Jan/Feb 2024 CVM

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Portrait of a

Wedding by Kate Scrivner Art


Local Men's Ministry Expands Globally

Space Re-imagined at



From the Editor’s Desk


wenty days until 2024. Here I am tapping away at my keyboard, drumming my fingers on my desk, pensive, excited and reflective. I’m wrapping 2023 up in a box with plain, brown paper with an exuberant bow on top. That sums it up really. A year that brought such gifts yet I’m ready to get this one in the can. I hope for you 2023 was the year that was. It was THE year for the 44 couples featured in our wedding gallery who will earmark 2023 and years hereafter with anniversaries to celebrate – cheers to your first in 2024 and many, many more! For those of you who are betrothed—a rather romantic word that lingers from a medieval dictionary, and 2024 is the year you will be getting married—then our All Things Bridal directory features local businesses and venues who can bring all of your plans for your ideal wedding day to fruition. Capturing memories of the wedding ceremony on canvas is the gift that artist Kate Scrivner chooses to share. A serendipitous journey that has led her to join in the joy of couples getting married locally, statewide and globally. Each portrait Kate creates from beginning to end captures the start of a new life together. The momentum is picking up pace for Columbus 2025. A vision outlined in 2014 is looking to reach its pinnacle in the next two years. As the master plan has developed, the foundation is established that will sustain our region for years to come. I’m already pre-empting articles that we will feature in this magazine of growth in industry, education, housing and our quality of life—read the article and watch this space—there’s more to come! Life’s going to put hurdles in your path whichever shape or form they manifest. The Redeemed’s founder, Paul Amos, had his own personal struggles that initiated the beginning of a local men’s ministry that provides a community of support. As the ministry continues to grow, Paul shares his story of the concept and plans for this place of sanctuary. I was delighted to receive an invitation to Spring Harbor’s grand opening of their Blue Heron Bar and Grill. With a signature cocktail in hand, I joined the happy celebration with the residents. The beautiful interior and exterior space were much anticipated and did not disappoint. With a menu that covers the casual to the fine dining, from breakfast through dinner, game day bar to gathering at the outdoor fireplace, it will be a hive of activity from the day the ribbon was cut. Two thousand and twenty four you’re on, and I’m ready! Throw your curve balls, and I’ll aim to hit a few out of the ballpark. I want to capture the best of it. Sounds like a sports game, but it’s how I plan on tackling this next year or maybe I should just roll with it? Enjoy the ride and the read in 2024!

Jodi Saunders Editor & Publisher

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— Established 1991 — PUBLISHERS Jodi and Gerald Saunders EDITOR Jodi Saunders




Julie Jernigan, Sales Assistant


GRAPHIC DESIGN Sixty Two Graphic Studio CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Brett Buckner Julie Jernigan Pat Daniel Scott Phillips Natalie Downey Callie Sprague Doug Gillett PHOTOGRAPHY David + Drew Photography Ritchie White Photography ______________________ P.O. Box 229 214A 10th Street Columbus, GA 31902 706-324-6214 • fax 706-324-6216 ______________________ COLUMBUS AND THE VALLEY MAGAZINE is published bimonthly for $18 per year by Valley Life Ventures, LLC dba COLUMBUS AND THE VALLEY MAG­A­ZINE, P. O. Box 229, Columbus, GA 31902. The cov­ er and contents are fully protected and may not be re­pro­duced in whole or in part without the writ­ten con­sent of COLUMBUS AND THE VAL­ LEY MAG­ A­ ZINE. We are not responsible for loss of unsolicited inquiries, manuscripts, pho­ to­ graphs, or other materials. They will not be returned un­less accompanied by re­turn post­age. Editorial con­tri­bu­tions and let­ters should be addressed to CO­LUM­BUS AND THE VALLEY MAG­A­ZINE, Post Office Box 229, Columbus, GA 31902. Copyright © 2023 by Valley Life Ventures, LLC trad­ing as CO­LUM­BUS AND THE VALLEY MAG­A­ZINE. Postmaster: Please send address corrections to: Post Office Box 229, Columbus, GA 31902.








Columbus and the Valley



photo by David + Drew Photography

VOLUME 33 | NO. 1

what’s inside... FEATURES 8 Wedding Gallery

Photos of 44 newlywed couples who tied the knot in the past year.

12 All Things Bridal

Businesses in the Valley to help plan your perfect wedding.

14 Great Southern Weddings Local venues for that special day.

21 The Journey of a Wedding Painter

Artist Kate Scrivner brings joy to wedding couples and guests as a live wedding painter.

DEPARTMENTS 7 Calendar 63 The Cine Files 64 Valley Scenes 67 Attractions 68 Dining Guide 4

29 The Redeemed

Men helping men open up and overcome their daily struggles.

35 Top Docs

First rate physicians and practices here in the Chattahoochee Valley

49 Crush

55 Columbus 2025: Bringing the Vision to Life Entering the last two years of a campaign to transform the Valley.

61 Blue Heron Bar & Grill Spring Harbor opens new restaurant for residents

A guide to planning wedding drinks and toasts

53 Library Gala Features Nina Simon

Author of Mother-Daughter Murder Night to visit Columbus.


On the Go? Read Columbus and the Valley Everywhere on Your Tablet or Smart Phone.

Kate Scrivner paints at a couple's wedding at the Bibb Mill Event Center. by David + Drew Photography

Columbus and the Valley


What's Happening? JANUARY January 13

Come to RiverCenter to relive the magic of George Michael’s music in a way you’ve never experienced before. The Life and Music of George Michael will take fans on a captivating ride through the incredible legacy of this musical icon while listening to all the songs they have come to love over the years. Fans will be dancing and singing along to blockbuster hits including Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, Freedom, Faith, Careless Whisper, Father Figure and many more. For tickets, scan the code or visit RiverCenter’s box office.

January 15

The Alpha Onward & Upward Foundation invites you to the annual MLK Unity Award Breakfast. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Award Breakfast has humble beginnings which date back to 1987. The initial idea was to create a community wide event that could serve as a means to generate funding for scholarships to be awarded to high school seniors who planned to attend college and to honor an organization or individual that had promoted and exemplified the philosophies of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scan the code for tickets.

January 19

Join The Columbus Museum for a lunchtime presentation at The Wynn House on Columbus-born artist Alma Thomas and the Washington Color School. Miriam Grotte-Jacobs, a Johns Hopkins-trained art historian, and Jonathan Frederick Walz, the Museum’s curator of American art, will share their research for their forthcoming articles on postwar art in Washington, D.C., to appear in the Smithsonian’s journal of American Art. Two 15-minute presentations will be followed by further dialogue and questions. Scan the code to register.

January 20

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra presents Shostakovich & Brahms. The mysticism of Hovhaness and the witty satire of Shostakovich are delightfully set against the pastoral beauty of Brahms’ D Major symphony. Dominic Cheli returns to perform Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2. His playing has been described by Symphony Magazine as “spontaneous yet perfect, the best of how a young person can play.” For tickets, scan the code or visit RiverCenter’s box office

January 23

RiverCenter presents Shen Yun. Travel back to the magical world of ancient 6

Columbus and the Valley



China to experience a lost culture through the incredible art of classical Chinese dance, and see legends come to life. Shen Yun makes this possible by pushing the boundaries of the performing arts with a unique blend of stunning costuming, high-tech backdrops and an orchestra like no other. For tickets, scan the code or visit RiverCenter’s box office.

Night, The Rain in Spain, Wouldn’t It Be Loverly and On the Street Where You Live, My Fair Lady tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a “proper lady.” But who is really being transformed? For tickets, scan the code or visit the Gogue Center’s box office.

January 25

February 15

From 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., come down to the Columbus Convention and Trade Center for their third annual Sip + Shop. You can expect to shop with your favorite jewelry artists, boutiques and receive on-site services from nail, hair and beauty salons. Not to mention Champagne and treats, door prizes, plus the cutest photo ops. For tickets, scan the code or get them at the door.

January 18-28

Springer Opera House presents Murder on the Orient Express. All aboard for a tale of romance, revenge and, yes, primal murder. Whodunit? World-famous detective Hercule Poirot is determined to find out. Ten passengers are on board the luxurious Orient Express that’s traveling from Istanbul to Paris. After an avalanche blocks the tracks on an isolated, snow-swept mountain pass, only nine of them are still alive. Every passenger becomes a suspect and tensions rise as Poirot searches for a killer in their midst who just may strike again. For tickets, scan the code or visit the Springer’s box office.

