12-22 Around Kennesaw webfinal.pdf

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Varenita of West Cobb

The senior living community will open in early 2023, with options for future residents that include 57 assisted-living and 24 memory-care apartments. From left, Executive Director Kay Sims, CEO Chris Finlay and Director of Sales Maureen Malvar.

Pages 28 & 29

Cover supplied by Varenita

2 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
Every Issue
December 2022 Contents On the Cover
18 Features 14 How Do They Do That? Local students ponder the questions that unlock the mysteries
the reindeer and the elves. 18 De-light-ful Displays Add more holiday cheer to your life by visiting these magnificent commercial and residential Christmas lights shows. 40 Tasty Temptations Food lovers were able to sample delicacies from a number of restaurants at A Taste of Kennesaw last month. 14 40 4 Around Kennesaw 32 Cookie Recipes 38 Rob’s Rescues 39 Library News 43 Celebrations 46 Photo Page — KPD Awards 48 Noteworthy 50 Community Calendar 52 Cobb Photographic Society 55 Directory of Advertisers 56 Growing Gardeners 43
Phillips 25
about Santa, Mrs. Claus,
Joannie Bates
Ryan Blythe
Andrew Bramlett
Dana Dorris
Derek Easterling
Tiffany Hughes
Susannah MacKay
Rob Macmillan
Joseph Prass
Jessalyn Reinhart
Nicole Smith
Elisabeth Stubbs
Bill Westenberger
Amy Whitney
Joel Williams
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Around Kennesaw

Something about this time of year makes people reflect on the past, and I’m no different. Decorated trees and favorite carols always take me back to the Christmases I celebrated as a kid. During this year’s holiday trip down memory lane, I’ve been thinking about the Christmas celebrations I used to go to that aren’t around anymore.

One of my favorites was the lighting of the Rich’s Christmas tree in Atlanta. Each year, we’d ride the MARTA train downtown on Thanksgiving night and join thousands of revelers in welcoming the start of the Christmas season. We’d watch choral groups perform on the four-story Crystal Bridge that linked Rich’s with its next-door neighbor. Then came the culmination of the evening — lighting the live tree, which ranged from 65 to 75 feet and featured thousands of lights and basketball-size ornaments. Sadly, that tradition ended when the store closed in 1991.

Another favorite event also was in downtown Atlanta — the Festival of Trees. The celebration started with a parade, which included some balloons from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, then continued as a dayslong festival at the Georgia World Congress Center. I looked forward to this event every year. We would stroll through sections of beautifully decorated trees, gingerbread houses, wreaths and vignettes; decorate (and eat) huge sugar cookies; watch my sister and, later, my son make crafts and ride the carousel and the famous Pink Pig (for a few years), shop for gifts and decorations; and, of course, visit Santa. I even got to meet my baseball hero, Dale Murphy (who belongs in the Hall of Fame, but I digress), and have my picture taken with him. What a thrill! Unfortunately, the festival as we knew it ended in 2006.

For many years, my family would take a trip to Paulding County to see the Hardy Lights at the compound of the Charles Hardy family, and there were several years when I went to Marietta’s Theatre in the Square to see “Sanders Family Christmas,” a hilarious comedy that provided me with many one-liners that I still use. Those, too, are now bygone traditions. These traditions may be gone, but we’re offering you a guide, beginning on Page 17, to all things Christmas to help you start or continue your own traditions. Find out about light displays and holiday activities, try some cookie recipes or learn how to help those in need. We also asked the experts questions about Santa and his helpers, so be sure to read what they had to say on Pages 14-16.

Merry Christmas, and happy reading!

Date the Save

Planning a wedding next year? Look for the results from our Best for Bridal 2023 online poll to be posted Jan. 1 at www.aroundaboutlocalmedia.com and published in the January issue of Around Kennesaw.

What’s New

After several delays, a long-awaited restaurant finally has settled on an opening date. Whataburger made its metro Atlanta debut Nov. 28 at 705 Town Park Lane in Kennesaw. The restaurant is open for drive-thru service only but will be offering additional options, including dining room access, online ordering via the app and Whataburger.com, curbside pickup and delivery, in the coming weeks.


The city of Kennesaw named Brittany Jones the executive director of SmithGilbert Gardens in October.

Jones formerly worked at Filoli Historic House & Garden in California, where, as chief experience officer, she oversaw the entire Filoli experience, including interpretation, learning, retail operations, visitor services, events, facility rentals and collections. She also helped the organization receive accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums in 2021.

Originally from Miami, Jones received a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies at Florida International University and a master’s degree in nonprofit administration from the University of San Francisco.

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Donna Harris is the managing editor of Aroundabout Local Media. She’s a Cobb County native and a veteran journalist with newspaper and magazine experience. Email her at donna@aroundaboutmagazines.com. Donna Harris
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Around Kennesaw, a publication of Aroundabout Local Media, Inc., is a community magazine with 17,000 free copies distributed monthly. Approximately 16,600 are direct mailed to homes and businesses and an additional 400 are placed in racks in the community.

Around Kennesaw welcomes your comments, stories and advertisements. Editorial deadline is the first, and the advertising deadline is the 10th of the month prior to publication.

Subscriptions are available for $24 per year. Send check or money order to: Around Kennesaw, 1025 Rose Creek Drive, PMB 380, Suite 620, Woodstock, GA 30189.

The viewpoints of the advertisers, writers and other submissions do not necessarily reflect those of the editor/publisher. And the publisher makes no claims to the validity of any opinions expressed by charitable, business or civic organizations mentioned, or statements made within the editorial content. The cover and inside related article, and other editorial-type submissions labeled SPONSORED CONTENT, are paid content. The publisher neither guarantees nor supports any product or service mentioned in this magazine, nor does it guarantee any assertions made by the manufacturers or providers of such products or services, or claims regarding the status of such businesses.

No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved. Copyright 2022.

America’s Community Magazine www.aroundkennesawmagazine.com @aroundkennesaw @around_kennesaw Get Social With Us! Around Acworth | Around Canton Around Kennesaw | Around Woodstock | TowneLaker ← Subscribe to our newsletter! “We had the best experience with Aroundabout Local Media. The communication with the team from soup to nuts was perfectly on point, the end result of the cover and two-page article definitely exceeded our expectations.” — Deborah Shane, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing for Distinctive Living Our Mission Helping local businesses grow and prosper by offering affordable advertising opportunities in a quality publication that provides positive, relevant information to our readers. Advertise With Us Get Results With Us Kim Dahnke, President 770-778-5314 | kim@aroundaboutmagazines.com For sales inquiries, contact Jennifer Coleman, Vice President of Sales 678-279-5502 | jen@aroundaboutmagazines.com 6 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022 7 > edwardjones.com | Member SIPC CEA-9646E-A Donations will be accepted 9am-4pm Monday-Friday through December 20th Toys should be new and unwrapped. Note: we cannot accept monetary donations. Help us brighten a child's life. Please drop off donations at our office. Bring Joy to a Child in Need Toys for Tots Toy Drive Deborah P Flugstad Financial Advisor 1690 Stone Village Lane Suite 222 Kennesaw, GA 30152 770-795-0885

Don’t Let ’em Steal Your Spirit

Ahh, the joy of the season is upon us. The holidays are here! The parties, time with family, bowl games, overeating, shopping, holiday movies (finding true love at the local festival) and giving/receiving gifts all provide a momentary pause of the routine and create a whole new level of hustle and bustle.

And that joy can be ruined instantly if you fall victim to a crime. Unfortunately, there are some in our society who use the season as an opportunity to get something that does not belong to them. They prey on us being caught up in the good spirit of giving, along with our busy schedules. There are a few things we can do to provide some layers of protection for ourselves. On the surface, they all seem fairly simple and easy to accomplish, but with absence of intention, there could be vulnerability.

While shopping:

• Be aware of your surroundings.

• Try to shop with a buddy or family member.

• Avoid leaving packages/valuables in open view.

For package deliveries, consider:

• Networking with neighbors.

• Having packages delivered at work.

• Leaving specific drop-off locations.

• Using a smart lock.

• Utilizing security cameras.

Leaving for the holidays:

• Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to watch your home.

• Use timers for lights.

• Make arrangements for mail and newspapers.

After the holidays:

• Don’t advertise expensive toys, electronics or other gifts by leaving out boxes for garbage collections. Compress large boxes and place them in black garbage bags for pickup.

• Add new items to your home inventory. Take photos or video of all items of value, and list each item’s make, model, serial number or other identifiers.

If you become a victim of a porch pirate:

• Confirm delivery with the delivery company.

• Know what was in the package.

• Secure a copy of video footage, if you have security cameras. Check with neighbors to see if they captured the incident with cameras.

• Notify law enforcement as soon as possible.

• File a claim with the delivery courier. The U.S. Postal Service, UPS, FedEx and Amazon all have a “start a claim” link on their web pages.

We want all of you to have a secure holiday season, and I hope this helps with your intentional strategic plan to do so.

Until next time, stay safe.

8 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
Bill Westenberger has served as chief since 2008. He was given the 2019 Kennesaw Citizen of the Year Award.
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A Word From Mayor Derek Easterling

Hello, Kennesaw! It’s beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas! What a wonderful time of the year — wait, it is the “most wonderful time of the year” and one of the most highly celebrated days of the year. Hang your stockings, light the tree and pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate or hot apple cider, and let’s celebrate the season together.

All Aboard for Holiday Fun returns to the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History. On Dec. 10 from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., the museum will host a holiday event featuring activities for kids young and old, all of which are free with regular admission.

The highlight of the day will be a screening of “The Polar Express” (2004). The film will be shown twice, once at 11:15 a.m. and again at 2 p.m. The first showing will conclude with the arrival of Rockin’ Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, who will be on-site and available for pictures in front of the The General locomotive from 1-4 p.m. Also, the Golden Bells of Atlanta will perform at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Other activities featured during the day include letters to Santa, leather Christmas ornament stamping, printing Christmas cards with the Red Onion Printing Press, an interactive model train layout from the North Georgia Tinplate Trackers and children’s crafts.

A train conductor will be on-site to punch children’s tickets with an authentic ticket punch. Tickets will be provided to children with their admission. Kids are encouraged to wear their favorite pajamas or winter clothing.

Merry Christmas, Kennesaw! I pray you find much to be grateful for this holiday season, and I ask you to lift each other up with encouraging words and actions from the heart. May you and your family find peace and love in the spirit of the season as you celebrate the birth of Christ, ring in a new year and have the opportunity to live, work and play in this awesome community.

Be blessed!

Derek Easterling has served as Kennesaw’s mayor since 2016. He is dedicated to serving his community to the highest level possible.
10 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
Rockin’ Santa and Mrs. Claus will pose for photos.

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Customer Service


Ying Jiang (Jenny) and her husband, Wenqing Weng (Leo), opened Wasabi Sushi and Steak earlier this year as an investment in their family’s future and a desire to serve the community they call home. It didn’t take them long to fall in love with Acworth after moving here in 2017 from New York.

“The atmosphere is great, the people are friendly, and it's a great place to raise a family,” Jenny said.

Opening a restaurant was a natural step for Jenny and her family, including brothers and sisters who have worked in the industry for many years.

“Our team has more than 10 years experience in the restaurant industry,” she said. “I’ve worked for more than a decade as wait staff, so I truly understand customer service.”

Catering to the customers’ needs is a top priority at Wasabi. Extra effort is taken to meet customers’ dietary requirements, with options for people with food allergies to seafood or those who require gluten-free alternatives. Food is prepared without MSG.

Proper health protocol is followed by servers.

Concerns about health and safety, since the restaurant opened during the pandemic, led to a spacious interior design that also is wheelchair accessible, so customers can enjoy the ambiance and feel at ease.


The extensive menu ranges from hibachi to sushi and ramen to udon, so there’s something for everyone. Other important facts to note:

• Wasabi has a liquor license and a full bar, offering classic drinks as well as special cocktails and Japanese spirits.

• Sushi chefs each have 10 or more years of experience.

• All ingredients are fresh and high quality.

From left, edamame, hibachi steak, lobster, and shrimp, gyoza and spicy twins rolls are among available dishes.


Jenny recounts a recent birthday celebration Wasabi hosted for a Kennesaw State University student. Staff members took photos provided by the celebrants and projected them on the wall of the party room. “They seemed incredibly happy,” she said.

During this first year, Jenny said they are focused on customer feedback and learning what the community likes as they continue to fine-tune their restaurant to satisfy customers and grow their business.

“Come in for a meal, and we hope you will have a memorable experience. The atmosphere is very unique; you have to see it to believe it!” Jenny said.

