Smyrna Hosts Spring Jonquil Festival

Smyrna will host the annual Spring Jonquil Festival on the Village Green, April 28 and 29.

This free event, presented by Superior Plumbing, features more than 175 Arts & Crafts booths, 15 food booths, an entertainment stage, and a variety of children’s activities.

Bring the family and shop, play, eat, drink and just have a great day together.

Artisans from all over the southeast feature their own hand-made crafts, paintings, clothing, furniture, jewelry and much more.  The festival foods include: cotton candy, candy apples, corn dogs, hand-dipped ice cream, snow cones, polish sausage, chicken sandwiches, and BBQ.  The huge interactive children’s area includes big and small inflatable activities, sand art, and more.  So whether it’s your child or the child in you, there are plenty of food and activities for the whole family to enjoy.

New for 2018 is an educational Grizzly Bear Show and exhibit. The Show brings an in depth into the life of North America’s most prestigious predator, the Alaskan Grizzly Bear. Tonk, the 13-year-old 700-pound grizzly and the two juveniles, Yogi and Maggie delight crowds of all ages with their impressive sizes and amazing behaviors. Throughout the day patrons will witness Tonk, Yogi & Maggie interacting with their handler and showing the amazing bond between grizzly and man.

Wildlife Wendy is an informative and interactive bird show containing birds from all over the world. Gaze in wonder at their vibrant colors & fun personalities. Wendy’s tropical birds will provide an up-close and personal encounter with the most entertaining species of the bird world.

Lady Houdini, an escape artist who has successfully performed thousands of public feats and broken Harry Houdini’s record for the most water escapes ever. Kristen Johnson is no “lovely” magician’s assistant. She is currently the only female anywhere in the world attempting the water torture cell.

Robocars are unique and fun brightly colored, life-size, transforming robot vehicles currently featuring Cars, Trucks, Motorcycles and Tractors. Operator driven, they walk and drive creating endless excitement and photo opportunities for the whole family.

Kids and adults alike will be thrilled to hear Scott Thompson of Peachtree Station performing all the songs you know and love on the Veteran’s Memorial grand lawn adjacent to the Spring Jonquil Food Court. Bring a blanket, sing-a-long, and relax in a beautiful setting with the family.

The Jonquil Jog will kick the festival off Saturday morning at 8 a.m., with the 5K Run/Walk. The jog will be held at the City of Smyrna Municipal Building next to the Village Green. Registration is required. Call 770-319-5401 or on-line at www.smyrnacity.com.

The festival hours of operation are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., on Saturday, April 28, and noon – 5 p.m., on Sunday, April 29. Admission is FREE.

The festival is a wonderful experience for the whole family! The Village Green is located just off I-75 to  (Windy Hill Rd.) head west approximately 3 miles to Atlanta Rd., turn left onto Atlanta Rd. and the festival will be one mile on the right. For more information call Tod Miller or Bill Watson at 770-423-1330.

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

Cumberland Connector Bus Fare To Be Free By First Pitch

The Cumberland Connector will be getting a new look, revamped routes and a better fare – free – by baseball’s opening day this year.

District 2 Commissioner Bob Ott told the Smyrna Business Association in January that following two public hearings he expects changes to be made. The Red route, serving Home Depot’s headquarters, is expected to be terminated. The Green and Blue Routes, currently both from the Cumberland Transfer Station, will be revamped with the Green route clockwise serving the Windy Hill and Interstate North area and the Blue Route serving Cumberland. They will intersect at SunTrust Park.

“There are changes coming,” Ott said. “The most significant one is that it will be free.”

The buses will be rebranded so that they don’t look like Cobblink buses. The operating costs are covered by Hotel-Motel taxes.

“It will still be operated by Cobblink, but not paid by county dollars,” he said.

“These changes will be done before first pitch,” Ott said.

SunTrust Park and Battery Atlanta should bring in more money for the county in 2018 than the cost of stadium operations. That was the bottom line of a new analysis unveiled by Ott during a Board of Commissioners Work Session in January.

Ott said money generated from the ballpark and development in 2017 came in only $27,210 short of “breaking even” for the county. This was despite the fact the Battery Atlanta development was only 50 percent built out by the end of the year and the Omni Hotel and Comcast Regional Headquarters just opened around the end of the year.

“We originally thought it would take several years for the revenue to exceed the burden on taxpayers,” Ott said. “Now it appears certain that will happen in Year 2.”

Ott says income from the Cumberland Special Service District property tax and hotel/motel fees exceeded expectations.

