown, it’s always enjoyed a close relationship with the community, through local governance, staff outreach, vibrant volunteer support and events.”

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

Tickets On Sale For Blue Jeans Gala

If you ever have to dial 911, what do you expect to be the outcome? Professionals with the highest level of expertise and professionalism to respond. The Smyrna Public Safety Foundation (SPSF) is dedicated to support the professional endeavors of the public safety agencies within Smyrna and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for those who live or work in the City of Smyrna and surrounding communities.

The 2018 Blue Jean Gala is Aug. 18 in Wallace Hall at Adventure Outdoors, 2500 South Cobb Drive, Smyrna. The title sponsor is The Charyn Darby Foundation. This event is different from others in the community because it allows attendees to spend the evening with our local heroes and all funds raised stay here in the Smyrna community to promote and support the many important initiatives of the Smyrna Fire and Police Departments.

“We strive to ensure that each police officer and firefighter is qualified, trained, and equipped to perform at the highest levels of professional standards,” said Barb Allen, executive director of the Smyrna Public Safety Foundation.  “Funds raised at this year’s Gala will be dedicated to funding some critical training and equipment that is outside their operating budgets.”

Annually, the SPSF sponsors the Smyrna Public Safety Awards and Recognition banquet where these Heroes are recognized for their exemplary service to the community. In December, the SPSF teams up with the Smyrna elementary schools and takes youth on a shopping spree for the Shop with a Hero event.

Make plans now to attend the Annual Blue Jean Gala. Ticket price includes live entertainment, dinner and beverages. There will be numerous unique raffle items as well as silent auction items, many which are experiences involving public safety.

At this event you are encouraged to dress casual (jeans and your favorite accessories are totally acceptable). There will be a photo booth available where you can memorialize the event.

For more information and purchase tickets, visit the website at www.smyrnapsf.org,  send an email to admin@smyrnapsf.org, or call 404-791-6935.

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