Wasabi Sushi and Steak 3466 Cobb Parkway NW, #140, Acworth, GA 30101 770-515-9988 | E Wasabi Acworth wasabisushiacworth.kwickmenu.com

Sushi chef Paul.
Thanos Roll and Acworth Roll.
12 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
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Wondered Have You Ever

In the spirit of the season, we thought we’d go to the experts — preschoolers, kindergartners and first-graders — to get the real scoop on Santa, Mrs. Claus and their helpers.

?How does Santa travel the world in one night?

• By his magic reindeer. — Blakeleigh O.

• Deers get up and puts presents in the chimney because Santa puts presents down the chimney. — Charly F.

• Everyone is sleeping, so they do not know. — Titus W.

• He uses his magic to make the reindeer go faster. — Jakko R.

• He gets in his sleigh and goes house by house. — Lillian P.

• He uses his sleigh and his reindeer to use his magic. — Austin B.

• He travels really fast; it would be really hard. — Josie Z.

• With fast reindeer, they run so fast Santa can’t catch up with them. — Emma S.

• Easy, his sled can fly to the houses. — Isaac G.

• Does he travel like to India and stuff? Maybe he tells his reindeer to go faster. — Dayton

• He just comes through all the fireplaces with the glass. He can do it. — Kamryn M.

• He does it with his sleigh and they put sausage on the red nose. — Blakely J.

• He goes to different houses. He goes to mine first. — Tayson T.

• He walks. — Caiden D.

• With a plane. — Eli

Walker P. Presley S. Eli
14 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
Kamryn M.

Why is Rudolph’s nose red?

• Because there is snot in your nose and it makes your nose bleed and turn red. — Vanessa V.

• Because Jesus made him that way. — Liam C.

• He fell on his face. — Noah Be.

• He was born for the stormy night and he can lead Santa’s sleigh when Santa can’t see. — Hunter D.

• Because its Christmas. — Walker P.

• Because he’s sad because something bad happened. — Andrew W.

• I think Santa painted his nose red and he put magic stuff on his nose. This way it will glow. — Christian M.

• He needs it to see when it is dark. — Zander F.

• Because he eats cherries. — Fernando R.

• He was born with it. — Bryson W., Presley S.

• He ate too many apples. — Genevieve K.

• He has a special red nose because he is sad or happy or mad. — Jackson S.

• Because he’s the leader. — Isaac G., Collin M.

• Probably because he got hurt. — Carson

• Because his mom or dad had a red nose too. — Henry Because that is his favorite color. — Shelby

• Because God gave him that. He needed it for smelling. — Hudson B.

• They put sausage and ketchup on his nose. — Blakely J.

• Because it is supposed to glow to get him through the dark night. — Lily W.

• Because they like red, but I like blue or white. — Noah Ba.

What do reindeer like to eat?

• Mints. — Maya J.

• Reindeer food! Sometimes they eat grass. — Bellamy J.

• They eat oatmeal. — Olivia M.

• They are magic reindeer, so I think they eat magic candy. — Erin N.

• They eat like these little nut things. — Austin B.

• Feet. — Sean O.

• Hmmmm. I don’t know. — Isaac G.

• Candy canes. — Carson, Elijah, Brynley, Walker P., Presley S.

• They eat carrots, green beans, broccoli, and milk, sprite and water to drink. — Kamryn M.

• Beef. — Eli

• Broccoli. — Vanessa V.

• They eat the little bag of reindeer food. — Shelby

• They probably eat grass and sandwiches. — Blakely J.

• They eat grass, meat, turkey, and that is it. — Noah Ba.

• They eat grass and skin. — Kennedy C.

What do the elves do while the children are sleeping?

• They make a mess. — Bryson B.

• Bring a Christmas Tree when I get back from the beach. — Andrew W.

• They sit on our counter. — Ethan K.

• They do bad stuff. — Tyler

• They sneak in you house and bring presents. — Kai G.

• They go to different places and they tell Santa how we are doing. — McCade C.

• Puts Christmas trees up. — Vanessa V.

• They write notes to kids. — Reagan S.

• They go back to Santa to help people get more presents and stuff. — Collin M.

• They set up surprises for the kids in the morning. — Olivia M.

• Play hide and seek. — Lorelei T.

• Give them Christmas presents. — Jesiah A., Eli, Hudson B., Palmer A., Blakely J.

• They hide presents. — Dominick C.

• They look for stuff in the house. — Brayden M.

• Look if your naughty for nice. — William L.

• Prank them. — Sean O.

• Hide. — Emma S.

• They move to other places. — Jackson S., Brynley

• The elves put the presents in Santa’s bag. — Sindara

• They are asleep. — Caiden D. They wake them up. — Kennedy C.

Bryson W. Hunter D. Olivia M.
AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022 15
Sean O.

How does Santa get down the chimney?

• Oh I know! Some houses don’t have chimneys so sometimes he has to go through the window. He has to try to push himself right down the chimney. — Bellamy J.

• Santa climbs up the top and comes down the square thing where all the air comes out in your house. — Adelyn J.

• Slides down on his tushy. — Blakeleigh O.

• Grabs all that big fat and slides down there. — Presley S.

• He goes on the chimney and pushes presents down first and then he jumps down into the fireplace. — Reagan S.

• He falls in the chimney. — Olivia M., Sindara, Walker P.

• He put wheels on his hands and feet and slides down the chimney. — Jakko R.

• He drops his bag in and jumps down. — Giovanna Z.

• He jumps down and uses his hands to stop himself. — Bryson T.

• He gets down there with a rope. — Allie R.

• He goes in the fire way. — Kennedy C.

• A deer bucks him down. — Caiden D.

• He can squeeze his body down the chimney. — Sean O., Josie Z.

• With a rope by tying it to something and going down it. — Macie G.

• He gets down the chimney when he doesn’t get fat. — Eli

• By going in it and jump and he’s usually too big to get in it, somebody is going to have to help him get in it. — Isaac G.

• By breathing in. — Henry

• He puts his shoulders up and he puts his hands by his side and he slides down. — Dayton

• I don’t even know because I’ve never saw Santa go down the chimney. — Steele

What is Mrs. Claus’ job during the Christmas season?

• Stays at home and does laundry. — Avery V.

• Mrs. Santa’s job is to be a bad elf because she’s rude. — Bryson B.

• She cleans the house. — Maya J.

• She gets Santa a present and wraps it. — Noah Be.

• Helping all the elves. — Josie Z.

• She sews stockings. — Presley S.

• She plays. — Walker P.

• She makes cookies. — Lorelei T., Bryson W., Clara

• I think she watches to see if the kids are being good. — Braylin E., Jackson S.

• She helps Santa pack the gifts. — Shelby B.

• She delivers presents with Santa. — Ava T., Carson, Isaac G., Allie R., Hudson B.

• Work out. — Sean O.

• She sleeps. — Eli, Henry

• Probably taking care of the reindeer. — Shelby

• She sits down. — Alana

• She makes sweaters. — Dayton

• Make yummy food. — Brynley

• Her job is to make sure the kids don’t wake up. — Lily W.

• She decorates the Christmas tree. — Tayson T.

• She delivers girl presents. — Noah Ba.

• She makes soup. — Caiden D.

• She puts Christmas trees up and presents in our classroom. — Vanessa V.

16 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
Josie Z. Hudson B. Shelby Bellamy J. Isaac G. Vanessa V.

Still Bringing Joy to Kennesaw

In today's world, we could use more bright moments. And as the largest residential Christmas light display in Georgia, Kennesaw’s Lights of Joy provides just that.

The Lights of Joy name was inspired by Richard Taylor’s late mother, Marjorie Hixon. As a child, she was called “My Joy,” as she always was happy and lovely. Eventually, the “My” was dropped from her nickname, and she became known as Joy. She lived out the meaning of the word in how she devoted her life to serving others. Her legacy is remembered today by the light display dedicated in her honor.

Lights of Joy has been making the Christmas season brighter since 1988, when Richard started it with a simple stick tree with lights. Years later, the display has grown to more than 1 million lights. Richard and his wife, Sherri, are the creators, but they depend on friends and workers to assist with this giant annual event. Miguel and Riccardo have worked with them for 15 years and 13 years, respectively, which makes them experts on the processes. Richard leads on installation, and Sherri is the master of repairing strings of lights. In 2021 alone, she repaired more than 775 strings!

One of the most notable features of the display is how the landscape is lit. With more than 230 lighted trees — one of which has 20,000-plus lights — this creates a breathtaking visual. The house, sections of the yard and nine musical trees are synchronized to Christmas music. The inside circle is the highlight and features more than 400,000 lights. It takes roughly 1,800 hours to set up the display.

A fun fact: Surprisingly, the electric bill is the smallest component — about 4% — of the overall costs.

Richard said they don’t do the light display for themselves;

it’s to see smiles on the faces of those in attendance. “We do it because we had 46,000 happy people walking around the circle last year,” he said. “I have no idea how many drove by, but they only got to see maybe a little bit less than half of it. We go out and see all these happy, delighted people, and they forget about their problems for the time they are there. We do it because we like to see people happy.”

Brandi Norman, a Kennesaw native who lives in Acworth, shared her excitement about the display. “It is a great family outing that we all look forward to,” she said. “It is so much fun to watch the joy on people’s faces as much as it is to see the lights. It truly gives me a sense of pride that this is in my hometown.”

Kennesaw resident Jackie Smith-James said the Lights of Joy was a family first for her stepson, Joshua. “In 2017, my stepson was fairly new to the United States, and this was his first experience seeing this kind of light display,” she said.

“I have never seen anything like it,” Joshua added. “It caught my eye, and I didn’t expect it to be that nice! I just thought it was a regular light display.”

Lights of Joy, at 1510 Ben King Road, Kennesaw, is open 6-11 p.m. daily through Jan. 1. Admission is free, and donations are accepted. Park across the street at Influencers Church for the walk-through display. Please no pets. www.lightsofjoy.net

Nicole Smith is a public health professional living in Kennesaw with her epic houseplant collection and two senior dogs, Jax and Lily Grace.
AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022 17
Photo courtesy of Lights of Joy.

Light Displays to Brighten Your Holidays

If you’re looking for the biggest and brightest light displays of the season, this is the list for you! Load up the car with family and friends, put on your favorite holiday music and have a de-light-ful time walking or driving through twinkling displays both near and far.

Through Dec. 23

Holiday Lights of Hope opens nightly at 6 p.m. at Hobgood Park in Woodstock. The event features a huge walk-through Christmas light display with more than 2 million lights. Cost is $10 per person. Kids ages 14 and younger admitted free. Proceeds benefit the Anna Crawford Children’s Center. No pets allowed. https:// bit.ly/3GspZJM. For the most up-to-date information regarding weather closures, visit the Holiday Lights of Hope Facebook page.

Visit Mountain Country Christmas in Lights, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 4-9 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 10 (and every night Dec. 15-23), at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, 1311 Music Hall Road, Hiawassee. Enjoy a winter walk through thousands of lights and exhibits. There will be Christmas music, arts and crafts vendors, holiday food and pictures with Santa. https://bit.ly/3GA0I0C

Through Dec. 26

This year marks the final season for Lane Lights at 770 Fox Hollow Parkway, Marietta. The free light display runs nightly, 6-10 p.m., weather permitting. www.facebook.com/LaneLights

Through Dec. 30

Visit Pettit Creek Farms in Cartersville for A Country Christmas celebration, beginning at 6 p.m. TuesdaysSundays. Take a hayride ($10 per person) or drive through more than a mile of Christmas lights ($30 per car). Activities include visiting Santa and his reindeer, a Nativity scene and petting zoo, Christmas trees and more. https://pettitcreekfarms.com/a-country-christmas-final

Through Dec. 31

Lights of LIFE is open nightly, rain or shine. The display opens at dark and runs until 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at Life University, 1269 Barclay Circle, Marietta. Cost is $10 per car/truck; buses are $20. Fees for individual goods and services are at the discretion of the vendors. www.life.edu/lights-of-life

Riley’s Rockin’ Christmas Lights features more than 60,000 LED lights synchronized to nearly an hour of holiday music at 2008 Palladium Drive, Kennesaw. Donations are accepted in the red Santa’s Letters collection box, to benefit the Children’s Burn Foundation. The show is on a varied schedule. For dates and times, visit www.facebook.com/RRXmas.

Light Up the Holidays at Barnsley Resort visitors (including those who are not staying overnight) are welcome to view more than 1 million lights and festive decor in the historic 1800s manor house ruins, surrounding gardens and English-style village. There is a small fee for self-guided tours at 597 Barnsley Gardens Road, Adairsville. www.barnsleyresort.com

Holiday Lights at Veterans Park opens nightly at 6 p.m. Enjoy a 2-mile drive through the Christmas light show. Admission is $20 per car. For the most up-to-date information, visit www.facebook.com/HolidaylightsatVeterans.

18 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
Photo courtesy of Holiday Lights at Veterans Park. Photo courtesy of Holiday Lights of Hope.

