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Cobb Life

March 2013  Volume 9, Issue 2 EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER

Otis Brumby III GENERAL MANAGER

Lee B. Garrett V.P. ADVERTISING Wade Stephens ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER

Jay Whorton E D I T O R I A L S TA F F DIRECTOR OF MAGAZINES

Mark Wallace Maguire LAYOUT AND DESIGN

Stacey L. Evans, Mark Wallace Maguire CONTRIBUTORS

Allen Bell, Joan Durbin, Stacey L. Evans, Lindsay Field, Kevin Hazzard, Michael Pallerino, Meredith Pruden, Lee Reich, Michael Venezia PHOTOGRAPHER

Jennifer Carter PHOTOGRAPHY

Joshua Campbell, Nathan Self PHOTO ASSISTANT

Marti Sacks PROOFREADERS

Beth Poirier, Jennifer Hall, Anna Clark A D V E R T I S I N G S TA F F

INDEX OF ADVERTISERS Acworth Art Fest Aqua Guard Basements Atlanta Communities Atlanta Fine Homes - Jim Glover Atlanta Kubota Atlanta Lyric Theatre Blackwell's Jewelers Carpet Dry Tech Christian Aid Mission Partnership Cobb Hardware Cochran Shutters Compassionate Care Ministries Cumberland Diamond Exchange Debbie Redford - All Around Atlanta Realty Dermatology Consultants Emory Adventist Expert Carmedics Fleming Carpet Fresh N Fit Gaines Park Assisted Living Home GEICO Georgia Memorial Park Harry Norman Henry's Louisiana Grill Hutcheson Horticulture Johnson Ferry Baptist Kiss My Grass Life Grocery

20 65 11 44 53 56 31 59 28 64 27 61 41 61 26 45 14 37 59 30 48 46 12 19 23 49 38 6

Marietta Art Walk 58 Marietta Cobb Museum of Art 21 Marietta Imaging 38 Marietta Podiatry 30 Marlowe's Tavern 18 Mayes Ward - Dobbins Funeral Home 67 Miracle Method 11 Next Stage Theatre 55 Northside Hospital 5 Northside Sleep Center 39 Parc @ Piedmont 4 Pinnacle Orthopaedics 3 Plastic Surgery Center of the South 33 Podiatry Group of Georgia 19 Presbyterian Village 54 Robins Realty 63 Roswell Street Baptist 10 Sterling Senior Living 47 Sue Hilton 36 Sundial Plumbing 15 Superior Plumbing 2 & 62 The Bottoms Group 7 The Framery 23 Three 13 Salon 31 Traditions In Tile 9 Wellstar 68 West Cobb Funeral Home 51 White Rabbit 40 Winnwood Retirement 13

COBB ADVERTISING MANAGER

Becky Opitz ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES

Stephanie deJarnette, Dawne Edge, Paula Milton, Candace Hallford, Tara Guest, Charlene Kay, Katelyn Ledford, Kelly Miears, Liz Ridley DIGITAL ADVERTISING DIRECTOR

Allison Bentley GRAPHIC DESIGNERS

Beth Poirier, Jennifer Hall, Anna Clark PRODUCTION CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Leigh Hall CIRCULATION DIRECTOR

Matt Heck I N F O R M AT I O N

Cobb Life magazine is published nine times a year by the Marietta Daily Journal and distributed to more than 33,500 homes and businesses. SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES

To subscribe, visit our website at www.cobblifemagazine.com ADVERTISING

To advertise, contact Wade Stephens at 770.795.4001 SUBMISSIONS

Please send all editorial correspondence to mmaguire@cobblifemagazine.com

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I N S I D E

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ON THE COVER: Our 20 Rising Stars of 2013.

departments 16 SPICE Discover the Aroma of fresh roasted coffee beans in northeast Cobb 24 WINE Our expert delves into the science of blends

features 22 DIAMONDS IN COBB National event coming to Marietta 29 RISING STARS Profiles of Cobb’s young movers and shakers 50 ADORNING ARBORS How to keep vines under control 52 OH DEER Let these creatures help, rather than harm, your landscape

in every issue FROM THE DIRECTOR

08

NEWS & NOTEWORTHY

10

HIGHLIGHTS

54

SCENE

57

REFLECTIONS

66

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FROM THE DIRECTOR

‘What the heck. Let’s do this’ I made the phone call before 8 a.m. on a rainy Friday morning. Our food writer, another early riser, was at her desk and picked up the phone on the first ring. “Joan,” I told her, a tinge of seriousness to my voice. “I’ve got some bad news and I hate to tell you that it in part concerns you.” “Oh?” “Yes, I’ve been summoned.” Silence. “I got a requisition last night when I returned home from the Society of Southern Gentlemen threatening to take away my credentials after they heard I ate several pieces of sushi yesterday. You can imagine, as a seventh-generation Georgian, how hard this is for me and my family. They are threatening to confiscate all my seersucker, my Ferrol Sams and Flannery O’Conner novels and put forth a statement that I cannot ever use terms such as ‘knee high to a grasshopper’ and ‘happy as a mule eatin’ briers’ again.” Joan, a good sport who has worked with me over a decade and understands my droll sense of humor, laughed. She had been concerned the day prior when we photographed a restaurant and, following years of refusal, I finally ate sushi. I didn’t have an anti-sushi complex, rather an anti-fish thing. Raised in mainly cities growing up – and none of them within a few hours of the coast – my family rarely ate seafood or country fried catfish, trout,

bass or the like. My only true love for fish is the delectable tastes of Captain D’s or Long John Silver’s. So I wasn’t at a point in my life to try out anything new fish or fish-related. But I was sitting in a restaurant with the best food writer in metro Atlanta. I realized my life was probably over half over (not to be macabre, but I hit 40 this year) and said, “What the heck. Let’s do this.” I wound up eating six pieces. I won’t needlessly gush here and say it was the best dining experience of my life and the chances of my actively seeking sushi again are high - say as opposed to a good steak or savory rack of lamb. But it was good. It was a new experience and it was worth trying. Again, what the heck, let’s do this. Maybe that is where it is all heading now as I near the 40 mark. The great Southern writer Lewis Grizzard once wrote he will try anything once and then related how he sneezed out a very pricey amount of cocaine

onto the dashboard of someone’s pick-up. I surely am not going as far as trying everything once – especially anything involving cocaine and a pick up truck. But, I am realizing, that time does not stop at age 22. Opportunities and occasions don’t always pass your way twice. So, this year I might venture to try some more new experiences. I’ve done my share of outdoor adventures, chock full of hiking and biking on two continents, rock climbing, white water rafting and even been stricken with the unforgettable experience of having food poisoning while traveling in a foreign country alone. I also have enough excitement working, raising two young boys and trying to be a decent husband to need to give skydiving or hang gliding a try. But, I am also coming to the revelation that minor adventures should not be forsaken. A bit of sushi might be just the jump start I need before settling into a routine.

Mark Wallace Maguire

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Beef and bowties?

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stay connected

Yes. Just a small part of our MAN ISSUE coming in April!

Like our print edition, but want more? You can visit our website, www.cobblifemagazine.com for exclusive content, including play reviews, updated blogs and rare photos. You can also follow us on facebook and twitter.

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[food and dining]

Culinary changes afoot Two downtown Marietta staples get new owners Two of Marietta Square’s best-known restaurants have new owners. Sterling and Nancy Wharton of Marietta purchased both Willie Rae’s and Simpatico in January from longtime owner Ben Lyman. The two eateries have been mainstays of “restaurant row” on North Park for years. The Whartons plan to let their daughter Katie Pfister and husband Micah — both of whom are accomplished chefs — run the restaurants. The menu at Willie Rae’s will remain mostly the same, with the addition of some Simpatico favorites. Meanwhile, Simpatico is joining the trend of “local fare-to-table” movement by relying heavily on growers from Cobb County, many of whom can be found at the popular Marietta Farmers’ Market on the Square, Wharton said. In another big change, the Pfisters will open a bakery upstairs in Simpatico, which will produce all the breads and desserts offered downstairs. Other plans include having late-night hours to capture the “after-show” crowd from the Strand, Wharton said. Simpatico will also get an updated interior, he said.

New seafood restaurant Pier 213 opens Pier 213 Seafood opened in February on S. Marietta Parkway not far from the Square. Marietta residents and brother and sister Kevin and Kammie Sakprasit are bringing a variety of fried, grilled and steamed plates of seafood to diners in a fast casual restaurant. The menu focuses on high-quality ingredients and freshly-caught seafood from the Gulf Coast. The siblings also own Irvington Seafood in Mobile, Alabama, and have been supplying metro area restaurants with seafood for the last eight years. Signature items at Pier 213 include a crab cake dish made with plump crab meat, richly seasoned and pan-fried. In addition to their regular menu, Pier 213 frequently offers shrimp, crab and crawfish low-country boils on a seasonal basis. The familyfriendly restaurant also has a special menu for children. Inside the nautical-themed 3,200-squarefoot dining area, the restaurant seats up to 80 guests. The spacious patio can seat up to 16 diners. Pier 213 Seafood is at 35 S. Marietta Parkway in Marietta and is open daily. For more information about Pier 213, call (678) 290-8170 or visit pier213.com.

GOT AN ITEM FOR NEWS AND NOTEWORTHY?

10

Cobb Life March 2013

Tell us! Just send us an email at mmaguire@ cobblifemagazine.com. We want to hear from you!

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news & noteworthy East Cobb’s Eric E. Jacobson, executive director for the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, was recently honored by the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP for the work of the council and its signature concept, the Real Communities Initiative. Real Communities was launched in 2009 and provides cutting-edge, intentionally inclusive activities throughout the State with a focus on projects that create opportunities for all people - with and without disabilities - to be fully engaged in the social life and civic development of their communities. Real Communities supports programs across Georgia that help people become better prepared to address a variety of issues that affect not only people with disabilities, but involve everyone in a community. Programs range from transportation to housing to community building efforts that bring people together in new ways. GCDD'S current Real Communities Initiatives include Refugee Family Services/Global Growers Network in Atlanta Clarkston area, City of Milton Better Together, Forsyth Farmers Market in Savannah, Centenary United Methodist Church in Macon, Korean Coalition in Atlanta, Gwinnett Gives Time Bank in the Atlanta area and the City of Fitzgerald.

[people] East Cobb’s Jacobson honored by NAACP

Eric and Terri Jacobson at the banquet.