FEBRUARY February 5

RiverCenter presents the world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. Timeless classics like In the Mood, Moonlight Serenade, Chattanooga Choo Choo, Pennsylvania 6-5000, String of Pearls and Tuxedo Junction will be brought back to stage. Even 80 years after founding his famous orchestra, Glenn Miller’s music is alive and well. For tickets, scan the code or visit RiverCenter’s box office.

February 6

Head to Banks Food Hall each Tuesday for Trivia Night. Each Tuesday, trivia is hosted for a chance for groups to win prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Join everyone on Tuesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

February 6 & 7

The Jay and Susie Gogue Center in Auburn presents My Fair Lady. Boasting such classic songs as I Could Have Danced All Columbus and the Valley

Join The Columbus Museum In partnership with the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries to celebrate Black history at the Columbus Public Library. Learn about painter and leatherworker Winfred Rembert, who was raised in nearby Cuthbert, Georgia. This event will include a screening of the 2011 documentary All Me: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert and a talkback with filmmaker Vivian Ducat, activist Sam Mahone and curator Jonathan F. Walz about the importance of preserving Rembert’s remarkable story and others like it for future generations. This event is free and open to the public from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

February 17

Discover, create and more at Family Saturdays at The Columbus Museum. Drop by the Museum’s temporary headquarters every month for a new activity exploring their permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. This event is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to noon. No registration is required.

February 20

Join the Youth Orchestra of Greater Columbus for a fun night of modern music at their annual Pops Concert. This concert will feature the youth orchestra (high school symphonic orchestra), string orchestra (middle school string players) and chamber ensembles. The repertoire for this concert will be featuring the “Second & 20”... pieces from the second decade of our program. The music of John Williams will be familiar to many of your ears, including themes from popular movies like Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and Star Wars. Come see them at St. Luke United Methodist Church from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

February 25

Visit the Coca-Cola Space Science Center as they host the Columbus Toy and Comic Books Show. Local vendors will be selling collectible merchandise. There will also be card tournaments for Pokémon, Magic the Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh with prizes offered. Raffle prizes drawn every hour and the day will have a Planetarium show + A Night Star tour. There will be a VIP entrance one hour early plus an extra show in the planetarium at 11 a.m. Scan the code for tickets. 7

————————————— W E D D I N G G A L L E R Y ——————————————

————————————— W E D D I N G G A L L E R Y ——————————————

Whitney Poss & Marcus Woods

Sophie Johnson & Colson Kemp

Emily Allmond & Benjamin Holt

Aleshiea Montoya & Chris Rowland

January 28th, 2023 Powerhouse Event Center

February 25, 2023 The Big Eddy Club

March 18, 2023 The Bibb Mill Event Center

May 5, 2023 The Greenhouse Venue

Frances Kay Sheffield & Culver Norred

Sara Ashleigh Foster & Garrett Smith

Rachel Alice Photography

Miranda Beason Photography

Two Chics Photography

Monica Enterprises

May 6, 2023 Wesley United Methodist, St. Simons Island, GA

May 7, 2023 The Bibb Mill Event Center

Anna Shackleford

Haint Blue Collective Photography

SaSa Bruce & John Weirich

Soleil' Murray & Michael Long

Helen Neal & Andy Philips

Avery Carreker & Robert Woolfolk

Emily Harper & Rob Moore

Carlie Copeland & Walter Gunby

Elle Turner & Kirk Hodge

Malia Allen & Ryan King

March 25, 2023 The Big Eddy Club

April 1, 2023 Old Seale Courthouse

April 15, 2023 St. Luke Chapel

April 15, 2023 Grace Presbyterian Church

May 20, 2023 St. Paul United Methodist Church

May 20, 2023 Pebble Hill Plantation

May 27, 2023 McRose Farms

June 3, 2023 The Bibb Mill Event Center

Eliza Morrill Photography

David + Drew Photography

Margie Richardson Photography

Eliza Morrill Photography

Kennedy Ford Photography

Gandy Photographers

Joe Paull Photography

Miranda Beason Photography

McCall Dakin & Jack Foley

Bonnie Hollon & Brennon Ryan April 22, 2023 Dogwood Farms

April 22, 2023 First Baptist Church

April 29, 2024 The Bibb Mill Event Center

Lindley Hudson & James C. Clark III

Sarah Rawlings & Carson Cummings

Madisen Long & Dustin Jennings

April 22, 2023 Midland, GA

Kelley Thorne & Gonzalo Eyzaguirre

Christine Hall Photography

Amber Bean Photography

Miranda Beason Photography

Rachel Alice Photography

June 10, 2023 Moreland, GA

July 16, 2023, Highlands, NC

Alex Hicks Photos

Julia Wade Photography


Mary Ann Scott & Cody Burrage Kelsey Plemmons & Frank Ippolito

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July 22, 2023 The Bibb Mill Event Center Maria Churchwell and Rosewood Photo + Film

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July 22, 2023 Harvard Memorial Church, Cambridge, MA Christina Richards Photography 9

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Allie McGregor & Sam Hatcher

Casey Sanda & Sam Eshman

Miller Watts & Aaron McGuire

July 29, 2023 The Farm at Old Edwards, Highlands, NC

August 5, 2023 The Bibb Mill Event Center

August 5, 2023 Trinity Episcopal Church

Eliza Morrill Photography

David + Drew Photography

Miranda Beason Photography

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Olivia Miller & Broderick Peddicord October 14, 2023 City Mills Hotel

Kyle Scarbrough & Huston Boyd

Danielle Parks & Jason O'Kelley

October 21, 2023 The Bibb Mill Event Center

October 28, 2023 The Greenhouse Venue

Eric and Jamie Photography

Brooke Garcia Photography

David + Drew Photography

Katherine Lee & Jacob Yates

Anna Leary & Bo Voltz

August 5, 2023 Big Canoe Chapel, Jasper, GA

August 12, 2023 St. Paul United Methodist Church

Kate Hensley Phillips Photography

Ashley Jen Photography

Chelsea Arrington & Shaquille Brown August 19, 2023 Green Island Country Club

Wesley Shirley & Scott Ailsworth

Hayden Lewis & Christopher Bolles

Julie Jernigan & Glen Lauzon

August 19, 2023 St Paul United Methodist Church

October 28, 2023 The Wynn House

October 28, 2023 Wild Daisy Farm, Molena, GA

Morgan Duke Photography

David + Drew Photography

Stampfli Photography

Horace Photography

Laney Fay & Michael Elliott

Sarah Harper & Jim Jackson

Desiré Elliott & Adrian J. Chester

August 26, 2023 The Bell Tower, Nashville, TN

September 9, 2023 St. Paul United Methodist Church

September 23, 2023 First Presbyterian Church

Eric Pfeifer

Haint Blue Collective Photography

Horace Photography

Helen Hunt Snavely & Richard Dale Valentini III November 11, 2023 First Presbyterian Church

Elise Fay & Connor Howard November 11, 2023 East Gulf Beach, Sanibel Island, FL Milissa Sprecher Photography

Haint Blue Collective Photography

Michele Rose Cuntí & Harry Richard Newman II October 11, 2023 The Greenhouse Venue

Alexanda Eden & Dylan Freeman

Emma Decarlo & Daniel Mudge

Cassie Atchley & James Sadie

Dell Turner & Paul Gray

November 18, 2023 The Sixty Two Venue, Madison, GA

November 18, 2023 The Farm House

November 19, 2022 St. Luke Church

November 21, 2023 The Big Eddy Club

Loveleigh Co. Photography

Megan Mullins Photography

Zach Barron

Margie Richardson Photography

Stephanie Jean Photography 10

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Columbus and the Valley


————————————— A L L T H I N G S B R I D A L ——————————————

————————————— A L L T H I N G S B R I D A L ——————————————

City Mills Hotel

Winnie Couture


Galleria Riverside

Have loved ones visiting Columbus for your wedding? Secure a room block for your entire party at City Mills Hotel. As a former 1800s grist mill, your wedding’s guests will revel in the modern luxuries of the boutique hotel while experiencing the rich history of Columbus. ———————————————————— 1801 1st Ave • 706.940.0100 CityMillsColumbus.com

Nestled in the heart of Columbus at the Shoppes at Bradley Park, Winnie Couture offers a bridal shopping experience like no other. Call today to book your private bridal suite for a once-in-a-lifetime shopping experience in their bridal dreamland. Dresses start at $2,589. ————————————————————— 6401 Whitesville Rd. 706.221.5519 • WinnieCouture.com

You are invited to explore Fiddleheads wedding registry program. Explore their beautiful and extensive selection of European and American ceramics and table linens and receive a special gift when you register. —————————————————————————— 3718 2nd Ave • 706.586.8281 ShopFiddleheads.com

