Joseph Bennett Named Smyrna Policy Chief

The City of Smyrna has a new Police Chief. Joseph Bennett, who served as Deputy Chief under Lee, assumed the leadership role on the retirement of Chief David Lee. “I truly love this City and all who live, work, and play here. I take my position seriously and will do everything humanly possible to ensure the safety and security of those mentioned,” said Bennett.

Chief Bennett outlined his plans for serving in his new position. “Two of my first initiatives are to use education, technology, and human resources to lower the fatality rates on our local roadways. I also plan to work alongside our Fire Department to create a program that will provide tools and resources for our public safety professionals to increase their resiliency in an effort to help them live a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.”

Joseph Bennett grew up in the Smyrna area where he still resides with his wife Mary, his daughter Kaitlin, and son Joey. He is a graduate of Reinhardt College where he was awarded a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management and Leadership and graduated from Columbus State University with a Master’s Degree in Public Safety Administration. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Public Administration from Valdosta State University.

Deputy Chief Bennett is a graduate of the Mercer University Public Safety Leadership Institute, Class 50 of the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College, the 248th Session of the FBI National Academy, and the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Chief Bennett began his tenure with the City of Smyrna Police Department in March of 1995. During his tenure, he has held assignments in various positions within the police department to include Uniform Patrol Division, Community Oriented Policing Unit, Street Crimes Unit, Assistant Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division, E-911 Director, and Commander of the Administrative Services Division. He served as a Marksman on the department’s SWAT Team for 10 years and was the Commander of the Team for three years.

Deputy Chief Bennett was named Optimist International Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 1997 and was a Cobb Chamber of Commerce Public Safety Recognition Awards Nominee in 2000 and 2015. He currently holds active memberships in the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, FBI National Academy Associates, and the Georgia 911 Directors Association. Chief Bennett holds Georgia POST certifications as an Intermediate and Advanced Peace Officer as well as Supervisory, Management, and Instructor Certificates. In his off time, he enjoys jogging, biking, and spending time with his family.

SUNTRUST PARK BECOMES TRUIST PARK

The Braves ballpark, originally known as SunTrust Park, has a new name. In mid-January Truist and the Atlanta Braves revealed the new name and look of our ballpark. We are excited to share the new logo and a few renderings with you so you can see what the new name will look like inside and outside of the park, said a Braves executive. 

            During the renaming event,Truist also announced that they will refurbish one youth baseball/softball field a year for the next ten years and dedicate them to our home run king, Hank Aaron.

            It was also announced that for the month of April (except for Opening Day) kids can come to a Braves game for free, courtesy of Truist. Beginning March 2, fans can come by the OnUp Experience in The Battery Atlanta to sign up and then go to the Braves ticket windows to redeem (more details to come).

            For full information about the Truist Park experience visit braves.com/truistpark.

Santa House Opens

Bring your wish list and have your picture taken with Santa at the Santa House at Aunt Fanny’s Cabin in December.

Visit with Santa and have your picture taken at Aunt Fanny’s Cabin 2875 Atlanta Road, Smyrna.

This event is co-sponsored by the City of Smyrna and the Smyrna Optimist Club.

Santa House Schedule is 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 6 – 7; 13 – 15; and 20 – 23.

Lewis Wheaton Takes Ward 7 Post

Lewis Wheaton was appointed as Smyrna’s newest city council member at a special called meeting of the Smyrna City Council on Nov. 14 to complete the term of Ron Fennel for Ward 7 to end Dec. 31.

Wheaton was elected to the Ward 7 post for a four-year term and will fill the post left vacant by the resignation of Ron Fennel until the end of the year.

Mayor Max Bacon recommended that Wheaton be sworn in soon after the election was certified. Wheaton was sworn in by Cobb County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Childs. His wife Teri held the Bible while he recited the oath as provided by the judge. Wheaton’s family, friends and Cub Scout troop also were present for the event.

He is a professor in the School of Biological Sciences at Georgia Tech, according to the city website. Also, he has an adjunct appointment in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine.

Since his arrival at Georgia Tech in 2008, he has been the director of the Cognitive Motor Control Laboratory, which has a goal of improving rehabilitation outcomes in people with brain injury. Wheaton also has been actively involved in rehabilitation policy within Georgia as a Governor-appointed member of the State Rehabilitation Council, a congressionally mandated council that oversees the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency.

Born in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania and reared in Petersburg, Va., he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Radford University in 1999 and his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in College Park in Neuroscience and Cognitive Sciences in 2005. Wheaton was a fellow at the Baltimore (Maryland) Veterans Affairs Medical Center from 2005 to 2008 before moving to Smyrna.

He and his wife Teri have sons Lewis Jr. and Joshua, and they are active members of Powers Ferry Road Church of Christ.

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

‘Shrek The Musical’ In Smyrna

Smyrna Village Players’ cast and crew invite you to experience SHREK THE MUSICAL in an all-new light in four performances on July 18, 19 and 20.

This new age fairytale is full of sidesplitting laughs, heartfelt friendships and harrowing adventure.

Smyrna Village Players is an outreach of SFUMC and the local Methodist community. The group offers an outlet for individuals to share their talents and gifts and seeks to bring joy and unity to our neighbors by working as a collaborative team to tell compelling stories.

The unique interpretation of this beloved tale brings our favorite renaissance heroes into modern times. We’ve embraced a vibrant, rock’n’roll inspired aesthetic and the jam-packed performance is guaranteed to keep you engaged and on the edge of your seat.

Performances are July 18 at 7 p.m.), July 19 at 7 p.m. and July 20 at 2 and 7 p.m. Performances are in the Fellowship Hall of Smyrna First United Methodist Church, 1315 Concord Road, Smyrna. The performance offers professional ASL interpretation at the Saturday 2 p.m. matinee show and welcome all members of the Smyrna community to enjoy this upbeat, family-friendly production. General Admission tickets are $15 and Student/Senior tickets are $12. Tickets are on sale now at www.smyrnavillageplayers.com.

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.

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.