March 2013 Cobb Life

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[home and garden] Grow your own cure with natural herbs

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What if you could soothe a sore throat or a headache with the snip of a scissors? Plant some herbs indoors now, before fall sets in, and you could have a winter's worth of folksy remedies. Many medicinal plants, especially herbs, grow well indoors, says Amy Jeanroy, who runs a greenhouse business near her Ravenna, Neb., home, and writes and teaches about medicinal herbs. She recommends starting with these five: thyme, chamomile, mint, lemon balm and sage. Each works well as a tea: Grow, cut and dry them for use throughout the year, or use fresh herbs. To brew a tea, add 1 teaspoon of dried — or 3 teaspoons of fresh — herbs to 1 cup of boiled water; steep several minutes, then remove the herbs. All five herbs aid digestion, says herbalist Christina Blume, who has taught medicinal and other herb-related classes at the Denver Botanic Gardens. "A lot of herbs that people already cook with are herbs that have medicinal qualities," adds Jeanroy. "It doesn't necessarily mean it's kicking the flu for you. It helps you." Physician Andrew Weil maintains a list of healthful herbs and their uses at his website, DrWeil.com. Consult a doctor before trying to treat a health problem with herbs, Jeanroy says. She treats her five children with herbs such as chamomile. "It helps with the crankiness the kids get when they're feverish," she says. Thyme, Jeanroy says, can soothe a throat sore from coughing, and Blume touts its anti-viral properties. "I always drink thyme tea when I fly," says Blume, "because you're re-breathing all that air that everyone's breathing and (the tea) tastes good." Mint — especially peppermint — is a home remedy for an upset stomach. And it can mask the strong or bitter taste of some other herbs, such as sage, which can soothe mouth sores and bleeding gums after dental work, says Jeanroy. Lemon balm can be drunk as a tea to counter headaches, added to other medicinal teas to mask an unpleasant taste, or steeped stronger to make a topical, antiseptic cleanser for a skinned knee or itchy bug bite, she says. "If there's one herb that does tons of great stuff, lemon balm is it," says Jeanroy. Medicinal gardens are centuries old; modern ones date back to the apothecary gardens of the Italian Renaissance during the 16th century, says Teresa Mazikowski, a staff gardener who spearheaded the Buffalo and Erie County (N.Y.) Botanical Gardens' indoor medicinal garden last October. Botanical gardens grew out of these early medicinal gardens. The indoor medicinal garden that Mazikowski tends goes beyond common herbs. It was planted with public education in mind, she says, and includes rare and tropical plants, as well. Cobb Life March 2013

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[home and garden] Plywood a solid choice for change The home-improvement and design shows make it look easy: Take a simple sheet of inexpensive plywood and presto! In a few minutes, you've got a table, a cabinet or a lounge chair. It's not that fast or dirt-cheap, but it can be that easy, according to woodworking experts who speak fondly of plywood's many merits. "Plywood is the starting point for many of the things I build," says artist and designer Jimmy DiResta of New York City. "With some imagination and inventiveness it can become anything." Plywood is cheaper and often stronger than solid wood, easy to find at homeimprovement or lumber stores, and — darn it — it looks good. Plywood is made from thin layers — called plies, or veneers — glued together under heat and pressure, with each ply laid perpendicular to the next. This "cross-graining" gives plywood its strength and stability, says Philip Schmidt, author of "PlyDesign" (Storey Publishing, 2012). Since plywood comes in more than a dozen standard thicknesses and twice as many grades, check a buying guide — Home Depot has one online — before purchasing it. Schmidt recommends using a cabinet-grade material, such as Baltic birch, for do-it-yourself projects. The plies are thin and even, and the exterior is smooth, sanded and blemish-free. "PlyDesign" includes 73 projects for novices and experienced builders. Do-ityourself project magazines such as Ready Made and Make, and online sites such as Instructables offer many other ways to use plywood. "Plywood is inherently modern, if you think of modern as starting in the 1920s," says Schmidt, of Denver. "It's still beautiful wood.”

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[food and dining] This broccoli soup is sure to surprise Broccoli is the star of this substantial stick-to-your-ribs soup. To be sure, there's some Canadian bacon in it, adding flavor, but it plays only a supporting role. And just as this soup boasts smokiness without a lot of bacon fat, it is thick and creamy without any butter, cream or flour. The trick? Pureeing the vegetables. Any soup with enough vegetables will be creamy when you puree it. And just about any vegetable will work, though I'll admit I smuggled in a single Yukon gold potato to assist the broccoli in this recipe. And by the way, a soup without a lot of cream or butter will not only be leaner, it also will taste that much more vividly of the vegetables with which it is made. Cream and butter, much as I love them, tend to tamp down flavor. I hope you will consider this mostly vegetable soup a suitable candidate for the main course at dinner. With some grilled or toasted country bread and a green salad on the side, I promise you will be plenty satisfied. SMOKY CREAM OF BROCCOLI SOUP WITH SHARP CHEDDAR - Start to finish: 45 minutes - Servings: 4 mains or 8 starters - 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided - 3/4 pound Canadian bacon, chopped - 1 medium yellow onion, sliced (about 1 cup) - 2 pounds fresh broccoli (4 cups small florets set aside, the rest, including the stalks, trimmed of tough skin and coarsely chopped) - 1 small Yukon gold potato (about 6 ounces), scrubbed and thinly sliced - 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth Kosher salt and ground black pepper - 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste - 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated Heat the oven to 450 F. In a large saucepan over medium, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until slightly golden. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a bowl and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add another tablespoon of the oil and the onion to the pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened. Add the coarsely chopped broccoli (not the florets), potato and chicken broth. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes, stirring every so often, or until the broccoli and potatoes are very tender. Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet toss the florets with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Season with salt and pepper, then spread in an even layer. Roast in the top third of the oven for 5 minutes, or until lightly caramelized. When the vegetables in the soup are tender, transfer the soup to a blender and puree, in batches, until smooth. Be careful and only fill the blender a third full each time. Return the soup to the saucepan, along with the roasted broccoli florets and the Canadian bacon. Add the lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper. Add water, if necessary, to achieve the desired texture. Ladle the soup into 4 shallow soup bowls and top each portion with some of the cheddar. - Sara Moulton

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[home and garden]

[arts]

Win brunch with DIY Network star Jeff Devlin at the Spring Atlanta Home Show

JAZZ ROOTS music series receives grant

The Spring Atlanta Home Show, Georgia’s largest home show (www.AtlantaHomeShow.com), will return to the Cobb Galleria Centre March 22 through 24. The popular annual event will bring together over 350 experts in the home remodeling and landscaping industries to showcase the latest products and services for homes of all sizes and styles. Jeff Devlin of the DIY Network will bring his entertaining blend of know-how and good humor to the Reliable Heating & Air Home Show Stage, headlining a roster of exciting speakers who will appear throughout the three-day event. “The Spring and Fall Atlanta Home Shows offer homeowners one-stop shopping like no other event,” said show director Michael Schoppenhorst. “Here they can see new products demonstrated, ask questions, talk to the experts, comparison shop and enjoy demonstrations by nationallyknown home and landscape professionals.” One lucky person and a guest will win the opportunity to have brunch with Devlin on Saturday, March 23. Details on how to enter the contest will be announced on the Atlanta Home Show’s official Facebook page www.facebook.com/atlantahomeshow. Plus, one lucky attendee will win a brand new kitchen from IKEA.

Other speakers include Walter Reeves, Tonya M. Williams and Joe Washington. General Admission tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the show’s entrance. Information: 770.798.1997.

The National Endowment for the Arts announced in late December it was awarding a $10,000 grant to The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre Foundation to support its JAZZ ROOTS series. Monies received from the grant will support the education initiatives of the JAZZ ROOTS program launched by the Cobb Energy Centre Foundation in 2012. The goal of the educational component of JAZZ ROOTS is to teach, inspire and enrich young people through unique active learning opportunities to experience jazz music, both in the theater and in the classroom, including the cultural influences that impact this art form. Information: www.cobbenergycentre.com/foundation and www.jazzroots.net/atlanta.

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By Joan Dur bin P hotog r aphy by Jennif er Car ter

The tantalizing fragrance of roasted coffee beans teases your nostrils the moment you walk through the door of the aptly named Aroma Ridge, a specialty coffee company

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Far right, Nazim Shaheed prepares to roast a batch. Below,CEO Nawal Shadeed takes freshly-baked Wicked Jack’s Tavern Rum Cakes from the oven. Right, a butter and rum mixture is added to the cakes.

“When we are roasting, a lot of our neighbors come outside just for the aroma,” CEO Nawal Shadeed said with a smile as she welcomed us into the office area of the 23year-old family-owned business. For coffee aficionados like me, the only thing better than that wonderful smell is sipping from a steaming mug of java brewed from freshly roasted and ground beans. The coffee I drank that day at Aroma Ridge was amazingly good, far better than any I have ever been able to make myself, even though I religiously grind my own beans at home every morning.

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Dr. Tammy K. Gephart Board Certified Podiatric Surgeon 147 Johnson Ferry Road Suite 4230 Marietta, Georgia 30068

404.806.3731 PodiatryGroupofGeorgia.com

One of the differences, Nawal said, is in the freshness of the beans. Aroma Ridge roasts only enough beans each day to fill orders on hand. It guarantees that the coffee a customer buys is at its peak. For bagged coffee, even for bulk coffees, sold at retail markets, there is a time lapse between roasting and when it is sold. The coffee can be sitting for days or even weeks in warehouses and delivery trucks before it gets to store shelves, where it can sit some more before a customer takes it home. But there is another major reason that Aroma Ridge’s coffee is superior: the quality of the beans. “We source from small established family-owned plantations around the world,” Nawal said. “We’ve been around a long time, and people we source from know our family cares about the products they put out.” All of the coffees are fair trade and all beans are hand picked. “Each coffee has a story. Each coffee sack has its own special artwork from its plantation as a form of branding,” she said. Papua New Guinea, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Kenya, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, Cameroon – the list of countries sending beans to Aroma Ridge goes on and on. The Jamaica Blue Mountain beans are the real deal, certified by the country’s coffee board, which permits only the highest quality beans to be exported under the Blue Mountain brand name. The company also creates blends of the various beans for even more variety. Two of these, Baba’s Blend and Mama’s March 2013 Cobb Life

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770.421.9600 aromaridge.com 1831 West Oak Parkway Marietta 30062