Skyros Designs is just one of the many lines that brides can select for the celebration of life with family and friends around the table. Galleria Riverside offers both an online and in-store wedding registry. —————————————————————— 1658 Rollins Way • 706.653.1950 GalleriaRiverside.com

Fade to Black Productions Fade To Black Productions offers a variety of services including DJs, live music, sound, lighting and more. They’ll work closely with couples to tailor the event so that guests will be entertained and talking about it for years to come. —————————————————————————————————————— 706.536.5708 • Facebook.com/FadetoBlackProductionsLLC FadetoBlackProductionsLLC.com

The Farm at Lullwater The Farm at Lullwater offers a breath-taking country setting with waterfront views, pecan grove, golden fields, authentic rustic barn, plus much more for a dream come true beautiful wedding. —————————————————————————————— 483 Huguley Rd, Opelika • 334.614.0478 TheFarmatLullwater.com

By Invitation Let By Invitation be your one stop shop for all of your printed wedding items. If you're looking for personalized cups, koozies, napkins, custom seating charts or invitations, look no further! ——————————————————————————————————————— 6298 Veterans Pkwy Ste. 2D • 706.660.6988 • ByInvitationGa.com

The Bibb Mill

By Invitation

Schomburg's Jewelers

photo by David + Drew Photography

Brides should register for Herend fine china at Schomburg’s for its exquisite craftsmanship and timeless elegance, adding a touch of sophistication to their cherished tablescapes that will be treasured for generations. ——————————————————————— 1640 Rollins Way • 706.327.7489 Schomburgs.com

Park Place Interiors Park Place has china, glassware and all other accessories available from Juliska (pictured), Vietri, Gien, Estelle and many others to register for your big day. ———————————————————————— 1817 Garrard St. • 706.221.5054 ParkPlaceMidtown.com

You just said “yes,” now its time to say “I do”— and The Bibb Mill is the perfect place to do just that. With lush gardens, weathered bricks, open floor plans, stunningly large windows and Southern pine wood floors, your wedding is sure to be the day of your dreams in this event center that was once a cotton mill 120 years ago. ———————————————————————————— 3715 1st Ave • 706.225.9309 • TheBibbMill.com

Your wedding invitation is the first impression guests will have of your big day. By Invitation can help you create the perfect invitation suite to set the tone for one of your most important days. ————————————————————— 6298 Veterans Pkwy Ste. 2D 706.660.6988 ByInvitationGa.com

Schomburg's Jewelers Shop engagement rings and wedding bands at Schomburg's Jewelers for their exceptional craftsmanship, unparalleled quality and personalized service, ensuring the perfect symbol of love and commitment for your special day. ——————————————————————————————————— 1640 Rollins Way • 706.327.7489 • Schomburgs.com

Albright's Florist Albright’s will help you celebrate one of the most special days of your life. No matter the size of your wedding, they offer exceptional service to make your wedding vision come to life. ——————————————————————— 3400 University Ave * 706.563.8200 AlbrightsFlowers.com

Parker's Pantry Let Parker’s Pantry cater your next wedding party or reception. They have an assortment of appetizers or a full dinner menu for a delicious event. ——————————————————————————————— 1815 Garrard St • 706.984.8307 facebook.com/parkerspantryatthepark 12

Columbus and the Valley



Columbus and the Valley



————————–——— THE FARM AT LULLWATER ——————–—————

Founded in 2001 by wife-and-husband team Winnie and Chris Lee, Winnie Couture is the go-to destination for brides in search of their dream wedding gown. Winnie and Chris’ passion for the bridal fashion industry has allowed them to compassionately cater to every bride’s vision throughout the years with many more to come! Winnie’s dresses have earned a reputation for uncompromising craftsmanship and unparalleled structure while flawlessly highlighting the curves of the female body. This devotion to quality has gained her a global following and made her one of the most respected designers in the wedding industry. Despite her success Winnie has never stopped being inspired by the women she designs for. Just as every bride is unique, so are the dresses she creates for them. Winnie Couture is regarded as a global leader in the bridal and couture fashion industry, continuously developing a range of unique and luxurious wedding attire that is consistent with the brand’s values. Since debuting its first bridal collection in 2001, the Winnie Couture brand has expanded across North America. The Columbus flagship has been serving brides in the heart of Columbus since 2020, meeting the demand for unique, couture gowns with an unforgettable experience. Housing a large selection of unique bridal gowns, the flagship is complete with two spacious bridal suites, where brides and their beloved guests can privately experience the intricacies of Winnie’s designs while being greeted with a glass of champagne and a warm smile. The glamorous and romantic ambiance is illuminated by opulent chandeliers with hints of Swarovski Elements radiating from the couture gowns, creating a dreamland of shimmering details from every angle. Intimate fitting spaces, completed with plush furnishings, glamorous décor and an overall feeling of luxury and relaxation will provide the perfect backdrop for the most special bridal moments. “We love being in Columbus and this region has welcomed our couture brand so enthusiastically,” said Maria Kent, director of the Winnie Couture

What began with a drive in the country is now the ultimate destination for a dream wedding. The Farm at Lullwater is nestled on 77.7 acres of serene farmland in Crawford, Alabama—about 20 miles outside of downtown Columbus—and could only be described as breath-taking; a place where the quiet beauty of nature serves as a reminder to all of life’s simplest miracle. The magic of Lullwater is immediately visible. “Lullwater is the complete package,” said Mitzie Stone, who co-owns the venue with her husband, James. “The drive in when you turn on Huguley Road to pulling into the venue seeing the beautiful backdrop of the property to pulling up to the authentic built barn, the charming bridge over the lake, you get a sense of the love poured into every aspect of the property.” Mitzie and James weren’t necessarily looking to purchase a wedding venue. Back in 2016, the couple were simply out for a drive when they came across what’s now known as The Farm at Lullwater. Something about the property caught their eye. There was no “For Sale” sign, just an old, rugged mailbox leaning to one side with an address attached. The family prayed about it, and within a few months, it was theirs. “The old farmhouse on the property was built in 1897,” Mitzie said. “It was completely torn down in 2016 when we purchased the property and put back together.” The Stones are only the third family to own the farm but went out of their way during the restoration to incorporate as much of its history as possible. “We saved two old stone fireplaces and used those stones to build the fire pit located at the pavilion,” Mitzie said. “You have to know those stones didn’t come from the home improvement store. They had to come right off the property.” It seemed preordained because Sarah, the Stone’s daughter, always

Dresses as Unique as the Brides

Columbus store. “The Winnie experience has seamlessly woven into our cultural fabric, an important part of what makes Columbus so amazing.” Designed in Beverly Hills and having just celebrated their momentous 20th anniversary with a show-stopping new collection, Winnie’s gowns are fashioned with the most extravagant fabrics. From luxurious silk, European lace, intricate tulle netting, lavish chiffon, rich satin and Swarovski crystal embellishments, each Winnie Couture style is specifically designed and tailored to accentuate each bride’s figure flawlessly. Winnie Couture Columbus features a curated selection of the most sought after bridal styles, catering to every bridal fantasy. “We know that every bride is different, and we strive to deliver a unique experience catered to her that brings her specific bridal vision to life,” Kent said. “Columbus is an ever growing area and has a demand for couture bridal options and we have positioned ourselves at the forefront of this shift. Whether your vision is bohemian, whimsical, or classic, we have something for you!” The salon offers a complete selection of crystal belts, delicate veils and statement jewelry, allowing every bride the ability to complete their entire bridal look in one stop! Winnie’s meticulously handcrafted gowns are loved by brides, celebrities, and fashionistas alike. The luxurious red carpet designs have graced the covers of magazines such as Vogue, People, and Forbes, walked the red carpet, and stunned at celebrity events and weddings, adorning such beautiful and talented women as Kelly Clarkson, Sydney Sweeney, Taraji P. Henson, Helen Hunt, Carrie Underwood and countless others. The adventure of finding your dream wedding gown is a once in a lifetime experience. Allow our expert stylists at Winnie Couture Columbus to provide you with a memorable experience full of love, laughter, a few tears, your bridal moment, and the journey of marrying the love of your life! ADV.

