April 2023

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4 Our Town 80 Seven Hills Blvd Dallas GA 30132 l 678-483-0283 l shopindigogoods.com l info@shopindigogoods.com Join Us April 15th from 10am-7pm for Our One Year Anniversary! Enjoy 20% off Any Regularly Priced Item. April 15th ONLY! Monday thru Saturday 10-7 Sunday 11-5 unique gifts, clothing & home décor l wonderful customer service & smiling faces Let us show you just how much we APPRECIATE you, our loyal customers! Amazing GIVEAWAYS All Day Saturday the 15th With Live Drawings Throughout the Day. One large SUPERSIZED Giveaway! SWAG BAGS with a $25 or more purchase! While Supplies Last! Sales on some of our premium brands! Surprise deals throughout the day! FREE BOGG KOOZIES with every Original Bogg Bag Purchase. While Supplies Last Some exclusions may apply. See store for details.
CONTENTS About the Photographer Claire Christa....................................................8 Talkin’ Sports with Justin Take a tour of Duck’s Dugout.........................11 Cover Story: Welcome to Miles Ahead Charter School........15 Community Spotlight Meet Colleen Oakley, Smyrna resident and USA Today’s bestselling author................21 Food Quick, Easy and Delicious Spring Recipes with Sara Fudge.............................................24 Health & Fitness Mental Performance Coach, Tamara Siemon can help your Student Athlete Realize their Full Potential..................................................28 Travel Expert Don’t leave for your next trip without reviewing Heather’s check list of Packing Essentials........................................................30 Real Estate Our Town’s Real Estate expert, Deborah Ratchford wants you to know why hiring an expert makes the difference......................34 Travel Must-Have Pack List In This Issue APRIL 2023 Cover Story Miles Ahead Charter School 15 24 Food Delicious Spring Recipes 28 11 Talkin’ Sports Duck’s Dugout 21 Community Spotlight Meet this Smyrna Author Health & Fitness Managing the Well-Being of Your Student Athlete 30

Our Town is published and direct mailed monthly to prestigious homes in Cobb County. Opinions expressed by the editorial staff are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. Our Town reserves the right to edit and or reject any editorial or advertising content. Our Town is not responsible for errors in advertising beyond the cost of the space or for the validity of claims made by advertisers. Entire contents copyright 2023 by Our Town. Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden in any media without prior written permission from the publisher.


Tara Hill Hanover


Justin Hanover


Kimberly Watkins-Swenk


Jules Fandos


West Cobb

Sara Young sara@ourtownmonthly.com


Misty Flanders-White misty@ourtownmonthly.com


Claire Christa


Sara Fudge

Tamara Siemon

Heather Meliski

Deborah Ratchford

PO Box 813610

Smyrna, GA 30081-8610


info@ourtownmonthly.com www.ourtownmonthly.com

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Demery & Lori McLinden Our Town is published and direct mailed monthly to prestigious homes in the West Cobb Area. Opinions expressed by the editorial staff are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. Our Town reserves the right to edit and or reject any editorial or advertising content. Our Town is not responsible for errors in advertising beyond the cost of the space or for the validity of claims made by advertisers. Entire contents copyright 2018 by Our Town Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden in any media without prior written permission from the publisher. Our Town Monthly 109 Anderson Street Suite 109 Marietta, GA 30060 678-337-7844 Fax: 678-337-7825 info@ourtownmonthly.com www.ourtownmonthly.com Monthly F AMILY L IFESTYLE N EWS M AGAZINE Our Town in this issue
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SterlingEstates.com West Cobb: 770-255-7000 Lacey & Sherry East Cobb: 678-946-4454
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Iam a Georgia native, born into an artistic, creative family. I got my first camera at nine years old. Though I’ve enjoyed photography my entire life, I only began a career in portrait photography about 8 years ago. What I might lack in experience, I make up for with a passion for making art. That right-brained child inside of me sees things a little differently than others. Some of my repeat clients tell me that my photos are like no others and have a way of evoking emotion. Getting paid to do what I love is truly priceless. Because photography is my passion, I offer my services for less than most of my competitors. I would love to have your business. Please take a look around my gallery on my website and reach out if I can assist you with your portrait or other photography needs.