Blend, quickly became favorites at our house. “Baba” is Nazim Shadeed, the family patriarch who left Lebanon when he was 16 to work in Jamaica. That’s where he met and married Mirl, known affectionately to all as “Mama,” learned everything he could about the coffee trade and started a family. When Nawal, his oldest child, was ready for college, the Shadeeds moved to metro Atlanta so she could attend Kennesaw State University. After incorporating in 1990, they started with a three-pound coffee roaster and gradually grew the business to what it is today, with a three-year flirtation with owning a retail coffee shop along the way. Currently, the family all lives in East Cobb, just minutes from their 11,000-square-foot space on West Oak Parkway. Nawal and her parents all work there full time, with four other full time employees. Other family members, even some of the youngest ones, pitch in during busy times and on school breaks. They roast for 20 coffee houses and stores in the metro area and 450 nationwide and pack the coffee with each customer’s private label. “We help them build their own brand,” Nawal said. “We also do a lot of fundraising for churches and schools and baseball teams who sell our coffees. We design their own order form and labels. We try to make it so easy for them.” Though they aren’t set up for retail sales at the warehouse, the Shadeed family will gladly roast for small orders from the public, as long as they call in the order at least 24 hours in advance of pick up. But there is more to Aroma Ridge than simply excellent coffee. Wicked Jack’s Tavern rum cakes are baked on premises using Mirl’s mother’s recipe. Appleton Estate Rum from Jamaica is the key ingredient, with cake flavors including chocolate, butter vanilla and red velvet. A slice of Wicked Jack’s is almost sinfully good with a cup of coffee, as are the luscious biscotti the Shadeeds also bake there. I have never been a fan of biscotti, but these are so delicately moist and full of flavor that I find them almost irresistible. Aroma Ridge also makes coffees blended with all natural, no sugar syrups for a change of pace. Those syrups are also sold by the bottle and can be used with everything from iced tea to ice cream. Perhaps the most unique item Aroma Ridge sells is kopi luwak, beans of coffee berries that have been eaten and excreted by Asian civets, or “coffee mouse.” Popularized by the film “The Bucket List,” this coffee is so rare that its cost will startle the average consumer: $350 a pound or $40 for two ounces, which will make a pot of 10 to 12 cups. Coffee connoisseurs are still in the minority in Georgia, where the sweet tea culture reigns supreme. But that is changing, Nawal said. “People used to buy coffee and not look at the label, but awareness has grown and people are experimenting more. Now there are so many different coffees to taste, it’s just like wines,” she said. “Life is too short to drink bad coffee.”

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Photos courtesy of Associated Press

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What do Paula Abdul, Dionne Warwick, Eric Benet, Lou Gossett, Jr. and Dr. Drew have in common? They will all be at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre in Marietta March 16. Yes, one of the nation’s most esteemed events is coming to Cobb County and bringing with it an A-list of actors, musicians and celebrities and helping raise (maybe to help?) funds for a good cause. The third annual Diamond Awards is taking place at the theatre March 16 at 7 p.m. The event benefits the Not Alone Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial assistance and educational and medical resources for chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease. The event is being presented by Coca-Cola. Cobb Life is a media sponsor. In addition to the awards ceremony hosted by Emmy Award winning actress Jackee Harry, The Coca-Cola Corporation and The Not Alone Foundation have created a bevy of events that will allow the public to interact with celebrities, support collegiate scholars and raise much needed contributions for the foundation’s general fund. Here is a brief overview of events throughout the weekend:

Award-Winning Landscapes Since 1989

- On Friday, March 15 at 9 a.m. the J.W. Marriot, Buckhead will host The Diamond Awards Educational Summit. At Noon, Canton, Georgia’s Bridge Athletic Club will be the venue as The Coca-Cola Corporation honors men of distinction Ahmad Rashad, Alan Thicke and Ken Howard at a reception to kick off the First Annual Not Alone Foundation Celebrity Golf Tournament. - On March 16, host Jackee Harry will serve as the celebrity ambassador for The Not Alone Foundation’s signature program Laps for Life. From 9 a.m. to noon, the Marietta Square will serve as the backdrop for free health screenings, college and corporate recruitment programs and one of the liveliest outdoor fundraisers of the season. - Directly following The Third Annual Diamond Awards presentation, the weekend will conclude with the Chairman’s Annual Dinner. The invitation only banquet will offer honorees, presenters, sponsors, VIPs and media the opportunity to celebrate the many successes and accomplishments of the weekend events.

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Irrigation • Drainage • Hardscapes Retaining Walls • Water Features

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b l e n ds prod uc e a

fusion By Michael Venezia Photography by Jennifer Carter

of fl avors Just as a chef utilizes a number of ingredients to enhance a basic recipe, a winemaker will often incorporate any number of blending variables to produce a wine which ultimately combines many different components with the hope of making a more complete, complex and flavorful wine.

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The Blend – Old World Model

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Cobb Life March 2013

Many producers are bound by traditional regulations which dictate several rules which must be adhered to in wine production. The French AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controlee) and the Italian DOC (Denominazione d’Origine Controllata), are the two classic benchmarks. Although many of the world’s most famous wines are blends of several compatible varietals, many new world wine regions such as California are not bound by these old world regulations. For example the Bordeaux region of France under AOC compels the producer to fashion his red wine from any combination of approved varietals. Therefore if a red wine is produced in Bordeaux, the winemaker is required to compose the blend from as many as five grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, petit verdot and malbec are the only red grapes permitted under the AOC law. However there is no regulation as to what percentage of each must appear in the final blend. This practice is based on the unpredictable vagaries of Mother Nature and the challenging weather patterns which affect this region of Southwest France. As each varietal has its unique growth cycle, the prevailing climate conditions during a particular year will dictate when specific varietals are harvested based on their ripeness and what percentage will ultimately be used in the final blend.

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Weather, soils, vineyard locations and even the vines’ age, rootstock, and clonal selections will

influence

the final blend.

The Blend - New World Model California, America’s premier wine growing area, often promotes on the label the name of the prominent varietal. By law, in order for a wine to read cabernet sauvignon or any variety, it must contain at least 75 percent of the named grape. This gives the producer the opportunity to blend up to a quarter of the wines’ total constituents into the finished product. This gives the winemaker the ability to determine what will happily cohabitate in the finished wine, enhancing the color, aroma, and sensory impact of the final blend. No rules or regulations on grape type are imposed giving options like syrah, zinfandel or even white grapes the opportunity to join in the alchemy. So in effect, there are no restraints to the creativity options.

Regional Blends In many wine grown areas, multi-regional varietal components are often used to add layers of flavor to a wine blend. For instance, a wine labeled California Chardonnay often contains fruit sourced from a number of smaller American Viticultural Areas (AVA). Sonoma, Santa Barbara, Lake and Monterey counties are used by many producers to accent the fundamental and unique characteristics of these regional viticultural areas. Weather, soils, vineyard locations and even the vines’ age, rootstock, and clonal selections will influence the final blend.

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Fermentation Blends Many wines are the result of different fermentation regimens. Certain white wines are fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks used to retain varietal character and natural acidity. Often chardonnay ferments utilize both tank and oak barrels to incorporate color, aromas and textured nuances that are natural elements found in the wood. This layering builds additional components which are popular flavor enhancements enjoyed by many consumers. The oak can be sourced from any number of forests specializing in trees grown exclusively for barrel cooperage. A handful of the most popular are found in central France, Missouri, Slovenia, Hungry and Russia. Wine makers are extremely particular in their barrel sourcing and will often identify specific forests in France such as Allier, Troncais and Limousin. The thickness of wood’s grain, a tree’s age, the natural tannins contained in the oak, the size of the barrel, as well as the stave width will have an effect on the flavor of the wine. There is a perceivable personality difference between the delicacy of French oak to the more powerful impact of American oak. A new barrel will have more influence on a wine than a used or seasoned barrel just as a new tea bag will produce a more flavorful brew than a twice steeped tea bag. Lastly, the barrels are “toasted” and release subtle aromas of vanilla by caramelizing the natural sugars contained in the oak, which also impact the character of the finished wine. All of these factors come into play when blending decisions are made.

Aging

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Whether the wine is white or red, the time the wine rests in cask will give the producer another way of enhancing the flavors of his particular blend. For example, a chardonnay wine blended from grapes fermented in 70 percent new French oak, aged for 10 months on the lees and introduced to a pure stainless still fermented chardonnay will possess dramatically different characteristics than one that is produced from a blend that is fermented in 100 percent French oak from 3 year old casks. As you can see there are many different approaches to the idea of blending wines with an infinite number of possibilities offering the winemaker and consumer a multitude of styles to taste and appreciate.

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COBB’S 20 RISING STARS UNDER 40

Several of our ‘Rising Stars’ at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre on the Marietta Square. From left, Rob Swartwood, Tracy Rathbone, Crystal Johnson and Jeremy Abernathy. COMPILED BY STACEY L. EVANS, JENNIFER HAFER, KEVIN HAZZARD, MICHAEL PALLERINO AND MEREDITH PRUDEN. PHOTOGRAPHY BY JENNIFER CARTER

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MA RN I E W I L L I AMS f you’ve ever wondered what a real life Wonder Woman looks like, just spend a day with Marnie Williams. Now a seven-year veteran at The Weather Channel, she began her career just out of

I

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20 RISING STARS UNDER 40 Community Manager of Social Media at The Weather Channel

college at a local television affiliate in South Florida and held positions at The Sally Jesse Raphael Show and The Home Shopping Network before moving to Atlanta to take a director position at TWC. After spending

five years in the control room there, Williams noticed a change in technology that resulted in leadership interest in the online space. “They were looking for a community manager,” she said. “I took a leap of faith, applied and interviewed with people I had never met, but I got it. It was one of the best decisions I ever made besides taking the job with The Weather Channel in the first place.”

the stats Age: 37 Family: Married to Tim. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, University of South Florida. Volunteer Activities: University of South Florida board Alumni Association Atlanta Chapter board of directors and social chair; Atlanta Heart Walk with TWC team.

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770-422-9856 Dr. Matthew G. Butler www.mariettapodiatrygroup.com Physical Therapist

• Podiatric & Diabetic Clinic • Physical Therapy Department • State-of-the-Art Ambulatory Surgical Center • Sports Injuries

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The social team at TWC is a small one—only Williams and a social media manager—yet they manage to sustain the social strategy for all programming. In fact, they’ve more than sustained it, they’ve grown it to close to 1.4 million fans today, doubling their numbers across platforms in 2012 alone. “What I love about social media is the instant reaction from the community,” Williams said. “If we post something on the brand Facebook page and it gets 3,000 Likes in an hour, that’s instant gratification and lets us know what we’re doing is resonating with fans.” When she’s not busy cultivating TWC’s social presence, Williams writes for her own popular food and wine blog, founded in 2010 with her husband Tim, called Grapes and Hops Atlanta (at www.grapesandhopsatl.com). What did we tell you? Wonder Woman.