Through Dec. 31

The annual Smoot Christmas Lights for Lupus display runs 5:30-10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and 5:30-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The family decorates their home, 3699 Autumn View Drive, Acworth, with a variety of lights and fixtures that are synchronized to music. Free hot chocolate and cookies are offered, 6-8 p.m. Saturdays, and all collected donations go to the Lupus Foundation of America, Georgia Chapter.

The Holly Springs Light Show provides uplifting holiday entertainment nightly, 6-11 p.m. at First Baptist Holly Springs. It is free to attend, but donations are greatly appreciated at the clearly marked boxes. https://www.facebook.com/hollyspringslightsshow

Through Jan. 1

Lights of Joy, the largest residential Christmas light display in Georgia, has more than 1 million lights. Open nightly, 6-11 p.m. at 1510 Ben King Road NW, Kennesaw. Park at Influencers Church across the street, walk to see the lights in this free display and enjoy sections synchronized to Christmas music. No pets allowed. www.lightsofjoy.net

The Hrockin Hranicky Christmas Light Show is 6-10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and 6-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at 3848 Rivers Run Trace NW, Acworth. The show is free, but there is a donation box for Angels Among Us Pet Rescue. (Look for the mailbox attached to the Snoopy doghouse.) www.hrockinhranickychristmaslights.com

Drive through Reindeer Road, open nightly, 6-10 p.m. at 250 Cobb Parkway N., Marietta. Whiz through mountainous terrain, traverse glacial peaks, explore northern ice caves and make your way through the northern forests to the heart of it all — Santa’s Workshop — the world’s largest animated toy shop. https://bit.ly/2ZtC5C4

Visit Holiday In the Park select dates at Six Flags Over Georgia. Millions of lights and dozens of Christmas trees create a magical atmosphere during the holiday season. This holiday classic includes luminous lights, festive foods, shows, and, of course, Santa! https://bit.ly/3nEWFal

Celebrate the season with Stone Mountain Christmas, on select days, at 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain. Millions of lights, Christmas shows, a parade featuring Santa Claus and more create a night to remember. Don’t miss the scenic railroad, journey through the musical frosted forest and the world’s largest Christmas lights show. www.stonemountainpark.com

Through Jan. 2

Fantasy in Lights celebrates 30 years at Callaway Gardens, 17800 Highway 27, Pine Mountain. New this year is a scene on the lake and the Callaway Christmas village. Walk and drive through 10 million twinkling lights and 2,500 acres of Christmas cheer. Named one of National Geographic’s Top 10 Light Displays in the World. www.callawaygardens.com

Through Jan. 8

Due West United Methodist Church is presenting Light the Night (formerly the Calumet West Christmas House) 5:309 p.m. nightly at 3956 Due West Road, Marietta. The display features more than 50,000 lights, ornaments, characters, west Cobb’s tallest Christmas tree, a gingerbread house and a real sand beach with a 13-foot working lighthouse. Entertainment will be provided 7-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. A $10 donation for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Due West UMC missions is requested.

Through Jan. 14

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights features blooming bulbs, a radiant rainforest, poinsettia tree and more at Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta. A tunnel of light, the radiant ice goddess and the glittering galaxy will embrace visitors in enchanting light. Timed tickets are available online. www.atlantabg.org

Through Jan. 15

Illuminights at the Zoo: A Chinese Lantern Festival brings a one-of-a-kind holiday light experience to Zoo Atlanta, 5:30-9:30 p.m. Stroll through the zoo after dark to see more than 80 nature-inspired lanterns. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for ages 3-11. https://zooatlanta.org/event/illuminights

Through Jan. 16

Stroll through Margaritaville’s Lakeside Lights Spectacular, nightly at 5 p.m. through Jan. 4 then weekends only through Jan. 16, at Lanier Islands, 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Gainesville. All ages will enjoy the magical walk through a lighting extravaganza with festive seasonal music. Then, stop at License to Chill Snow Island, with one of the fastest snow rides in North America, ice skating, a snow play area, carnival rides and more. www.lanierislands.com

AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022 19
The Smoot Family’s annual Lights for Lupus display benefits the Lupus Foundation of America, Georgia Chapter.

Helping Hand Lend a

Many of our friends and neighbors struggle financially every day, and the holiday season is especially difficult. As Christmas approaches, the needs among local nonprofits have increased as the directors and volunteers are working to make sure everyone has a great holiday season. Here’s a list of organizations devoted to helping others. Please do what you can to help, whether it’s donating money or time.

Acworth Police Department Christmas Shoppe


Every year, the Acworth Police Department invites parents in need to select holiday gifts for their children at the station’s Christmas Shoppe. The community can assist the Christmas Shoppe by donating new, unwrapped toys and clothes for school-age children. Donations can be dropped off at the police department anytime before Dec. 15. 770-974-1232, ext. 1145.

Cherokee Family Violence Center

www.cfvc.org/donate-now Cherokee Family Violence Center has a transitional housing complex, with 72 apartments and an emergency shelter that accommodates 12 women and children affected by domestic violence. The Christmas wish list includes weekly meals through the holidays for shelter residents, canned items (like soups, meats, fruits and vegetables) and overthe-counter medications for cold and flu season. Additional donation items include unscented laundry pods, dishwashing pods, paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, plastic utensils, new pillows, white linens for twin and full beds, white towel sets (washcloths, bath towels and hand towels) and new undergarments for all ages. Contact 770-479-1804, ext. 101 or volunteers@cfvc.org.

Cobb Christmas Stuff-A-Bus


Help the Stuff-A-Bus program brighten the holidays for local children in need by donating new toys, food or monetary contributions to Cobb Christmas, a nonprofit, nondenominational organization that helps low-income families during the holidays. It is 100% run by volunteers, so all donations go directly to help the community. Cobb Christmas provides a minimum of three ageappropriate toys to each child, ages 3-13. Families go through a qualification process. Check the website to find a donation location near you or drop off donations 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 13-15 at IAM Lodge 709 (1032 S. Marietta Parkway, Marietta).

Cobb Senior Services www.cobbcounty.org

Brighten the holidays for senior clients. Ways to help include:

• Donate gift cards. Cards for Kroger, Publix, Walmart and Target allow seniors to purchase much-needed items.

• Make a monetary donation. Donate funds at https://bit.ly/3SCii9i.

For more information, contact Andrea Rapowitz at andrea.rapowitz@cobbcounty.org or 770-528-1445.

Encompass Ministries


Encompass Ministries and its food pantry offer year-round food and stability, as well as life-skills training assistance. Special holiday needs: donations of turkeys, ham and nonperishable food items. A list of the top 10 food needs is kept up-to-date on the website. Tax-deductible donations also are accepted on the website. For more details, call 770-591-4730.

20 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022

Family Promise Cobb County

www.family promise cobb county.org

Family Promise serves housing-insecure families with children by providing shelter through community faith partnerships. While the family has shelter, the day center staff stays busy working to help the adults find jobs, learn budgeting and connect with benefits and services that will help them. Donations of gas cards and Walmart, Publix, Kroger or Target gift cards are requested to help the families being served. Donations of new bed pillows, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, paper towels and toilet paper always are needed.

Forever Fed


Forever Fed, a mobile food ministry, hosts multiple food pantries a month in outdoor settings. There are many opportunities to partner with the nonprofit in building up our community with compassion: volunteer, donate nonperishable foods, send a financial gift or even hold a food drive. For a complete list of events and volunteer opportunities, visit the website.

Goshen Valley Foundation


Goshen Valley Boys Ranch attempts to provide a memorable Christmas experience for foster children, with the community’s help. This includes building traditions and talking about the true meaning of Christmas, as well as fulfilling young people’s wants and needs through gift-giving, to teach them that they are loved. With 42 kids to purchase gifts for, Goshen Valley relies on the generosity of the community to fulfill these wishes. A list of gifts has been compiled on Amazon through a charity wish list. For details, visit http:// goshenwishlist.org, email Executive Director Stacy Cooper at scooper@goshenvalley.org or call 770-796-4618 for a clickable link to view gifts the boys have requested.

The Hope Box


The Hope Box, a nonprofit dedicated to rescuing abandoned babies and toddlers, needs donations via gift cards for Walmart and Target to cover the costs of car seats and other needs of mothers and infants in crisis. Mail gift cards to 3330 Cobb Parkway, Suite 324-180, Acworth, GA 30101. For more information, call 770-765-6301.

Jerry Worthan Memorial Christmas Fund


Each year, Kennesaw Police Department hosts the Jerry Worthan Memorial Christmas Fund, which ensures Kennesaw children don’t go without Christmas gifts. The KPD is accepting monetary and toy donations. Drop off all donations at the police department by Dec. 14. To adopt a family for Christmas, contact KPD_PIO@kennesaw-ga.gov or 770-429-4532.

KSU CARE Services


The Campus Awareness, Resource & Empowerment (CARE) Services office offers program support to students who are experiencing homelessness, food insecurity and/or the foster care system. Monetary donations to the fund can make a huge difference in the lives of students and their academic careers. There is an online shopping gift list for granting holiday wishes to students within this special population. For details, contact CARE Services at careservices@kennesaw.edu or 470KSU-5260 or check out the website at care.kennesaw.edu.

MUST Ministries


The MUST Ministries Toy Shops program provides Christmas presents for nearly 6,000 children in poverty who otherwise might not wake up to anything under the tree. The program supports children of all ages, and the parents are able to “shop” for toys, gifts and other items, such as blankets and underwear, that are specific to their children’s needs. For more information on toys that are needed and how to donate, visit mustministries.org/toy-shop or email toyshop@ mustministries.org. MUST also is in desperate need of winter coats of all sizes to keep their clients warm during the winter months. Please consider bringing gently used or new coats to the MUST Donation Center, 1280 Field Parkway, Marietta, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays.

AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022 21
The MUST Ministries Toy Shops program provides gifts for children who might not have anything on Christmas.

Helping Hand Lend a

Never Alone


The food pantry is seeking partners to help fight hunger in our community. The pantry provides more than 126,100 meals to approximately 800 households each month. Never Alone’s partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank allows it to purchase food at greatly discounted prices. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation online at www. neveralone.org or by check, made payable to and mailed to: Never Alone Outreach, P.O. Box 1904, Woodstock, GA 30188.

North Georgia Angel House


The organization has served girls since 2006 by providing shelter, life skills, job readiness services, family support and more for up to 40 females at a time. Current needs include: MP3 players, earbuds, gift cards for clothing or activities in the area and journals. Visit the website to donate, or shop on Amazon Smile and select North Georgia Angel House Inc. as your charity to support.

SERV International https://servone.org/foodlocal

The nonprofit provides food to local families and to complex regions globally. With the help of volunteers, 800 SERV food boxes are delivered each month to families in need. To sponsor a local family for $35 a month, visit the website. For volunteer opportunities, email info@servone.org.

Simple Needs GA www.simpleneedsga.org

The Spirit of Christmas program helps school- and agencyreferred families who are getting close to Christmas and were unable to register for other local programs earlier in the year. Volunteer opportunities include buying requested presents, wrapping gifts, making deliveries, sorting and organizing, and more. For more information, email brenda@simpleneedsga.org.

Toys for Tots


Toys for Tots is a national program started by the Marine Corps. Toys for Tots collects new, unwrapped toys year-round to distribute to children in need during the holiday season as a way of spreading joy to the less fortunate. Visit the website for an updated list of collection sites in Acworth and Kennesaw.

22 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
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The Card That Changed Everything

Around 2010, my wife, Amy, and I began a new Christmas tradition that extends throughout the year. It wasn’t our idea, mind you. We were watching a holiday feature on then-University of Georgia head football coach Mark Richt and his wife, Kathryn. Richt said instead of tossing the Christmas cards they receive every year, they keep them. Then every night at dinner, they’d pull one card from the pile and pray over that family or individual.

Amy and I loved that idea. We placed all the Christmas cards we received that year into a small paper bag we’d hung inside a kitchen cabinet. At dinner, we’d pull a card, give thanks for the meal and lift up whoever had given us the card. We even took turns praying. If it was one of my co-workers or family members, I’d pray. If it was a friend of our boys, we’d have them pray.

Through the years, word has gotten out about our tradition. We have texted friends a photo of the card they sent us the previous year and let them know we prayed for them that evening. We’ve posted a couple of pictures on social media as well — not to draw attention to ourselves but to let people know they were prayed over. Friends and co-workers who saw our posts or heard us talk about this tradition have told us, “I don’t send out Christmas cards anymore, but I’m sending one to you because I want you to pray for me!”

It's become a game of sorts. We never look inside the bag when we pull out a card. We fish around like we’re pulling a raffle ticket, not knowing who the “lucky winner” will be. If we go through all the cards in a year, we put them back in the bag and pray over them again. In fact, we now keep two years’ worth of cards and cycle through them.