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Like many others growing up in the 1980’s, I used to collect baseball cards. We would flip cards before and after school and collect them as a hobby. It became a fun thing to do after all of our parents seemingly threw their extremely valuable cards in the garbage a generation earlier, not realizing they would have any worth. By my time, we realized that some cards, in fact, did have value and the hobby really became a fun treasure hunt of sorts.

Over this past Christmas I found out that my wife’s cousin collected a ton of cards back in the late 80’s and basically put the collection in a chest in the attic, having no idea what was really in there or what to do with them. I took a look at the cards and realized that my novice current day knowledge plus google just wasn’t good enough to give these cards their potential just due. So I remembered hearing an interview on 680 the Fan a few months back with Brad Hainje, the owner of Duck’s Dugout, a sports card and memorabilia store, and in my brain 1 and 1 suddenly equaled 2.

I knew Brad a little bit from back in the day as his youngest daughter went to preschool with my oldest daughter, a dozen or so years ago. So I reached out in part to find out about my wife’s cousins’ cards and also a little out of curiosity what this current card collecting industry has become.

I made an appointment with Brad at his store off of Canton Road and as you can see from some of these pictures, wow, just wow.

Duck’s Dugout is a 10,000 square foot facility with an estimated 10 million cards plus tons of other cool antiques and memorabilia, many of which are signed. It is light and clean and extremely spacious and frankly, if you’re into this, an amazing place to walk around in. I was like a kid in a candy store reliving my younger years. Not only are there the usual sports cards and autographs from legends such as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig but there are also unique relics like a physical locker from the old Crosley Field in Cincinnati plus tons of stadium chairs from many different baseball parks. Add in an incredible amount of non related sports items including an astronaut John Glenn signed poster, those old Garbage Pail Kids cards (Yup, I remembered my card, “Disgustin Justin”) as well as cards from Indian tribes including Sitting Bull that are almost a hundred years old, among much much more.

Duck’s also boasts the amazing Famous Foley’s NY Pub and Restaurant Collection. You may know Foley’s as this was pretty much the most famous baseball sports bar in the country and a place that was home to 4,000 plus autographed baseballs on its walls. Anybody who is anybody in the baseball world has been to Foley’s over the years. Unfortunately, this iconic place closed down in 2020 due to the Pandemic but its owner Shaun Clancy knew Brad from his days with the Cardinals and Braves and worked out a deal where Duck’s will sell some of its massive Collection. Trust me, it’s worth driving to the store just to see this alone!

I was fascinated and overwhelmed with what I was looking at and asked Brad for the backstory to this whole deal. He told me how he had always been a collector of sorts and rented out a smaller shop next door at the

Cobb Antique Mall. Then when Brad left the media relations business with the Braves, a few years back, he decided to take a bigger leap into the collectibles world and partnered up with a man named Jim Doran. Jim had already been knee deep in the business for the last 20 years and the two men went full steam ahead and started their partnership in this luxurious space last Spring.

Of course there aren’t enough hours in the day for these two and the help of a few employees, including Brad’s son, to go through everything in their possession. The back room is an absolute paradise to anybody who enjoys going through the somewhat unknown. There are shelves and shelves of boxes and more boxes waiting to be opened and explored. Brad says he has a good idea of what it all is and he somewhat has a method to the madness but there are still ultimately some random jewels that pop out when opened every now and then.

I was curious what the card market had become as I had been detached from it for pretty much three plus decades. Certainly back in the 80’s you were on the lookout for the superstar rookie cards, the Ken Griffey, Jr.’s or the Randy Johnson’s or the Roger Clemen’s or the Barry Bond’s. But what is the deal now in 2023? I assumed the market these days was supersaturated with quantity as everybody knew of the baseball card boom that took place years ago and therefore it had hardly any value. But little did I know.