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DAMEREN PARENTEAU

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20 RISING STARS UNDER 40 Chef de Cuisine at Muss & Turner’s

He’s quirky, quick-witted, affable ativity. When he moved back to the and passionate, and these qualities metro area, he regularly came to extend beyond his personal life into visit a friend who worked at Muss & his professional career. In fact, it’s Turners but Parenteau was employed easy to see why foodies flock to as a chef elsewhere. Muss & Turner’s in Vinings for his “This quickly became one of my playful (and delicious) creations. favorite places to eat, but I was Chef de Cuisine working up in Acthe stats Dameren Parworth,” Parenteau Age: 38 enteau puts so said. “I moved over Family: Hilary Herlinger. Two much of himself here, started on the children, Julian, 12 and Liet, 9. into his rotating line and moved up.” Education: “Some college, but menu and daily Now the captain of I mostly sat around in the specials, it could his kitchen for more courtyard reading books.” be said his food is than a year, he’s alVolunteer Activities: “We do a just an extension ways looking for the lot of community-based stuff at of him—on a next thing and finds it the restaurant.” plate. in the passions of the “My philosopeople on his team. phy on food is comfortable but fun,” “The open-ended creativity of the he said. “That’s really it.” chefs here means we’re never stuck Although he grew up in Cobb on one menu,” he said. “We just get County, Parenteau began his culito play with what’s in season and nary journey as a dishwasher at local or some soy sauce made in Athens’ restaurant East West Bistro, Japan that we can get our hands on. where he quickly started working as We don’t lock ourselves in.” And a sous chef and picked up the head that’s what keeps locals coming back chef’s enthusiasm for food and crefor more.

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FR A N C ES SHAW

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20 RISING STARS UNDER 40 Owner, Frannie’s Gluten Free Muffins

Like many successful entrepreneurs, Frances Shaw (Gluten Free Certification Organization), which requires saw a problem and solved it. After experiencing health monthly testing so you know lines are dedicated gluten free issues and realizing she needed to eat and there’s no cross contamination.” gluten free, she changed her diet and, ultithe stats To that end, Shaw found a local bakery that mately, changed her life. is free of all the same allergens as her prodAge: 24 “Changing my diet made a big differucts. Family: Single ence for me,” she said. “Especially with Only a little more than two years after Education: “I went to SCAD flours and milk, so I came up with a zucfor three years but didn’t finlaunching Frannie’s, Shaw is enjoying widechini muffin recipe and thought, ‘Maybe I ish.” spread popularity and her gluten free muffins should do something with this.’” Volunteer Activities: “We do are sold at local natural food stores and in the A year later, in 2010, Frannie’s Gluten a lot of donations to races and natural foods section of all Kroger stores. “It’s Free Muffins was born. organizations, including the nice to provide something new to people who “I really wanted to bring good, allergy Kids Enabled Resource Fair for have had food allergies for a long time,” Shaw free muffins to the community for other kids with learning and develsaid. “But it’s a great feeling to have someopmental differences.” people who need to eat this way,” Shaw thing little kids can eat and actually enjoy.” said. “When you have multiple food allergies it’s hard to find something that meets all your requirements.” “When you have Today, Frannie’s muffins are free of seven of eight major food allergens—there’s even one that’s free of it’s hard to find something all major allergens. that meets all your requirements.” “I started off in my kitchen,” she said. “But, it’s really important to be 100 percent gluten free GSCO

allergies

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multiple food

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JEREMY JAMAL ABERNATHY

20 RISING STARS UNDER 40 Pastor and Attorney

It almost seems as if Jeremy Abernathy’s path back to Marietta was divinely designed. A 1997 graduate of McEachern High School, Abernathy attended Morehouse on a football scholarship. After graduating from the esteemed Atlanta institution, he graduated from law school at Loyola University of New Orleans School of Law before clerking in the stats DeKalb Superior Court for two years, Age: 33 followed by a year Family: Married to Tiffany. The couple has three daughters, spent with the public Havalynn, 10, Kyndal, 5, and defender’s office in Emory Grace, 4. Carroll County and Education: Bachelor of Arts, two years with King Morehouse College. Law De& Spalding. gree, Loyola University. Pursuing a Master’s of Religion at Liberty University Seminary. “I always thought I Volunteer Activities: MUST would end up back here,” Ministries. said Abernathy, a family law attorney. “Cobb is the best mix of small town and big town; you’re only a short drive away from Atlanta and all it has to offer, but at the same time, it’s a great place to raise your family.” An attorney with The Manely Firm P.C., Abernathy sees his role as friend and arbiter. “The way I look at family law is I’m reorganizing families the best way I can in a tough situation,” he said. “I have to be a friend, so my clients trust the advice I provide, and I’m also an arbiter as well, in that I have to deal with the opposing side.” But there’s a bigger adversary Abernathy takes on each Sunday in his role as the recently installed pastor at Noonday Missionary Baptist Church. “I feel like preaching is my first priority, which allows me to do everything else effectively,” Abernathy said. “Growing up, one quote that has stuck with me is, ‘he who serves all best, serves himself,’ and that’s what led me into ministry, and law as well.” After receiving the call to become the 19th pastor of the 124-year-old Noonday Missionary Baptist Church, Abernathy made a surprising discovery: His wife’s great, great grandmother is buried in the church’s cemetery. “It certainly affirms my appointment was divinely inspired,” he said.

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20 RISING STARS UNDER 40

R OB SWARTW OOD Attorney, Gregory, Doyle, Calhoun & Rogers; President, Ranger Coffee

War may be hell, but for all too many veterans, it pales in comparison to the shock of returning to civilian life. PTSD, alienation, a diminished sense of purpose and survivor’s guilt, often prove too much for the even the strongest of minds. The government tries to help, but often falls short. Civilians lend a hand, but can’t relate. A full transition back into civilian life, true healing, requires the help of those who know the road. Marietta’s Rob Swartwood, an attorney with Gregory, Doyle, Calhoun & Rogers, is a decorated Army veteran of the Iraq and Afghan wars. He knows all too well the pressures returning vets face. “The war has had ill effects on the military forces,” Swartwood says. “Now they’re trying to transition to civilian life and they face a number of issues. I transitioned well, I want to help others do the same.” So, last year Swartwood and his wife Mandy assumed ownership of a company called Ranger Coffee. Though the company had been generous to veterans in the past, Ranger Coffee’s charter didn’t go far enough for the Swartwoods. So, immediately upon taking over, they restructured its business model, mandating that 50 percent of the profits be given directly to causes benefitting veterans. Since then, the company has donated to Team Red White & Blue, Gallant Few and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. “I’ve always had a servant’s heart,” Swartwood says. “And I want to help shore up what could be our nation’s next Greatest Generation.”

the stats Age: 36 Family: Married to Mandy. The couple has two sons, Trey, 3, and Harper, 6 months. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, United States Military Academy at West Point. Law Degree, University of Georgia. Volunteer Activities: Pro-bono legal services; board service on Congressman Gingrey’s Academy Nominating Board, the State Bar of Georgia’s Military and Legal Assistance Program Committee, the Community Advisory Board of the Junior League of Cobb-Marietta; mentor and advocate for U.S. military veterans, and volunteer for various veteran organizations. Awards and Honors: Decorated Army officer and two-time recipient of the Bronze Star Medal for combat service in Iraq and Afghanistan; Blue Key National Honor Society; Ernest Barrett Award Recipient, Leadership Cobb ‘12.

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CRYSTAL JOHN SON

It’s not personal, it’s business. Perhaps the best known of the mobster movie clichés, the line is almost as over-used in real life as it is in the movies. Indeed, we accept it as fact. Yet, if the career of Crystal Johnson is any indicator, perhaps it’s best relegated to the world of make-believe. Johnson works in Business Development, Consumer Product Testing for Applied Technical Services (ATS), a Mariettabased company that tests the safety of everything from nuclear facilities to baby bottles. And for her, the business is very personal. Johnson’s grandfather started the company in his basement. Her father has been the president for 15 years. Johnson, herself, started working at ATS when she was 12 – sweeping the floors. “ATS is in my dad’s blood,” Johnson says. “He brought me here when I was a child. I’ve been around it my whole life.” After graduating from Georgia State, Johnson took a job at a payroll company, but felt the pull of the family business. “I always knew I’d be back,” she says. “Everything I’ve done has been preparation for this.” She is drawn to ATS by more than just familiarity, however. In her role of consumer product testing,

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20 RISING STARS UNDER 40 Business Development, Applied Technical Services Inc.

Johnson has found a calling. “I’m very passionate about my area of expertise because I have very young children.” Johnson says her ultimate goal is to be a senior executive at ATS. Will her years sweeping the floor help her out? They can’t hurt. “My dad really believes you have to work your way up,” Johnson says, with a laugh.

the stats Age: 31 Family: Married to David. The couple has two children, Sydney Lynn, 5, and Lawson, 3. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Georgia State University. Volunteer Activities: Peachtree Road United Methodist Church (member and volunteer), Eden Village, Toys for Tots, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Habitat for Humanity, Neighborhood HOA.

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GA BRI EL W EI N BERG

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20 RISING STARS UNDER 40 Founder and CEO, DuckDuckGo

T

Multi-Millon Dollar Producer

(678) 631-1713 Direct Line Visit my website @ www.suehilton.com An Independent Member Broker

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(678) 631-1700

he list of internet pioneers who dropped out of college to pursue their goals is illustrious. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs. Gabriel Weinberg would have joined their ranks if not for gym class. “I had a summer internship after my junior year and I planned to drop out after that,” says Weinberg, who was studying at MIT at the time. “But I found out the only thing I was missing to get a physics degree was a physical education requirement. All I had to do to finish was play soccer two the stats days a week.” Age: 33 Though Weinberg returned Family: Married to Lauren to finish his degree, his mind McCann. The couple has two was already elsewhere. He boys, Eli, 3, and Ryan, 1. sunk some of the tuition money Education: Bachlor’s Degree, his parents had given him into MIT; Master’s Degree, MIT. a business. His grand plan? He didn’t have one. “MIT is a brain pool,” he says. “I started asking around and was pointed to people who knew what they were doing.” Weinberg’s idea was a social networking site that he sold in 2006. Soon after he started a family and moved to Pennsylvania, but he continued developing concepts. His next was DuckDuckGo, a search engine that has grown to notch over 50 million direct searches. Any business plan that puts you in direct competition with behemoths like Google, Yahoo and Bing might not seem like a recipe for success, but Weinberg targets the things those larger engines can’t – less clutter and none of the intrusive tracking of consumers. If he can pull that off, will the big guys come calling? “There’s no room to sell, because the industry has room,” the East Cobb native says. “Besides, selling would mean we’d have to change.”