Winnie Couture 6401 WHITESVILLE RD • 706.224.5519 • WINNIECOUTURE.COM 14

Columbus and the Valley


The Southern Wedding of Your Dreams

dreamed of a wedding on a farm with a rustic barn. The barn, which first had to be built but is now considered the centerpiece of the Farm at Lullwater, is the perfect venue for either a reception or the wedding itself. Located only a few steps away from the Farmhouse, the barn is heated/ cooled by HVAC, but it’s also cooled by large ceiling fans if you want to open all the barn doors for a cool country breeze. Constructed with sawmill cut lumber, the barn has a metal roof and a loft. The stunning scenery is complimented with a five-acre pond, pecan grove, old oak trees, pear trees and pastureland for as far as the eye can see. But it’s what happens behind the scenes that sets The Farm at Lullwater apart from other wedding venues. “We are servants at heart,” Stone said. “We see this as an opportunity to serve others on one of the most important days of their lives. Providing great service, attention to details and showing love and kindness is what you will get as a client.” The Farm at Lullwater offers more than a pretty view. It offers a single, two-day package that literally includes everything for that special day. A truly unique aspect of Lullwater is that everything is included: venue, tables, chairs, linens, ceremony benches, access to the Treasure Room, a planning session and so much more. “We work behind the scenes to ensure things run smoothly,” Stone said. “We set the floor plan, set the ceremony benches, park guests, dispose of the trash, bathroom checks, breakdown, cleanup and much more.” Unlike other venues, brides choose their vendors. “It’s your day,” Stone said. “You should be able to have the wedding day you intended including your wedding vendors.” It’s that type of all-inclusive service that led to Lullwater winning the Reader’s Choice/People’s Choice award for best wedding venue in the area five years running. ADV.


Columbus and the Valley


City Mills Leaves Your Day Stress Free Once operating as an 1828 grist mill, City Mills is a Columbus landmark located right on the rushing rapids of the Chattahoochee River. City Mills’ historic significance dates back almost 200 years. In the past two centuries, the resilient property was built, burnt down during the Civil War, then rebuilt again. After operations at City Mills finally came to a stop in 1988, it was thought by many that the property could serve no other purpose. That was until 2021—when new life

was breathed into City Mills and the historic mill was given the second chance it needed to thrive. “It has been amazing to witness just how much City Mills has grown in only a year,” said Cassie Myers Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Valley Hospitality. “It really is a gem in this community.” Spending the last year as a boutique hotel, City Mills effortlessly intertwines the work from talented historians, interior designers and architects to create the most unique guest experience. Managed by Valley Hospitality, it keeps the values of Southern hospitality and the preservation of history at its core. “History is everything here at City Mills,” Myers said. “We know how special it is for this property to be given a new purpose in our community, and it is something we will never take for granted.” The City Mills vision has been separated into three phases: the first phase was the fully-completed boutique hotel, the second being the upscale dining at Millhouse Kitchen + Bar, and the third is the event center overlooking the Chattahoochee River banks. With a hotel, restaurant and event center all sharing the same address, City Mills is a dream set-up for the most elegant of weddings and events. The mill even features spacious bridal suites with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the river. “The fact that our clients can not only have their event with us, but also the catering and lodging for their event all in one place is an absolute game-changer,” Myers said. “It will take an unbelievable amount of stress off of them knowing they don’t have to even leave the property to get everything they need for their big day.” ADV.

City Mills Hotel 1801 FIRST AVE. • 706.940.0100 • CITYMILLSCOLUMBUS.COM

The Bibb Mill Takes Care of Everything Nestled on the banks of the Chattahoochee River is The Bibb Mill Event Center, Georgia’s premier wedding and event venue. This property has stood tall for 120 years now— starting operations as one of the largest cotton mills in the country in 1902, closing its doors in 1998 and surviving a devastating fire in 2008. After a century of both growth and loss, The Bibb Mill was re-imagined for a new purpose. Now, instead of weaving together cotton, The Bibb Mill weaves together precious memories. “The Bibb, as we affectionately call it, has gone through so many changes and adaptations, but it never lost the integrity of what it once was, and will always be—a mill,” said Cassie Myers, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for The Bibb Mill. “We’ve been able to preserve so much of our past while still coasting into the more modern vibes of the present. We’re really proud of that.” The Bibb Mill is managed by Valley Hospitality, who’s staff is well-trained and prepared to accommodate event parties of all sizes and purposes. With Valley Hospitality being full-service, the stress of seeking an outside caterer is relieved for The Bibb Mill’s clients. The company’s very own, Jeff Brammer, is a chef who is extremely wellrecognized in the area for his culinary talent that makes every dish memorable and delicious. No matter what

their position is, every staff member has the same goal when working at each event—to make everything run as smoothly as possible. Beyond assisting in every step of throwing the event, The Bibb Mill venue itself never fails to leave its guests speechless. Spreading over a total of 55,000 square feet, The Bibb Mill is comprised of a lush and thriving garden, spacious rooms with wide-open floor plans, two elegant bridal suites and a breathtaking view of the mighty Chattahoochee River. The property’s preserved and weathered bricks steal the show during outside events while the floor-to-ceiling windows provide countless rays of natural light as guests dance atop the historic Southern pine floors. “It’s truly a blank canvas,” Myers said. “You can bring in whatever you’d like to make our space match your theme, and it just all works.” The Bibb Mill and Valley Hospitality have built an impressive reputation for going above and beyond for helping its clients. The companies have been known to assist with everything from booking hotel rooms to providing a shuttle service for events. “We really feel there’s a great deal of value in being a ‘one-stop-shop’ for our clients so we can take as much stress off them as possible,” Myers said. “There’s nothing quite like The Bibb Mill anywhere close by.” ADV.

Bibb Mill Event Center 37 15 FIRST AVE. • 706.225.9309 • THEBIBBMILL.COM 16

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A View for the Ages It’s the type of setting that fairytales are made of. With the mighty rapids of the Chattahoochee River churning below, the sun setting through the Georgia pines and a warm Southern breeze carrying the words “I do” to gathered friends and family, there truly is no place like it. For those looking to make lasting wedding day memories, the name really says it all—The PowerHouse. Owned and operated by W.C. Bradley Real Estate, the PowerHouse provides a powerful, yet sublime, mixture of historic charm, stunning backdrops and contemporary design that is as timeless as it is unique. “I can’t stress enough how fabulous and one-of-a kind the PowerHouse is,” said Kaitlin Moore, Marketing Coordinator for W.C. Bradley Real Estate. “The history. The location. The view … it’s all there.” The PowerHouse is a waterfront venue located on a private industrial island. The landscape features a blend of exposed brick, black steel and lush greenery. It’s a sight that must be seen to fully appreciate. “When you come through the venue’s gates, you have to walk across a short bridge path to get to the actual venue itself,” Moore spoke. “Once there, you will see what makes it so unique. It sits right on the Chattahoochee River. During the summer, visitors can watch as rafters go down the river.” The PowerHouse is two buildings. The Chattahoochee River was first dammed in 1828, and the buildings—one in 1899, and the second in 1900— were constructed as means for converting water into hydroelectricity. All the industrial equipment has been removed, leaving behind three unique event spaces. When W.C. Bradley renovated the property, it did so while making a concerted effort to conserve the area’s historic sense of purpose. “While it was renovated to have a much more modern feel,” Moore said, “its history remains intact.” The PowerHouse provides multiple spaces for weddings of all sizes. The Lower section, with its large windows and room for up to 200 guests, includes a covered balcony overlooking the river, restroom facilities and a catering prep/staging area that can be easily converted into a bar space. Similar in style, the Upper section seats up to 150 guests. It also boasts large windows, beautiful brickwork and its own restroom amenities. All events include access to the large green space, known as the Forebay,

which is well-equipped for bands and has anchors for tents. PowerHouse event logistics are streamlined through Outdoor Events, with options including: • Event project management and day of coordination and management • Site preparation • Rental equipment: tents, lighting, tables and chairs • Marketing materials and promotional products • Entertainment, catering, security and sanitation coordination • Technical management • Vendor contract management and negotiations • On-site staffing and volunteer recruiting and management • Professional photography and videography • Silent and live auction assistance For those finishing touches, The PowerHouse promises an array of local partnerships to meet any client’s catering and event rental needs. It also offers brides a wedding packet that lists all preferred vendors while also offering a variety of options including catering, DJs, photographers, wedding planners, florists, and live painters. Best of all, PowerHouse Event Coordinator Pam Edwards has a dualrole, scheduling events at both the waterfront venue and the nearby Hotel Indigo. “I began my roles at both Indigo and PowerHouse at the same time,” Edwards says. “The venues blend nicely while providing clients with an advantage- if I don’t have space at one venue, I may have availability at the other. Also, it makes booking hotel accommodations for out-of-town wedding guests a breeze! Couples can learn more about the venue on WeddingWire, which named PowerHouse the 2022 Couple’s Choice Winner for Best Venue in the Chattahoochee Valley, The Knot, and the PowerHouse website. “We assist our brides and grooms throughout the entire process from start to finish,” Moore said. “Our events coordinator is ready and available to assist with any and all questions. Come their big day, couples can rest assured that their day will go smoothly.” The PowerHouse is known for its history and it’s incredible views, but what cannot be overlooked is its overall location. “The PowerHouse is right in the center of Uptown,” Moore said. “It provides brides and their guests with the ability to walk to hotels, nightlife, dining without having to deal with the hassle of driving. It’s that close to anything you could possibly want or need. “Also, no other event venue in the area is located directly on the river. So I’d also say we offer views that no other venue can.” ADV.

