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.

Carrying On After Allan

The Bright Side is a good-news newspaper, but every now and then a cloud passes over the sun. A dark cloud passed over the Bright Side family – and the Lipsett family – last week with the passing of Allan Lipsett.

He and I have published the Bright Side as a team since 2007. It is a joy to bring you the news of the Smyrna, Vinings and South Cobb area, introduce you to new businesses, and keep you posted on the latest events. Allan and I have worked together to bring you the news each month, and now the Bright Side will continue without his important and steady hand.

Our family is so grateful for the kind outpouring of love from the community. From the Jonquil City Kiwanis Club to the Smyrna, Vinings, and South Cobb Business Associations, to taking pictures at many events around town, Allan spent many days in this community and both of us have made many friends.

For those who did not know Allan, or who have not yet seen it, you can see a glimpse of the interesting life he led here or in this month’s Bright Side, which is now arriving at homes and available at various places in the area. We are proud to share this month’s issue, late though it is. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Know that the Bright Side will continue. It must, if only because we know Allan would have wanted it to.

-Cathy Lipsett, Publisher

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.

WellStar Vinings Health Place Is VBA Business of Year

WellStar Vinings Health Park was named the Vinings Business Association’s “2019 Vinings Business or Organization of the Year.” The award was presented Dec. 3.

WellStar and the three other finalists were presented at the November luncheon to their business ideas and successes. Other finalists include Cobb Community Foundation, Cumberland Community Improvement District (CID), and Crispina Ristorante & Pizzeria.

“All of these nominees are winners,” said Chairman Glenn Christian. “We have been working to get the word out that Vinings is a special place.”

Loretta Usry, executive director, Health Parks South, thanked the VBA. We have everything yunder one roof.

 “We have been in the running for this quite a while and we are thrilled to be in the community. We provide many services to the community and we give back to the community in part through our indigent care fun,” she said.

The Vinings Health Park has been open for two years and its 162,000 sq. ft. building at Atlanta Road near I-285 is fully occupied.

“The whole concept is one stop shopping,” said Joe Brywczynski, senior vice president of WellStar Health Park Development. “We hope you are wowed by your experience.”

The third of five WellStar Health Parks, Vinings saw 200,000 patients the first year and some 250,000 the second.

The three other nominees include:

Andriano Djula and Raffaele Crispino opened Crispina Ristorante & Pizzeria at Paces Mill and Cobb Parkway some five years ago.

The restaurant and the newly opened Crispina Grill in the same shopping center provide a traditional Neapolitan style, southern Italian menu.

Djula said, “We work together and provide excellent family tradition recipes.”

 When we opened it would not have been possible without working with local schools and supporting the local businesses.

The Cobb Community Foundation works with some 500 non-profits, using a donor advised funding model to collect and disperse contributions. Currently it oversees some $550,000 in funds.

“We have one purpose and that’s to support the nonprofits in Cobb and encourage giving,” said Bruce Clayton, board chairman.

The Cumberland area has grown since the Cumberland Community Improvement District (CID) was formed some 31 years ago.

Kyethea Clark, Director of Operations for the CID, said this was the first CID in Georgia as commercial property owners agreed to tax themselves to fund transportation and community improvements.

Three decades ago the area was retail and office/commercial but has added many residential properties in the past several years. “Jobs and  Housing has balanced out to make this a more vibrant area,” she said. “Now you have people who stay here to do things, such as go to the Battery.”

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.

Get Rid of Bulky Trash

It’s time to clean out your closets, basements, garages and rooms. The City of Smyrna and Keep Smyrna Beautiful are hosting the first Bulky Trash Amnesty Day Saturday, Aug. 17 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Smyrna residents are invited to bring their unwanted items and drop them off at the Smyrna Public Works Department on Atlanta Road.

This event is FREE and for Smyrna residents only. Please bring proof of residency: City of Smyrna utility bill preferred but a drivers license is fine.

Items accepted include: Furniture, carpet, mattresses and box springs, grills, car parts (doors, fenders), lawn furniture, and non Freon containing appliances (washers, dryers, etc).

Items NOT accepted include: paint, any household hazardous waste, refrigerators, freezers, tires, construction debris, lawn mowers, or propane tanks.

“We are encouraging neighborhoods to work together to bring items,” said Janet Liberman. “For example: join together and rent a truck or offer to bring a neighbor’s items if you have a pickup truck and they don’t have a car big enough.”

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

Smyrna Museum Adds To Collection

The Smyrna Historical Society hosted an event at the Smyrna Library in July seeking donations for the remodeled museum and included a large display of Smyrna related artifacts. 







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Corky Welch donates City Hall sign to Smyrna Museum Manager Jennie Eldredge, and Mike Terry.

Jennie Eldredge, Museum Manager was joined by historian Mike Terry, and board members Linda Evans, Bill Marchione, and Nancy Geisler as the community turned out in record numbers to become members of the new society and enjoy viewing numerous unique and historic artifacts.

Among the donations was the original sign from the new city hall that opened in 1996. Ward 4 City Councilman Corky Welch brought the sign to the collection event at the Smyrna Public Library. Terry said the sign was on the old city hall…the white brick building…so it is about 30 years old. Not exactly an antique, but an important part of Smyrna History.

On display was the original cast-iron zero mile marker post from 1872 donated by Harold Smith, an unusual plug-tobacco cutter from an old Smyrna general store, a rare stereoscope viewer, many 1900 era kitchen items, a collection of Civil War uniform buttons, and hundreds of old photographs. 

Visitors were also given the latest information about the revitalized history museum; a grand opening is expected in October. 

To join the society, or to get more information about the history of Smyrna, contact  Mike Terry at 770-438-6182 or Linda Evans at 770-436-8062.

From the August 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.