“Cards being released now are worth more because they are releasing autographed cards. Back in the 80’s everybody got the same packs. Now there might be a prism or a refractor and some other color variations. They are creating more parallel subsets and these can have more value. Now you can pull out a five or $10,000 card. It’s kind of like playing the lottery. If you get what they call a 1 of 1 it’s a perceived scarcity”, Brad explained.

Again, little did I know!

But what impressed me the most about my 90 minute walk about at Duck’s Dugout was not necessarily the mind boggingly awesome cards and memorabilia. What really stood out was this from Brad; “We pride ourselves in helping people evaluate their collections and help them find an avenue to sell if they choose. This may not even involve us. We keep a database of customers who are selling things and others who are looking to buy items. If we can’t use it we want to help them.”

Pretty darn cool if you ask me!

Duck’s is a PSA Authorized Submitter and can help anybody get those random sitting in the closet for years cards and memorabilia evaluated and or graded. Bring whatever you have in and Brad will take a look at it for no charge. Or bring absolutely nothing in and walk around this glorious museum of sorts!

Talkin’ Sports Talkin’ Sports
By Justin Hanover
Justin Hanover is a sports reporter/analyst who has worked in the business since 1996. His stops have included ESPN, CNN, 790 The Zone, 680 The Fan and the Atlanta Falcons. He has also done play-by-play analysis and color commentary ranging from the high school level all the way through the professional level. Justin lives in Smyrna with his wife and three children.

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Miles Ahead Charter School (they call it MACS) is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2023. MACS is a public, tuition-free charter school with statewide attendance. All you need to attend is a Georgia address. They have four classes of Kindergarten, one class of First Grade, one class of Second grade, one class of Third Grade and one class of Fourth Grade. MACS will continue to add Kindergarten every year until they are at full capacity, K-8.

MISSION: To provide all students with the social and academic achievements necessary to help realize their potential for local impact and global change.

“Miles Ahead Charter School believes that our students require and deserve an exceptional and innovative academic program that; better engages young minds in deeper learning for a complex world, meets the unique needs of diverse learners, and ensures high grade level achievement. MACS empowers students with academic knowledge and skills, addresses individual academic needs, prepares students to produce high-quality work, and motivates and engages them through service learning.”

~ Principal Kolt Bloxson Pitts

MACS is located in Powder Springs, having both indoor and outdoor play spaces. MACS is committed to a whole child approach to education meaning that their faculty specialize in helping students grow into healthy, happy, whole adults.

MACS focuses on preparing students for the 21st Century. Their scholars explore computer literacy, study coding as a second language, discuss digital responsibility, and virtual ethics.

MACS will offer Satellite Bus Transportation. Families that are in need of transportation should indicate such on their enrollment application. Satellite Bus Transportation will allow them to create stops that are most convenient to the addresses of applicants in need of transportation.

MACS is a registered 501c3 with a professional and experienced fourteen member Board of Directors.

Breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be served daily at MACS. They are working with The Healthy Food Collaborative to design a healthy and delicious meal program. Scholars are also welcome to bring their own lunches as well as refillable water bottles.

Focused on community, families are invited to become part of the founding Crew, the Board, book buddies every other Thursday, and engage in weekly Whole School Crew with their scholars.

You are invited to be a part of their Founding Crew!

For more information please visit MilesAheadCharter.org. Select Enroll and it will take you directly to sign up for tours, enrollment information, newsletters, and more!

Macland Road, Bldg 300, Powder Springs, GA 30127 (770) 580-3260 enroll@milesaheadcharter.org 15
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olleen Oakley is a married mom of four in Smyrna. When she is not writing or raising money for our public schools or walking or reading or cooking or grocery shopping, you can generally find her on the soccer fields or tennis courts for one of her kids’ zillions of practices they have each week. Oh, and did I mention, she is a USA Today bestselling author who has just released her fifth book.

OTM: Was writing always your career choice? What was that process like getting started in a super competitive field?