“The goal should be to not have the property taxpayers pay for any portion of the debt service for the park,” Ott said. “Given the anticipated growth in revenue, I believe that is now a real possibility over the next couple of years.”

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

Campbell Retires Lautsch’s Jersey

Campbell High School retired the jersey of Christie Lautsch, the all-time leading basketball scorer for the Lady Spartans, in a ceremony Jan. 9.

Lautsch averaged 20 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks per game while at Campbell. She was named to Georgia Class 5A all-state first team and Street & Smith honorable mention All-America honors in 2003.

Christie was a second team all-state selection in 2002 and as a freshman, was an Adidas Top Ten Camp Underclass All-Star, also earning all-county and Street & Smith honorable mention All-America honors. Breakdown Magazine rated Lautsch the ninth best post in the nation and the No. 40th player overall. She entered the 2004 season ranked nationally as No. 51 by Blue Star Index and No. 65 in All Star Girls Report.

In 2004 Christie was awarded Marietta Daily Journal Player of the year, 5A State Player of the Year, 5A All-State Teams-First Team, and Atlanta Tip-Off Club Naismith Trophy. She is the all-time leading Lady Spartan with 1,907 points, second in Campbell history to Brian Oliver. Christie’s record high game was scoring 45 points and a career total of 1,137 rebounds, and 407 blocks.

According to Randy McClure Sr., Varsity Lady Spartans basketball Head Coach, Lautsch earned all type of basketball accolades through her high school and college careers.

“Christie’s story is a true heart string type story,” McClure said. “What everyone did not know is that before she came to high school her father had died of cancer and all the time she was in high school her mother was battling cancer.

“Her mother, Janet Lautsch, would lose her battle with Cancer just before graduation. In a truly great gesture, Principal Kehl Arnson and Florida State head Coach Sue Samurai held a private graduation ceremony at her home before she passed so that Christie’s mom could see her actually graduate.

“She was well aware of her condition, but was determined to see Christie, the youngest of her three children and a basketball superstar, graduate from high school. Coach Samurai also promised that she would make sure that Christie would graduate from Florida State.

“I am very happy that we can honor this great young lady who certainly helped lift our program into one of the best in the state of Georgia and especially in Cobb County where the basketball has always been very competitive statewide,” he said.

Lautsch lives in Smyrna and works nearby. She said the honor is “bittersweet” without her mother, but was awed by the honor.

“It’s an awesome feeling to know that hard work does pay off,” she said.

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

Maryline Blackburn Joins Smyrna City Council

Maryline Blackburn knew that she was making history after the votes were counted in the Smyrna Ward 3 runoff election Dec. 5.

“Some of you may not know it, but on Dec. 5 you made Smyrna history,” she said.

“For the first time in our 145 years of existence, you elected an African American to Smyrna’s City Council,” she said. “Forty-six percent of Smyrna’s population are people of color and they now have a seat at the table.”

The 56-year-old vocalist, beauty queen and founder of “Divas With A Cause,” pledged to serve as a representative of all the people after her swearing-in ceremony Dec. 18.

“I will work hard every day to gain your trust and be a councilwoman for all Ward 3 constituents,” she said.

Born in Europe, Blackburn grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska. In 1984, she won the Miss Alaska Scholarship Pageant where Sarah Palin was her second runner up. Blackburn then went on to represent Alaska in the Miss America Scholarship Pageant where she was a talent finalist. She has performed with and opened for such legends of entertainment as Bob Hope on a USO tour, Cab & Chris Calloway, The Platters and Celine Deon.

During her campaign Blackburn pledged to put Families First and provide residents with a True Voice on City Council.

“I spoke of four fundamental pillars by which we should LEAD our community: Livability, Education, Accountability and Direction,” she said.

Speaking during her fist council meeting, Blackburn urged “smart growth that maintains the character and live-ability of Smyrna while balancing the needs of developer and business interests. Before we make any decision or vote on anything, we must first fully understand the impacts on traffic, schools, parks and public safety.”

She said she would work build upon the progress we have made and make Smyrna schools outstanding.

“As elected officials we must hold ourselves accountable to the people we serve. Are we meeting objectives? Are we keeping our promises?”

“As someone who has served on the Vision Committee, I understand that it all starts with a vision that clearly defines our goals and who we want to be as a community. That vision should be used to guide all of our decisions and it should represent the interests of Families First.

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

Rep. Anulewicz Begins Work In General Assembly

After a decade on the Smyrna City Council, Teri Anulewicz understands the needs of the community. So she’s pleased that one of the top issues – transportation – is one her new committee assignments in the Georgia House.

