‘Sister Act’ On Stage This Weekend

2018 Encore Series and Pebblebrook High School present “Sister Act: The Musical.” Thursday-Sunday, Feb. 1-4.

This musical is based on the hit 1992 film. Deloris Van Cartier, a famous disco singer, is put into witness protection in a convent. While struggling through the restrictions of her new lifestyle, she finds comfort in the church’s choir and ends up inspiring the church and community. Enjoy powerful gospel music, dancing and a moving story. Performances will be at 8 p.m., Thursday-Saturday and 3 pm. on Sunday. Tickets are $20 each. To purchase, visit ticketmaster.com or call 770-528-8490.

Shows are at the Jennie T. Anderson Theatre, Cobb Civic Center, 548 S. Marietta Parkway SE, Marietta. Visit ticketmaster.com or call 770-528-8490 for tickets.

Other upcoming shows in the Encore Series include:

• Jay and the Americans, 8 p.m., Feb. 27
• Linda Eder, 8 p.m., March 10
• The Company Men, 3 p.m., March 25
• 1964: The Tribute, 8 p.m., April 7

Tickets for all shows in the Encore Series are available now on ticketmaster.com. Anderson Theatre is located in the Cobb Civic Center, 548 South Marietta Parkway SE, Marietta. For more information on each show, view the Encore Series flyer.

Marlin Lamar Takes Austell Council Post

Born in Austell and working at his father’s store in downtown, Marvin Lamer now represents Ward 1 as councilman and wants to see the downtown area grow and prosper.

Austell’s Ward 1 includes the traditional downtown along Veterans Memorial Highway with a growing number of new shops and restaurants.

“The city is growing but my main focus is downtown,” Lamar said. “There are some new subdivisions but some of those folks don’t know there is a downtown.”

He said his main priority on council will be growth and helping what’s existing to improve.

He wants to the council to be seen as small business friendly

On election night in November Lamar thought he had won by one vote but two provisional ballots put him in a runoff in the two-man race. He takes over the seat formerly held by Kirsten Anderson who held it for 12 years before moving to Hawaii.

His father, M.L. Lamar operated Lamar’s Clothing on Jefferson Street for 61 years, selling everything from Levi’s and ladies dresses to shoes and bolts of cloth.

“I grew up in the business,” he said. “But the downtown started fading away when the malls the big box stores came along.”

The 63-year-old Lamar has a long history in Austell, serving on city board sand volunteering in civic events.

“I’ve always been active in the city, served on the zoning board and variance board,” he said. Now it’s my turn to serve.”

He was sown into office Dec. 19 along with returning council members Ollie Clemons, Jr. and Randy Green by Traffic Court Judge David Daren.

Lamar works at the Town Center Hilton Garden Inn as an engineering superintendent.

“The revitalization of downtown is on its way,” he said. “That’s the heartbeat of the city.”

He noted that the city recently expanded its city limits by annexing the Big Lots center on Austell Road. But, he does not foresee any “big box” stores in the city, in part due to lack of space.

His focus is on the community based businesses and specialty shops that continue to move to Austell.

“Things are starting to revitalize,” he said. The city purchased a property on Jefferson at Love Street, rebuilt it and leased it to the South Cobb Diner.

“That was a stimulus,” he said. “It has been a good attraction and the parking lots are full. Now we’ve got sidewalk traffic. And it’s only just begun.”

Now that he has been sworn in he’s ready for the first council meeting in January.

“I’m eager to get started and get to work.”

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

Dogwood Golf Celebrates 50th Year

Dogwood Golf Club in South Cobb recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Members and guests gathered Nov. 20 to note the 50th anniversary of the Club. The event included a buffet dinner and throwback pricing to 1967.

A brief history of the Club was given by Andy Schival, General Manager, who recognizing the Course Superintendent, Tony Poole, whose grandfather established the Club in 1967.

Dogwood Golf and Country Club opened in the summer of 1967 on part of the 1,000 acre dairy farm owned by Claude “Mack” Henderson. Although Mr. Henderson himself was not a golfer, his son-in-law, Doyle King, convinced him his property was perfect for a golf course. With the help of two Cobb County amateur golfers, John Causey and Bud Laurent, King built the course for about $200,000.

“Like many other avid golfers, I had always longed for a golf course that was challenging, close to home, uncrowded and with a price tag that isn’t prohibitive to the average businessman,” King said.

The earliest members of Dogwood were surgeons, lawyers, as well as tradesmen and many others. Through the years Dogwood has hosted many dignitaries such as President Jimmy Carter, several Governors as well as the home course to the late Dr. Richard Hammonds of Austell.

Dogwood has always held true to be a course of the people and one that is affordable and fun for the everyday golfer. Today, Dogwood is a beautiful; tree lined 18 hole, 6500+ yard Par 72 course that is open to the public Monday – Friday and private on the weekends.