Oakley: I have known I wanted to be a writer since I could hold a crayon. My mom has boxes of (embarrassing) stories I wrote when I was a kid in her attic. I’ve always been an avid reader and writer—I was that nerd in high school who loved English class and the required reading lists and writing analytical essays. Upon graduating college with all of the ambition, but no understanding of how to write a full-length novel, I went into magazines and worked my way up the mastheads at Boating World (very glamorous), Women’s Health & Fitness and eventually Marie Claire in New York. As much as I loved being an editor, I was always writing bits and drafts of various stories at night and on the weekends. In 2010, after three years of working on it, I finally had a full novel draft. Long story short, the book got me an agent, but it never sold to a publishing house. I wrote a second novel, got another agent and she sold it to Simon & Schuster in two weeks in April of 2013. That book, Before I Go, was published in January 2015. So, to (finally) answer your question—yes, it is very competitive and it’s often a very long and arduous process. That’s why the number one piece of advice I give to up and coming writers is to have perseverance.

OTM: How did that feel when you knew you were about to be a published author?

Oakley: It was a literal dream come true. Truly one of the greatest moments of my life—second only to getting married and the day each of my children were born.

OTM: How many books have you published?

Oakley: Five: Before I Go, Close Enough to Touch, You Were There Too, The Invisible Husband of Frick Island and my latest, which comes out Mar. 28, The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise.

OTM:Howdoyoufindthetimeto“disconnect”andwrite?Also, how long is the process of a complete book from start to publish?

Oakley: Writing is my full-time job, so I’m at my computer every day while my kids are in school (and I love that it’s flexible enough for me to be there with them when they get home!) But you’re right—it’s a creative process and can be challenging to fully immerse myself into my fictional worlds in just a few hours a day. So, I go on writing retreats about 2 to 3 times a year, either with other author friends or alone where I can have 3 to 4 solid days of doing nothing but concentrating on my work in progress. It’s amazing how much

work I can get done when I don’t have to worry about laundry or groceries or soccer practice or feeding six people dinner! I should also mention here that I have a wonderfully supportive husband, Fred, who tackles our parenting and household duties equally with me (and sometimes takes on the brunt of them!) to free up a lot of my time for work.

The length of time a book takes to write varies, but generally it’s about a year and a half. Again, perseverance is key!

OTM: I know you are very accomplished and have received much recognition for your books, please share some of your most proud moments.

Oakley: I have so many that I’m proud of—being in People magazine! Harlen Coben recommending one of my books on the Today Show! Being interviewed by Emily Giffin! But I think the one that stands out the most is when Jodi Picoult gave me an amazing blurb for this latest book. When I was working at Marie Claire in 2007, I interviewed Jodi when she was about to release Nineteen Minutes. I was so nervous and I mentioned in the interview that I wanted to be a novelist myself one day. She was so kind and supportive and said something like “I look forward to reading your book one day.” But never in a million years did I think I would actually write a book and that Jodi Picoult, my literary hero would actually read it. Getting her blurb was such a full-circle moment for me.


Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2023 by The Today Show, Southern Living, Reader’s Digest, SheReads, AJC, Nerd Daily and more!

A Library Reads Hall of Fame pick for March 2023

An unforgettable pairing of a college dropout and an eighty-four-year-old woman on the run from the law in this story full of tremendous heart, humor, and wit from the USA Today bestselling author of The Invisible Husband of Frick Island

“You’ll never be able to see what’s coming in this wildly surprising, entertaining ride of a novel—which is a coming-of-age story, a contending-with-age story, and an exploration of how womanhood is a matter of surprising others…and oneself.”

—Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Wish You Were Here

“Colleen Oakley is in a world of her own when it comes to creating lovable, quirky characters—and those in The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise are her best yet. With an abundance of charm and wit, a dose of adventure, and surprises around each corner, you’ll be rooting for Tanner and Louise with every turn of the page. An absolute blast.”

—Taylor Jenkins Reid, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Malibu Rising www.colleenoakley.com

IG @OakleyColleen FB: Colleen Oakley
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Healthy Spring Recipes

With warmer temperatures on the horizon, you may find yourself wanting to avoid turning on your oven. You may also be less inclined to want to spend lots of time in the kitchen preparing meals so you can enjoy the beautiful spring weather! Try these quick, easy, and delicious recipes so you can stay out of the kitchen and outside enjoying time with family and friends.


