Our Town Monthly October 2022

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C O B B ’ S FA M I LY L I F E S T Y L E M A G A Z I N E OCTOBER 2022

PERMIT #2118 TAMPA, FL

PAID

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Our Town


STERLING ESTATES

Senior Living Communities

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2022 Voted Again, Cobb’s Best Retirement, Assisted Living & Memory Care “We’re honored that both Sterling Estates Communities have been recognized as ‘Best of Cobb’ for Retirement Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care again in 2022. I’m proud to say that it’s the 4th year in a row we’ve won these awards and an awesome tribute to our staff members. We’ve been serving seniors in greater Atlanta for over 25+ years now...we invite you to come and experience what sets us apart.” - Marshall Gill, COO & Partner, Sterling Estates Senior Living Communities

• Large living and outdoor areas to gather with friends and loved ones • Life enrichment center for residents to gather for art classes, lectures, games, etc. • Certified Parkinson’s Delay the Disease Programs

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SterlingEstatesWest.com SterlingEstatesEast.com STERLING ESTATES

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In This Issue OCTOBER 2022

Note from the Publisher............................8 Cover Photographer: Jennifer Mehling...............................................8 Family Football Fun in Our Own Backyard Justin will tell you where to go in Talkin’ Sports..............................................................12

Cover Story Covenant Christian School

Cover Story: Welcome to Covenant Christian Academy.....15

15

Home Town Heroes! The heart of Independent Grounds..............21 Travel Expert Heather Meliski, has some rules to follow when traveling during Hurricane season.................23 Health & Fitness Tips for avoiding burnout in our “busy season” from Our Town’s health expert, Ashley Inglese................................................26

21

10

Home Town Hero Independent Grounds

Talkin’ Sports Backyard Birds

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26

23

Travel Hurricane Season

Health A Busy Life

Real Estate Deborah Ratchford, takes you step by step through the home buying process...............34


Our Town onthly M

in this issue

F A M I LY L I F E S T Y L E N EW S M AG A Z I N E

Publishers/Editors Our Townmonthly is published and direct monthly to prestigious homes in the Our Town is published and direct mailed tomailedprestigious homes West Cobb Area. Opinions expressed by the editorial staff are their own and do not Linda DemeryOpinions & Lori McLinden in Cobb County. expressed by the editorial staff are their own necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. Our Town reserves the right to

Graphics and Design and do not necessarily reflect the opinions ofeditorial the publisher. Our Town edit and or reject any or advertising content. Our Town is not responsible Tanner for errors in advertising beyond the cost of the space or advertising for the validity of claims made reservesTanner theTerry right to edit and or reject any editorial or Graphics, Inc. by advertisers. content. Our Town is not responsible for errors in advertising beyond Account Executive Entire contents copyright 2018 bymade Our Town. in whole or in the Sara costYoung, of the space or for the validity of claims byReproduction advertisers. sara@ourtownmonthly.com part is forbidden in any media without prior written permission from the publisher. Entire contents copyright 2022 by Our Town. Reproduction in whole Feature Photographer or in part is forbidden in any mediaOur without prior written Town Monthly permission from the publisher. 109 Anderson Street Contributing Writers

Suite 109

Marietta, GA 30060 PUBLISHER/MANAGING EDITOR Tara Hill Hanover678-337-7844

Fax: 678-337-7825

info@ourtownmonthly.com

EDITOR/SPORTS CONTRIBUTOR www.ourtownmonthly.com Justin Hanover DIGITAL EDITOR Kimberly Watkins-Swenk GRAPHICS AND DESIGN Jules Fandos ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES West Cobb Sara Young sara@ourtownmonthly.com Smyrna/Vinings/Galleria/Cumberland Misty Flanders-White misty@ourtownmonthly.com FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHER Jennifer Mehling CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Heather Meliski Ashley Inglese Deborah Ratchford

PO Box 813610 Smyrna, GA 30081-8610 (678)337-7844 info@ourtownmonthly.com www.ourtownmonthly.com FB: Our Town Monthly

Our Town

IG: @our_town_monthly

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Letter from the Publisher

Feature Photographer

TARA HILL HANOVER

It’s October!!! Who is excited?