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LISA CUPI D

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20 RISING STARS UNDER 40 Cobb County Commissioner, District 4

As a Cobb County Commissioner (District 4), Lisa Cupid understands that the people who elected her into office genuinely desire the best for their families and communities. That’s what makes her first foray into political office - she was sworn in Jan. 4 - so worthwhile. Cupid, a Georgia Tech mechanical engineering graduate who currently is completing graduate degrees in law and public administration at Georgia State, ran her campaign on the rally cry that District 4 needed better representation. It needed a leader who could better engage people in county matters; ensure equitable investment of taxes across Cobb; recognize and support business and entrepreneurship; and establish communities that are attractive, safe, walkable and complete with neighborhood amenities. When it was over, Cupid’s passion to make Cobb an even better place to live and work spoke volumes. The final tally saw her end Cobb Commissioner Woody Thompson’s quest for a fourth term by a three-to-one margin. “In my first job out of college, my manager told me I was a change agent,” Cupid recalls. “His words were far more fitting then I realized. I feel the stats blessed that I can translate that Age: 35 same energy Family: Married to Craig. The from engineercouple has two sons, Nehemiah, ing to transform4, and Noah, 2. Education: Bachelor’s Degrees, ing a Georgia Tech and Georgia State. community.” Pursuing Doctorate and Master’s A former Degree at Georgia State. manufacturing Volunteer work: Austell Comengineer of munity Taskforce Partnership, Eastman Kodak, South Cobb Rotary Cupid has a Advisory; member of several strong track Cobb County studies and Marirecord of sucetta-Cobb New Markets Inc.; cess. She has member of several community organizations, including the served as a polCobb Chamber of Commerce, icy analyst for South Cobb Rotary, Cobb the Governor’s NAACP and the Georgia Associa- Office of Plantion of Black Women Attorneys. ning and Budget, an assistant project manager of an affordable housing nonprofit managing collaboration of developers, attorneys, investors and subcontractors of multimillion dollar projects, and executive assistant of a partnership of 15 metro Atlanta chambers of commerce, helping support advocacy of policies to keep the area competitive. And since the people have spoken, Cupid, a 12-year Cobb resident, has this to say to them about her first four years in office: “I did not get this position alone, and I know with your continued zeal and participation, we will indeed have observable, measurable, and positive change in regard for our District.”

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J U STI N PATRI CK HA RT

20 RISING STARS UNDER 40 Radiation Oncologist, WellStar

derful trans-generational relationship,” Hart recalled. “We got to spend a lot of time with her.” Because of the nature of radiation oncology, Hart also As one of only three radiation oncologists employed spends a lot of time with his patients cultivatby WellStar Health System, Hart ing relationships, which sometimes makes his the stats treats about 300 patients annually. job very tough. “I think I knew since elementary Age: 37 “But, at the end of the day, I think we’re Family: Married to Anna Gray. school that I would be a doctor,” he very fortunate,” he said. “We have so many The couple has three chilsaid. “My grandmother was being tools, technology and advancing treatments dren, Merrill, 9, Nora, 7, and treated for cancer, and I remember I that a lot of times there is a good outcome.” William, 3. wanted to learn how to do that.” With a newly dedicated oncology floor at Education: Bachelor’s DeBoasting not only a medical deKennestone Hospital, Hart said future plans gree, Dartmouth College. gree, but Ph.D. as well, Hart initially call for a cancer center. M.D., Ph.D, Duke University thought about entering the research “I love to tell people Marietta is a small Medical School . and academic side of medicine. town with a big hospital,” he said. “It’s kind Volunteer activities: “Ultimately, I decided taking care Church-based outreach. of an exciting time to be here at Kennestone of patients was the most important and a physician in the Marietta community.” thing,” he said. “I love doing what I’m doing and working with patients.” “I knew since elementary school that I Some of Hart’s most treasured childhood memories would be a doctor. My are the summers he and his cousins spent at his grandwas being and I mother’s house. remember I wanted to learn how to do that.” “My relationship with my grandmother was a won-

Dr. Justin Hart is a specialist among specialists.

grandmother treated for cancer,

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CH RIS TOPHER MARTIN

20 RISING STARS UNDER 40 Principal trumpet, Chicago Symphony Orchestra

A darling among elite musimother aren’t the only musical cians, The Classical Review has members of the family. His father called Marietta native Christopher is a band director at Westminster Martin a “rock star” for his Academy, his uncle was the Spray“gleaming tone” and “nuanced berry band director for 29 years, playing” as Principal Trumpet at and even his younger brother, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Michael, is an alumnus of the (CSO) since his arrival there in Civic Orchestra of Chicago. That’s 2005. And, the Chicago Tribune quite a family pedigree. has named him Martin reports “The CSO’s having listened to the stats peerless princihis father’s LPs of Age: 37 pal trumpet,” the greats from his Family: Married to Margaret. saying he is a formative years Education: Bachelor’s Degree, “superbly muand having an exEastman School of Music at sical virtuoso tensive collection Rochester University in New York . who would of orchestral make great recordings from music even if the ocarina were his the CSO, where he now plays. In chosen instrument.” fact, he does more than just play— At once hardworking and natuhe’s a Yamaha Performing Artist rally gifted, Martin first picked up and The Adolph Herseth Principal a trumpet at the age of nine, but it Trumpet Chair as well as an adwasn’t until, at age 15, he saw an junct professor of music at NorthAtlanta Symphony Orchestra perwestern in his spare time. He has formance, where his mother still performed as guest principal trumsings and he later played, that he pet with the Los Angeles Philharknew he wanted to play the brass monic, the Seattle Symphony, the for the rest of his life. Martin, a Grand Teton Music Festival and Sprayberry graduate, and his the Saito Kinen Festival.

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20 RISING STARS UNDER 40

CHRISTA PITTS

Co-CEO, Creatively Classic Activities and Books

“There is a lot of merit to the idea that family members shouldn’t work together, but Chanda and I, as twins, you grow up not knowing a single day without the other one.” the stats

hrista Pitts was eightyears-old when a schoolyard bully told her there was no Santa Claus. For Pitts, the news was doubling distressing as she had a magic elf at home who was a direct liaison to Santa. “I was devastated,” she said. “I remember getting home and running to the elf and telling him I did not believe Santa wasn’t real, and I still believed in him.” In 2005, Pitts launched Creatively Classic Activities and Books with her twin sister, Chanda Bell, and her mother, Carol Aebersold. Pitts and Bell are co-CEOs of the Marietta-based company that publishes the best-selling “The Elf on the Shelf” Christmas book. “There is a lot of merit to the idea that family members shouldn’t work together, but Chanda and I, as twins, you grow up not knowing a single day without the other one,” Pitts said. “You know your family better than anyone, and I think that allows for very open conversation. You may not like it all the time, but there is extraordinary love and trust in our family.” For five years Pitts was a popular host with QVC before she joined forces with her sister and mother. Coming from a sales and business background, Pitts focuses on building partnerships, licensing, strategic vision, marketing, sales, IP development and protection and legal affairs. “When I left QVC, I very distinctly thought to myself, if I’m going to work this hard, I want to be able to succeed or fail based on my own merits,” she said. “There is something very exciting about being able to make decisions with immediate impact and you know right on the spot whether it’s succeeding of failing.”

Age: 37 Family: Married to Bryan. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, University of West Georgia. Volunteer Activities: Save the Children, the Atlanta Mission, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, The Sojourner House, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, The Path Project, and the Cobb County Cops and Kids Program.

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20 RISING STARS UNDER 40 Co-CEO, Creatively Classic Activities and Books will be published. “I never dreamed in a million years I would be a children’s book author going on book tours,” Bell said. “I absolutely, with every fiber of my being, love my job. I love creating; I love coming up with new ideas on the look and feel of the brand; and I love writing with my mom.”

the stats Age: 37 Family: Married to Murry. Education: University of West Georgia. Volunteer Activities: Save the Children, the Atlanta Mission, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, The Sojourner House, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, The Path Project, and the Cobb County Cops and Kids Program.

Chanda Bell remembers vividly the day her elf

fell off the shelf. “I remember talking to him and saying, ‘I’m so sorry you’ve fallen; I know you can’t fly in front of me, but I’m going to try and help you,’” Bell said. “I remember pulling my shirt sleeves over my hands, so I could sit him back up.” Bell, along with her twin sister Christa Pitts, is co-CEO of Creatively Classic Activities and Books, a Mariettabased company that publishes the bestselling “The Elf on the Shelf” Christmas book. The idea behind the book is a magic elf reports children’s behavior to Santa every night during December. The story is rooted in Bell’s mother’s childhood, and just like any good family tradition it evolved over the years. “When mom and I wrote the story I knew what a special tradition it was and what it meant to me and my family, and I thought I knew what it could mean to other families,” the former reading and English teacher said. But, unlike most family traditions, “The Elf on the Shelf” has become a multi-million dollar enterprise with more than 4 million units sold since the company’s inception in 2005. This fall, the first sequel to “The Elf on the Shelf” March 2013 Cobb Life

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JEFF JAHN

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20 RISING STARS UNDER 40 President/Founder, DynamiX Web Design

the stats Age: 27 Family: Married to Amber. The couple has one son, Patrick, 9 mos. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Berry College. Volunteer Activities: I volunteer a significant amount of time and attention towards developing websites and improving the online exposure of non-profits, including homeless and support shelters, disaster relief programs and other good causes.

>> >>>>

W

hen Jeff Jahn made his first sales pitch he was so nervous people thought he was having an allergic reaction. Though only a teenager, he persevered, convincing the owners of a car stereo business the site he’d built for them on spec was better than the one they had. He was shocked when they offered to pay him for web development services. “I wasn’t looking for a job,” Jahn says. “I just wanted to trade the website for a stereo.” Jahn got the stereo. And much more. During his years as a student at Berry College he continued developing web-

sites, hired his first employee before graduation and hasn’t looked back since. Jahn has gone on to found numerous web development companies, including DynamiX Web Design, Dwellio and Home Elephant. He’s worked with businesses both local and national, but his most memorable client was Herman Cain. Just weeks before the primaries Cain approached Jahn about polishing up his website. “I had to tell him his [website] was ugly. It wasn’t close to functional.” True to form, Cain took it in stride. “He was great but we had a tight

deadline. It was one of those make or break moments where you either go all in or you don’t take the job,” Jahn says, whose office is in Acworth. Jahn’s work has paid off and earned him accolades in publications such as Adweek, Fox News, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, ABC News and Time Magazine. Jahn’s proudest of the work he’s done with nonprofit organizations and is currently helping develop a web tool to help coordinate disaster relief response. As for his goals for the future, Jahn paraphrases Steve Jobs. “I want to put a ding in the universe. In a good way.”