Inspired by the flavors of the classic BLT sandwich, this BLT Pasta Salad is sure to be a hit for your next family dinner. Requiring only a few simple ingredients, you’ll have a delicious meal on the table in 30 minutes or less. If you have a family gathering, barbecue, or potluck coming up, this dish would also make for an excellent side dish to share. Not only do you not have to turn on your oven for this one, but you can also make it ahead of time. Talk about a win-win!

Find The Full Recipe:



To find the full recipes for these healthy spring recipes, be sure to check out cookingwithfudge.com


With warmer temperatures means bathing suit season, and an excellent way to stay on track is by taking a few moments to prep a healthy breakfast for the week ahead. These Healthy Egg Muffins are portable and packed with protein, making them an easy “grab and go” option that will keep you full until lunchtime. You can easily customize the ingredients to include what you love and swap out what you don’t; the possibilities are truly endless! You can even freeze these egg muffins if you want to double (or triple!) the recipe to use for weeks on end.

Find The Full Recipe: https://cookingwithfudge.com/blt-pasta-salad/


There is nothing better than a good chicken salad, and the great part is that you can serve it in a number of ways. Whether you opt to make a sandwich or wrap, serve on top of a bed of leafy greens, or simply enjoy it in a bowl on its own, this Southwest Chicken Salad is packed with flavor and protein. You can make a big batch and store it in the refrigerator so you have lunch for the entire week ahead.

Find The Full Recipe: https://cookingwithfudge.com/southwest-chicken-salad/


This Bruschetta Dip is the perfect appetizer or snack to bring to a fun springtime gathering! The creamy feta, fresh tomatoes, and vibrant basil all come together for a delicious dip that is sure to be gone in a few minutes. This dish is perfect to prep ahead of time and store in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, as it gives the flavors some extra time to come together while it chills. You can use tortilla chips, pita chips, naan, baguettes, or vegetable sticks to scoop up this crowd-pleasing dip.

Find The Full Recipe: https://cookingwithfudge.com/bruschetta-dip-with-feta/

Sara Fudge has lived in West Cobb for over 30 years. As a wife to James and a mom to four boys, Sara is passionate about creating family-friendly meals that are easy, healthy, delicious, and budget-conscious with today’s ever-increasing grocery prices. Sara publishes her recipes on her website, Cooking With Fudge, and on Instagram (@cookingwithfudge).

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At Varenita, residents can “age in place” comfortably and securely. One of the main benefits of choosing Varenita of West Cobb is that residents can stay in the same community and, in many cases, the same “living area” even as their health care requirements change. This means that once you or your loved one moves into our beautiful community, it’s home. No matter how much needs to change over time.


The perfect option for independent seniors who want support with daily tasks and personal care.

Varenita of West Cobb’s personalized assisted living care is designed for primarily independent seniors looking for a rich and rewarding lifestyle with an enhanced level of support. Guided by compassion and clinical expertise, our highly trained team members offer residents the gentle, individually focused support they need to flourish while retaining their independence.

Personalized Care for All Stages of Aging


This specialized program is ideal for those living with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or early memory loss. Our industry-leading transitional care program is built around an inclusive “open campus” model. It is specifically designed for residents experiencing the early symptoms of memory loss or MCI but may not require the full attention or secure environment of a traditional memory program. Residents who are appropriate for transitional care continue to reside in the Assisted Living area of the community while receiving additional support with daily activities.


An enriching and supportive program designed for those living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. Based on the latest research, Varenita’s memory care program offers a truly compassionate approach to care designed for those residents living 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.


Unlike many other senior living communities, Varenita offers comprehensive physical, occupational, and speech therapy services for all our residents without the hassel of having to leave the community.


Varenita offers residents and their families an impressive mix of delicious cuisine and rich dining experiences. Our accomplished chef and culinary team create an ever-changing menu of delicious entrees made with organic, locally sourced ingredients across three beautiful dining venues. These include vegetarian, gluten-free, and specially designed dishes for residents with specific dietary needs. In addition, we have a registered dietitian available to help with residents’ nutritional needs.