There have been times when I’ve pulled a card for a family we just prayed for a night or two before. I’ve said, “We just prayed for them this week. I’ll draw another card,” but Amy will stop me. She says, “Perhaps they really need our prayers right now.” And we pray for them again.

Without a doubt, the most significant impact from this tradition involved our son, Chandler. When he was about 7, I distinctly remember Amy praying for a friend who didn’t have a relationship with the Lord. She prayed Jesus would knock on her friend’s heart and draw her to him. Afterward, Chandler started asking questions — “What did you mean by that prayer? That person doesn’t know who Jesus is?”

We had a terrific conversation with our kids that evening as we ate. Our older son, Chaz, who was about 11, already had put his faith in Christ, but Chandler had not made that decision yet. That was about to change, though.

Throughout the evening, I felt the Holy Spirit encouraging me to follow up with Chandler about our dinner discussion. As I was putting him to bed, I knelt by his bedside and said, “Buddy, you remember what we talked about at dinner?” He nodded. I said, “You know, if you know who Jesus is, you can ask him to come into your heart whenever you are ready.” Not missing this precious opportunity, I continued. “If you’d like to do that right now, I can help you.” Chandler said he was ready. I asked a few simple questions to make sure he understood then led him in a prayer that he repeated.

Eternity changed for my son that night, all because of a simple tradition we picked up from the Richt family.

This Christmas, perhaps you’ll want to keep your cards. Whether you pull out one each night or one each week, you’ll never know exactly how God will use it in your life or someone else’s!

Merry Christmas!

24 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
C.A. Phillips serves as communications pastor and director of men’s groups at NorthStar Church. He oversees Over the Hump, a weekly online devotional. northstarchurch.org/lockerroom. Christmas cards that have been prayed over by the Phillips family.

Hanukkah — The Miracle of Lights

As the days become darker and colder, Jews around the world will kindle lights in the festive eight-day celebration of Hanukkah. Also called the Festival of Lights, the holiday is commemorated with candle lighting, food, family and joy.

The historical events upon which the celebration is based are recorded in Maccabees I and II. In the year 168 B.C.E. (Before Common Era), Greek soldiers invaded the Temple in Jerusalem and set up a statue to Zeus, thus defiling the sacred space. The Greeks took away the religious freedoms of those in the land of Israel. Though greatly outnumbered, a group of Jewish resisters, led by Judah Maccabee, fought back and defeated the invaders and restored the Temple. In reclaiming it, they cleared the pagan statues and rededicated the space. From this act, the holiday was called Hanukkah, which means “dedication.” They also lit the ritual lamps but only had enough olive oil to burn for one day. Runners were sent to find more oil to keep the lamps lit, but none was to be found. Miraculously, this small amount of oil burned for eight days, until more was acquired.

While historians debate some of the details of this account, it’s clear this is a stirring story of how a small

group was able to stand up against overwhelming forces and emerge victorious. Perhaps this is the true miracle and inspiration of Hanukkah — that anyone can make a difference in the world, no matter the obstacles.

This year, Hanukkah will begin at sundown on Dec. 18 and conclude on Dec. 26. During this time, Jews will light an eight-branched candleholder called a menorah as a reminder of the oil lasting eight days. Each night, another candle will be added. In addition, singing special songs and playing games with a top called a dreidel are part of the holiday. And to remember the significance of the oil, Jews eat food prepared in oil, such as potato pancakes (latkes) and jelly-filled donuts, as a special treat during Hanukkah.

Rooted in ancient tradition and story, Hanukkah is a rich, meaningful and joyous break from the long, dark winter months.

AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022 25
Rabbi Joseph Prass is the spiritual leader of Congregation Ner Tamid in Marietta. In addition, he serves as the director of Holocaust education at the Breman Museum in Atlanta.
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Dear Santa Claus:

I am a little girl eight years old. I want you to please bring me just a few things. I want a small doll carriage, a trunk, a rubber ball and lots of fruit and candy. And don’t forget to bring papa and mama something nice too, and bring all my schoolmates something, and my teacher, too. And bring my little neighbor children something.

- Your little friend, Inez McCollum (Dec. 16, 1916)

Dear Santa Claus:

I want you to come this way and bring me a ribbon clasp, a box of crayons, a pair of kid gloves and plenty of fruits and candy of all kinds. And bring mama something nice and papa a warm cap. And be sure and come to see all my little neighbor children.

- Wishing you a merry Christmas, I am your friend, Pauline McCollum. (Dec. 16, 1916)

Letters to Yesteryears’

In last December’s issue of Around Kennesaw, I shared a history of Christmas celebrations in Kennesaw, including Christmas gifts. This year, I would like to share some letters to Santa from Kennesaw’s past. Each of these was found in historic editions of the Marietta Daily Journal or the Cobb County Times. Enjoy!

Dear Old Santa Claus:

I am a great big boy 8 years old. Now you know very well some things I want real bad, although I will tell you of a few things. A brand new tricycle: wagon large enough to hold my big brother, who is a year and a half old; plenty of nuts, fire crackers, apples, oranges, raisins, red striped candy, two or three tops, base ball and a new saddle, not so very large, so I can ride our pony. Now don’t forget me.

- Your friend, Charlie Allison (1919)

Dear Santa Claus:

I am a little boy seven years old. I am going to school. I want you to bring me a little gun, a knife, some oranges, apples, candy, raisins and other fruits, and bring my little brothers something. Please bring my school teacher, Miss Louise Williams, something.

- From Albert Taylor (1923)

Dear Santa Claus:

I am a little girl 10 years old and am in the fourth grade. I want you to bring me a little sewing machine, a box of crayons, a little doll in a basket, a tea-set and all kinds of fire works, candies, and fruit. Don’t forget my two brothers.

- Your little friend, Evelyn Turner (Dec. 11, 1927)

Andrew Bramlett is vice president of the Kennesaw Historical Society and an honorary member of the Kennesaw Cemetery Preservation Commission.
26 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022

Dear Santa: You must be the best man in the world. Next to my daddy you always bring so many nice things. This year Santa I have a great surprise for you. I am going to school and have made one hundred in deportment each month and I’ve been going four months. Now don’t you think that’s good Santa. I’m not asking but for one thing and that is a desk. Please remember my class mate, Dorothy Pratt.

- Love, Sammie Dyer (1931)

Dear Santa: Will you please bring me a cap pistol and some caps, a little knife, and a chain on it?

- Your little friend, Charles Dunn (1936)

Dear Santa Claus: I am a little girl 15 months old. I want a little doll, a little tea set, a new pair of shoes, all kinds of pretty things.

- Your little girl, Vera Rebecca Swanson (1938)

Dear Santa Claus: I want you to bring me tinker toys, a tricycle, boxing gloves, G-man’s suit, a lone ranger outfit. I’ve been a good boy. I’m five years old. Bring my dog Yo-Yo a ball and me an electric train.

- William Ellis (Dec. 1, 1940)

Dear Santa: I am in the second grade and have tried to be a good girl. Please bring me a stove, refrigerator, tea set, and a tiny tears doll. I would also like some blue jeans and gloves. My little brother, Marvin, is three. He wants a wagon, a little guitar and some guns. Please remember all the other little children and give them something nice. I will leave you something to eat under the tree.

- I love you, Margaret Ann Hogan (1956)

Dear Santa: I am a little boy five years old and I have been normally good. Will you please bring me an electric train, a saw set, a fire wagon, and some dump trucks. Don’t forget all the other little boys and girls who have been good this year.

- Love, David Taylor (1958)

AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022 27

Personalized Care for All

Striking the balance between assistance and maintaining independence for our aging parents isn’t an easy task but is one that Varenita of West Cobb addresses head-on. The West Cobb senior living community will open in early 2023.

One unique feature at Varenita is assisted-living apartments with washer-dryer combos and cooktops. It’s just one of the many ways that Varenita provides a community where seniors can relax and make the most of their days, while maintaining a level of independence that satisfies each resident.

Varenita’s campus has 57 assisted-living and 24 memory-care apartments. Assisted-living apartments have spacious living areas, 12-foot ceilings, bay windows, a washer and dryer; complete, modern kitchens also are available in select apartments. Each apartment is equipped with an emergency response system and Wi-Fi.



Three attractive living options in one unique community.

Assisted Living

The perfect option for independent seniors who want support with daily tasks and personal care. Guided by compassion and clinical expertise, Varenita’s highly trained team members offer residents the gentle, individually focused support they need to flourish while retaining their independence.

Comprehensive, personalized care plans address each resident's changing needs, wants and personal preferences by offering appropriate levels of daily task assistance, comprehensive medication management, ongoing health and behavior monitoring, and more. Residents are encouraged to participate in an ever-changing mix of vibrant activities and events.

Transitional Care

This specialized program is for those with mild cognitive impairment or early memory loss who may not need the full attention or secure environment of a traditional memory program. Transitional-care residents live in the assisted-living community while receiving additional support with daily activities.

Residents are encouraged to engage in challenging and stimulating activities specifically tailored to meet their individual needs and cognitive level. All events are held in a focused, small-group setting that facilitates direct interaction and promotes individual success. This progressive level of care ensures a gradual transition to memory care.

Memory Care

Varenita’s memory-care program, based on the latest research, offers a compassionate approach to care designed for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. This living option combines an engaging, secure memory-care neighborhood with a stimulating, person-centered lifestyle often missing from other cognitive-care programs.

Residents build meaningful connections through a dynamic mix of activities that feature music, dance, art, food, movement and sensory stimulation. Highly engaged team members use the latest relationship-based care methods and whole-person care plans to create an engaging and compassionate environment full of events and activities.

28 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022

Stages of Aging

Chef-Inspired Dining

Varenita’s chef and culinary team create an ever-changing menu of tasty entrees made with organic, locally sourced ingredients. These include vegetarian, gluten-free and specially designed dishes for residents with specific dietary needs. A registered dietitian is available to help with residents’ nutritional needs.

Three dining venues include a restaurantstyle dining room, comfortable bar, and a bistro and lounge. Anytime dining is available between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The Value of Connection

Senior community residents are two to five times more likely than nonresidents to participate in new activities. Unfortunately for many, the world becomes smaller as we age. We see friends less often and stop doing things that bring joy and a sense of purpose, which can have very serious consequences. According to a 2020 study published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, social isolation has been associated with an approximately 50% increased risk of developing dementia.

To combat this, Varenita offers a mix of activities, classes and events that foster engagement, stimulate the mind and provide a rewarding sense of purpose.

Tailored Pricing

A simple, straightforward pricing model that includes five levels of care guarantees residents pay only for the services they need. Rather than a onesize-fits-all approach, which often causes residents to pay for care they don’t need, Varenita has implemented a simple, easy-to-understand pricing model that includes:

• One-time community fee covers admission and apartment preparation.

• Monthly base rental rate includes all meals, housekeeping, maintenance, linen service and much more.

The emphasis on connection extends through Varenita’s Keeping Couples Together program. When one spouse is experiencing Alzheimer’s or dementia, the other spouse can continue living in the same apartment or one nearby. Spouses have the freedom to visit whenever they wish, dine together and continue participating in activities and events.

• Monthly care fees vary as the resident’s care needs change.

Ongoing comprehensive resident assessments determine the level of care that each resident requires.

AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022 29
Varenita of West Cobb | 1979 Mars Hill Road, Acworth, GA 30101 | 470-750-3500
Arts & Crafts
Daily Gardening
Group Outings
Move & Dance
Animal Activities
Cooking Classes
Music & Song
Live Concerts
Exercise Classes
Family Events
Guest Speakers

Looking Ahead to Trends for 2023

The best way to describe the numerous interior design trends for 2023 as a whole is diverse. There are some new colors, new textures and new materials, but, most importantly, there are new moods. The moods are varied, but most involve some degree of comfort — either physical or emotional.

We have come to appreciate our living space much more the past few years, as people have gone from having to be at home to wanting to be at home in an environment that expresses their personalities and individual tastes.

“How people want to decorate has recently shifted,” designer Lee Broom said. “For a start, we’re all craving a better outlook, and part of achieving that is to condition your own brain to think more positively, which you can do by surrounding yourself with things that make you feel happy.”

Some of the major themes we are seeing are texture, texture and more texture; lots of curves, in furniture as well as architecture; and nature-inspired decor. You will see mural-type wallpapers that fill a room with warmth and personality. Texture extends to everything — leathered granite countertops, sculpted Berber carpets, and chunky, bold trim on drapes and woodwork.

The theme of incorporating nature into interior elements will continue to be prevalent in finishes and

fittings. We will be seeing colors inspired by nature, like softer greens and blues that are calming and pleasing to the eye. These color trends also mean the end of the all-white kitchen, as the pros anticipate painted or wood cabinets in warm, neutral hues.

Look for more natural items in interior decor — baskets or plants or natural wood. Curvy furniture, barrel or vaulted ceilings and curved walkways are a nod to nature, where curves rule.