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T R A C Y R AT H B O N E

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20 RISING STARS UNDER 40 Director of Business Development, Coxe, Curry & Associates

S

ometimes the best way to help yourself is to start by helping others. When East Cobb’s Tracy Rathbone was a child she often rode with her grandmother, a local Meals on Wheels volunteer. The experience was formative. “That’s when it started for me,” says Rathbone. “I was given a pay-itforward mentality by my grandmother and my mom.” As Director of Business Development for the Coxe Curry & Associates fundraising firm, Rathbone has elevated the ideal of service before self to a status above mere family heirloom. Rathbone has been with the group seven years, providing fund-raising advice to non-profit organizations including Spelman College and Camp Twin Lakes, a retreat for children will serious illnesses. “I was a psychology major at Georgia State and I always knew I wanted to be involved in serving others.” After college, Rathbone joined a Tennessee-based non-profit serving young girls and made the switch to the world of non-profit fundraising out of a desire to help a wide range of non-profit organizations. Just because she likes the business side of the non-profit world, doesn’t mean she’s forgotten her grandmother’s example. “We were involved in MUST Ministries when we were children and I’m still active now,” Rathbone says. Most recently she volunteered for the Cobb-based service organization’s annual Gobble Jog, a Thanksgiving race that drew 10,000 runners. Did she run? “No,” Rathbone says with a laugh. “I was just a volunteer. I gave moral support, though.”

the stats Age: 34 Family: Married to Aaron. The couple has one daughter, Lila , 5. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Georgia State University. Master’s Degree, Vanderbilt University. Volunteer Activities: Center for Family Resources, Marketing Committee Member; Cobb Chamber Membership Drive;

Team Captain, Leadership Programs; Junior League of CobbMarietta, Board Member, 2008 - 2012; Leadership Cobb, Class of 2012; Leadership Cobb Alumni Association, Alumni Board Member, 2013; Marietta Pilgrimage Tour of Homes, Committee Member, 2009 – 2012 (Docent Co-Chair, 2012); MUST Ministries, Gobble Jog Committee Member, 2012; United Way Campaign Cabinet, 2012.

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R OB L EON ARD Cobb Superior Court Judge

20 RISING STARS UNDER 40

“If you don’t care enough to do the little things well, you can’t be trusted with the big ones.”

Jim Glover Group, Inc. If you are selling your home, I am dedicated to using every possible marketing tool needed to get your home sold. My goal is to provide my clients with a superior level of service and resources to make informed decisions with your real estate purchases. As a Cobb native, my network and knowledge of the metro Atlanta area proves beneficial in purchase and sales transactions. As a member of The Luxury Home Marketing Institute, I am constantly networking with area agents and affiliates. • Fifteen Years Experience • Coauthor, Marietta 1833-2000 • Sixth-generation Mariettan • Cofounder, Marietta Pilgrimage Christmas Home Tour

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That’s the advice that Rob Leonard takes to his job every day. As a Superior Court Judge for the Cobb Judicial Circuit, every decision that Leonard makes is a big one. “When you are dealing with people’s property, children and freedom, what could be more important than that?” he asks. “There is a lot of pressure and a lot of emotion in the courtroom. You have to do your best to sift through it and get it right.” Leonard honed his craft after opening his own law firm with a fellow University of Kentucky graduate. Operating from a space he rented from Gov. Roy Barnes and Tom Browning off the Square in Marietta, Leonard eventually helped scores of people sort through their legal issues. In 2010, Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed him to the State Court of Cobb County, where he subsequently was elected without opposition in 2012. When George Kreeger retired from Superior Court in 2012, Leonard applied for his seat the stats and was selected by Gov. Nathan Deal. He was sworn in Age: 38 on November 26, 2012. Family: Married to Lauri. The Today, Leonard gets to couple has three children, Elli, combine his passion of law 10, Trey, 7, and Emmi, 5. Education: Bachelor’s Dewith public service, a career of gree, University of Kentucky. which he is most grateful. Law Degree, University of What’s the best thing about his Kentucky. job? “That’s easy. Adoptions Volunteer work: Board of Diare the greatest reward. It’s rectors, Tommy Nobis Center, such a big day for those famiCoaching Youth Baseball. lies. To help make that special day happen is a great feeling.”

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20 RISING STARS UNDER 40 Executive Director of Government Relations, Board of Regents of Univ. System of Ga.

During her final quarter of college at Kennesaw State University, Amanda Seals only needed two things to graduate: an elective course and an internship credit. When her journalism professor shared a job posting for a newspaper that covered the State Capitol, she reluctantly decided to give it a shot. Her professor even agreed to give her the internship credit if she landed the job. “I told my professor that I couldn’t stand politics. He asked if I wanted to graduate. I went on the interview.” The Georgia Times hired Seals to cover the State House. She fell in love with the state legislative process. After the Times folded in 1997, she landed a job as a press assistant for Gov. Zell Miller, moving throughout the state government work force. Five years ago she was named executive director of government relations for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. “Higher education is truly an exciting field,” Seals says. Seals takes pride in the fact that the 31 public institutions under the University System are educating not only Georgia’s future, but also the next leaders of this country across a broad spectrum of industries. “In my role, I have to keep many balls in the air and work hard to make sure not one falls. There are so many moving parts, so you have to constantly be one step ahead, not only thinking about what is happening at the moment, but what may pop up down the road in the days, weeks, months and years ahead. All of it is humbling and I feel blessed to have this incredible opportunity work with leaders at the local, state and federal level on behalf of higher education.”

the stats Age: 39 Family: Married to Paul. One daughter, Trinity, 6. Education: Associate of Arts, Young Harris College. Bachelor’s Degree, Kennesaw State University, currently pursuing a master’s degree at Georgia Southern University. Volunteer work: 2013 Class of Leadership Georgia; Junior League of Cobb-Marietta: Chair of Public Relations; Nominated as 2013-2014 VP of Administration; Conservative Policy Leadership Institute: Founding trustee and Nominating Chair; Kennesaw State University Alumni Association, Member-at-Large; Member of the National Advisory Board for the Department of Communication at Kennesaw State University; Wellspring Living for Girls –White Umbrella Circle member, volunteer and fundraiser; member of Marietta First United Methodist Church and volunteers with the Children’s Ministry.

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JASON SLEEMAN

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20 RISING STARS UNDER 40 Assistant Vice President, Financial Center Manager

Not all bankers are on Wall Street. Some, like Jason Sleeman, are right around the corner and though you haven’t met them, they’ve spent their entire careers waiting for the chance to help you achieve your dreams. Sleeman is Assistant Vice President-Financial Center Manager at Fifth-Third Bank. He’s been in the industry for 10 years, worked at other banks and credit unions, but Sleeman has genuinely taken to his new life with Fifth-Third. “The benefit of small banks is getting to know your customers. Getting to work with the same people and build relationships. That’s what I love about it.” Sleeman says this with enough passion to disavow you of any notion you may have of banks as cold and sterile financial institutions. And small wonder. When he’s not working or with his family, Sleeman volunteers for a dizzying number of service organizations. He also has a leadership role with Cobb Young Professionals, a group whose charter Sleeman has helped steer toward a more active, service-oriented role. The East Cobb resident has even managed to blend the two seemingly-incongruent vocations. For two years running, he has volunteered to serve as Fifth-Third’s representative at the

local Thanks For Giving benefit, where he provides free financial advice to needy families. The most rewarding part of that experience? Getting his hands dirty. “This year I helped bring the food to the families,” he says. “I really enjoyed that.” Georgia Memorial Park Funeral Home & Cemetery, serving the metro area for over fifty years, is devoted to delivering the highest level of service and satisfaction possible to families. We are committed to excellence daily by each member of our staff. As an honored Dignity Memorial™ provider, we are empowered to create a meaningful service. New development - Garden

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Chad Eubanks - Asst. Manager

the stats Age: 33 Family: Married to Kim. The couple has three daughters, Gabriella, Isabella and Taylor. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, University of Georgia Volunteer Activities: Cobb Chamber Board of Directors (2011-2013); Cobb Young Professionals Chairman (2011&2012); Cobb Young Professionals Chair of Corporate and Community Development (2013); East Cobb Area Council (Chair 2012); Upward Football Referee, Awana Cubbies volunteer. Awards and Honors: Cobb Chamber Ambassador of the year, Len Gilbert Award, Fifth Third Bank Financial Center Manager Rookie of the year.

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KIM C ARROL L

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20 RISING STARS UNDER 40 Chief Deputy Clerk, Cobb Superior Court

She recalls a quote that attorney Joshua Schiffer made in the Fulton Daily Report newspaper about her when they worked together on a trail with Judge Adele “The thing I get to do every Grubbs. day is assist with the administra“Although Judge Grubbs tion of justice in our county. One taught me more about the ‘real of the biggest rewards has been world’ of litigation than I could the opportuhave gathered nity to work the stats in five years of with people Age: 39 firm life, it was from all secFamily: Married to Terrance. Three her assistant, tors of socichildren, Tracy, 19, Kahlial, 14, and Kim Carroll, ety.” Taylor, 5. who taught me Starting in Education: Kennesaw State Unito be a ‘person’ 1992 after versity. Michigan State University. as well as a being hired by ‘lawyer.’ She Attorney seems to know the entire populaAdele Grubbs, who now is Chief tion of Cobb County by first Judge of the Superior Court of name and is highly respected by Cobb County, Carroll has spent every person practicing or apthe last 21 years interacting with pearing in Cobb Superior Court.” citizens, the Cobb County Bar Carroll credits the praise and Association, court personnel and success on the job to advice she scores of elected officials. received before she started. And along with helping serve “When you don’t have a these various groups of people, choice on something, you can Carroll has managed to make a still choose your attitude.” difference in their lives as well.

Ask Kim Carroll to tell you the best part of her job, and the answer is both simple and powerful.

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NELS PETERSON

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20 RISING STARS UNDER 40 Director of Policy, Georgia Attorney General’s Office

the stats Age: 34 Family: Married to Jennifer. The couple has two children, James, 5 and Elizabeth, 2. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Kennesaw State University. Law Degree, Harvard Law School. Volunteer work: Active member at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church; board member, Atlanta Lawyers’ Chapter of the Federalist Society; member of the Indigent Defense Committee of the State Bar. Previous: board member, Kennesaw State University Alumni Association; commissioner, Georgia Superior Court Clerk’s Retirement Fund.

Nels Peterson, right, speaks with Attorney General Sam Olens. els Peterson is one of a relatively small handful of people in the country who get to do constitutional and appellate law for a living. As Solicitor General, Peterson oversees appellate litigation and collaborates on all phases of significant litigation with other attorneys in the Office of the Attorney General. “I’ve practiced other kinds of law, and they’ve been important and rewarding, but nothing matches being involved in litigating the most important issues of our day, from the historic constitutional issues in the multistate lawsuit against federal healthcare reform, to the water supply of Metro Atlanta in the tri-state water litigation.” After graduating from law school at Harvard, Peterson served as a clerk for federal appellate Judge William Pryor (and former Alabama AG) in Birmingham. Following his clerkship, he spent several years at King & Spalding in Atlanta litigating in the securities and corporate governance areas, and working occasionally on appellate cases. In 2008, he became deputy counsel to Governor Sonny Perdue, eventually moving up to executive counsel toward the end of the Governor’s term. When Sam Olens became Attorney General, Peterson moved to his office as Counsel for Legal Policy. He was named Solicitor General in 2012. “I get to work with great people on important issues that affect the lives of every Georgian, and I get to do it for a great boss in Sam Olens,” Peterson says. “The biggest challenges are usually resource-oriented – in this economy, every area of government has to do more with less.”