For more information, contact Andy Schival, General Manager, at (678) 296-9410.

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

Election Runoffs Set Dec. 5

There will be a runoff Dec. 5 in Southern Cobb to fill two posts: the Smyrna Ward 3 council and Georgia Senate District 6. There was a 12 percent voter turnout.

Jaha Howard led the 8-person Senate field with 43 percent of the vote and will face Jen Jordan, who had 22 percent, in the runoff. Both are Democrats.

In Smyrna, Travis Lindley took 32 percent of the vote with Maryline Blackburn in a close second with 29 percent in the five person race.

The city seat was vacated by Terri Anulewicz who ran for Georgia House.

In Austell, Ollie Clemons Jr. was reelected to the Council At Large Post 1 over Melanie Maria Elder by a vote of 70 percent. Marlin Lamar defeated  Ikaika Anderson for Council Ward 1 by just two votes. And in Council Ward 3, Randy Green held on to the seat over Trudy Causey.

 

‘Twisted Cyclone’ Roller Coaster Coming To Six Flags In 2018

Six Flags Over Georgia—the Thrill Capital of the South— announced the all-new Twisted Cyclone hybrid roller coaster will arrive in 2018. Twisted Cyclone will offer guests the best of both worlds—a classic wooden structure combined with a modern, steel track for multiple inversions and a smoother, more thrilling riding experience.

“Six Flags was the first in the industry to introduce this hybrid technology and Twisted Cyclone is a shining example of Six Flags innovation at its very best. Year after year, our park keeps delivering unique thrills for all ages and this state-of-the-art hybrid coaster is an absolute game-changer,” said Park President Dale Kaetzel. “Our guests are going to be blown away by the unbelievable features of this coaster.”

Twisted Cyclone highlights include:

  • An insanely steep 75-degree initial drop from nearly 100 feet into a jaw-dropping reverse cobra roll sending riders perpendicular to the ground;
  • Three hair-raising upside down inversions and 10 airtime moments along 2,400 feet of track at speeds of 50 miles per hour;
  • The feeling of weightlessness through a 360-degree zero gravity roll;
  • One-of-a-kind custom coaster trains modeled after a classic 1960’s sports convertible; and
  • A smoother, sleeker, more intense ride than ever before.

Construction on Twisted Cyclone is underway and the ride is expected to debut in the spring of 2018. For more information about next season at Six Flags Over Georgia, visit www.sixflags.com/overgeorgia/newfor2018.

Six Flags Over Georgia is also announcing the start of 2018 Season Pass sales with its special Flash Sale through Labor Day weekend featuring the best deal of the year— savings up to 70% off on a 2018 Pass!

August 31 through Sept. 4, guests will receive a free upgrade to a Gold Combo Season Pass with every Pass purchased. Gold Combo Season Passes include admission to Six Flags Over Georgia and Six Flags White Water, and any other Six Flags theme park, as well as free parking and special admission offers for friends.

Golf Cart Parade Honors Fourth, Veterans

 

  Presbyterian Village in Austell held its annual golf cart parade to honor the Fourth of July with more than two dozen golf carts decked out in patriotic bunting. Where in previous parades there has been a Grand Marshall seated in the lead car; this year some 14 World War II veterans were honored as Grand Marshalls, riding in individual carts.

Among them was, below left, Navy veteran Bill Smith, a pharmacist’s mate 3rd class, who served aboard the USS Wyoming in WWII.

Hilliard Pouncey, right, an original Tuskegee Airman, rides in the lead car as one of more than a dozen “Grand Marshalls” at the annual golf cart parade at Presbyterian Village in Austell on July 3.

 

 

 

 

Bringing up the rear in a 1915 Model T, below right, are Robert and Bryant Brough of Mableton in vintage uniforms to honor the veterans.

At left, Ike Strueusee, an Infantry Staff Sgt. during the war, fought at the Battle of The Bulge in the Army.

Brenda Humphrey Names Braves Honorary Bat Girl

ATLANTA, GA – MAY 19: Honorary Bat Girl Samantha Timmons poses with Brandon Phillips #4 of the Atlanta Braves before the game against the Washington Nationals at SunTrust Park on May 19, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Braves won 8-4. (Photo by Logan Riely/Beam Imagination/Atlanta Braves/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Brandon Phillips

Brenda Humphrey of Mableton served as Honorary Bat Girl for the Atlanta Braves at the May 19 game.

The Honorary Bat Girl contest recognizes fans who have been affected by breast cancer and have demonstrated a commitment to battling the disease.

After supporting and caring for her mother and three sisters as they each battled various forms of cancer over the years, Ms. Humphrey was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2014. The single mother of a Marine serving in Japan, she immediately began to educate family members and friends about the disease while going through treatment and recovery. Diagnosed again in March 2016, Ms. Humphrey continues to fight the disease while never letting it break her spirit.