Golden tones and art deco themes will be a part of the more natural, cozier trend, as well.

Furniture and its design and placement will be more focused on comfort and conversation. We all crave more personal interaction, and furniture designers are catering to that. The words we are seeing in print about design for the coming year include relaxing, plump, character, dimension and rounded.

So, prepare for a comfortable year, with lots of curves and beautiful colors. Bring in nature, and sink back in a big sofa for some great conversations.

30 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
Elisabeth Stubbs is one of the owners of Enhance Floors & More, one of Atlanta’s toprated flooring dealers, located in Marietta.

Enhance Floors & More is one of the most experienced flooring companies in North Georgia. Founded 37 years ago in Marietta, the flooring showroom is locally owned and staffed by a skilled team with a combined 150-plus years of experience.

Clients rave about how Enhance Floors is a “one-stop shop and made what could have been an overwhelming experience easy and fun.” Pop in to browse the large selection of flooring options and see for yourself what all the hype is about.

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Made With Butter & Love

Cookies are probably the one treat most closely associated with Christmas. Bakers have been making them at Christmastime for hundreds of years. Mothers pass down treasured snickerdoodle or oatmeal raisin recipes to their daughters. Families gather to share their annual tradition of baking cookies together. And a big platter of homemade confections makes a most welcome gift for those who have a sweet tooth. The employees at Aroundabout Local Media would love to be able to send a fresh plate of cookies to our readers this holiday season, but since that’s not possible, we’re sharing the next best thing — some of our favorite Christmas recipes — as our gift to you. So break out the butter, flour, chocolate chips and nuts, and get baking!

Carrot Cake Cookies


1 box carrot cake mix 2 eggs ½ cup vegetable oil 1 cup white chocolate chips (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix ingredients until well combined. Use a medium cookie scoop to drop dough balls onto a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, 2 inches apart. (If you would rather roll cookie dough balls by hand, refrigerate the dough for 10-20 minutes. Doing so will help it stay firm, and less dough will stick to your palms.) Bake for 9 minutes or until lightly golden. Tip: You can make sandwich cookies by spreading 1-2 tablespoons of cream cheese or buttercream frosting between two cookies.



Cookies: 1½ cups sugar ½ cup butter, softened ½ cup shortening 2 eggs

Mocha Walnut Christmas Cookies


1 12-ounce package chocolate morsels, divided

2 tablespoons instant coffee

2 teaspoons boiling water

1¼ cup all-purpose flour

¾ teaspoon baking soda


Cinnamon topping: ¼ cup sugar 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2¾ cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons cream of tartar 1 teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon salt ½ cup butter, softened ½ cup sugar ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar 1 egg ½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt ½ cup chocolate morsels over hot (not boiling) water. Stir until smooth and cool to room temperature. In a small cup, dissolve coffee in water; set aside. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and coffee; beat until creamy. Add egg and melted morsels, and mix well. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in remaining 1½ cups morsels and walnuts. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Dust with confectioners sugar for a festive look!


Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine sugar, butter, shortening and eggs in a large bowl, and stir in remaining dry ingredients. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, and, on a large plate, roll balls in cinnamon mixture. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes. Remove from baking sheet promptly, and cool on wire rack.

32 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022

Espresso Delights


1 cup butter, softened ⅔ cup sifted powdered sugar

1 tablespoon instant espresso (dry)

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups flour

1 ounce semisweet chocolate, finely chopped Additional powdered sugar and cocoa for topping


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat butter on high for 30 seconds. Add sugar, coffee crystals, vanilla and cinnamon; beat until combined. Slowly beat in flour and chocolate. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake about 12 minutes until set. After cooling, combine additional powdered sugar and cocoa to a light brown and sift over cookies.

Wheaties Oatmeal Cookies



1 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs, well beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

Chocolate Oatmeal

No-Bake Cookies


½ cup butter

2 cups sugar

½ cup milk

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

½ cup smooth peanut butter

3½ cups quick-cooking oats

2 teaspoons vanilla


Combine butter, sugar, milk and cocoa powder in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, then boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and immediately stir in peanut butter, oats and vanilla. Blend well. Drop onto wax paper, and let cool until set. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups Wheaties cereal

2 cups oatmeal

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together shortening, sugar and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, then add to the cream mixture. Add remaining ingredients. Shape dough into 1½inch balls, and place 1-2 inches apart on a prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden brown on edges and nearly set, about 12 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Makes 4 dozen.


Shortbread layer: ⅔ cup unsalted butter, softened ½ cup sugar

2 eggs, yolks only 1 teaspoon vanilla 1½ cups all-purpose flour

Caramel Filling: 14 soft caramel candies, like Kraft Caramels 3 tablespoon heavy cream

Chocolate Drizzle: 6 ounces milk chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine butter, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add flour; beat at low speed until well mixed. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Make indentation in the center of each cookie with your thumb or end of a wooden spoon handle. Bake 7-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool completely. Melt the caramels and heavy cream in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until fully melted. Using a teaspoon, fill each indentation with caramel. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring 30 seconds at a time until smooth, and scoop into a zip-top bag. Barely snip the corner, and drizzle chocolate over the cookies.

AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022 33

Gifts from theKitchen

Early December is the perfect time to start thinking about what you can give others this holiday season. One way to make a great impression on the recipient is to give them something from your kitchen. And certain treats that are made only this time of year are even more special.

Some goodies, such as taffy and peanut brittle, can be created only in cool weather. In Georgia, that can be a little more sporadic than in other states. Heat and humidity are the kryptonite of homemade candy because it will melt.

Speaking of homemade candy, if you keep bags of candy melts or blocks of almond bark on hand, you’ll be prepared when the weather cooperates. For an easy treat, melt milk chocolate or white chocolate in a microwavesafe glass bowl, and pour onto wax paper. Sprinkle crushed candy canes, nuts or dried fruit on top, and let harden. Another idea is to dip cookies into chocolate. You can get fancy by dipping round chocolate sandwich cookies in melted white chocolate, laying them on a wire rack to drain and sprinkling with your favorite cookie decorations.

A tin of decorated Christmas cookies makes a great gift and is fun to make. One time-saving tip is to make your dough ahead of time and freeze it. Once the dough is finished, place it in a gallon-size zip-top bag, and press it all to the bottom. Then roll the bag up, seal it and freeze it until needed. When you are ready to cut a roll into cookies, put it in the fridge to thaw, as you want to make sure the dough is still cold enough to hold its shape. As you go through the cutting and baking process, always keep the extra dough refrigerated because roomtemperature dough does not cooperate. If you’re going to decorate with frosting, be certain your cookies have cooled completely. It’s best if you can bake them the day before.

Gifts from the kitchen don’t necessarily have to be desserts. You could make jams, jellies, spice combinations, even homemade vanilla extract (but that one requires three months. Slice six fresh vanilla beans lengthwise, drop into one liter of vodka and cover. Let sit for at least three months, shaking every week. When the vodka

changes color, the extract is done. Strain out the vanilla bean pieces, and store in a separate container). For instance, you could mix up a batch of your famous rib rub, steak seasoning or house seasoning, put it in a glass jar with a label and give it to someone with a couple of recipes, an apron and a wooden spoon or tongs. Or you could give someone a Mississippi pork kit — a jar of spice blends, another jar of pepperoncini peppers, a recipe for preparing and an oven mitt or pair of tongs. All they’ll need to do is add their choice of meat.

Another idea is to bake some type of bread. Homemade bread always smells so good and is such a treat. If you’re making a savory bread or biscuits to give as a gift, put them in a basket lined with a pretty towel, then add a cute spreader and some flavored butter and jam. Flavors can be sweet or savory, but always start with softened butter. For one stick of butter, add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Honey also can be added to butter. Another idea is to mix in crushed fresh parsley, basil or rosemary. Keep in mind the strength of the herbs will increase over time. Butter can be stored in a small jar with a lid in the refrigerator until gift-giving time. Sweet breads also are great to give, especially if you have mini loaf pans. One batch of chocolate banana bread (see recipe) will make four mini loaves. Don’t have a mini loaf pan? Try baking the recipe in muffin tins instead, just reduce the cooking time.

No matter what you create in your kitchen to give as gifts, your friends and family will appreciate your thoughtfulness and creativity. Happy holidays, everyone!

34 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
Tiffany Hughes is an Acworth resident and works for the Booth Western Art Museum. Contact her at creativecook11@yahoo.com.

Mim’s Light and Fluffy Peanut Brittle


• 4 cups raw peanuts, shelled with husks on

• 2 cups granulated sugar

• 16 ounces Karo dark corn syrup (no substitutions!)

• 2 tablespoons baking soda


Place ingredients in a large Dutch oven in the following order: peanuts, sugar and syrup. Turn heat to medium-high, place a candy thermometer in the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture reaches the hard crack (300 degrees) stage. Immediately remove from heat, and quickly stir in baking soda. Stop stirring when baking soda is dissolved. Pour mixture onto two baking sheets and let cool. Once brittle is completely cool, break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Berry Jam


• 32 ounces fresh or frozen berries

• 2 cups granulated sugar

• Juice and zest from 1 lime


Place berries in a stockpot, and cover with water. Cook on medium-high until fruit begins to break down, stirring frequently. Whisk in sugar, lime juice and zest, and cook until sugar dissolves and water is reduced. Add additional water, and cook until fruit has completely broken down. Remove from heat, and transfer to a glass jar. When the jar is cool, store in the refrigerator.


Chocolate Banana Bread


• 2 cups all-purpose flour

• 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder

• ¼ teaspoon baking soda

• ½ teaspoon salt

• ½ cup brown sugar

• ½ cup granulated sugar

• ½ stick butter, softened

• 2 large ripe bananas, mashed

• 2 eggs

• ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt

• OPTIONAL: ½ cup peanut butter chips, chocolate chips and/or chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Place sugars and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a hand mixer on medium until well blended (about one minute). Add bananas, eggs and yogurt, and beat on low just until moist. Stir in chips and/or nuts by hand. Place in two medium loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for one hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack, then remove from pan. Wrap and store in refrigerator.

Easy Sugar Cookies


• 2 sticks butter, softened

• 1 cup granulated sugar

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 1 teaspoon butter extract or almond extract

• 1 egg

• 1 teaspoon water

• 3 cups all-purpose flour

• 1½ teaspoons baking powder

• ¼ teaspoon salt

Mississippi Pork


• 2-4 pounds pork loin

• 1½ tablespoons dry ranch

• 1 tablespoon onion powder or onion granules



In a large bowl, thoroughly cream butter, sugar and extracts. Add egg and water, and beat until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Blend into the cream mixture. Divide dough in half, place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for one hour. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to desired thickness, and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes, or just until edges turn golden. Remove from oven, and cool on a wire rack. Decorate with buttercream or royal icing.

• 2 tablespoons dry chicken bouillon

• 6-8 pepperoncini peppers, plus juice

• 1 stick butter

• Salt to taste

Place pork in a slow cooker, and sprinkle generously with the dry spices. Arrange peppers around meat, drizzle with some of the juice from the pepper jar and place a stick of butter directly on top. Cover and cook on high for four hours or on low for six hours. When meat is finished, shred and return to the cooker for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, and salt to taste. This also works great on beef roast and chicken.

NOTE: Try roasting some of the cooked meat at 400 degrees until golden brown. Serve in a taco with slaw or grilled pineapple.

AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022 35

Holiday Happenings

Through Dec. 11

Holiday Market will take place 10 a.m.-6 p.m. MondaySaturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday at the Art Station — Big Shanty, 2050 Kennesaw Due West Road, Kennesaw. The market will feature handcrafted treasures made by local artisans. www.artstationcobb.org

Through Dec. 26

Town Center at Cobb is home to the Festival of Trees , bringing the community together during the holiday season to raise awareness about local nonprofits. The public can view the trees during mall hours in the Belk wing. www.NorthAtlantaEvents.com

Dec. 7

The Helping One Guy Christmas Concert will be 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Northstar Church, 3413 Blue Springs Road, Kennesaw. Listen to a variety of classic songs from such acts as The Quadraphonics, Ollie Patterson and Chris and Ramona Wiggins of the 293 Band and enjoy a meal catered by Copeland’s of Kennesaw. All proceeds will benefit Helping One Guy, which honors a man — and his family — who’s going through a life-changing crisis. https://bit.ly/3UnLDpf

Dec. 9-10

2022 Christmas at Piedmont Arts and Crafts Show will be 5-9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday at the church, 570 Piedmont Road, Marietta. The event will feature arts and crafts exhibitors from the Southeast, festival food, entertainment by school choruses and local dance groups, free rides on the 50-foot snow tube 6-9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m., a free petting zoo Saturday, free photos with Santa 6-9 p.m. Friday and noon-3 p.m. Saturday, free children’s activities, roasting marshmallows and s’mores, and more. Admission and parking are free. 770-423-1330 or laura@jrmmanagement.com Dec. 10

The Acworth Parks, Recreation and Community Resource Department will present Breakfast With the Grinch, 9-9:45 a.m., at the Acworth Community Center, 4361 Cherokee St. Enjoy breakfast while the Grinch visits each table for photo opportunities. After breakfast, kids will create Grinch-themed ornaments and crafts. Space is limited, and each family member attending must register. https://bit.ly/3zb7TKD.