At Varenita, we offer an impressive mix of activities, classes, and events that foster engagement, stimulate the mind, and provide a rewarding sense of purpose.

• Arts & Crafts

• Daily Gardening

• Group Outings

• Move & Dance

• Animal Activities

• Cooking Classes

• Music & Song

• Live Concerts

• Exercise Classes

• Family Events

• Guest Speakers

Our Town
Varenita of West Cobb | 1979 Mars Hill Road, Acworth, GA 30101 | 470-750-3500


School’s out, but the fear is in! Join us for a blood-curdling after hours event from 8-11 pm featuring haunted houses, low wait times on select thrill rides and coasters, bone-chilling entertainment, and more! Additional fee required.


APRIL 22 - 30

Savor the spirits of spring with specially crafted food and beverage pairings and over 75 different craft beers and cocktails from your favorite local breweries.




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Five Keys to Help Your Student-Athlete Realize Their Full Potential

Does your child play on several teams during the same season; have you enrolled your athlete in private lessons to further develop a specific skill; is your middle school or high school student-athlete struggling to keep up with schoolwork and chores because of numerous sports commitments; is your kid dominating in practice and lessons, but underperforming during games; is your student-athlete constantly checking out other kids’ stats, achievements, and college commitments on social media? Regardless of where you are in the sports cycle, if you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you are the parent of a modern-day student-athlete!

Today’s athletic environment is intense, overwhelming, and, at timesand depending on age and skill level – downright maddening, so why do we subject our kids, and ourselves, to any of it? Easy answer: participating in a sport is still one of the best ways to learn invaluable life lessons while having fun! Where else can you incorporate physical activity, teamwork, resiliency, communication, joy, commitment, leadership, and friendships, all at once? While other hobbies and activities provide an opportunity to develop some of these traits, competitive sports can hone all of them if our student-athletes have the right mindset.

Despite the absolute value and upside mentioned above, today’s version of competitive sports introduces additional challenges that – if left unmanaged – can crush even the most competitive and optimistic soul. These obstacles are not specific to competitive sports; they reflect the world we live in, and they present yet another opportunity to learn critical life lessons. With the right mindset and tools, we can empower our student-athletes to develop the confidence, vision, and grit to author their best lives. With that, I’ve listed below five (5) keys to help today’s student-athlete realize their full potential:


Control Your “Controllables”: We can only control our attitude, effort, preparation, and response to uncontrollable factors (coach, umpire, weather, parents, teammates, fans, injuries, teacher, assignments, etc.). This phrase reminds us to place our energy in the most impactful areas.


Take Time to Rest and Recharge: More is not always better. We must be intentional (for our kids and ourselves) and recognize the need for “downtime,” unscheduled time, and time without a screen.

Clarify Your WHY: The days are long, and the sacrifice to attend practices and games, meets, and matches are palpable for everyone in the family. Injuries occur, and disappointment surfaces, so our student-athletes must remember why they participate. Clarity about their intentions will sustain them during challenging times!

Narrow Your Focus (You vs. You): Constant comparison usually bodes poorly for adults and doesn’t help our kids. We can support them by reinforcing this message: compare yourself vs. who you were and what you accomplished in the previous game, match, or meet. Personal growth and contribution to your team trump everything else!

3 4 5

Be Grateful: Perspective can be challenging at a young age. Still, we can help our kids shift their mindset and more consistently display an attitude of gratitude by helping them find a sport they enjoy and reinforcing the opportunity and privilege to participate (They GET to practice (vs. They HAVE to practice).

For more information on mindset training and life skills for your student-athlete, please contact me:




28 Our Town

Welcome Home...

Enjoy a fun evening of music taking a journey back to Motown hits and Philly classics from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. This entertaining tribute features hits made popular by The Temptations, Marvin Gay, The O’Jay’s and many more. You will not want to miss this magical event!

The Dallas Theater offers summer Drama and Musical Theatre camps for kids ages 7-17. Come spend the week with us learning the ins and outs of theatre and end the week with a performance for your friends and family! It’s a week of fun you don’t want to miss! Camp dates and prices are on the website.