The Braves hosted Ms. Humphrey on May 19 as the Braves played the Nationals at Sun Trust Park for a VIP experience that kicked off with a special lunch with the Braves wives. Following lunch, she watched batting practice from the field and stayed for the game. Ms. Humphrey also took home limited-edition pink MLB merchandise. This year, Atlanta Braves player Brandon Phillips served on the Guest Judging Panel for the Honorary Bat Girl Contest.

During the Honorary Bat Girl contest entry timeline, fans from across the United States and Canada shared how they, or their loved ones, support the cause to raise awareness and find a cure for breast cancer. The winners were selected by a panel of judges, including special guests, who chose the winning submissions based on the following criteria: quality of writing and description of personal connection to breast cancer, demonstration of commitment to the battle against the disease and public appeal (as determined by online fan votes).

The Honorary Bat Girl program was introduced in 2009 to raise additional awareness and support for the annual “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” initiative celebrated on Mother’s Day. In nine years, thousands of unique testimonials have been submitted and millions of fan votes have been cast. Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer is a Major League Baseball initiative supported by MLB charitable partners, Stand Up To Cancer and Susan G. Komen. This initiative raises awareness about the breast cancer cause, while also raising funds to support breast cancer research.

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

Mableton Farmers Market Is Open

The Mableton Farmers Market is off to a running start of its eighth season. The Market, a community project of the Mableton Improvement Coalition, operates every Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., through August 24. Come  to the Mable House Complex at 5239 Floyd Road, Mableton, and shop for fresh and nutritious locally-grown fruits and vegetables, eggs, breads, homemade jams and jellies, organic bars, bites, nuts and more. Visitors will also experience quick and easy food preparation demonstrations sponsored by partner Cobb & Douglas Public Health.

Wholesome Wave Georgia, another of the Market’s partner organizations, is again on board this season to double the value of SNAP EBT transactions. Believing that every family in Georgia should have access to quality food,  Thursday, July 13, will be the next and last SNAP Assistance visit at the Market this season.  If you or anyone you know has questions about Food Stamp eligibility or issues with an existing account, WWG will have an expert representative to advise inquiring market shoppers about SNAP (food stamp) benefits, complete online applications and/or investigate problems with existing accounts. Consultations are completely confidential.

Stop by the Mableton Farmers Market.

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

Russell Students Perform Successful ‘Space Shuttle’ Mission

Wearing orange full pressure “pumpkin suits,” the astronauts turned and waved one last time before boarding the space shuttle. Cameras snapped; parents waved, and with that they were locked in their home for the next 27 hours. Meanwhile, mission control began to work through the calculations and systematic steps to send a shuttle into space. The clock in the room ticked down to launch time. A television monitor featured a split-screen of the astronauts, now wearing helmets, as they prepared to embark on an out-of-this world lesson.

The student astronauts and their teammates in mission control were part of the 19th mission to space for the Russell Elementary School Space Program, which first launched in 1998.

The unique space program sends student astronauts on a simulated space mission inside a replica NASA shuttle. The space mission includes a launch, landing, payload deployment, spacewalk, onboard experiments and around-the-clock monitoring of onboard systems from the school’s mock mission control center.

Students in the space program start in August to prepare for launch day.

“They learn about orbital dynamics,” said Chris Laster, Space Team teacher coordinator and founder. “They learn how to work together as a team. They learn how to track telemetry, which is data that is sent down by radio from our space shuttle simulator. They learn how to monitor that for trends to detect problems and malfunctions and how to take measures to solve those problems.”

That’s not all the students learn. Grueling, that’s how Laster described the material the students learn over the course of the eight months leading up to the space launch.

“All the kids learn how to read acronyms from NASA. They have to learn how to read flight plans and time stamps,” explained Tracey Steiner, a Russell science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) lab teacher.

The students tackle the grueling material after school hours. Some of the students spend four days a week for several hours each day preparing for their space mission. The teaching staff help the students develop the math and science skills to understand the different systems aboard the space shuttle and the complexities of the spaceflight operations.

“We learned a lot about technology like radios and computers,” said fifth grader Samantha, one of the student astronauts. “Before I joined the program, I used to call it a space shuttle or a rocket. Now, I know the full term for everything.”

Some of what Samantha learned shocked her, for example, reading about the lack of privacy and bathrooms in space.

Samantha was motivated to join the space team by the stories her brother shared about the program when he came home every day. He was a member of the space team a few years prior.

Samantha’s fifth grade classmate Joy also made the space team a family tradition. Joy’s two sisters are both veterans of the Russell Space Program. Her sister, Princess, was there for Joy’s launch day as commander of the STS-19 team.

“The fact that she was able to buckle down and do all that work and reach the point where she is actually commanding the [space team] is wild,” Princess said.