Santa will return to the depot in historic downtown Acworth for Christmas in Acworth, with photos from 1 to 5 p.m. Photos are free, but bring your camera, as there will not be a photographer on-site.

Dec. 10

All Aboard For Holiday Fun, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., returns to the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, 2829 Cherokee St., Kennesaw. Featured will be screenings of “The Polar Express” at 11:15 a.m. and 2 p.m., pictures with Rockin’ Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus in front of the The General locomotive from 1-4 p.m. and a Golden Bells of Atlanta performance at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Other activities include letters to Santa, leather Christmas ornament stamping, Christmas card printing, an interactive model train layout and children’s crafts. Free with regular museum admission. https://bit.ly/3O1voM1

Dec. 13-14

Santa’s Gonna Ring-a-Ding-Ding kids who want to speak directly to the big guy in red, 5-6 p.m. each day. Acworth Parks and Recreation is collecting requests for phone calls at https://bit.ly/3tonpiP.

Dec. 14

The second annual Acworth Christmas Golf Cart Parade will begin at 6 p.m. and proceed through downtown and nearby neighborhoods. Bust out the garland, solar-powered lights and tinsel to make your golf cart as festive as possible. Participation is free, but registration is required. https://bit.ly/3zb7TKD

Dec. 20

The city of Acworth, in partnership with Chabad of Kennesaw, will hold its annual Menorah Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m. at Logan Farm Park, with a reception afterward at the Acworth Community Center.

Dec. 23

Congregation Ner Tamid will have its annual Menorah Lighting on the Marietta Square at 6:30 p.m. Join Rabbi Joseph Prass for the lighting celebration, featuring Hanukkah music, free hot chocolate, doughnuts, door prizes and lots of chocolate gelt.

Dec. 25

Celebrate Christmas Day at Kennesaw First Baptist during one service at 11 a.m. in the Gathering Center. Child care will be provided. www.kennesawfirst.church

36 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
Santa will be on hand for photos in front of The General at the Southern Museum.

Light the World: Mobile Giving Machine

Every month this year, I have featured service ideas and opportunities that can be found on justserve.org. This month, I am pleased to share an extra special holiday opportunity. JustServe is proud to partner with the Giving Machine, a popular and visible part of the Light the World initiative, sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This initiative invites all people to share goodness, spread kindness and extend love through service in December. The Giving Machine, a vending machine with cards representing items needed by global and local nonprofit organizations, makes it easy to do just that.

Since the debut of the first Giving Machine in 2017, thousands of people have visited, contributing more than $15 million. And, this year, metro Atlanta residents have the chance to participate in the debut of the Mobile Giving Machine (www.mobilegivingmachine.org) at The Interlock ATL, 1115 Howell Mill Road NW, Atlanta. Visitors can select items they are most drawn to, such as meals, clothing, beds, blankets, toys, livestock and more, and make a donation in the machine. For every purchase, 100% of the donation goes toward the items and charities selected.

JustServe is thrilled to have two wonderful Atlanta nonprofits featured in the Mobile Giving Machine. The first, Wellspring Living (https://wellspringliving.org), is Atlanta-based and works

to provide specialized recovery services to those who have been victims of human trafficking. The second charity, The Children’s Haven (https://cherokeechildrenshaven.org), is based in Cherokee County and works to support children in foster care.

You can support these charities by visiting the Mobile Giving Machine Dec. 6-11. The machines will be parked on Beeline Boulevard, and there will be games, entertainment and more. Don’t miss this chance to bring cheer to those in need; join with friends and family to make a new holiday tradition. For more information, including hours and directions, scan the QR code.

Justserve.org is a free, nationwide website and app that works to match volunteers with nonprofit organizations and service opportunities. If you run a nonprofit, or are looking for ways to make service a regular part of your life, check out justserve.org. You can sign up for regular updates and learn more about organizations nearby, too. JustServe makes it easy to just go out and serve!

AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022 37
Susannah MacKay is a local JustServe specialist. She grew up in Marietta and loves helping strengthen her community through service! Follow her on Facebook @JustServeGeorgia.

Rob’s Rescues

These animals are at Cobb County Animal Services, waiting for homes.

I interviewed Tori Reibel, education and communications coordinator of Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR), an organization dedicated to caring for orphaned and injured black bear cubs. www.appalachianbearrescue.org. This interview is the last of two parts. If you missed Part 1 last month, visit https://townelaker.com.

What field would someone study to work at ABR?

You could study various things — ecology, biology, environmental studies, wildlife and related fields. I studied natural resource management.

How long do bears stay at ABR before being released?

What should someone do if they are attacked by a bear?

This dog’s name is Pippa. She is a stray who has been in the shelter for almost two months. Pippa is still very nervous at the shelter, and doesn’t like the noise. She is a medium-sized black and white dog, who is very gentle and very much wants to be a part of someone’s family.

It depends on their condition. For a bear that has to overwinter with us, five to eight months is average. Cubs that arrive very early in the year, when healthy, usually are released in November or early December. When they leave ABR, they are fat and healthy. Upon release, they go and find a den.

What is your busiest time?

We are busy all year, after the twomonth offseason from December to February, when bears den up. Our busiest time is early spring, March and April, when bears are coming out of their dens. But, we get calls all the time.

How do you release the bears back into the wild?

We are all hands-off at our facility, and our enclosures are outdoors. All fencing is black, so they don’t see us, and we don’t see them. We throw food over the fencing, so they have to forage for it. When it’s time for release, we do a passive release into a smaller enclosure. A wildlife agency comes on release day and sedates the bear. We put a collar and ear tag on them, and they are released back into the area where they came from.

If it is a brown bear, fight back, because they will run away 99.9% of the time. If a brown bear attacks, it is likely something has happened to make it predatory, which is against its nature.

What is a story you love to tell?

Last year, we got cubs on Valentine’s Day. They were about 3 weeks old. There had been a gas leak at a cabin in the woods. The technician who had gone out disturbed a mother bear in the crawl space. She ran, and left three tiny cubs. We took the cubs, as we were not sure if the mother would come back. One day later, the mother bear did come back, and we were able to get the cubs back to the mom. The homeowner let the bears stay in the crawl space under the house, and installed cameras so we could watch them.

What can people do to help bears and ABR?

You can help bears by stowing trash, so they cannot get into it. That is the No. 1 thing that helps bears. Clean grills and put bird feeders away when bears are active in the area. Follow Bear Wise (www.facebook.com/BearWise. org) for helpful tips. ABR is a nonprofit. Follow ABR: @AppalachianBearRescue. We have a very active social media presence and share a lot of updates and content.

How can people connect with ABR?

This cat’s name is Pickle. He is 4 years old. I don’t know why someone would let this cat go, because he is a great cat. He is very large and soft, like a pillow you could snuggle with.

What should someone do if they see a bear?

Initially, talk to it. Let the bear know you are there. Then, slowly back away. Never ever run. Clap and wave your arms. Remain calm. If it is a brown bear, it will get out of there, almost all of the time. They are shy.

You can call or email us (https://appalachianbearrescue.org/contact-us), or get in touch through Facebook.

38 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
Rob Macmillan is on a mission to help shelter dogs and cats. On Facebook @robsrescues. www.robsrescues.com. A bear at Appalachian Bear Rescue.

@ the Library

Cobb County Public Library System www.cobbcat.org


1750 Dennis Kemp Lane, Kennesaw • 770-528-4699

10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays • 10 a.m.-6 p.m.ThursdaysFridays • 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays • 1-5 p.m. Sundays

Dec. 8, 15, 22, 29, Jan. 5

Join the West Cobb Craft Club, 10 a.m.-noon Thursdays. Do you knit, crochet, needlepoint or create jewelry? Or do you want to learn how, while making friends? Join the group to craft and get inspired. All skill levels are welcome (especially beginners). Bring your craft supplies.

Dec. 12, 19, Jan. 2

The West Cobb Pokémon Club, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Mondays. Pokémon enthusiasts ages 6-12 are invited to battle and train with each other, using their favorite Pokémon video game, Pokémon GO or a 60-card Pokémon deck.

Dec. 13, 20, 27, Jan. 3

The Dungeons and Dragons Group, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Ages 13-17 of all skill levels are welcome to come discover the world of Dungeons & Dragons.

Dec. 14, 21

Open Play and Family-Style Chess Instruction, 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Tournament-style chess sets will be set up in the open library, or learn five-minute mini games that introduce chess two pieces at a time, along with basic rules and etiquette, family-style. Black-light chess is available the first Wednesday.


3535 Old 41 Highway, Kennesaw • 770-801-5320 10 a.m.-8 p.m.Mondays-Wednesdays • 10 a.m.-6 p.m.Thursdays-Fridays 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays

Through Dec. 15

The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust’s exhibition “Fashioning a Nation: German Identity and Industry, 1914-1945,” will be on display daily, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. The exhibit explores the powerful history of German fashion from its international impact to its destruction by the Nazi regime.

Dec. 8

Classic Movie Matinee for adults is planned for the second Thursday of each month, 1-3 p.m. The December movie is “White Christmas.” No RSVP required.

Ages 5 and older are invited to make Holiday Crafts, 4:30-5:30 p.m. Kids will make festive holiday cards. Reservations are not required.

Dec. 12

Family Movie Night, 6-7:30 p.m., will feature “The Grinch” (PG).

Denson Pepper, CPA 678-797-5241 DensonPepperCPA.com

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Join the Southern Museum for an all-day extravaganza of exciting activities, including model train displays, screenings of The Polar Express, bell choir performances by The Golden Bells of Atlanta, and a visit from Santa and Mrs Claus!

A Veritable Smorgasbord

Downtown Kennesaw was buzzing with activity Nov. 5 when more than 25,000 hungry food lovers descended on the area for the annual Superior Plumbing Taste of Kennesaw. Presented by the Kennesaw Business Association and the city of Kennesaw, the event featured delicious fare from more than 20 local restaurants, including Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Copeland’s, Frozen Cow Creamery and Red Top Brewhouse, for attendees to sample. Proceeds from the fundraiser benefited Shop with a Mustang, Shop with a Warrior, Shop with a Longhorn, Jerry Worthan Community Christmas Fund and Kennesaw Teen Center.

40 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
Photos by Randy Parker, Parker Impressions Chef Pierluigi Tartaglione of Italia Mediterranean Grill shows off his dishes. More than 25,000 people crowded the streets of downtown Kennesaw during the event. An employee of Sola Fide Catering Co. scoops up one of the dishes being offered.
AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022 41
Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q cooked barbecue and ribs for hungry guests to sample. The food offerings allowed everyone to find something they liked or wanted to try. Kona Ice was on hand to cool off the crowd. Attendees got to sample a variety of foods from all kinds of restaurants.




Dec. 13

KBA Luncheon 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Recreation Center at Adams Park 2737 Watts Drive

Jan. 10

KBA Luncheon 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Recreation Center at Adams Park 2737 Watts Driv e


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Staying Focused During the Holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Goals, planning, time off and holiday parties are a recipe for a busy month of excitement. Let’s face it, December can be hectic. Distractions are everywhere, and, if you are like me, you want to finish the business year strong, while enjoying all that the holiday season has to offer. The question becomes, how do I stay focused and keep my team focused on finishing the drill and having fun while doing it? I have found a couple of small business strategies that keep me focused and business-productive in December.





Most stress comes from the lack of time. Since we cannot manufacture more hours in the day, it makes sense to schedule time each day to review your to-do list and prioritize your activities. Set a goal to block out small chunks of time for quick items on your list, and accomplish them in small sprints of activity. Stick to your time limits and priorities, so you will have more time to spend on your most important items.


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The next tip is a hard one for me. Be prepared to say no. Whether it is one more planning session or a holiday party, trying to do everything will leave you frazzled and unproductive, not to mention exhausted. Rather than participate in every activity, choose carefully. Is the activity or festivity really going to count? The best advice I can give is to engage and be present when attending events, so that each experience is meaningful.

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3. DON’T STRESS THE SMALL THINGS. Remember the big picture this holiday season. When you look back in five years, you won’t remember what you wore or whether the gifts you gave were perfect. Instead, it is all about the people and the experiences. Despite the craziness, the holiday season is my favorite time of the year. My wish for you is to slow down, be organized with priorities and spend time with those who bring you joy. From my home to yours, merry Christmas and happy holidays!