N

Au t o • H o m e • B o a t • Cyc l e

2125 Roswell Road • Marietta • 770-565-9696

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KEIT H R. BLACK W ELL s a Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Keith Blackwell’s commitment to the rule of law is explicitly honest. “The idea that our government is one of laws, not men, and that all citizens stand equal before the law is, I think, the foundation of our Republic and our greatest bulwark against tyranny. The opportunity to help to safeguard and promote the rule of law is the most rewarding aspect of my office.” After graduating from the University of Georgia School of Law, Blackwell made his way through the law world, serving as a law clerk for Judge J.L. Edmondson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, an associate at Alston & Bird, an Assistant District Attorney in Cobb County and partner at Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs in Atlanta. In 2010, he was appointed as Deputy Special Attorney General to represent the State of Georgia in litigation challenging the constitutionality of federal healthcare reform legislation. In 2010, Governor Sonny Perdue appointed him to the Court of Appeals

A

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20 RISING STARS UNDER 40 Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia

of Georgia. And in July 2012, Governor Nathan Deal later named him a Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia. “At the Supreme Court, we deal with some exceedingly difficult legal issues,” Blackwell says. “Every day presents an intellectual challenge, but those challenges – and the opportunity to work through those challenges with dedicated colleagues and smart lawyers – are themselves the greatest reward of the office.” There’s a quote Blackwell references to define what he does. The quote, given to him by his friend and mentor, Judge Edmondson, is from St. Robert Bellarmine. “Peace and union are among the most necessary of all things for men who live in common, and nothing serves so well to establish and maintain them as the forbearing charity whereby we put up with another’s defects. There is no one who has not his faults, and who is not in some way a burden to others, whether he be a superior or a subject, an old man or a young, a scholar or a dunce.”

the stats Age: 37 Family: Married to Angela. Three daughters. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, University of Georgia, Law Degree, University of Georgia. Volunteer work: Board of Advisors for the Atlanta Chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies; member of State Bar of Georgia and its Appellate Practice Section; member of the Cobb Bar Association and Atlanta Chapter of the Federal Bar Association; Master of the Joseph Henry Lumpkin American Inn of Court; former advisor to the House Judiciary Committee in hearings on the revision of the state evidence code; former member of the Governor’s Judicial Nominating Commission.

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ew plants adorn arbors or trellises as beautifully as flowering vines. They also can enhance the landscape with fragrance, provide shade and screen unsightly views. But be careful which varieties you choose. Some vines can be thugs. Vines are vigorous growers, which can be both good and bad for impatient gardeners. Fast-growing varieties provide thick barriers that screen well-tended yards from unpleasant backdrops.

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But they also might overwhelm narrow planting beds and spread beyond their intended sites. That means constant monitoring and frequent pruning. "There's nothing like vines for softening garden fixtures," said Bob Polomski, a horticulturist and arborist at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C. "Most are perennials and come back every year, heavy with blooms. They also provide a cooling shade, which is especially welcome in the South." At the same time, he said, "being rapid (in growth) is one thing. Being invasive is another." He cited English ivy, which has overwhelmed so many areas in the nation's East and Northwest that college students and other work parties frequently hold "plant pulls" to help control it. "Ivy can take over as a ground cover," he said. "Wisteria can grow so quickly and its vines become so thick that it can destroy a small apparatus" such as a trellis, pergola, etc. "They get so heavy that they can even take down trees." Knowing where to place vines is critical, Polomski said. "Wisteria produces beautiful blooms, but that attracts bees. Putting chairs and tables beneath a flowering arbor can invite stings and creepy crawly things," he said. "Putting vines around mailboxes may not be such a great idea for mail carriers, either - especially when you have all those pollinators flying around." None of which should discourage property owners from adding vines to their landscape. They simply need to plan first. Vines climb in different ways, which may help determine which variety to choose: clinging, twining or sprawling. Clinging vines, such as Virginia creeper, trumpet vines and ivy, have adhesive tendrils or rootlets that hold them to flat surfaces as they grow. That can make them difficult and even damaging to remove if the vines are attached to shingles or wood siding. "The aerial roots on some clinging vines will work their way into chinks in walls and stucco and slowly compromise the structure," said Sydney Park Brown, an extension horticulturist with the University of Florida. Twining vines, such as clematis, jasmine, wisteria and morning glories, spiral upward, looping around poles, latticework or fences. Roses, bougainvillea and sweet peas are sprawling plants that often must be tied to a trellis, especially when getting started.

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vent mold and decay. Set freestanding trellises a few inches away from structures.

Opt for strength and size when setting up an arbor, trellis or pergola. Vines can live for decades and grow heavy with age. Place scented varieties near doors and windows to better enjoy the fragrance.  Look for seed- or fruit-producing vines to attract more wildlife to your yard.

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A few things to consider when adding plant supports:

Give vines space to breathe to pre-

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By Lee Reich Photography courtesy of the Associated Press

DEER ME Our hoofed friends can actually help us during pruning season arrives. Here’s how:

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Deer are ready to start pruning our trees and shrubs. Although unconcerned with promoting plant health or aesthetics, in at least one situation, deer can actually help us prune well. Picture an overgrown shrub, especially one planted too close to a home. With age and a little neglect, said shrub begins to swallow up the home, or at least block the view from a window. There are many approaches to dealing with an overgrown shrub. Briefly, you could, over the course of a few years, renovate the plant each year cutting some of the oldest stems to the ground to make way for younger, shorter ones. Or, you could take the dramatic approach: Lop the whole plant to the ground and start anew with all young shoots, which will enthusiastically sprout forth from the established roots. Also worth considering is just grubbing out the shrub and replacing it with something, or even nothing. Deer aren't much help with any of these approaches. But they can help out with another, which capitalizes on the venerability of such a plant: You and your hoofed friends can transform a selected portion of the plant into a picturesque, small tree. An ideal candidate for this operation is yew, a fast-growing evergreen frequently snuggled against home foundations. The first step in transforming an old yew — or any other old shrub — is to select two or three of the oldest stems to become

the trunks of your tree-to-be. These stems should have pleasant forms and extend from ground level to as high as the future crown of branches. Once selections are made, cut away all other stems growing from the base of the plant. The next step — cutting away any branches growing off those new trunks between the ground and a few feet above the ground — is where deer help out. They'll enjoy munching on all those smaller branches. You and your deer helpers will want to remove branches high enough along the trunk so the plant looks like a tree, or, in the case of the deer, as high as they can reach. The final step in pruning will be to shorten and remove enough branches in the crown of your new tree to give it good shape. Do this step yourself. Yew is a particularly good candidate for this treatment because its reddish brown, peeling trunk is well worth exposing and highlighting, and age deepens its beauty. Yew also bounces back enthusiastically from virtually any type of pruning, so you can do the job fearlessly. In subsequent years, new sprouts will arise from ground level and off the trunks; after all, the plant was once, and really aspires to be, a bush. Deer will be eager to nip off all those young sprouts, but check on their work to cut away any that they miss.

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ig h lights A closer look at events and activities throughout Cobb County in March LA TRAVIATA >>In celebration of the bicentennial of Giuseppe Verdi's birth, the Atlanta Opera's second production of the season is the tale of opera's most beloved fallen woman, “La Traviata.” Based on “La dame aux Camélias,” a play adapted from a novel by Alexandre Dumas, Verdi's “La Traviata” tells the story of Violetta, a worldly courtesan who is forced to give up the love of her life. A tale of lavish revelry, family strife, unfortunate misunderstanding, and selfless sacrifice, “La Traviata” is a treasured classic overflowing with memorable music. Both longtime opera lovers and first-timers will be touched by this romantic tragedy. Atlanta Opera presents “La Traviata” on March 2 at 8 p.m., March 5 at 7:30 p.m., March 8 at 8 p.m., and March 10 at 3 p.m. at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. The opera is sung in Italian with projected English translations. Ticket prices range from $22 to $123. Information: 404.881.8885 or www.atlantaopera.org SANDY HACKETT’S RAT PACK SHOW>> Celebrating 50 years of The Rat Pack, Sandy Hackett's “Rat Pack Show” has been hailed as the next best thing to seeing The Rat Pack themselves. They were style with substance, swing with swagger, and a nonstop party that everyone wanted to access. Now audiences can experience this critically acclaimed, hugely entertaining theatrical production which includes exciting new arrangements of the classic songs everyone knows and loves. In addition, audiences will hear original, never-before-heard songs written by the late, legendary songwriter, Ron Miller, and recorded voiceovers made exclusively for this show by Sandy Hackett's father, the late, legendary comedian, Buddy Hackett. Gas South Broadway Series presents Sandy Hackett’s “Rat Pack Show” on March 14 to 16 at 8 p.m., and March 16 and 17 at 2 p.m. at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Ticket prices range from $17 to $47, plus fees. Information: 770.916.2808 or www.cobb energycentre.com

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Center at Kennesaw State University. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students. Information: 770.429.7016 or www.georgiasymphony.org

PAJANIMALS LIVE: PAJAMA PLAYDATE>>For the first time ever, Jim Henson’s Pajanimals will hit the road for a nationwide tour this spring. “Pajanimals Live: Pajama Playdate” will feature Squacky, Sweetpea Sue, Cowbella, and Apollo singing all of the Pajanimals’ greatest hits. The live show features two acts and an all-new story that's full of audience participation and interactivity. The live show is written by Pajanimals creator Alex Rockwell, along with Bradley Zweig. “Pajanimals Live: Pajama Playdate” is March 29 at 6 p.m. at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Ticket prices range from $17 to $37. Information: 770.916.2808 or www.cobbenergycentre.com RAGTIME – THE MUSICAL>>At the dawn of a new century, everything is changing, and anything is possible. Set in the volatile melting pot of turn-of-the-century New York, “Ragtime” weaves together three distinctly American tales — that of a stifled suburban mother, an inventive Jewish immigrant, and a daring young Harlem musician — united by their courage, compassion, and belief in the promise of the future. Their compelling stories intertwine to form a rich tapestry of hopes and dreams, struggles and triumphs, rhythm and rhyme, all set to an epic, Tony Award-winning score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens. A colossal stage show based on the classic E. L. Doctorow novel, “Ragtime” also features a Tony Award-winning book by Terrence McNally. Atlanta Lyric Theatre presents “Ragtime – The Musical” on April 12 to 28, at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre on the Marietta Square. Call for performance times. Ticket prices range from $25 to $50. Information: 404.377.9948 or www.atlantalyrictheatre.com