The PowerHouse 1205 FRONT AVE, • 706.366.6576 • POWERHOUSEEVENTS.COM JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2024

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Say YES to an Iron Works Wedding

Rich history and picturesque views encompass the Columbus Trade Center’s Iron Works Wedding Experience. Situated within the Downtown Columbus GA Historic District and on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, the Columbus Trade Center offers a unique setting for a wedding ceremony, reception, rehearsal dinner, engagement party or other special life events. The venue offers a wide range of event spaces of varying sizes. For large-scale events, there are banquet halls that host events with up to 1,200 guests and interconnect for event flow. For smaller events, spaces are available that can accommodate as few as 50 guests. “Our venue has the distinction of hosting hundreds of weddings throughout the years, where we are able to walk a couple through the planning process to make their dreams a reality,” said Trade Center Executive Director Hayley Tillery. Notable for distinct fusion of rustic history and elegant allure, the Columbus Trade Center has the perfect space capable of creating a timeless setting for all wedding styles from banquet rooms, rustic brick spaces and outdoor locations. “We work very closely with selected vendors who praise our staff on the seamless experience that we can provide for the client and their vendors,” Tillery said. Culinary on-site services set the Columbus Trade Center

photo by Wildside Creative Co.

apart and allow the integration of your event plans with menu preferences all inhouse. For your convenience, our well-trained staff handles all the set-up, serving and clean up for your event. Our menus fit your event vision and incorporate your specific tastes, preferences, and needs. This attention to flavor and presentation will show you why our Iron Works Chef and Catering team have developed a local reputation for culinary excellence. Need one more reason to say “Yes” to an Iron Works Wedding? The Columbus Trade Center is directly adjacent to and a short trip from several hotels in downtown Columbus. “We love being a part of a client’s special day and we cannot wait to help you “Make History” and create a day you will never forget,” Tillery said. Contact us today for tours and inquiries. ADV.

Columbus Trade Center 801 FRONT AVE. • 706.327.4522 • COLUMBUSTRADECENTER.COM


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The Journey of a


Wedding Painter A



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Art wasn’t originally Kate’s intended journey, but rather one she fell into. In high school, Kate recalls that she “ended up in an art class” because it was a requirement for her to take one. Even though she hadn’t thought much about art before, it didn’t take long for her to discover that she really enjoyed painting. She remembers finding a sense of peace in art class, and throughout her day at school, would find spare time to return to the art classroom so she could continue exploring the newly discovered world of painting. Through a series of connections, Kate was able to meet the world-renowned local artist Bo Bartlett who invited her to visit his studio and, eventually, to study under his tutelage. Kate studied alongside Bartlett for four years. “It was an incredible experience,” Kate recalls.

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Kate continued taking art classes throughout high school, and decided to continue studying art in college—a decision that surprised even Kate herself. As an art student at Columbus State University, Kate’s studies focused on painting, and in her sophomore year she began doing commission work. At first, she painted portraits of pets, and had more and more opportunities opened up for her as she shared her work. In 2019, Kate had a friend offer her an opportunity that would open the floodgates to future opportunities that would lead to more success in her artistic endeavors than she could have imagined. When Kate’s friend asked her to do a live painting at her wedding, Kate originally declined. “It sounded scary,” she recalls, laughing. But after giving it some thought, Kate accepted the offer, and the experience actually ended up being a lot of fun. After painting her first live wedding portrait, Kate posted about her experience on social media, and discovered that there was a lot of interest in this type of work. It didn’t take long for Kate’s calendar to fill up with gigs for more wedding portraits, and in July of 2020, she painted for a big local wedding that ended up being the catalyst to firmly establish her name in the world of live wedding painters. As Kate painted at more and more weddings, the gigs opened up opportunities to travel, first in areas around the southeast before expanding further in widening circles. Kate eventually found herself painting in places across the states such as New York, Texas, California, Oregon, Yellowstone and more. Statewide weddings brought Kate’s work more attention, and international

opportunities began to arise. Kate has even painted at a wedding in Ireland and a rainforest wedding in Puerto Rico—experiences as unique and unforgettable for her as her portraits are for the lucky couples she paints. Making memories across the world for both her clients and herself, Kate’s name has found its way into celebrity circles, and her experience includes painting at celebrity weddings. She painted at the wedding of Madi Pruitt, a popular contestant from The Bachelor, as well as at the wedding of former Bachelor Colton Underwood. At Underwood’s Napa Valley wedding, Kate was able to mingle with celebrities—an experience she readily admits she wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for the people who believed in her work and invited her to share in their big day. “I took a selfie with Chris Harrison,” Kate said laughing, recalling the excitement of the event. “Everyone was so kind to me.” While Kate enjoys traveling for weddings, she also loves being a part of weddings here in her hometown. Some of her favorite weddings include breathtaking venues such as The Bibb Mill, the historic Illges House and painting the City Mills first ever wedding after their renovation. Kate’s wedding portraits are a collaborative effort. She spends much time working with the couple before the big day to make sure their portrait is everything they dreamed it would be. The portrait itself takes 5-7 hours to complete, and a big reveal happens at the end of the event when the couple is able to view the finished portrait for the first time. Kate works with the couple to determine which scene they want to memorialize. Popular choices

include the first dance, the ceremony, the first kiss and the first look. Kate can also take video footage of the wedding in real time to allow the couple to choose which scene they’d like her to paint. On the big day, Kate arrives at the venue early to get set up and begin painting the background scene. As the event unfolds, the evolution of her painting is a form of entertainment for wedding guests to observe. Kate enjoys the social aspect and feels honored to be able to preserve a memory for the couple. “The reveal is always the best part,” she said. Kate’s portraits are customizable. Adding pets into the painting is a popular request. She once added five cats to a portrait. Communication is the key to ensuring that her painting meets the couple’s vision, and Kate always makes sure to have a conversation with the couple beforehand so everyone is on the same page. From art class to painting international weddings, Kate has found her journey to be one she never could have imagined, and she’s grateful for everyone who

Kate’s paintings include capturing some stunning locations such as the beautiful Cairnwood Estate in Pennsylvania.

See us for


CHANCELLOR’S ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Visit 1108 Broadway or Shop Online at ChancellorsMensStore.com


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Columbus and the Valley


For Kate, one of the most rewarding parts of live wedding painting is unveiling the final painting to the couple at the end of the evening.

photo by Heather J Vids

supports her work. In 2020, Kate painted 25 weddings, in 2021 she painted 38, in 2022 she painted 56 and in 2023 she painted 48. The clients she paints for primarily find her on social media, and the rest unfolds from there. “It has always naturally evolved,” Kate said. In 2024, Kate’s calendar is already almost completely full for the year. She looks back on her success with gratitude and wonders where she might be if she had never accepted her friend’s offer to paint at her first wedding back in 2019. The acceptance and encouragement of two communities have made a world of difference in Kate’s life: the art community here in Columbus, and the wedding community. “I’ve made so many friends,” Kate recalled. From working with Bo Bartlett and getting involved in the local art scene to now working with wedding planners such as Patty Hastings and Jenna Belew, Kate enjoys the social aspect of her work, and the opportunities she has had because of it. In addition to live weddings, Kate paints from photos of weddings she wasn’t able to be at. She also continues to do commission work. Her information and samples of her work can be found on her website katescrivnerart.com and you can follow along with her to weddings and more on social media @katescrivnerart. C

One of Kate’s favorite locations to paint weddings in Columbus is the Bibb Mill Event Center with its indoor or outdoor ceremony options.


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Columbus and the Valley


Lung Cancer Care at City of Hope Atlanta

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women—and the second most commonly diagnosed cancer for both, according to the American Cancer Society. Rates are on the rise in young adults and in people who have never smoked. Considering how common it is, and recent changes in screening guidelines, it’s crucial to know the facts about the disease, its risk factors and how to reduce them.