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Join the KBA by visiting www.kennesawbusiness.org.
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04 02 Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud TEXT
42 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
Dana Dorris is the first two-time female president of the Kennesaw Business Association. She is an independent insurance agent and senior partner with Risk & Insurance Consultants of North Georgia.



Email: edit@aroundaboutmagazines.com

January deadline is Dec. 10.

Please specify Around Kennesaw. Word limit: 25.

The 6 Days of a Shifting Market

The holidays are upon us, and the spirit has moved me to adapt a familiar Christmas tune to share some tips on ways investor clients can and should benefit from the current shifting real estate market.

1. On the first day of a shifting market, savvy investors invest in hybrid cities, which have the accessibility of small-town living with the digital capabilities to work in the global economy. Cities such as Ellijay, Kennesaw, Macon and Savannah are offering decent cash flow and stable prices.

2. On the second day of a shifting market, savvy investors negotiate with sellers. Know the market, and be aggressive with your terms.

Avery, Harper and Quinn

Happy eighth birthday, Avery; happy fifth birthday, Harper; and happy third birthday, Quinn. We love you girls so much. Mom and Dad

3. On the third day of a shifting market, savvy investors purchase multifamily housing to live in and rent. This is my favorite house hack. Purchase a duplex, triplex or any multifamily property of up to four units with an Federal Housing Administration loan. You can live in one of the units, collect rent on the other(s) and still make only a 3.5% down payment on the loan. This is a no-brainer!

4. On the fourth day of a shifting market, savvy investors buy new construction. Yes, you can build it to rent it. Builders with existing inventory need to pay taxes, and, as the year ends, they are ready to make a deal.

5. On the fifth day of a shifting market, savvy investors take advantage of creative financing. One example is “subject to,” which is a little-known approach where the buyer can take over the existing financing.

6. On the sixth day of a shifting market, savvy investors get a home equity line of credit. This is a great time to cash out the equity in your home and jump into the market.


Happy ninth birthday, Wesley!

We love you so much and hope it’s the best birthday yet!


Age 23 on Nov. 25

Happy 23rd, Rachel! You’re a star. Love, Rylee, Penny and Luna


Happy birthday, Emerson!

We are so proud of you and can't wait to see what God has for you! We love you!

Mommy, Daddy and Walker

The key to understanding how to benefit from a shifting market is to know that national news is not always relevant to your local real estate market. Some areas are trending toward complete buyers’ markets and some toward sellers’ markets, but the trends in your individual market are what’s important. It’s vital to know the following key factors: days on the market, inventory available and absorption rate. Understanding this information will help you decide what to do next and help you act fast when you are ready to jump into the market.

Wishing you and yours a safe and blessed holiday season!

AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022 43
Joannie Bates is a Realtor for Keller Williams Signature Partners. She works with clients in the surrounding area, with a focus on luxury and investment properties.

Stunting Into Junior Varsity Cheer

Keeping the crowd uplifted and excited about the game is a job the junior varsity cheer girls at Harrison High School never fail to do. With pompoms lifted toward the sky, and green and blue bows attached to high ponytails, the girls successfully keep up with their cheers and chants, while dancing through many obstacles.

Taking leadership on the sidelines is something new the junior varsity girls experience during a summer of long practices as they transfer into their sophomore year. As a freshman, you look up to your teammates who are older than you, but when you are the leader, everything you do matters. These girls never fail to show they are phenomenal role models.

We see cheerleaders on the sidelines, cheering on the players and the student body, but the real definition of cheer is one someone tries not to notice. Cheer is an endurance sport that builds up encouragement for others. Looking at this new point of view, sophomore Kylie Williams shows us what that looks like. Kylie has been on the Harrison sideline cheer team for two years and also is on the competition cheer team.

“Cheer has given me a lot of friends and has taught me a lot of different life lessons with effort and respect for other people,” Kylie said. “People tend to put a label on cheer, but, in reality, it’s just a team who treats each other like family, and the experiences they walk through

are filled with lessons of life.” She also said the most important thing she has learned from her coaches is “having respect for people.”

On the other side of the pyramid stands sophomore Naomi Luten, who, like Kylie, has been on the Harrison Hoya sideline cheer team for two years and is on the competition cheer team.

Naomi said something her coaches have taught her is to “know how to say how I feel and what I’m feeling.”

Through all the smiles, cheers and stunt mess-ups, the coaches at Harrison teach these girls to always say how they are feeling, no matter what they are feeling. Because cheer is such a rough sport, it is necessary for the girls to do this, and all the coaches know that and always support and encourage their students.

Harrison’s junior varsity sideline cheer team has done a phenomenal job this year. Even when the Hoyas don’t take home a win, the student body always is filled with school spirit and energy because the cheer girls carried on the cheer legacy. They know how to do their job well!

Jessalyn Reinhart is a senior at Harrison High School. She is a member of the yearbook staff and is a talent producer on the news broadcast program called Hoya Vision.
44 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
Harrison High School’s junior varsity cheer team.

Who We Are

The Kennesaw Public Safety Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to stand behind local law enforcement and first responders who serve our community and help keep Kennesaw a safe place to live and work. The foundation works alongside the Kennesaw Police Department and 911 operators to identify their needs and then focuses on community outreach to grow the organization and fund various programs and events for those who put their lives on the line each day for our community. You may have seen the Kennesaw Public Safety Foundation’s presence in the community at various events throughout the year, including the Fourth of July event in downtown Kennesaw, Smoke on the Lake, the Big Shanty Festival, Juneteenth, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes and the second annual Poker Run. Additionally, the foundation sponsors an annual awards banquet to recognize outstanding officers and 911 operators.

How You Can Help

In order for us to continue serving the Kennesaw community, we have to fundraise throughout the year. All proceeds from these events go directly to funding special events and programs for the Kennesaw Police Department and 911 operators. Financial support from our community is vital to our mission and helps ensure that our community benefits from the best possible public safety services. Please donate today! Your donation is tax deductible.

13th annual awards banquet at the Marietta Country Club. Chief Bill Westenberger shows support at the Big Shanty Festival.
Foundation board members at the second annual Poker Run. Please follow Kennesaw Public Safety Foundation on social media.
Donate Here:
Explorers participated in the Smoke on the Lake BBQ festival.

Without Capes SUPER HEROES

The Kennesaw Public Safety Foundation hosted the Kennesaw Police Department’s 13th annual awards banquet Nov. 4 at the Marietta Country Club. A number of awards, including the Chief’s Award, Lifesaving Award, Community Service Award and Meritorious Award, were handed out to officers and staff in recognition of their outstanding efforts and service during the past year. City Manager Jeff Drobney, left in photos, and Chief Bill Westenberger were on hand to present the awards to the winners.


Photos by Kelly-Lynne From left, Stephen Coppenger, Glenda Ott and Nikki Officer Christopher Johnson and Sgt. Ryan Deans, Training Division, Meritorious Award. Sgt. Andrew Woodard, Chief’s Award. Lt. Joshua Irwin, Lifesaving Award. Keri Persaud, Civilian of the Year.
46 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
Sgt. Joseph Morgan, Meritorious Award. Officer Joshua Hale and Sgt. Chris Crane, Criminal Intervention Unit, Meritorious Award. Officer Malina Martin, Community Service Award. Lt. Joy Policarpio, Supervisor of the Year. McGraw, Outstanding Service Awards. Officer Stephen Bagwell, Chief’s Award. Detective James Amica, Chief’s Award.
AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022 47
Officer Jared Wheeler, Lifesaving Award.


Kennesaw Department Honored as District 5 Agency of the Year

The Kennesaw Parks and Recreation Department received the Georgia Recreation and Park Association (GRPA) District 5 Class A Agency of the Year award during the District 5 banquet in October. The award recognizes exemplary agencies that deliver recreation, park or leisure-related services. The department maintains 112 acres of developed parks and recreational facilities, and the opening of the new Recreation Center in January brought new offerings to the community.

Three staff members also were honored. Park Maintenance Supervisor Rolando Pardo, a 20-year veteran of the department, won the Outstanding Facilities and Grounds Maintenance Award. Laura Woolsey received the Administrative Assistant Award, and Director Steve Roberts was recognized with the Distinguished Professional Award. Roberts has been with the department almost four years.

Schoettler, Wade Named NW Cobb Citizens of the Year

The Cobb Chamber’s Northwest Cobb Area Council named Patti Schoettler the 2022 Kennesaw Citizen of the Year and Eddie Wade the 2022 West Cobb Citizen of the Year at a recent awards luncheon.

Schoettler, an independent agent for Aflac, is an active member of the North Cobb Rotary Club, the Atlanta Lyric Theater, The Davis Direction and Devereux Georgia. She helped organize a Leadership Cobb Alumni Association breakfast donation for the group to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, and she regularly volunteers for such organizations and events as The Dave Krache Foundation’s Sports Fanatic 5K, LiveSafe Resources’ Que & Brew and Back Our Blue and America Too.

Wade, chief operating officer of Croy Engineering, was named American Council of Engineering Companies National Young Engineer of the Year in 2019 and 2020, was featured in 20 under 40 by Cobb Life Magazine in 2020 and won the Cobb Chamber 2019 Next Generation Award and the 2017 Leadership Cobb Spirit Award. He contributed to The Center for Family Resources’ inaugural Parade of Playhouses, single-handedly designing and building Croy’s Command and Conquer playhouse. He also serves as a board member and volunteer of the YMCA of Northwest Georgia, a director of the Cobb Community Foundation and a director of the North Georgia State Fair.

Kennesaw Parks and Recreation Department receives four awards from Georgia Recreation and Park Association District 5, including Agency of the Year.
Order online! HoneysuckleBiscuits.com 770-627-4370 | Downtown Kennesaw et us handle your hol i d a y ba k i n g ! biscuits • cakes • local coffee • treats Catering available.

At Mostly Mutts, we’re on the hunt for animal-loving volunteers who can bottle-feed puppies or kittens, walk dogs, perform o ce tasks and more. We particularly need volunteers for nights and weekends. If you can spare a little time, we’d love to meet you.

Please apply at mostlymutts.org/volunteer.


Around & About


Through Dec. 26

Town Center at Cobb is home to the Festival of Trees, bringing the community together during the holiday season to raise awareness about local nonprofits. The public can view the trees during mall hours in the Belk wing. Hosted by North Atlanta Events, the festival features beautifully decorated trees that represent local nonprofits, and community members can learn how they can support the participating nonprofits through volunteerism, monetary donations and donations of needed items. For a description of and link to each participating organization, visit NorthAtlantaEvents.com. Marie Koch, 678-557-0072 or info@northatlantaevents.com.

9-10 2022 Christmas at Piedmont Arts and Crafts Show will be 5-9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday at the church, 570 Piedmont Road, Marietta. The event will feature arts and crafts exhibitors from all over the Southeast, festival food, entertainment by school choruses and local dance groups, free rides on the 50-foot snow tube 6-9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m., a free petting zoo Saturday, free photos with Santa 6-9 p.m. Friday and noon-3 p.m. Saturday, free children’s activities, roasting marshmallows and s’mores, and more. Admission and parking are free. 770-423-1330 or laura@ jrmmanagement.com.

9, 16

Cobb PARKS is hosting Drop and Shop, a night out for parents to shop for the holidays, from 6-9 p.m. each night at Ward Recreation Center, 4845 Dallas Highway, Powder Springs. Kids ages 6-12 will enjoy food, festive games, crafts and activities while their parents are checking out all the sales. Cost is $20 per child. Spots are limited, so register soon at https://bit.ly/3TXl7C3. Email questions to tara.vroman@cobbcounty.org.

10 All Aboard

For Holiday Fun, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., returns to the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, 2829 Cherokee St., Kennesaw. Featured will be screenings of “The Polar Express” at 11:15 a.m. and 2 p.m., pictures with Rockin’ Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus in front of the The General locomotive from 1-4 p.m. and a Golden Bells of Atlanta performance at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Other activities include letters to Santa, leather Christmas ornament stamping, Christmas card printing, an interactive model train layout and children’s crafts. Kids are encouraged to wear their favorite pajamas or winter clothing. Free with regular museum admission. https://bit.ly/3O1voM1.


Join the Wreaths Across America Ceremony and lay wreaths at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton. Families with loved ones at GNC will place wreaths, 9-11 a.m. A public memorial ceremony will follow, and volunteers will place the remaining wreaths, 11 a.m.12:30 p.m. ganationalcemetery.org.


Join the city of Kennesaw and Chabad of Kennesaw for the third Menorah Lighting, 5:30-7 p.m., in Depot Park. This will be the fourth night of Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish holiday that commemorates the Jewish Maccabees’ military victory over Syrian-Greek oppression more than 2,000 years ago. There will be a reception before the lighting.