A

pple orchards, pumpkin farms, falling leaves and the anticipation of the holidays to come...what could be better? My challenge to you and to myself this season is to celebrate everything! This is the time to enjoy the moments, wear the silly costume, eat the cake, make the memories and embrace the chaos. Choose JOY my friends! Happy Fall Y’all,

Tara

J

JENNIFER MEHLING

ennifer is creative at heart. She loves to take photos, paint and join forces with the Holy Spirit. She is following His guidance to have her first children’s book published, so be on the lookout for ‘Olive’s JESUS’

Jennifer grew up in a non-Chrisitan & broken home. Jesus was always with Jennifer even when she didn’t realize it. She became a BELIEVER officially in 2012. During the year the world changed in 2020 she was drawn more into the presence of Papa God. Once she began to be more obedient to His voice her story and childhood began to unravel. She attended a Be Still Ministry event in North Georgia that forever changed her path. She encountered the LOVE of Jesus. Her heart began to heal and the walls came down. Jennifer is on a journey to live out the abundant life Jesus gave us ALL! Jennifer is happily married to her best friend Ryan. She is a mother to a beautiful little girl Olive. She is an animal lover to include dogs, cats and chickens. jennifermehling.com / IG @beautyforashes320

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Talkin’ Sports

By Justin Hanover

T

he college football season is heating up as the Georgia Bulldogs are looking to win back-to-back FBS National titles. Certainly, Alabama and Ohio State, among a few others will attempt to have something to say about that. But did you know that if you don’t want to travel all the way to Athens to see the ‘Dawgs, and still want to see some quality football, you can do so right here in our own backyard? That’s right, the Kennesaw State Owls, a perennial top 25 program in the FCS of Division One play here in Kennesaw at the beautiful Fifth Third Bank Stadium, right off of I-75 on George Busbee Parkway. I have been the PA Announcer for Atlanta United 2 at this very same stadium and can tell you it is an absolute gem. There is nothing better than going inside this venue on a beautiful day as it is small enough to be considered quaint, yet big enough to have some rocking vibes. The Owls have only had a football program since 2015 but have already earned three Conference Championships and have played in a pair of National Quarterfinals. Brian Bohanon, who has been the only head coach the program has ever, has led this team to an amazing 63-20 record (as of press time) and 28-8 conference mark, after serving as an Assistant Coach for years under former Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson. Bohannon’s boys went 11-2 a season ago and a perfect 6-0 in conference in 2021 as they finished ranked 10th overall in the nation. KSU has also now played four FBS opponents after tangling with Atlanta Falcons’ Quarterback Desmond Ritter’s alma mater, the University of Cincinnati earlier in the season. So don’t accuse them of beefing up that record with some cupcakes.

As of press time, the Owls were ranked 18th in the nation. The mark gives KSU its 61st consecutive week in the top 25 poll, dating back to Oct. 30 of the 2017 season. This streak also spans 1,771 days with the Owls entering the last 52 games as a ranked program. Since its inception as a program, 96 weeks of national FCS top 25 polls have been released and the Owls have been featured in over 63 percent of them.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Here is how my good friend and original play-by-play voice of the Owls, Brian Katrek, sums things up. “The game day experience at KSU is amazing. There isn’t a bad seat in the house and the food is great! Coach Bohanon has been the perfect leader for our program and they will make another post season run this year.” They may not get the pub of the Bulldogs or the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets or some other programs but Kennesaw State is a quality and entertaining program that is a good time for all. The Owls boast a lot of former Georgia high school players and play at home four times in October. Come support local and have an incredible time in the process! 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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C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia, famously wrote,

“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”