What is Lung Cancer? Lung cancer is a disease that develops in the lungs. Typically it starts in the cells lining the bronchi, the larger tubes inside the lungs that look like tree limbs; in the bronchioles (the smaller “tree limb” tubes); or in the alveoli (small air sacs at the end of the bronchioles). The main types of lung cancer are non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer, or NSCLC, accounts for 80 to 85% of lung cancers and is divided into adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and neuroendocrine carcinoma. Small cell lung cancer, or SCLC, is less common. Around 10 to 15% of lung cancers are SCLC. However, this type of cancer typically grows and spreads much faster than NSCLC and is usually found after it has already spread to other areas of the body. Other types of cancer in the lungs include carcinoid tumors, adenoid cystic carcinomas, lymphomas, sarcomas and rare benign tumors. Cancer that begins in other organs can also spread, or metastasize, into the lungs.

Cigarettes Aren’t the Only Risk It’s no secret that cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. The CDC reports more than 480,000 deaths in the United States are attributed to cigarettes. When it comes to lung cancer specifically, smoking causes about 90% of deaths. But smoking cigarettes isn’t the only risk factor for lung cancer. 10 to 20% of lung cancers are diagnosed in people who have never smoked. Other possible risk factors include: • Secondhand smoke: Non-smokers who live with or are often around smokers typically inhale damaging tobacco smoke. • Asbestos: When inhaled, these fibers may cause lung damage. It also causes mesothelioma.


• Degree: University of Miami Miller School of Medicine • Residency: University of Miami Jackson Memorial Hospital • Fellowship: Interventional Pulmonology, Pulmonology, Allergy and Critical Care, Emory University • Board Certification: Internal Medicine

Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology By Dr. Jason Budde, Thoracic Surgeon City of Hope Cancer Center Atlanta

Medical Oncology


• Degree: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine • Residency: University of North Carolina Hospitals • Fellowship: Emory University Hospital • Board Certifications: Diagnostic Radiology, Neuroradiology • Serves as Chair, Department of Radiology for City of Hope Cancer Centers Atlanta, Chicago and Phoenix

• Degree: Kasturba Medical College • Residency: AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center • Fellowship: Hematology Oncology, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University • Board Certifications: Oncology and Hematology

Charles Fulp, M.D.

• Degree: University of North Carolina • Residency: University of North Carolina Hospitals • Board Certification: Diagnostic Radiology

Dhivya Prabhakar, M.D.

• Degree: PES Institute of Medical Science and Research • Residency: University Hospitals Case Medical Center • Fellowships: Hematology and Oncology, University Hospitals Case Medical Center and The Ohio State University • Board Certifications: Oncology, Hematology and Internal Medicine

Early Detection is Key When lung cancer is caught in early stages, rates of survival are good: in NSCLC, early-stage diagnoses carry up to an 80% 5-year survival rate; in SCLC the rate is 30%. However, when that cancer spreads to areas outside the lungs, that rate drops drastically to 37% and 18%, respectively. Unfortunately, whether you have smoked or not, lung cancer does not typically present with any symptoms until it has metastasized. The symptoms that do present may be misattributed to other respiratory illnesses, like pneumonia or an upper respiratory infection. The best method of early detection is routine screening. On November 1, 2023, the American Cancer Society updated their lung cancer screening guidelines, broadening eligibility to more Americans. The updated guidelines expand the age range for screening to 50 to 80 years old; reduce the required pack-year history down to 20 years; and eliminate a required period of time since quitting smoking. The recommended screening test is a non-invasive low-dose computed tomography scan, also called a low-dose CT scan, which provides more information than a typical X-ray and makes lung cancer diagnosis more effective. Individuals who believe they may be at risk of lung cancer should speak with their primary care physician about whether or not routine lung cancer screening is right for them. Above all, it is crucial that we understand our risk for lung cancer and take steps to reduce or monitor those risks. Utilize resources to quit smoking and ensure you contact your doctor at any sign of unusual symptoms.

Jason Beland, M.D. Nitika Sharma, M.D.

• Air pollution: Toxic gases and factory and automobile emissions may increase risk. • Genetics and family history: Never-smokers who have a close family member who never smoked and developed the disease before age 50 have a greater risk of lung cancer. • Chronic lung disorders: Lung diseases and infections, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), may also play a role. • Radon: This invisible gas emanates from the ground and may be trapped in homes.

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Christopher Parks, M.D.

The clinicians at the City of Hope Atlanta Lung Center are committed to offering state-of-the-art treatments for patients with lung cancer. Our multidisciplinary team of board-certified medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists and supportive care clinicians work with our patients to deliver quality clinical care with a patient-centered approach. Featured here is just a sample size of the full multidisciplinary team that works together to deliver quality care with a patient-centered approach at City of Hope Cancer Center Atlanta.


The Truth About Lung Cancer, Its Risk Factors and New Screening Guidelines


Henry Krebs, M.D.

• Degree: Texas A&M University College of Medicine • Residency: University of Texas Health Science Center • Fellowship: Angiography and Interventional Radiology, Emory University Hospital • Board Certification: Diagnostic Radiology, Vascular and Interventional Radiology

Surgical Oncology Jason Budde, M.D.

• Degree: Emory University • Residency: Emory University • Fellowship: Cardiothoracic Surgery and Research, Emory University; Thoracic Surgical Oncology, Memorial SloanKettering Cancer Center • Board Certifications: General, Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery

Expert cancer care is only one call away. If you are interested in learning more about the comprehensive and compassionate cancer care at City of Hope Cancer Center Atlanta or have other questions about the hospital, call 855-939-HOPE or visit cancercenter.com.


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The Redeemed Local Ministry Provides Men with Community & Encouragement




n an era of social media and quick fixes—where posturing is commonplace, the “good life” can seem virtually unattainable, and many of us are made to feel we have to cope with it all on our own—The Redeemed, a local men’s ministry, is striving to cultivate authenticity and provide community, support and resources to adult men of all ages and walks of life in an effort to help them thrive together.

Depression, insecurity, addiction and shame are all great at hiding. That’s particularly true for men, who—even in their supposedly more enlightened times—are expected to project an image of strength and suppress their emotions. In doing so, they are often discouraged from discussing their innermost thoughts, fears or anything causing them pain. Paul Amos, founder of The Redeemed, says that’s resulted in countless men who appear to have it all together on the outside but are struggling mightily beneath the surface. On top of that, they feel like they have to deal with it all on their own. “I think the belief that they need to ‘bootstrap’ things,” he explains, “that they need to put on a façade, a face, a mask—that allows them to be seen as handling things well, and to not admit their vulnerability, not admit the places that they’ve failed or the places that they see themselves as needing help. That’s a big part of what hides in this community.” The Redeemed, however, encourages men to be open and honest with each other about their struggles, and in doing so, find the strength to overcome them—and gain a newfound sense of hope.

Paying it Forward

Amos says he’s experienced those personal struggles firsthand, but he also benefited from the support and insight of other men— both in Columbus and across the country—“who really invested in me and helped me kind of find God, find Jesus in my life, and reorient me toward doing things the right way ... And it caused me 28

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Columbus and the Valley


to say, you know what, I want to give back to men who are going through different situations, who are going through crises of their own, in the way that I’ve benefited from the wonderful men who invested in me and helped me through my own personal situation.” Amos first began conceiving The Redeemed in fall 2019 as a welcoming, non-judgmental place where men could talk plainly and honestly about their struggles and fears, drawing strength from the knowledge that they’re not alone.

“There is a certain healing that comes that only happens in community— and unfortunately, so many people, especially men, don’t really know that.” -NATHAN DEWBERRY

“When you feel like you can really share what’s going on in your mind, even if it seems a little bit crazy, then you realize, ‘The guy across the table has experienced some of the same things I’m going through,’” says Nathan Dewberry, whom Amos brought on as director of The Redeemed in the summer of 2022.


The Redeemed Man podcast features weekly guests such as OneNeed founders (L-R) Rodney McClure and Lance Osborne talking with director Nathan Dewberry and founder Paul Amos.

In-person and virtual small groups are an important way The Redeemed provides community for men.

“There is just a level of peace that comes when you go, ‘Oh, I’m not the only one.’ There is a certain healing that comes that only happens in community—and unfortunately, so many people, especially men, don’t really know that.” And while The Redeemed certainly aims to help men dealing with significant

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addiction or mental health issues—and can connect them with clinical resources for therapy or treatment—Dewberry says they don’t need to be in a full-blown crisis situation to benefit from the ministry’s community and understanding. “Sometimes it takes that kind of crisis to be vulnerable,” he agrees, “but we want


men to realize they’re not alone in any of it—‘I’m not the only one dealing with a blended family.’ ‘I’m not the only one dealing with depression.’ I think the reality is we all want to be known, and we all want to be connected with somebody.”