Rep. Anulewicz won the House District 42 seat formerly held by Stacy Evans who is running for Governor.

Along with six other newly elected House members, she got a “crash course in Legislature 101” in December, she said.

The Speaker assigned her to committees on code revision, intragovernmental coordination, and transportation.

“Transportation is a tremendous issue, one of the biggest we face as a region,” she said. “(District 42) is cradled between I-75 and I-285.”

“This is a community where people and businesses want to be,” She said. Transit has been missing in this conversation and the Speaker has made that clear that (a solution) doesn’t mean just one thing.”

“Imagine if we had better and more efficient transit so we had an extra hour and a half with family each day,” she said.

She agreed that her predecessor’s work on HOPE grants for vocational colleges “Is defiantly on the agenda as we talk about the budget. It will be important as we talk about Amazon so that Georgia continues to have the workforce that we want to have.”

“I’m looking forward to getting things started,” she said. “It will start slow and gather speed like a freight train.”

Cobb has a very good delegation

She said that she has relationships with many of the Cobb delegation already. “I’m a known commodity, on both sides of the aisle. I’m familiar with the language and the culture.”

As the only name on the ballot, Anulewicz spent her campaign time getting to know the rest of the district. District 42 includes much of her former Smyrna Ward 3, plus Fair Oaks on the west, I-75 to the east and even the southern edge of the Marietta Square. She met with Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn, School Superintendent Grant Rivera and numerous community groups.

“It’s a large district partly because it has Dobbins Air Reserve Base,” she said. “The joint use runway is going to bolster and strengthen that base, so it is important to keep it roust, vibrant and vital.”

“I spent time getting to know the Marietta part of the district,

Anulewicz said she will work to keep in touch with all of her constituents.

“My goal is to be assessable; my cellphone number is the same. Please reach out to me,” she said.

She has scheduled two listening sessions; on Jan. 13 at 1 p.m. at The Smyrna Library, and another at Yell’s on Franklin Gateway Jan. 18 at 6 p.m.

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

Jacobson Named Smyrna Citizen Of Year

She is a jewelry professional by day and a philanthropist around the clock. For that reason and many others Rhonda Jacobson was named Smyrna Citizen of the Year.

The award was presented in November by the Smyrna Division of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce.

“Rhonda does so much good for her community,” said Dan Byers, division chair. He noted that she is active on boards and organizations such as the WellStar Foundation Board of Trustees and co-chair for WellStar Foundation – Women in Philanthropy as well as a member of the advisory council for the WellStar Vinings Health Park where the meeting was held.

In her “day job,” as Buyers put it, she is vice president, human resources and graduate gemologist at Cumberland Diamond Exchange in Smyrna.

She gives her time to the liveSAFE Resources board and is chair-elect/VP, SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center, Cobb Executive Women and Cobb Chairman’s Club.

“As co-owner and founder of Cumberland Diamond Exchange, the businesses involvement in the community and partnerships with non-profits are key differentiators. Their Cufflinks +Charms 4 Charity makes custom designed jewelry for resale and recognition with proceeds benefitting the corresponding charity,” Byers said. In FY2016 the business made $79,593.98 in gifts, merchandise and cash donations.

The family-owned store was founded by Rhonda and Mark Jacobson in 1982. It has been named “Jeweler of the Year” in 2016 and was named Cobb Small Business of the Year in 2015.

According to her nomination, it was said, “Rhonda has the biggest heart and truly cares about others. Jewelry is her business but philanthropy is where her heart is.”

“I am overwhelmed,” Mrs. Jacobson said. “It is all about giving back.”

As a surprise, she was joined by family members, friends and staff of the business who revealed themselves after she was announced as the award winner.

From the December 2017 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

Coming Home For Christmas In Smyrna

 

 

Frying A Turkey; Recycle Your Oil

The City of Smyrna wants your used cooking oil. The used oil will be made into biodiesel fuel for the City’s vehicles, and recycling is so easy for you.

Smyrna residents may recycle the used oil by putting it in a plastic milk jug with a screw top and leaving the jug at the curb on their recycling day. Free containers are also available from any of the drop-off locations listed below. Non-residents and residents may bring filled containers to the Smyrna Recycling Center at 3475 Lake Drive, the Smyrna Public Works Department at 2190 Atlanta Road, or the Smyrna Fire Stations on Atlanta Road, South Cobb Drive, Concord Road or Park Drive.