The Dallas Theater & Civic Center is a unique rental space. We offer a fully restored, art-deco styled theater dating from the 1940’s and an adjacent civic center with a modern, sleek style. Each venue can be rented together or separately for your event and you can bring any vendors you choose. We have multiple pricing options. Call to schedule a tour!

Our Town 29
DayBreak Village, your warm and friendly home nestled in the heart of historic Kennesaw. DayBreak Village provides our residents with the lifestyle they want, services they deserve and care they need! Schedule your tour today, call 770-218-6166 3056 Cherokee Street
Kennesaw, GA 30144 www.daybreakvillage.com
your next chapter of wonderful begins…” INDEPENDENT LIVING • PERSONAL CARE • RESPITE • HOSPICE • 24/7 STAFF NOW DEDICATEDHIRINGSTAFF training available APPLY IN PERSON THE DALLAS THEATER events 208 Main Street, Dallas, GA 30132 / 770.445.5180
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Checked Luggage

Ilove to share my favorite items for traveling, and I often talk about the in-flight items I can’t travel without. But there are also a number of items that I always pack in my checked luggage that are just as essential. Here are my favorite items to pack in my suitcase for a trip:

Ziplock Bags – I always have extra ziplock bags stashed in my checked luggage. I even bring different size ziplock bags for different items. They can store wet or dirty clothes and shoes, souvenirs that may break or leak, and when my kids were little I used them to organize each day’s outfit (and stash the dirty outfit at the end of the day). I also put my toiletries in them to ensure that they don’t leak all over my bag during travel. They may not be super fancy, but they get the job done!

Packing Essentials :

Compressed Wash Cloths – if you use a wash cloth for your face or body, these are a must-have for your next trip. I learned the hard way last year in Sharm el Sheik that not all areas of the world have wash cloths, so ever since that trip I pack my own. They’re super small, expand in water, and are durable and biodegradable.

AirTags – you probably know by now that I love AirTags. Just pop one into your checked luggage, and you can track your bag to make sure that it makes it onto your plane. I always check for the location of the AirTag in my checked luggage before take-off so I can notify the airline before we leave – and while there is still time to get my bag on the plane - about any issues with my bag not making it onto the plane. These are a traveler’s best friend when it comes to the peace of mind knowing that your luggage will make it to your destination.

Luggage Locks – there is nothing worse than arriving at your hotel only to realize that there isn’t a safe available to store your valuables (been there, done that). And no one wants to take a chance with having their jewelry, cash, or electronics – and especially their passport - stolen. When there is no safe available in a hotel room, using luggage locks on your checked bag or even your backpack/briefcase is the next-best thing. It’s much harder to walk out of someone’s room with a big piece of luggage than an iPad. I always stash valuable items in my locked luggage for safe keeping when there isn’t a safe in my room or when the safe isn’t working properly.

Bubble Wrap – this is the number one item that I always include in my checked luggage. It’s perfect to have on hand to wrap up breakable souvenirs you want to bring home or that complimentary bottle of mezcal or wine in your hotel room. I simply save bubble wrap from deliveries to my home and bring them along when I travel. Bubble wrap takes up virtually no room, weighs next to nothing, and can be stashed in your bag just about anywhere.

So here you have some of my favorite pro-packing tips for checked luggage!

30 Our Town
is a travel agent
her husband two
Heather@yellowshoetravel.com FB @ heatheryellowshoetravel IG @yellowshoetravelheather VRS relies on donations to provide rehabilitation services to those living with blindness or vision loss. These services are NOT covered by insurance. Employment opportunities available for COMS and CVRT, or related fields Make a Difference Today... SUGGESTED DONATIONS: $50 White cane or glare guard $100 Magnification device $250 Four hours of vision rehab or Personal Adjustment Counseling $500 A low vision evaluation (LVE) l Donate l Add VRS to your Employee Giving Campaign l Submit VRS as an Employer donation Match eligible organization l Invite VRS to speak about our services at your business or service organizations l Call us regarding specific volunteer needs VRS is a 501(c)3 not for profit founded in Smyrna, GA 39 years ago, serving individuals of ALL ages.
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An Expert Listing Agent Makes a World of Difference When Selling Your House!!!

