WellStar Vinings Heath Park Opens Surgery Outpatient Center

The final piece of the new WellStar Vinings Health Park fell into place with the opening of the Outpatient Surgery Center in April.

The 20,000 sq. foot surgery center includes 17 private prep and recovery rooms, three operating rooms and three procedure rooms.

The new center will also provide onsite treatment and testing, pharmacy and pathology support and   a private patient discharge elevator.

“Tonight is special because it another event in the yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of Cobb Hospital allowing us to serve our community closer to home,” said Callie Andrews, President of WellStar Cobb Hospital.

The Vinings location opened in September of 2017 as the third Health Park in Cobb. A fourth will open in Cherokee County in February.

Dr. Bill Mayfield, WellStar chief surgical officer, “what we have done here, is that we have reinvented the future of surgery.”

The new facility is “designed for patient safety, patient experience and patient flow. (The center is) packed with technology and connected by one electronic medal record.”

“Opening our Vinings Health Park Outpatient Surgery Center will allow us to meet the growing demand for outpatient care in the local market,” said Joe Brywczynski, senior vice president of WellStar Health Parks Administration & Development. “This addition allows us to offer a variety of outpatient medical services and procedures to patients close to home, in one location for increased convenience.”

The addition will create 25 new jobs, increasing the total employment at the Vinings Health Park to more than 175 team members.

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

Andrews Named New Wellstar Cobb President

WellStar Health System announced Callie Andrews as WellStar senior vice president and president of WellStar Cobb Hospital. Previously, Andrews served as the hospital’s chief operations officer (COO) for the past two years.

“Since opening as Cobb General 50 years ago this summer, WellStar Cobb Hospital has seen tremendous growth and innovation under the leadership of a distinguished group of hospital presidents,” said Carrie Owen Plietz, WellStar executive vice president & chief operations officer, Hospitals Division. “Callie will continue this legacy as she has demonstrated a constant focus on improving patient care, safety and experience and increasing team member engagement.”

Andrews brings more than 10 years of executive hospital administration experience to this role, including the past two years at WellStar Cobb Hospital. Her recent accomplishments include serving as hospital executive lead in operationalizing WellStar Vinings Health Park, overseeing several WellStar expansion and renovation projects totaling more than $35 million, and leading the development of a new cancer center and pediatric burn program at WellStar Cobb Hospital.

“It’s an honor to be named president of WellStar Cobb, especially during such a monumental time as the hospital celebrates its 50th anniversary,” said Andrews. “WellStar Cobb is a beacon for the community and along with our experienced management team and world-class caregivers and physicians, I look forward to exceeding the expectations of our patients and community.”

Before joining WellStar, Andrews held several roles at Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), serving as COO and ethics and compliance officer at HCA’s Eastside Medical Center in Snellville, Georgia and associate COO at HCA’s Redmond Regional Medical Center in Rome, Georgia. Andrews has master’s degrees in business and healthcare administration from The University of Alabama at Birmingham and a bachelor’s degree from The University of Georgia.

With 382 beds, WellStar Cobb Hospital offers several exemplary programs, including a recently renovated burn and wound unit, a state-of-the-art cardiac program and a private maternity center. Additionally, the hospital is the only one in Georgia to receive meritorious status for surgical patient outcomes from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program and is one of only six baby-friendly facilities in Georgia.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Andrews is active in the community, serving on the boards of Safe Path Children’s Advocacy Center and South Cobb Business Association. She is also involved in the Georgia Chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives, currently serving as president-elect.

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

Belmont students Name K9 Max

The Smyrna Police Department’s newest officer got a rousing reception from students at Belmont Hills Elementary School May 2.

K-9 Officer Max is a chocolate Labrador that will be sniffing out drugs and searching for missing persons.

The Smyrna Police Department purchased Max after retiring K-9 Officer Paco.

Officer Travis Seller, a four year veteran of the Smyrna Police Department is partnered with

K-9 Officer Max and they will be assigned to the Special Operation Division of the Smyrna Police Department.

K-9 Officer Max is trained in illegal narcotics detection and scent detection for people and articles. K-9 Max will also play a vital part as a community relations tool because of the Labradors fun loving temperament.

The students at Belmont Hills Elementary held a name contest last fall when the Smyrna Police Department first purchased its new canine and the students came up with the name “Max.”  “Max” was the first choice of four classes and second choice in three.

Police Chief David Lee said his first call after hearing the name choice was to Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon to see if approved of the name.

“I love it,” said the mayor.

For all of their enthusiastic support and help, the Smyrna Police Department treated all of the classes that helped in naming Max to a pizza party as well as the opportunity to interact with Smyrna Police officers.

K9 Max has been in training for several months in Gainesville, Ga. and he and his handler Officer Seller still have another week of training before being on the job.

K9 Max was born in October 2016. “He still has a little puppy in him,” Seller said.

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

Shrine Circus Arrives In Cobb

The largest Shrine Circus and Fair in North America is back for its 76th year May 19 – 28.

Packed with more excitement than ever, this year’s Tarzan Zerbini Circus features several new acts under the Big Top presented by world-famous ringmaster Richard Curtis, and the return of all your favorites including the Shrine Circus Clowns. Fireworks on both Saturdays are sure to amaze and entertain kids of all ages.

For the first time in Marietta, see the Castle Performing Bears and the Fabulous Flying Bells on the flying trapeze. Check out Saturn the Human Bullet flying high above the crowds below. The Great Daredevil Garcia, on the Wheel of Thrill, will keep everyone on the edge of their seats. And of course, The Shrine Circus and fair would not be complete without the Shrine Circus Clowns. They will be up to a whole lot of monkey business, as usual, entertaining the crowds and bringing smiles to young and old alike.

The famous voice of Richard Curtis, Ringmaster and Performance Director, will keep you informed of all the activities under the arena, including the Tarzan Zerbini Elephants led by Anthony Thomas, Also performing are the Zerbini Horses presented by Erika Zerbini, the 8th generation of the Zerbini Family. Once again you can catch a fabulous firework show on both Saturday nights of the Shrine Circus. You can also see all of the FREE ground acts, including Lew-E’s Comedy Circus Show for kids of all ages, and new in 2018 is the Tricky Dog Show, as well as Tree Man and Cowboy Woody roaming the grounds daily.

Back again this year are unbelievable ride specials including the “SNEAK-A-PEEK-RIDE-A-THON” on Friday, May 18. Just the carnival and food vendors only will open a day early and charge just $10 for unlimited rides that day and that day only. There is more, get the best deal in town by going to any Atlanta-area O’Reilly Auto Parts Stores from May 1, through the last day of the Yaarab Shrine Circus and Fair to get your Mega Pass for $21.95 which includes one gate admission, one circus admission, and unlimited carnival rides for one person for any day from open to close. You can also get buy one get one free, single-day adult admission coupons at any Food Depot location from May 1 through May 28.

Tickets will be available for online purchase for the first time this year, by visiting 2018shrinecircus.com through May 28th.

New for 2018 the Yaarab Shrine Circus and Carnival is offering $18 pay one price unlimited rides per person Monday, May 21 through Thursday May 24. And $25 pay one price unlimited rides Fridays through Sundays of the Carnival and Memorial Day Monday. The price does not include admission and all riders must be at least 36 inches tall.

All Veterans will be admitted on Memorial Day for free, Monday, May 28.

This year’s carnival midway is presented by Wade Shows. Wade Shows is consistently ranked as one of the top five amusement companies in the industry. For more than 100 years, Wade Shows has been the leader in bringing affordable family entertainment to carnival fans throughout the country.

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.

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