CHEKHOV STORIES>>Three award-winning contemporary playwrights re-imagine stories by Anton Chekhov in this world premiere evening of short plays. Comedy and tragedy meet in the twilight, transporting the themes, situations, and lyricism of one of Russia’s greatest writers to contemporary America. This event may not be suitable for audiences under the age of 16. Karen Robinson and Kara Cantrell direct “Chekhov Stories” on March 19 to 24 at 8 p.m., and March 25 at 3 p.m. in the Black Box Theater in the Wilson Annex at Kennesaw State University. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students. Information: 770.423.6650 or www.kennesaw.edu/arts AN EVENING WITH GEORGE>> “An Evening with George” features the charming melodies of American composer George Gershwin. Presented in two parts, the first half is a musical theatre revue titled “Rhapsody in Blue (and Pink!),” written and orchestrated by John Whitworth. The second half features Tom Pazik's “By George!,” a show within a show that allows the audience a glimpse into the backstage happenings of a dance company. Presented by Georgia Metropolitan Dance Theatre, “An Evening of George” is March 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m., and March 23 and 24 at 2 p.m. at Jennie T. Anderson Theatre in the Cobb Civic Center. Tickets may be purchased at the ticket window one hour prior to show time. Call for ticket prices. Information: 770.426.0007 or www.georgiametrodance.org

CASUAL THURSDAY>>Join conductors Michael Alexander and Grant Harville as they discuss important features of the Georgia Symphony Orchestra concert on March 9, featuring performances of works by Bloch and Mahler. Audiences are encouraged to stay after the discussion to hear GSO rehearse. An inquisitive nature is recommended. Casual Thursday is March 7 at 6 p.m. in the Bailey Center at Kennesaw State University. All tickets are $5. Information: 770.429.7016 or www.georgiasymphony.org SPRING CONCERT >>Join Georgia Symphony Orchestra as they present Gustav Mahler’s Symphony #1, “Titan,” and Ernest Bloch’s “Sacred Service.” Mahler, who declared that “the symphony must be like the world – it must embrace everything,” peppers his initial symphonic foray with peasant dances, bird calls, art songs, town bands, rousing fanfares, and a famous nursery rhyme. Bloch learned Hebrew specifically to compose his intensely spiritual “Sacred Service.” Georgia Symphony Orchestra performs on March 9 at 8 p.m., in the Bailey

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MARIETTA/COBB MUSEUM OF ART>> Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art features two exhibitions on display through March 24. “Yarbrough: 53.9 Years & Still Unpredictable” features work by James “Jim” Yarbrough, a precise painter and a masterful draftsman. He has painted the streets of Venice, dancers and musicians, fish, imaginings, history and myth, fantasy, and diabolic conflict. All are executed with the skill and artistry of a talented professional. “Vignettes of America” is an exhibition of select landscape paintings from the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art permanent collection. Most of the paintings on display were created between 1850 and 1910. The Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art is located in downtown Marietta at 30 Atlanta Street. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, free for children younger than six years and free for members. Information: 770.528.1444 or www.mariettacobbartmuseum.org FIRST FRIDAY ART WALK ON THE MARIETTA SQUARE>>The new season of First Friday Art Walks on the Marietta Square begins on April 5, and continues on May 3, June 7, July 5, August, 2, September 6, and

October 4. Art Walk is a free, self-guided tour of the Marietta Square’s eclectic art scene. Galleries, museums, cultural venues, restaurants and boutiques host artists within their businesses from 5 to 9 p.m. on the first Friday of every month, rain or shine. Look for an official Art Walk banner in the window to identify participating venues. Choose your own route, or begin from Artists' Alley at Dupre's Antique Market at 17 Whitlock Ave. Art Walk informational maps are provided at each participating location. Pick one up to learn about the various locations and artists participating in Art Walk. There is no admission charge. Be sure to visit 2 Rules Fine Art, Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, or The Historic Marietta Trolley and register for your chance to win a "Hip to Be Square" $100 gift certificate redeemable at any participating merchant. Must be 18 years or older to participate in the drawing. Information: 770.429.1115 or www.artwalkmarietta.com ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST>>The Out of Box Theatre production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” a story made familiar by the classic 1975 film starring Jack Nicholson, features Metropolitan Atlanta Theatre award winner Travis Young as Randle P. McMurhpy, and MAT award nominee Carolyn Choe as Nurse Ratched. Into a world of medicated insanity, McMurphy, part savior, part con-man, introduces individuality. Confronting the institutional tyranny of Nurse Ratched, he convinces the other patients to question the status quo. Will the threat of permanent incapacitation rule the day or will McMurphy and his friends win their fight for justice? This funny yet terrifying story of rebellion and courage in the face of conformity is as relevant today as it was when the revolutionary novel was published in 1962. Directed by acclaimed actor and director Barbara Rudy, the Out of Box Theatre production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is March 15 to 23 in the Alley Stage off the Marietta Square at 11 Anderson Street. Call for performance times. All tickets are $15. This production includes mature themes and language. Information: 678.653.4605 or www.outofboxtheatre.com NEW CHOREOGRAPHIC VOICES>>Atlanta Ballet’s “New Choreographic Voices” features a premiere work by Ohad Naharin and a world premiere by Gina Patterson. Naharin is hailed as one of the world's preeminent choreographers and garnered the attention of many ballet greats, including Martha Graham. Both premieres promise a look at the bold, new directions in the world of contemporary dance with Atlanta Ballet at the forefront. Atlanta Ballet presents “New Choreographic Voices” on March 22 and 23 at 8 p.m., and March 23 and 24 at 2 p.m. in the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Ticket prices range from $15 to $86. Information: 404.873.5811 or www.atlantaballet.com

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You can also add an event to our online calendar at www.cobblifemagazine.com at no cost!

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Georgia Ballet Gala

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The Cobb-based Georgia Ballet helds its annual fundraiser in late January at Mount Paran Christian School. Founded in 1960, the ballet serves residents throughout Cobb from its location in Marietta. 1. Matt Zarch of Smyrna with Jackson, Nicki and Keith Schroeder of Roswell. 2. Jake and Beth Carnes of Marietta. 3. Greg and Vicki Aghajanian of Acworth.

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4. Kevin, Carla, Erin and Bryan O’Keefe of Kennesaw. 5. Thomas Algarin and Audi Lopez, both of Marietta. 6. Leslie Croft, Emily Croft and Cynthia Clement, all of Acworth.

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Home for the Holidays VIP show

The annual Home for the Holidays show took place at the Cobb Civic Centre in December. Residents with VIP tickets were treated to special events, including a dinner prior to the concert. 1. From left, Denise Reeve of Marietta, Erin Palmer of Atlanta and Eileen Edwards of Smyrna 2. Allen and Debi Jue of Marietta. 3. From left, Brandt Blocker of Marietta, Christine Jones of Marietta and Elizabeth and Greg Wexler of Marietta. 4. Jocelyn Roper and Caroline Brumbeloe, both of Marietta. 5. Mary and William David of Powder Springs.

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Home for the Holidays VIP show

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6. From left, Martha Earls of Marietta, Tami Gallagher of Acworth and Carol Eubanks of Kennesaw. 7. From left, Clark Barrow of Smyrna, Pattie Barrow of Marietta and Emily Freedman of Atlanta. 8. From left, Stephanie Brumbeloe of Marietta, Eddie Canon of Cumming and Barbra Savage of Acworth.

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Benefit Concert North Cobb’s Eagle Pointe Church held a benefit concert in January to raise funds to help build an orphanage in Haiti. The concert took place at the Electric Cowboy nightclub in Kennesaw and featured headliner Cowboy Troy. 1. From left, Terry Jurgens of Acworth, Tim Roman of Acworth, Amy Roman of Acworth, Chris McCommon of Kennesaw and Tyler McCommon of Kennesaw.

1 PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOSHUA CAMPBELL

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Benefit Concert

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2. From left, Sandy Dane, Deena Koepka and Debbie Dickinson, all of Acworth. 3. Aisling Nelson and Branna Koepka, both of Kennesaw. 4. John Schilling of Cumming and Hope Dixon of Kennesaw. 5. Kathy Elkin of McDonough and Bobbie McAdams of Acworth.

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6. From left, Monique Mercier, Vicki Staats and Eleanor Martel, all of West Cobb. 7. From left, Suzanne Rogers of Powder Springs, Tony Rogers of Powder Springs and Tammy McCommon of Kennesaw.

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Cancer Prevention Breakfast

SCENE

The American Cancer Society kicked off its Cancer Prevention Study 3 with a breakfast meeting at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel in the Galleria complex near Vinings. 1. Voice of the Braves Pete Van Wiere, with wife Elaine, of John’s Creek. 2. American Cancer Society volunteers, from left, Erica Davis of Smyrna, Jenny McCartney, of Buckhead and Sara Haj-Hussein, of Lawrenceville. 3. Cancer Society volunteer, Sheila Shessell, of Sandy Springs, left, and Molly Herrin, Director of Events for the American Cancer Society, from Vinings. 4. From left, YMCA Mission Manager Judy Godfrey, of Suwanee, Nicki Robinson, Associate Executive Director of the Buckhead YMCA, from Smyrna, and Terri Taylor Senior Data Entry Manager of the American Cancer Society, from Marietta.

1 PHOTOGRAPHY BY NATHAN SELF

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reflections

Those were the days ... Facebook can serve as both a blessing and a curse. Blessing, because it allows me to keep in better touch with family and friends. Curse, because I see photos of the things I hate to miss out on, like my big brother being inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in the neighboring city (Who holds this on a Thursday night?), and most recently, my group of Cairo friends hanging out by a bonfire one weekend into the wee hours of the night. Now, don’t confuse this bonfire with going out and buying a chiminea at Lowe’s and putting it on your back porch. Those are nice if you live on .23 acres of land, but my friends from home, many of whom were raised in the sticks, build their bonfires right. Imagine a pile of wood, mostly tree trunks that are probably the result of someone clearing land or cutting down a rotten tree in the front yard, roughly seven feet high and about 10 feet wide in someone’s backyard and/or field near their home. I mean this thing could clear burn your By Lindsay Field eyebrows off if you got too close; but it’s oddly beautiful and relaxing. And don’t forget in the backdrop of stars, more than you’d probably see if you visited the local planetarium, and more than likely the smell of cow manure at a nearby farm. It may seem simple — or gross to some — but the camaraderie, ever-flowing “adult beverages” and anything or everything that you can put on

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the end of a wire hanger is pretty comforting, and in my opinion, definitely something worth pining to be back home for on a cool Saturday night. Before moving here, my friends and I had gettogethers like this at least once a month. The boys would grill and the ladies would whip up something in the kitchen for sides. My duties typically required making appetizers and one of their favorites are bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers. P.S.- I honestly don’t recall where this recipe came from, but it’s been a winner at parties for nearly 15 years.

BACON-WRAPPED JALAPENO POPPERS Ingredients 1 lb bag of fresh jalapenos 1 8-oz container of cream cheese 1 Tbsp of garlic powder 1 pkg of REAL bacon – although turkey bacon does work Cut the stems off the jalapenos, cut them in half and clean out the seeds. Mix together softened cream cheese and garlic powder. Stuff jalapenos with mixture. Cut slices of bacon in half. Wrap each jalapeno half with bacon. Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes or grill until the bacon looks cooked through – should be bright red.

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Cobb Life March