C

ovenant Christian School, a ministry of Smyrna Presbyterian Church, sits on Atlanta Road, at the edge of a major cultural center – hardly a desert. However, when it comes to educating children, there are deserts all around that need irrigation. Yet, here in little old Smyrna – a community that has morphed into a nexus of sports, business, and entertainment – students are connected to a pipeline of learning that keeps feeding them all their lives. Covenant Christian School is a classical school, one devoted not just to facts and figures, but to the pursuits of beauty, truth, and goodness – the very stuff our kids are thirsty for, even while they gorge themselves on social media and video games. Instead of parking in front of screens, the students here learn grammar rules, math facts, and history timelines. They read fables, ancient myths, and chapter books about farm animals, medieval knights, and Holocaust survivors. They even learn Latin! Covenant Christian School is part of an educational movement that began about forty years ago, when a group of concerned parents and educators decided to dodge the ever-changing whims of progressive education and return to a time-tested methodology called classical education. The classical model has existed for centuries; in fact, nearly all schools practiced it until about 1900. Ancient and medieval educators observed that children naturally move through phases as they grow. It’s how God made us! Classical educators have names for these stages of development: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. When children are in the grammar stage – between six and twelve – they are like sponges. They memorize quickly and love to move and sing. Classical education makes the best use of their talents by feeding them lots to memorize. Often, the information is set to music and movement, so facts stick in their brains like commercial jingles on television. This base of knowledge gives children something to build on in the future. So, at Covenant Christian School, our youngest students learn their multiplication tables, parts of speech, and history facts in a rhythmic, musical way they enjoy. As students become adolescents, they enter the logic phase. They grow more argumentative, questioning adults at every turn. Classical education takes advantage of their tendency to question by offering logic courses, showing students what good arguments sound like. Our students learn to order their thoughts in their essays and science projects. This training prepares them for the rhetoric stage in high school, when they are mature enough to blend facts and figures with their logic skills to express what they know. Deserts need water, and Covenant Christian School is an oasis. In the New Testament, Jesus promised living water to the woman at the well – water that offers eternal life. Using Jesus as our model, the teachers at Covenant Christian School offer an education that serves children for a lifetime.

3130 Atlanta Rd, Smyrna, GA 30080

770.435.1596

www.ccssmyrna.org


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Our Town


Home Town Hero O

ctober is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Approximately 80 percent of adults with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities are either unemployed or underemployed. And yet they represent a large population of adults who want to work but are too often overlooked in the traditional interviewing process. Independent Grounds Cafe is one of many local businesses who are working to change those odds. Independent Grounds Cafe was started by Lorna Heid, a single mother of two daughters, one of whom has a traumatic brain injury. As her daughter, Emma, neared high school graduation, Lorna began looking at the opportunities available for her daughter to obtain meaningful work. Not finding a lot of great options available, she decided to create her own. She knew her daughter and her peers already had experience working in a coffee shop through their special education high school programs and an idea was formed to create a similar atmosphere on a greater scale. The onset of the COVID pandemic caused Lorna’s first ventures into the coffee business to close, but as 2021 approached, she knew she wanted to try again this time in a better-suited location, namely close to the Kennesaw State University campus and in a newly constructed housing development focused on college students. To date, Lorna has employed more than a dozen employees with special needs, many of whom have gone on to find employment at other like-minded businesses who see the value in this loyal workforce. Lorna gives all of her employees the opportunity to shine and show their personalities through their work. Drew, the (sometimes sassy) morning cashier, has a great attitude and an online presence in many of the shop’s videos. He proudly greets all customers as they enter the shop with his signature phrase: “Welcome to Independent Grounds Cafe can I take your order?” Andre, one of her loyal baristas, delivers drinks with a smile and winning attitude. Emma, the star of the shop, loves to show off her smoothie and frappe showstoppers with a smile and a giggle. Examples of developmental disabilities include autism, behavior disorders, brain injury, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, intellectual disability, and spina bifida. Independent Grounds is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. They are located at 3061 George Busbee Parkway, Suite 2000, Kennesaw, GA, 30144. They can be found at their website, www.independentgroundscafe.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tiktok.

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Tips for Traveling During Hurricane Season By Heather Meliski

A

s I’m writing this article, Hurricane Fiona is bearing down on Puerto Rico. I typically keep an eye on tropical storms and hurricanes throughout hurricane season because I constantly have clients traveling to the Caribbean and Mexico. But I am paying extra attention to this one because I have clients porting in Puerto Rico next week during their cruise and my family is supposed to leave in a week for our fall break vacation in San Juan. Hurricane season in the Caribbean runs from May 1 – November 30. Here are some tips for how to prepare for travel that may be impacted by the season.