Expanding the Idea of Community

Unfortunately, Amos’s best-laid plans for in-person groups were quickly derailed by the onset of the COVID epidemic. But with the help of longtime friend Tracy Immelman, founder of Pink Pebble Marketing, The Redeemed’s virtual community was up and running on social media in February 2020. The ministry soon launched its website, TheRedeemed.com, and its podcast series started in July, with the Rev. Dr. Shane Green, senior minister at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Columbus, as the first guest.


THE REDEEMED MAN PODCAST What listeners are saying ...

“Super encouraging and often profound. You can’t really find men telling their stories and offering their wisdom like this anywhere else.”

“Great podcast that hits tough topics head on and helps listeners connect with other men to make positive changes in their lives. Redemption is real and possible.”

“They use real life stories and from men who have overcome some tough obstacles in their lives. They use biblical principles and scripture to help men fight their battles.”

Listen wherever you get your podcasts or watch on YouTube. Find more resources at TheRedeemed.com

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Once COVID subsided and Amos hired Dewberry, who brought experience in a number of different types of ministries, The Redeemed began to grow rapidly into the kind of effort Amos originally envisioned. The ministry’s small weekly in-person and online groups began right after Dewberry came on as director, and this past September it added “huddles,” larger groups that meet as needed for men who might not be ready to commit to a regular schedule. “It can be a first step for someone,” Dewberry says. “We’ve had someone who came to our very first huddle, and then immediately after the huddle, he went to a small group. He felt safe, he felt like the community was something he wanted to be part of.” Of course, The Redeemed has continued to grow its online presence as well. The podcasts, which went from monthly to weekly, now feature a wide range of guests—ministers, businessmen and even athletes—from the Columbus area and around the Southeast, discussing everything from addiction and life tragedies to marriage, fatherhood and

Crowds came from around the country to the Bibb Mill to hear Tim Tebow at Restored ‘23.

Tebow spoke to the crowd of nearly 600 at Restored ‘23 about being a man of faith in the sports world.

leadership. The website now includes devotionals, as well as blog posts on topics such as spiritual discipline, designed to help men find fulfillment and “stay on track” amidst the stresses and temptations of modern life. And the early investment The Redeemed put into that virtual community—even if only out of necessity—has helped it dramatically expand its geographical reach. The website features testimonials from men all over the country and beyond, and the ministry has connected with men as far away as Canada and Brazil. Redeemed director Nathan Dewberry (L) and founder Paul Amos (R) with Tebow at Restored ‘23


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“We’re hopeful we can help men realize they can be in community without being in-person,” he says. “Our community, thanks to Zoom and a generation of people growing up with social media and community online, allows us to really get to know people in a way that I think our parents’ generation would not have gotten to known each other. It’s evolved into something that, we hope, is making a major impact on people’s lives.”

Bringing Men Together

Of all the projects that The Redeemed has undertaken, though, its biggest—and most high-profile—was of the good old-fashioned in-person variety. The Restored event held last August at the Bibb Mill Event Center featured Heisman Trophy winner and Christian speaker Tim Tebow as its special guest, attracting an audience of nearly 600 men from around the country. A recent Redeemed podcast featured testimonials from men who cited the event specifically as having inspired meaningful change in their lives. The date for the 2024 event has already been set—August 24—and Amos says they hope to expand it from an evening speaking engagement into an all-day conference. While the event has attracted widespread attention, he adds, the decision to hold it in Columbus was very intentional. “We want to bring things to this community that it wouldn’t have otherwise,” he explains. “Much like the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum brought speakers to our community, we want to bring Christian speakers to our community who can speak to the heart of men and get them to open up in ways that maybe they haven’t before.” Regardless of the medium—conferences, in-person groups, podcasts, even camping trips—Amos says that The Redeemed’s message will stay the same: You are not alone, there is hope and we’ll help you find it. “No matter where you are in life, no matter how successful you’ve been, we all suffer through difficulties, and we’ve all suffered through places of failure in our faith, of failure in our family, of failure in our business, of failure in our health,” Amos says. “There are so many different categories of places that men can begin to feel like failures, and I believe the enemy wants us more than anything to feel that—he wants us to find places where we succumb to his power ... anything that can make us feel a sense of shame and guilt that is crippling to our ability to move forward. “So we want to do what we can to help men step out of that, to step into God’s love, to step into a place of understanding that they are God’s children, and that they are redeemed. That their choices are being recovered by God and redeemed by God. Through His grace and the cross, we are in a very different situation than we could’ve ever bought on our own.” C Columbus and the Valley



The Chattahoochee Valley is fortunate to have first-rate health care at a myriad of facilities with specialists in many fields of expertise. Meet a few of these physicians and practices profiled in the following pages.


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or Dr. Jake Gudger, practicing at the Hughston Clinic is a family legacy. His father was an orthopaedist at Hughston, and as a child, Jake grew up watching him, remembering, “I knew I wanted to follow in his footsteps.” After graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in biology, Dr. Gudger went on to earn his medical degree from Mercer University School of Medicine in Savannah. He completed his residency in orthopaedic surgery at the Greenville Hospital System in Greenville, S.C. He returned home and completed an Advanced Clinical Education Fellowship at the Hughston Foundation and has since been working as a general orthopaedic surgeon. A Brookstone School alumnus, the doctor is proud to be serving his old friends and neighbors. “I enjoy seeing people that I grew up with. Now they are coming to me for treatment and that’s very satisfying,” he said. It’s not only the reputation of the quality of care that Hughston has developed over the past 75 years, but it is also the reputation of his colleagues that make Dr. Gudger grateful to practice at Hughston. They are renowned throughout the medical community in the fields of orthopaedics and sports medicine. Dr. Gudger also points to the technology available at the Hughston

Dr. Fred Flandry

Clinic, saying “Hughston has it all.” They use the latest technology and techniques to treat joint disorders and injuries with innovative, proven, surgical and nonsurgical procedures. The Clinic’s legacy is in treating sports injuries, and that continues today. Many Hughston physicians cover high school athletes, and Dr. Gudger is no exception, working with Smiths Station High School. He sees a lot of overuse injuries in student athletes; therefore, he advises that teenagers should not play one single sport all year round. Instead he recommends that athletes play a good mixture of multiple sports, which can help reduce the risk of injury. Dr. Gudger is well versed in total joint replacement and hip and knee reconstruction. He also treats patients with sports injuries. In addition to the guidance of his colleagues, his operating talent, and the overall excellence of the Hughston Clinic, he attributes his success to a good bedside manner, “I try to make patients feel comfortable,” he humbly admitted. “My philosophy is to listen to the patient and do right by them.” ADV.


here was never any doubt that Fred Flandry would become a doctor. “I think I knew from birth,” he said. “I joke that I spanked myself when the doctor delivered me.” Dr. Flandry’s passion for medicine was sparked as a child growing up in Houston just a few miles from the famed Texas Medical Center during the 1950s and ‘60s when the hospital was “dominating the medical world” with a series of breakthroughs, including heart transplants. It was at the Tulane University School of Medicine that Dr. Flandry “fell in love with orthopaedics.” While at Tulane, he completed a flexible internship at Charity Hospital in New Orleans and then a residency in orthopaedic surgery through Tulane University affiliated hospitals across the country. “It was an incredible experience,” he said. “It really opened my eyes to all the possibilities.” After his residency, Flandry completed a fellowship in Sports Medicine and Arthroscopic Surgery at the Hughston Clinic, working with founder Jack Hughston. “He was responsible for making sports medicine a sub-specialty in orthopaedics,” Flandry said. “When I came here, I thought I was going to be a hand surgeon. Six months later, I was offered a fellowship for sports medicine. It really changed everything.” At Hughston Clinic, Dr. Flandry’s clinical practice focuses on sports medicine, treatment of fractures and musculoskeletal

HUGHSTON CLINIC 6262 Veterans Pkwy. | 706.324.6661 | Hughston.com

HUGHSTON CLINIC 6262 Veterans Pkwy. | 706.324.6661 | Hughston.com



Dr. Douglas Pahl


rowing up, Dr. Douglas Pahl was fascinated by the inner working of complex machines. This could include everything from computers and TVs to, eventually, the human body. “And the evolution from there is if you learn how it works, then you can learn how to fix it,” he said. “That became very intriguing to me.” While a student at Baylor University, Dr. Pahl majored in computer science. “But I never held an actual job in that field,” he said, “because after college I went straight to medical school.” While attending the Historically Black University (HBU) Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Dr. Pahl had another realization. “I found out quickly that medical school is expensive,” he said, “so I signed up for the U.S. Army.” Dr. Pahl spent the 13 years in the Army, mostly overseas, including participating in Operation Joint Guard in Bosnia and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He also spent three years in Europe, playing semi-professional soccer. During his first year of military service, Dr. Pahl practiced as a general surgeon. “And I hated it,” he said, “so during the three years that I was doing my general medical officer training, I developed a passion for

