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.

Dining In The Dark Is Unique

Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia invites you to a unique sensory awareness experience that will give you a glimpse into the lives of those who are blind.  Enjoy a culinary encounter while blindfolded as your table host shares their intimate journey of vision loss.

Dining in the Dark will be May 5 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy, Atlanta. Parking is free.

Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia (VRS), based in Smyrna, is dedicated to assisting individuals, of all ages, who are blind or visually impaired so they may function independently in all of their environments. VRS provides practical tools and proven techniques to help our clients carry out their daily activities.

Dining in the Dark is a unique sensory awareness experience that gives guests a first-hand glimpse into the lives of those who are completely blind, taking them on an unforgettable journey in the dark. Created in Germany, Dining in the Dark is a one-of-a kind concept that has been enjoyed by many people across Europe before moving to America in 2005. It’s a culinary encounter of heightened senses that has been experienced by thousands wanting a peek into an unfamiliar world.

Guests check in at 5 p.m. during a silent auction and cocktails. From 6 to 9 p.m. is the dinner and a 50/50 Raffle. Tickets are $100 per person. Contact VRS at 770-432-7280 or  scroyle@vrsga.org for tickets.

From the April 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.

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

Susan Thayer Named Smyrna Citizen Of The Year

Her resume includes jobs as teacher, principal and school board member. Now Susan Thayer can add the distinction of being Smyrna Citizen of the Year.

Mrs. Thayer was presented the award at the October Smyrna Division breakfast of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce.

In her introduction by Smyrna Mayor Pro Tem Dereck Norton noted her career highlights and said, “she’s been a trusted voice on the school board for Smyrna for the past four years.”

During her 40 year career in education, she worked for three metro Atlanta school systems, serving as a teacher, a guidance counselor at Osborne High School and the principal of Pebblebrook High. She also served as the director of leadership development and the executive director of high schools for Cobb County Schools as well as the assistant superintendent of K-12 curriculum in neighboring Douglas County.

“Working for the community has been a pleasure and a real joy,” she said in accepting the award. “Working with you has been a delight.”

“Our community has so much going for it,” she said. “But our community will never be better than our schools.”

Thayer, the only woman on Cobb’s seven-member school board, did not seek re-election this year. She will be replaced by pediatric dentist Jaha Howard in January.

Cobb Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said Thayer’s presence on the school board will be missed come January.

“Her biggest asset is the experience she brings from working in K-12 school districts,” he said. “She’s been a principal, she’s been a teacher and she’s worked in the central office … That experience is just invaluable.”

Thayer said she hopes to spend more time with her family next year, and looks forward to seeing how the “other half” lives.

She was nominated for Citizen of the Year by Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon, who said he couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of the award.

“She’s done so much for the school system. She has probably been the most knowledgeable school board member we’ve had in her first and only term,” Bacon said. “She knew the system and she represented the Smyrna area as well as anybody could have represented us.”

Bacon’s sentiments were echoed by Smyrna councilman Derek Norton, who presented Thayer’s award.

“She’s a longtime friend and has been very, very good for us on the school board,” he said.

Thayer, who said she never expected to receive such a recognition, was lured to Brawner Hall early Wednesday under false pretenses by her friend, Cobb Superior Court Judge Ann Harris.

Thayer said she was told the 7:30 a.m. event was a presentation about the new Susan Todd Pearson Middle School, which the district is building to relieve overcrowded Campbell and Griffin in her portion of the county.

“She was certainly surprised,” Norton said.

Thayer said serving on the school board would be her last professional activity, calling it a “tremendous honor” to step down with the accolade.

“What a way to go out,” she said. “It’s very flattering and very humbling.”

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.

Kids Movie Night Is Friday In Smyrna

Casper’s Fall Fun and Movie Night will be held Friday, Oct. 12 from 6 to 9 p.m. on the Village Green in Smyrna.

Bring the kids for a fun-filled evening with have carnival games, inflatables, hay rides, and much more. The evening will end with the movie “Coco” being shown on a giant inflatable screen on the Veterans Memorial lawn.

Admission is free. Tickets for carnival games, inflatables and hayrides will be available for purchase.

Boy Scouts, Legion Retire Old Flags

Boy Scout Troop 250 held a Flag Retirement Ceremony on Flag Day, June 14, at American Legion Post 160, the Troop’s chartering organization. Flag Day, June 14, is recommended as the most appropriate day on which to annually hold this ceremony.

The ceremony was a joint and coordinated effort between the Scouts and the Legionnaires. Troop 250 was tasked over a year ago to collect the unserviceable flags presented to Post 160 at its flag drop box.

Any person may drop off a flag suggested as unserviceable and it will be included in future ceremonies. Members of the Troop prepare flags at meetings when time permits and for this ceremony, 51 flags were retired. Additional flags may be retired in coming months and on Flag Day in 2019.

Post Commander Wade Lnenicka opened the program and the Post Chaplain offered prayer.

The American Legion’s Ceremony for Disposal of Unserviceable Flags is a dignified tribute to the U.S. flag and to its symbolism. The ceremony followed rules of civilian flag courtesy popularly known as the Flag Code developed in 1923.

The Scouts solemnly presented three flags at a time, each folded in the traditional triangle and for each all present were at attention, saluting the flag until presented into the fire. This was repeated with all at attention until the last flags were presented and completely consumed. The ashes were collected and will be buried on Post 160 property in a proper final resting ceremony.

While any one person or group may properly dispose of unserviceable flags, the cooperation between the American Legion Post 160, the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 160, Sons of the American Legion Squadron 160, Boy Scout Troop 250, Venture Crew 11, and Girl Scout Troop 1872, along with members of Smyrna’s Fire Station 1, demonstrated the community commitment to honor the flag, public service and show how multiple groups can work together.

Scoutmaster Tony Waybright noted that the troop “hopes to make this an annual event at Post 160 giving Flag Day a prominent position between Smyrna’s patriotic celebrations of Memorial Day and Independence Day.”

He said the ceremony is also a way of letting Smyrna residents know that if they have old, unserviceable flags to be disposed of, to bring them to Post 160.

Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. The anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 was officially established by the Proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916, and on August 3, 1949 President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 of each year as National Flag Day.

From the July 2018 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.