Buy Travel Insurance! - I never travel outside of the US without it, and 99% of my clients don’t either. I recommend it not for lost baggage or trip cancellations, but for medical coverage and emergency evacuation coverage (which would also apply to hurricanes). If you’re on an island without power, flights, and basic supplies, paying a few hundred dollars for travel insurance means not paying tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to get home. Have a Back-up Plan – when I heard that Hurricane Fiona could impact my family’s trip to Puerto Rico, I immediately went into ‘travel advisor mode’ and had plans B, C, and D figured out within a few hours. It’s still TBD which one will be our final choice, but having options figured out in advance means that we will be going somewhere fun instead of being stuck at home. Allow for a Travel Time Buffer – if you need to be home for an important event, allow for buffer time with your travel dates. Having a flight back to the US the day before your child’s high school graduation isn’t the best idea because if there is a travel delay due to a hurricane or tropical storm, you may miss it entirely and you may not have power or cellular coverage to be able to watch remotely (true story from last year). Be Flexible – be okay with possibly altering your plans, often at the last minute. Activities may need to be moved or cancelled, your trip may be shortened or extended, or you may have to change travel plans to a completely different destination. Going into your planning knowing that things may change will help ease the disappointment if they do. Take Extras – always travel with extra medications and medical supplies, as well as a few extra items of clothing in case your travel plans are delayed. Enroll in STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) with the State Department before International Travel - this lets them know when you’ll be outside of the country, where you will be staying, who your emergency contact is, etc. so if there is an emergency, they will know to contact you. Charge Your Devices – if a hurricane or tropical storm is headed your way, make sure to immediately charge all of your devices. I also recommend traveling with a portable power bank which can charge your devices if you are without power.

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Keep In Touch – call or text family and friends often as the storm is approaching and as you can during and after landfall. This lets them know you’re okay and, if needed, gives them the information they need to work with your travel advisor, airline, or the state department. Book with a Travel Advisor – this one probably goes without saying, but booking with a travel advisor is incredibly beneficial if a tropical storm or hurricane hits. We will assist with rescheduling your vacation or extending your stay, and we have the expertise and connections to help get you home faster. Make sure to read next month’s article to find out where we ended up for fall break! Heather Meliski is a travel agent specializing in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, Europe, Australia, the South Pacific, cruises, theme parks, and more. She lives in Smyrna with her husband two sons. Heather@yellowshoetravel.com FB @ heatheryellowshoetravel IG @yellowshoetravelheather

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Strive for a Healthy Pace By Ashley Inglese

T

he holidays are coming and that means that we are entering the “busy season”. Just kidding, if you’re like me it’s ALWAYS the busy season. We keep waiting for “things to slow down” only to realize that they aren’t slowing down anytime soon, thus we need to adapt and adjust. Adapting and adjusting refers to your day-to-day schedule but it also refers to your mentality. How are you handling your acceptance and outlook on your day? Find joy! For me personally, I’ve found myself with a daily commute. As much as I typically don’t enjoy time in the car, I can control my outlook. I use that time to catch up on the phone, find an entertaining podcast or book, or hear all about my kids’ day while we travel to school or practice. I have to find a way to make it enjoyable because I refuse to be miserable. Multi-tasking! My kids have practice just about every night and you will usually see me walking during this time. I love watching my kids play but I also love showing them that I value my physical activity too. It’s a great way to get a workout in or even walk with another friend who is at the park too. The risk we take by not adapting to being busy is burnout. Of course, we can say no to things, delegate, and take things off of our plates but it’s also okay to enjoy all of the madness (for the most part). The burnout is real! Here are some tips for combating burnout:

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1. Take a step back! I know that sounds impossible when you have so many things to do, but sometimes stepping away from that project will reset your mind, give you a new perspective, or recharge your battery. 2. Do something fun! That lunch break with a friend or weekend getaway may feel like procrastination but it also may give you the opportunity to have an inspiring conversation or experience leading to more productivity. 3. Recharge! Resting and recharging are two different things. Resting is important but when combating burnout you need to recharge! Recharging is different for everyone but mainly it’s that thing you love to do that leaves you feeling energized and content. It may be paddleboarding, hiking, cooking, volunteering, or whatever it is at your core that brings you joy. Do more of that! It will make you more productive, creative, inspired, and fulfilled in the end. 4. Find a finish line! Is it a project at work or a busy sports season? When does it wrap up? Enjoy the process but also look for the finish line. 5. Set a goal! A trip, a dinner, a few weeks of nothing; whatever it is, find something to look forward to but most of all, find joy in the process.

Ashley Inglese is a Smyrna resident. She is a wife and mother of 2 human kids {Lila, 11 & Leo, 8} and 2 rescue fur babies {Maple, chiweenie & Hazel, tabby}. Ashley owns HOTWORX Smyrna, and co-owner of HOTWORX Marietta Square. She is very involved in the community and loves supporting local schools, events, and nonprofit organizations.