When selling your house, it’s important to work with an experienced listing agent who understands how the market is changing and what it means for you. Here are important reasons why working with a professional can ensure you’ll get the most out of your sale with the least amount of stress.

1. They’re Experts on Market Trends in your Area.

With today’s housing market defined by change, it’s critical to work with someone who knows the latest information and how it affects your goals. An expert real estate listing agent also knows about national trends, your local area and how they tie together. Most importantly, they will be able give insight to what all of this really means for you and be able to help you make a sensible decision based on accurate, data-bound information.

2. A Local experienced Listing Agent Knows How to Set the Best Price for Your Home.

Home price appreciation has slowed down a little bit this year which could trick sellers into pricing too high, causing the house to stay on the market much longer than it needs to. If you sell your house on your own, you may also be more likely to overshoot your asking price because you might not be as aware of where prices are going today. Pricing your house too high will normally deter buyers or cause your house to sit on the market for much longer causing it to be called an old listing.

A good listing Real Estate professional will address a variety of factors, like the condition of your house and any upgrades you’ve made, with an unbiased eye. They compare your house to recently sold and active on the market houses in your area to find the best price for today’s market, resulting in your house selling for the most it can and timely with as little stress as possible.

3. An Experienced Real Estate Advisor Helps Maximize Your Pool of Buyers. With it seeming like buyer demand has cooled down a little bit this year, you will want to do what you can to help bring in more buyers. Real estate professionals have a wide range of tools at their disposal, such as social media followers, agency resources, and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), to ensure your house gets in front of as many buyers looking to make a purchase in your area. Without access to a good listing agent’s tools and marketing expertise, your buyer pool and selling potential is limited.

4. An Experienced Real Estate Agent Will Read and Understand all the Fine Print. Today, more disclosures and regulations are mandatory when selling a house. That means the number of legal documents you’ll need to deal with is growing. In Georgia, The Georgia Association of Realtors makes many changes to the documents that are used in RE transactions at the beginning of each year. This means that the sale of your house might be much different than how it went when you bought it many years ago. It’s going to benefit you when using a full-time agent that stays aware of the annual document changes. There’s a lot involved in a real estate transaction, and you will find it best to work with a professional who can speak the language.


A Local Professional Is a Skilled Negotiator

In today’s market, buyers are regaining some negotiating power. Be aware that if you are selling without an expert, then you’ll be responsible for all the back-and-forth that’s involved with the transaction. That means you’ll have to coordinate with a buyer that’s pushing and trying to get the best deal possible, the buyer’s agent that has experience dealing with working the buyer side of a transaction, the inspection process which is in place to represent the buyer, the appraiser that’s in place to put a price value on the house in order to protect the loan company and lastly the closing attorney that is in place to represent the buyer’s loan company. In the long run, you will find that it’s best to not go head-to-head with these parties alone, it’s best to lean on an expert. They’ll know what levers to pull, how to address everyone’s concerns.

The Bottom Line

Don’t go at it alone. If you’re planning to sell this spring, work with an experienced, local real estate professional so you have an expert by your side to guide you in today’s changing real estate market.

Call today for a “FREE” market analysis!

34 Our Town

If you are thinking of buying or selling this spring or summer call Deb! She brings 25 years of experience and is results driven. She knows the areas and how to get the most for your home. Deb knows of single family homes, townhomes and condos hitting the market before they even go live. If you are trying to decide the best time to go on market, call today for a free market analysis! Deb, is an excellent advisor and will get you ready!

Deborah M Ratchford Keller Williams Cityside 3350 Atlanta Road Smyrna, GA 30080 C: 678-570-4779 O: 770-874-6205 barry.butler@rate.com / O 404.474.3974 C 770.365.7179 125 Townpark Drive Suite 300, Office 23 / Kennesaw, GA. 30144 Barry Butler Branch Manager/VP of Mortgage Lending NMLS ID: 658820 All information is believed to be accurate, but not warranted. Each Keller Williams Realty Office is individually owned and operated.
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