Biodiesel fuel burns much cleaner than petro diesel, which keeps the air in our community cleaner.  It also helps to clean the engines, saves the City money in fuel costs and helps us to be less dependent on foreign oil. Please, never pour oil down the drain. This will cause clogging in your pipes and cost you expensive repairs.

Additional information can be found at the City’s website, www.smyrnacity.com or by calling Smyrna Public Works Department at 770-431-2850 or Keep Smyrna Beautiful at 770-431-2863.

From the November  2017 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

Silva Is Smyrna Business Person Of The Year

Charles Silva was named the Smyrna Business Association Business Person of the Year at the September meeting.

Silva, who currently serves as secretary of the group had a long tenure as treasurer.

Presenting the award are, left, Dennis Harding, last year’s recipient and Jabar Dozier, right, president.

A native of St. Louis, Silva grew up in St Louis Missouri and spent most of his career as a banker, working his way up to bank president. After volunteering for the Arthritis Foundation, Silva headed the Arthritis Chapter of Eastern Missouri and came to the Atlanta area as CFO of the National Arthritis Foundation in 1997.

“Today, Charlie continues to use his financial and consulting skills to assist small businesses in the Smyrna area,” Harding said. “We are fortunate that Charlie has brought his experience and talent to serving as a Board member of the Smyrna Business Association.”

He and his wife, Katie, have two grown children.

From the September 2017 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

‘Everybody Wants To Live In Smyrna,’ Mayor Says

Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon welcomes Jean Brannon, his fifth grade teacher, to the State of the City address in July.

Smyrna is the hottest spot to live in the metro area according to Mayor Max Bacon.

Bacon addressed an overflow crowd at the annual state of the City Address for the Smyrna Business Association and Smyrna Division of the Cobb Chamber in July.

“We’ve always had great people, even the Braves moved out of Atlanta to be next to Smyrna,” he said. “Everybody wants to live in Smyrna. We were strong before the 2008 blip on the economy.”

“We will not raise taxes,” the mayor told the crowd. Smyrna will maintain the millage rate of 8.99 mills for 2017. This rate has been in effect since 2007. Homeowners who maintain a primary residence in Smyrna and have filed for the floating homestead exemption will not see a tax increase on their 2017 property tax bill.

“We are as fiscally sound as any government anywhere,” Bacon said. “We show that in our bond rating.”

Smyrna has a AAA bond rating, one of only six in the state. The city’s $92 million budget is broken down by: public safety, 38 percent; general government, 21 percent; Public works, 18 percent; debt 9 percent; parks and recreation, 8 percent; community development, 3 percent; library, 2 percent and Keep Smyrna Beautiful, 1 percent.

“We have a great police force and fire department,” Bacon said. “We have superior service.”

Early this year Bacon admitted that he had a heart condition. After being referred by his family doctor, Bacon said, “My doctor was wrong, I had not had one heart attack, I had two,” he said.

He had two stents installed and has since recovered.

The health scare has brought up questions of whether Bacon, who has held the mayor’s job since 1985, will run for another term.

“Am I going to run again? Right now I’d say yes, because I’m not going to tell you no,” he said.

“I know that I will finish this term (through 2019) then I’ll make a decision,” he said. “My health’s good for 68.”

“I thank Jack Halpern and Halpern Enterprises for hanging in there with us,” Bacon said. “They donated the land for the Smyrna Elementary School and what we got back was a great investment in or city.”

Bacon noted that the Belmont and Jonquil developments are essentially done, although some storefronts are still being built out. Belmont is a 48-acre mixed-use development with homes, apartments, retail, restaurants and Smyrna Elementary. The Belmont Physicians Center is under construction on Windy Hill and David Weekly homes will build a second phase of houses along Atlanta Road. Jonquil, anchored by Publix, is an 11 acre mixed-use site in downtown Smyrna including apartments and retail and restaurants.

“Concord Road is finally finished,” he said.

The $12 million SPLOST road widening project on Concord Road is complete, he reported. The Downtown Development Authority sold one property to a restaurant and many parcels on the north side of Concord is being developed as a passive linier park.

The next road project is the Windy Hill Road improvement that will begin next year from South Cobb and Atlanta Roads.

“Windy Hill will be an express route,” he said. Four express lanes will move east-west traffic with frontage roads on each side.

“It’s going to be a mess for the next five years,” he said.

“The Reed House will top my list of things I am proud of,” he said. The city purchased the home on Atlanta Road for $18 million and will spend $1.3 million renovating it to use as an event facility.

“This is going to be a great addition once it is finished,” he said.

From the August 2017 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.