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PAGE 31


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PAGE 32

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PAGE 33


when buying a home and you are now under contract

T

here are many aspects about the home hunting process that can be exciting, but there’s nothing quite as exciting as when the seller accepts your offer. Maybe you were in a bidding war or maybe you were the first offer. Regardless of your journey, it definitely doesn’t end here. When the seller accepts your offer there are a few more steps you need to get ready for.

Home Inspection and Appraisal If you are using a loan to purchase the house, your lender will require a home appraisal. The appraiser will price the home according to its features, condition, and recent sales in the area. The outcome of the appraisal may change how much the lender is willing to loan, which can lead to either renegotiation of the home price or even the end of the deal. The next important step is to invest the money in ordering a home inspection. The home inspector’s job is to inform you if there are any damages in the home and to provide estimated costs to fix these issues. This step will give you a better understanding of the home’s condition and may help you and your real estate agent negotiate a lower cost of the home.

Understanding Earnest Money When your offer is accepted you will be asked to put down earnest money. Earnest money is a show of good faith from the buyer and depending on where you live it can range from 1-3% of the offer. Make sure to talk to your real estate agent and learn the conditions of the earnest money. Some contracts allow for the home buyer to get the money back if the deal falls through, but it depends on the circumstances of the situation.

Homeowners Insurance Homes are the biggest investments people make so it’s important to protect your investment with the right type of home insurance. Some insurance policies can cover AC systems, freezing, floods, fire, and more. Make sure to take the time to look into the policies and find one that best matches your concerns.

Apply For Your Loan While your loan company may have given you preapproval, you can only apply for the loan after the binding agreement has been signed by both parties. Loan companies may have different rates and options, so make sure you meet with a few lenders. It’s important to take the time and analyze the costs- can you afford the monthly payments on top of the utilities and the possible HOA? Taking the time to check your finances now will save you major headaches in the future.

Final Walk-through The final walkthrough is a process that happens two days before your closing date. This is the time to see if there are any new damages, and the agreed conditions of the home are in order. Now is the time to address any new concerns because after you sign the deal in two days all home issues will be your responsibility. This is also an important time to contact the proper resources and ensure that utilities will be turned on, starting the day of closing. The day is finally here, so make sure to bring all required documents to ensure a seamless settlement. You’ll need to bring the funds for the home and possibly two forms of government-issued identification to complete the process. This is the time where closing costs will be paid, the agreement with the lender will be paid, and the most exciting partyou will get the keys to your brand new home. While this list may seem a bit daunting, your real estate agent will be by your side the entire time to guide you. They are a valuable source of information, so remember to ask questions. Staying on top of each step will reduce stress and possible hiccups, and you’ll find yourself a homeowner in no time! Deborah Ratchford Keller Williams Realty Cityside 678-570-4779 / Debratchford@kw.com

Serving Cobb, Cherokee, Paulding, Bartow & Douglas Counties

Vicky Bates-Owner 770-427-4448

MaidinAmericaGa.com PAGE 34

Our Town


Our Town

PAGE 35


Deborah M Ratchford

Keller Williams Cityside 3350 Atlanta Road Smyrna, GA 30080

DebD id it

I Want To Sell Your Home Today! Deb is Results Driven!

C: 678-570-4779 O: 770-874-6205

Again!

JUST SOLD IN MABLETON!

SOLD IN SMYRNA!

SOLD IN SMYRNA!

JUST SOLD IN SMYRNA!

UNDER CONTRACT!

UNDER CONTRACT!

Above Asking Price!

18k Above Asking Price!

30k Above Asking Price!

In Smyrna in Just 2 Days!

15k Above Asking Price!

In Mableton in Just 3 Days!

Looking for Listings and Buyers! Call Today! 678-570-4779 Call the agent that knows the market and how to get over the asking price. Results Driven!!! Call today for your FREE market analysis. All information is believed to be accurate, but not warranted. PAGE 36 Each Keller Williams Realty Office is individually owned and operated.

www.guaranteedrate.com/barrybutler

Barry Butler

Branch Manager/VP of Mortgage Lending NMLS ID: 658820

barry.butler@rate.com / O 404.474.3974 C 770.365.7179 Town 125 Townpark Drive Suite 300, Office 23 / Kennesaw,Our GA. 30144