School choruses will be performing at the Piedmont Arts and Crafts Show.
50 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022


2529 J.O. Stephenson Ave. // 770-424-8274 www.kennesaw-ga.gov/parks-and-recreation


Congregation Ner Tamid will have its annual Menorah Lighting on the Marietta Square at 6:30 p.m. Join Rabbi Joseph Prass for the lighting celebration, featuring Hanukkah music, free hot chocolate, doughnuts, door prizes and lots of chocolate gelt.

Dec. 19


Celebrate Christmas Day at Kennesaw First Baptist during one service at 11 a.m. in the Gathering Center. Child care will be provided. www.kennesawfirst.church


The Battery Atlanta Walking Trail

A brisk walk can curb cravings, reduce stress and offer a healthy way to catch up with friends and family. Get active on the 1.5mile loop circling the campus.



Through Dec. 11

Holiday Market will take place 10 a.m.-6 p.m. MondaySaturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday and will feature handcrafted treasures made by local artisans. Ongoing Register for winter classes and workshops offered for kids, teens and adults.



Through Dec. 23

Art lovers can view “Small Works & Gifts” exhibit noon-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. All works in the display are for sale. Admission is free and open to the public.

Dec. 15

Deadline for submissions for the “Member Artist Exhibit.” All submissions must be from member artists of the Acworth Arts Alliance only. The exhibit will run Jan. 6-Feb. 24, with artist receptions Jan. 7 and Feb. 4, 4-7 p.m.


Register for winter classes and workshops offered by the Acworth Arts Alliance. Classes and workshops for kids and adults take place at the Art House in downtown Acworth. acworthartsalliance.org/classes.

A candle-making workshop for ages 18 and older will be held at the Ben Robertson Community Center. Two time options are available: 5 and 7 p.m. All supplies are provided. $25 per person. Register at https://secure.rec1.com/GA/kennesaw-ga/catalog under “special events.”


Pottery: Hand Building and Wheel Class , Jan. 3-Feb. 14, 9-11 a.m., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. or 5-7 p.m., Ben Robertson Community Center, 2753 Watts Drive. Adults will learn the coil, pinch and slab methods of hand building then move on to wheel techniques.


Junior Coding: Animal Planet , through Dec. 14, 5:45-6:45 p.m., Ben Robertson Community Center, 2753 Watts Drive. Kids 4-7 will learn coding by exploring the animal world.

Software Engineering: Coding Games , through Dec. 14, 7-8 p.m., Ben Robertson Community Center, 2753 Watts Drive. Kids ages 8-14 will learn how to create games.


Painting and Drawing With Jessica Geist , through Dec. 22, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Ben Robertson Community Center, 2753 Watts Drive. Intermediate and advanced oil painters ages 18 and older can expect to learn or improve on techniques for creating depth and realism, as well as color theory and color mixing.

Little Dragons Taekwondo , through Feb. 16, 5:30-6 p.m., Ben Robertson Community Center, 2753 Watts Drive. This class teaches kids ages 4-7 about focus, self-control and discipline.

Karate for Adults: Practical and Applied , through Feb. 16, 7-8 p.m., Ben Robertson Community Center, 2753 Watts Drive. This class, for ages 20-70, balances traditional karate techniques with real-world self-defense applications.


BYOB (Beat Your Opponent Back) , through Feb. 11, 1-3 p.m. Instructor Omar Welch will teach females and teens the skills they need to protect themselves from an attacker.

AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022 51

Cobb Photographic Society


Angie Nasrallah - First Place (Morning Muffins)
52 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
Color Mark Chandler - First Place (Fruit, Crackers and Cheese)

SocietyCongratulations to everyone who entered the Cobb Photographic Society competition. The topic for October was “Food Photography.” The guest judge was photographer

The Cobb Photographic Society is a club open to photographers of all skill levels. It meets the first and third Monday of each month. For information, visit www.cobbphotosociety.com.

Andy Wilson. Novice Joy Rogers - Second Place (Flowers at Breakfast) Joy Rogers - Third Place (Healthy Breakfast)
AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022 53
Brava Henson - First Place (My Berry Love)

Can Employers Be Sued for Employees’ Actions?

An employer is charged with hiring responsible and safe employees. If a personal injury occurs because of an employee, is the employer liable? Can an employer be sued for the actions of an employee?

In most situations, the answer is yes. Georgia law says that if an employee is on the job and/or working for his or her employer at the time he or she negligently hurts someone else, the employer is responsible for the employee’s negligence. The legal doctrine of respondeat superior “holds an employer or principal legally responsible for the wrongful acts of an employee or agent, if such acts occur within the scope of the employment or agency.”

The most common example is when an employee is driving somewhere for the job, and he or she causes a wreck that hurts somebody else. In this case, the employer will be liable for any

property damage and personal injuries caused by the negligent employee. Another example is when an employee mops or waxes the floor, fails to put out a caution sign, and then a customer slips and falls. The employer or business owner will be responsible for the employee’s conduct in creating a hazard and not informing others about it.

Employers also can be sued for an employee’s bad acts when the employer fails to exercise reasonable diligence in hiring and keeping employees. Consider this example: A hotel hires a new employee for maintenance; however, the new hire has a criminal history involving violence. If he loses his temper and attacks a guest, the hotel could be liable under a negligent hiring theory. In cases involving these claims, courts usually look at whether the employee has done anything in the past that should’ve given the employer notice

of the employee’s bad behavior. If the injured party can show a pattern of prior bad conduct, his or her claim against the employer for negligent hiring and/or retention will be even stronger.

When an employer is brought into a personal injury claim, it most likely will be covered by a commercial insurance policy that provides more coverage than an average personal policy. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case because some businesses fail to obtain liability insurance. Employers always should purchase adequate commercial liability insurance to protect themselves from situations where they might be on the hook for their employee’s negligence.

Possible Explanations for Labor Pool Shortage

I‘ve had the pleasure of meeting Cam Marston, one of the nation’s foremost experts on workplace and marketplace trends. He has written five books, hosts the podcast “What’s Working With Cam Marston” and has been quoted in or appeared on major media outlets.

Marston has a four-prong theory on why there reportedly are millions more job openings than there are people looking for work.

1. Deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic affected the workplace, according to Alabama Secretary of Labor Fitzgerald Washington. However, that can’t account for all of the labor shortage.

2. Many baby boomers retired early as the pandemic spread, a move that had a ripple effect in the companies where they worked. “My clients may be exaggerating when they say it takes two employees to replace the work ethic of one boomer, but they are not exaggerating by much,” Marston said.


Midcareer Gen Xers decided the pandemic was a good time to leave their jobs and start their own companies. “I have seen no numbers on how many Xers did this, but it would have to be a lot to account for the dramatic shortage of employees we are now seeing,” Marston said.

because they understand people older and younger than them and can make sure each generation knows what the other is saying.

According to Marston, Alabama’s Washington said that a few hundred thousand workers in his state simply “vanished.” He pointed out neither he, nor anyone else, can account for the shortage in the labor pool, which also has happened in other states.


My suspicion is that a combination of all of the above accounts for the diminished labor pool.

Another consideration is the shortage of tweeners in the job force. A tweener is someone who is born within five years of an adjacent generation. Marston pointed out that tweeners serve as interpreters between generations

“Becoming dependent on one of these interpreters, as I call them, tends to make these tweeners high centers of loyalty, meaning employees become loyal to them,” Marston said. “If the tweener leaves the workplace, the other employees find the workplace can become frustrating because they are struggling to understand or be understood and will soon leave, too.”

Blythe will share the rest of his interview with Marston in the February 2023 issue of Around Kennesaw.

Joel Williams is a partner at Williams|Elleby, a Kennesawbased personal injury law firm. www.gatrialattorney.com. Ryan Blythe is the founder of Georgia Trade School, which for the seventh consecutive year, was named one of the Cobb Chamber Top 25 Small Businesses of the Year
54 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022



Denson Pepper, CPA 39 678-797-5241 www.densonpeppercpa.com


Orcutt Law Offices 9 678-383-7857 www.orcuttlawoffices.com

Williams | Elleby 1 833-LEGALGA www.gatrialattorney.com


Patricia Hill Color Studio 23 770-627-4725 https://phcolorstudio.com


Kennesaw Business Association 42 www.kennesawbusiness.org


Mostly Mutts Animal Rescue 49 770-272-6888 www.mostlymutts.org/volunteer

MUST Ministries 22 www.mustministries.org


Star Group Commercial 9 Cleaning Services, LLC 470-410-5472 www.stargroupcleanse.com


Gentle Dental Care/Georgia Dental Implant Center Inside back 770-926-2784 www.georgiadic.com

Hildreth Dental 5 770-424-1705 www.hildrethdental.com


Chattahoochee Technical College 3 770-528-4545 www.chattahoocheetech.edu

This wonderful publication is brought to you by these local businesses. When using our advertisers’ services, please let them know you found out about them from the Around Kennesaw magazine!

Georgia Trade School 7 www.georgiatradeschool.com


Georgia Food & Wine Festival 49 www.georgiafoodandwinefestival.com

Kennesaw Public Safety Foundation 45

The Southern Museum 39 www.southernmuseum.org


BluTree Advantage 1 470-481-0363 www.blutreeadvantage.com

Credit Union of Georgia 27 678-486-1111 www.cuofga.org

Edward Jones, Deborah P. Flugstad 7 770-795-0885 www.edwardjones.com

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Dayco Systems Heating & Cooling 3 770-336-7888 www.daycosystems.com

Enhance Floors & More 31 770-565-3808 www.enhancefloors.com

Towne Plumber 7 770-257-7503 www.towneplumber.com


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For advertising rates and information | Kim Dahnke 770-778-5314 | kim@aroundaboutmagazines.com AROUNDABOUTLOCALMEDIA.COM AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022 55

What Is Organic Gardening?

In my not-vast-but-not-tiny experience of talking with other gardeners, I’ve found the word “organic,” as applied to gardening, is not well understood. There’s a good reason — the definition isn’t easy or brief. But I am offering a simplified explanation.

When we refer to organic gardening or farming, we mean growing food using a specific set of principles and inputs (fertilizers, for example) that are as close to the natural state as possible in a way that maintains a living soil with a diverse population of microorganisms and macroorganisms. Spraying anything for pests and diseases is the last option for resolving garden problems, even if an organic-approved spray is available.

There’s some significant overlap between organic and conventional gardening. Plants need nutrients, soil support, water, sunlight, air in the root zone and good air circulation around the leaves and stems; those are the basics that good gardeners, using both systems, provide.

There are huge differences, too. In conventional gardening, soil is viewed as a substrate with important physical and chemical properties that affect how nutrients and water move through the soil. Fertilizers tend to consist of salts of various essential nutrients, which are available for uptake by plants as soon as they are dissolved in water. Many chemical options are available for diseases and pest control, and correct use of inputs depends on some simple math and basic guidelines.

In organic gardening, soil is viewed as home to an abundant and diverse community of tiny life forms. The physical and chemical properties are important, but more important is that nutrients are made available when

released through the action of those microbes, fungi and other small life forms. This action is, essentially, the decomposition of organic matter and other soil amendments. Maintaining the health, abundance and diversity of this community underground is essential to having a productive organic garden. There are very few spray-on options for pest and disease control, and those usually don’t work well. Choosing manures, composts and rock powders to maintain the liveliness of the soil takes careful planning. Considering these differences and the absence of simple prescriptions for what to do next, the big question is “Why would any sane person choose organic gardening?” Well, I can think of plenty of reasons:

• Living near an ecologically sensitive area and wanting to protect it.

• Wanting to provide as little support as possible for “big agriculture.”

• Being a huge do-it-yourselfer.

• Wanting to keep hazardous chemicals away from small children or pets.

• Having a serious sensitivity to a variety of chemicals.

• Being concerned about losing bees and other pollinators.

• Having a tendency to eat unwashed food while in the garden.

• Wanting to eat organically grown food on a tight food budget.

• Being concerned about newer commercial-crop pesticides that can’t be washed off.

It’s difficult to go partially organic. Using composts and manures can help in conventional gardening by improving water retention/drainage and nutrient flow/abundance, but using conventional fertilizers in an organic system is more likely to have negative effects. Some microorganisms and macroorganisms are very sensitive to fertilizer salts and don’t do well with conventional fertilizers. As a result, your crops won’t do as well.

Going organic also means most pest/disease control is done through prevention, involving crop rotations, disease-resistant plants, avoidance strategies, cover crops, promotion of beneficial insects and other strategies.

This sounds supremely complicated, but plenty of gardeners are managing organic food production quite well. We are fortunate to have many resources to help us.

The Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County supports the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service and strives to improve the quality of life in our community by delivering research-based horticultural information, educational programs and projects.

Volunteers show off the vegetables they harvested from the Plant a Row for the Hungry garden.
56 AROUND KENNESAW | December 2022
Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County is a part of the University of Georgia Extension.
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