The older sister has regaled stories of her time in the space program with her new college friends, who she said are shocked that her elementary school has such an elaborate space program.

“I loved the program, and I love how it is growing,” Princess added. “Mission control looks a lot more realistic.

Princess, who is studying biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Georgia, credits the space program for impacting her interest in science.

Joy and Princess’s dad credits the space program for helping his daughters excel in school.

“[The space program] teaches them how to be leaders,” their father Muhammed Dikko explained. “It teaches them how to stay on task when they are given assignments. It teaches them to take life, in general, seriously. We have seen the changes in [Joy’s] life. We have seen it in our other daughters. I’ve never had to tell them to go do their homework as a result of this [program] because they look forward to it.”

The proud father studied the material with his daughters, but has a confession about wanting to actually join the space team himself.

“It is a lot of hard work,” he said. “I couldn’t do it.”

Students in the space program have gone on to be chemical engineers, high-ranking service members and business owners. According to Laster, one space program veteran and graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology will soon be writing orbital trajectories and trajectories for space probes. This student, too, credits the space program for propelling him on his career track.

Steiner, who has flown on 10 space flights with students, has a theory about why the space program encourages student success.

“The kids learn that there is a final goal,” Steiner explained. “They work hard and dedicate themselves to making something happen. We either fail together or succeed together, and when they learn they can succeed together, even if it may be the hardest thing they have ever done, they will be up for the challenges of life.”

The students who join the space team undergo a rigorous application process including physical fitness tests. The student astronauts earn the top fitness scores.

“To be selected for space team, you have to write an essay on why you want to join, how you think you can benefit and what skills that you can bring to the team,” astronaut Samantha added. “You basically have to prove that you are good enough to be on the team.”

Although the students must have high grades to join the team, Laster sometimes sees something in a student that others may not. He said that after some students join the program, they start to thrive and do things that they didn’t even know were possible.

Fifth grader Edith, who served as the STS-19 capsule communicator in mission control, said the space program helped her develop better study habits. Her favorite part was making friends and learning how to work more as a team

Princess still keeps up with the friends she made on STS-10 mission.

Astronaut Kelsie, 5th grade, signed up for the STS-19 mission because she knew it would be a great teamwork experience and “It looked fun.”

The students cite varying reasons on why they want to enlist in the space program, but their teacher only has one.

“I’m here for the kids,” said Laster.

He launched the space program after taking Russell students on a trip to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. A student asked why Russell Elementary couldn’t have a space program like the one in Huntsville. That question started the countdown to the school’s first space mission.

The program started off in the classroom and moved into the separate simulator set up in a trailer outside of the school, which is painted to look like a NASA space shuttle.

Steiner, who hung up her pumpkin suit for the last time after the STS-19 mission, described the space program as the heart and soul of Russell Elementary.

After STS-19 landed on May 9, the astronauts and mission control reunited and celebrated with a parade through the school.

There is a lot of emotion that takes place with the students, parents and teachers on landing day, according to the dad of three veteran space team members.

“There are a lot of tissue boxes being used. Even people who think they never cry, they always end up in tears,” Dikko said.

There was a lot to celebrate this year. About three minutes prior the shuttle landing, a power surge knocked out power in mission control and the simulator. The school staff does sometimes inject malfunctions so the students can use their skills to overcome challenges. This was not a drill.

“[The students] actually trained for that sort of thing,” Laster explained. “What we had not anticipated was that power was also knocked out in the simulator. So that really sent us into a scramble. It also messed up some of the tracking systems the students were using. So they basically had to go it blind at that point. They handled it very well.”

After all the excitement of the landing, the STS-19 team had a lot to discuss during the school press conference. The entire school gathered in the cafeteria to listen to the team answer questions about their mission.

“I hope the space program gets adopted in other schools nationwide because it teaches them a lot of leadership skills,” said Joy and Princess’s father Dikko. “It helps prepare them for the future and life and general. It teaches them how to relate to each other. It goes way above and beyond their everyday school work.”

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

Sweetwater Mission Seeks Aid For Summer Lunches

During the summer break many children from low-income families in Cobb and Douglas Counties won’t have access to meals provided at school. Sweetwater Mission believes there is nothing more important than helping parents provide healthy meals for their children.

During June and July Sweetwater Mission will provide an additional 80,000 pounds of food by offering additional groceries to families with children. The focus will be nutritious foods like fresh bananas, apples, carrots, potatoes; fresh and frozen meats; 100 percent fruit juice; and kids’ favorites like applesauce, mac and cheese, and peanut butter and jelly.

Sweetwater Mission needs your help. Together, we can ensure that more than 3,500 children eat healthy, play hard and are ready for school at the end of summer break. Donations can be mailed to Sweetwater Mission — Summer Food, P. O. Box 802, Austell, GA 30168 or online at www.SweetwaterMission.org.

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