Dr. Matthew Stewart

orthopaedics. I realized that was the path I wanted to take.” Dr. Pahl credits an orthopaedic residency in Germany for giving him the opportunity to follow his dreams. “Were it not for that, I would not have been selected for an orthopaedics residency in the civilian world at any time, ever,” he said. “It was because of my diligence in the army, putting my nose to the grindstone and doing whatever it took to get what I wanted, and that showed when the order of selection came.” Dr. Pahl completed his internship and orthopaedic surgery residency at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon in Georgia. After completion of his distinguished army career, Dr. Pahl completed a fellowship in orthopaedic spine surgery at the prestigious Twin Cities Spine Center in Minneapolis, Minn. Despite some struggles, Dr. Pahl knows he’s also been blessed. “There is no doubt that the Lord followed me along on my path,” he said, “because I had so many negative experiences in my life that there’s no other way to understand it.” ADV.


fourth-grade project inspired Dr. Matthew Stewart to become an orthopaedic surgeon. “I was given a school assignment to write a biography about a family member,” he said. “I chose my grandfather, an orthopaedic surgeon in Texas, and during the course of the interview I was fascinated by his job. He talked about it so passionately.” “I remember writing proudly that my grandfather was important because he helped treat children with club feet and pieced people back together with broken bones.” A funny story that his grandmother later told him involved his grandfather’s time at medical school in the 1940s. “He was approached by his professors to encourage him to study more,” Dr. Stewart said. “Apparently, he was spending all his time with a local orthopaedic surgeon as his apprentice. So much so that he was neglecting his other school subjects.” The elder Stewart was eventually brought back in line and was accepted to the prestigious orthopaedic residency in New York City called the Hospital for Special Surgery. It stands to reason that with such a role model, Dr. Stewart didn’t hesitate when choosing a specialty while attending the Medical College of Georgia. “There was no other field I ever considered,” he said. “It was

HUGHSTON CLINIC 6262 Veterans Pkwy. | 706.324.6661 | Hughston.com 36

Columbus and the Valley

injuries, total joint replacement, deformity correction, amputee care, treatment of non-healing fractures, orthopaedic infections, and revision orthopaedic operative procedures. Dr. Flandry holds dual board certification in Orthopaedic Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine and certification in Pain Management. He has been inducted into the Georgia Southwestern Sports Hall of Fame as a team physician. “I worked with about every sports team in Columbus in one way or another,” he said. Dr. Flandry has been honored by the Mayor of Columbus, Georgia for his work for citizens with disabilities, and also honored by the government of Colombia for his teaching efforts to improve the delivery of Columbia’s orthopaedic healthcare. “I’m probably ADD, but I just got interested in working on complex problems,” he said. “My practice really evolved from the referrals I got from patients who’ve had failed procedures. “That’s like throwing down the gauntlet. It’s a personal challenge to me.” ADV.

always going to be orthopaedics.” At Hughston Clinic, Dr. Stewart practices general orthopaedics with a special interest in direct anterior hip replacement. His specialties also include foot, ankle, and knee reconstruction, total joint replacements, and sports medicine injuries. When it comes to treating patients, Dr. Stewart offers a personal touch. “Most patients come to me with a problem that is causing them pain and loss of function,” he said. “I try to put myself in their shoes and understand what’s important to them.” With a history that dates back 75 years, there are many things that make the Hughston Clinic unique. “We are very proud of our history, but we also aim to move forward on Dr. Hughston’s original vision,” Dr. Stewart said. “We have now included an orthopaedic residency program, our very own orthopaedic hospital, and expanded our footprint to include more than 30 clinical sites across Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee.” ADV.

HUGHSTON CLINIC 6262 Veterans Pkwy. | 706.324.6661 | Hughston.com JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2024


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A Guide for Planning Wedding Beverages, Bars and Toasts!


edding planning can be stressful, overwhelming and complicated!. There are so many moving parts to a wedding that planning one can be a fulltime job. Controlling the budget for a wedding can be nervewracking. On the other hand, weddings are wonderful, joyous events. One of the most expensive elements of a wedding is the reception, in particular, the beverages for the reception. This part of the planning doesn’t have to be fraught with angst. Here are some concrete ways to wrestle that part of the planning to the ground so that you can enjoy the festivities. A full bar with liquor, beer and wine is generally more expensive than a bar serving only beer and wine. If you offer a full bar, count on approximately 25 percent of guests drinking liquor, 20 percent drinking beer and 55 percent drinking wine. The time of year and the temperature affect those ratios. In the summer, more people drink beer and white wine. In the winter, more people drink liquor and red wine. If you offer beer and wine only, approximately 30 percent will drink beer and 70 percent will drink wine. Do not forget that approximately 10 percent of your guests will not consume alcoholic beverages, so plan appropriate non-alcoholic beverages for them. Offering beer and wine only can help keep costs down and


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still be elegant. If you choose to do that, you will want to offer no more than three beer choices (typically one domestic beer, one imported beer and one craft beer), a seltzer (an exceeding popular choice among young people recently), two red wines, two white wines and one sparkling wine. It is also acceptable to offer only one red wine and one white wine. If you offer two of each, offer varietals with different flavor profiles,

such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. Work with your beverage manager where your reception will be held to choose wines that pair well with the food to be served. There is no need to break the bank with high-end wines. There are plenty of wines priced under $15 a bottle that your guests will enjoy. Be sure to taste the wines ahead of time and serve wines you like.

Specialty drinks, or themed drinks are a popular choice now for weddings. Some popular cocktails are “retro” cocktails, such as an aperol spritz, a whiskey sour, an old fashioned and a Moscow mule are a few of the most popular. Another good choice along these lines is a Champagne cocktail. These include sparkling wines mixed with a small amount of fruit juice, liqueur or flavored liquors. These drinks can be prepared ahead and passed around as guests arrive at the reception. Because these cocktails are mixed, a less expensive sparkling wine such as Prosecco, Cava or domestic sparkling wine can be used. Be sure to have good bottles of Champagne for the bride and the groom and the guests at the head table.


We can all remember the wedding reception where the toast to the bride and groom went horribly wrong. Here are some tips to avoid that situation: • A good toast is delivered with a lot of love, warmth and genuine sentiment. • Be sure to have a glass in your hand. Remember to congratulate them. • Do not have too much (or very much) to drink before offering a toast. • Get everyone’s attention before you start. • Face the newlyweds and focus on them. • Be confident, speak clearly and slowly and express warm feelings. • Unless you are a seasoned public speaker, practice the toast multiple times to ensure that you can deliver it smoothly and comfortably. • Keep it short! No more than three to four minutes


• References to old relationships • Negative comments about the couple or their families • Stories about the bachelor/ bachelorette parties • Silly honeymoon jokes Keep in mind that their parents and grandparents are listening. Remember to smile, wish your friends a wonderful life, sit down and enjoy their party! C 50

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Library Gala Features Author



he Muscogee County Library Foundation (MCLF) will welcome guest author Nina Simon to this year’s Founder’s Society Gala. Simon is a New York Times bestselling author and a Reese’s Book Club pick with her debut novel, Mother-Daughter Murder Night, which was published just a few months ago in September of 2023. People are hailing it as Gilmore Girls meets Only Murders in the Building. Per Simon’s website, Mother-Daughter Murder Night is a big-hearted mystery about a trio of amateur sleuths—a grandma, single mom and teenage girl— who come together to solve a murder in their coastal California town. It's a murder mystery, a family story and a love letter to strong women everywhere. Before she was a New York Times bestselling author, Simon had lived many lives as a NASA engineer, slam poet, museum director, global nonprofit founder and more. It was only when her mother was hit with a stage four cancer diagnosis that she quit her job to care for her. They always shared a love of mystery novels and needed an outlet that didn’t involve her mom’s diagnosis. Because of that, she created a novel that was a bit like them where she wrote and her mom could read. The gala, set for Wednesday, January 31 at 6 p.m., is an annual event to show appreciation to donors who support the MCLF. The black tie event will begin with a cocktail hour with Simon in the rotunda of the Columbus Public Library followed by a three-course dinner in the W.C. Bradley Grand Reading Room. After dinner, Simon will give a presentation followed by a Q&A. Guests will also receive a signed copy of her new novel, Mother-Daughter Murder Night. According to Laura Ann Mann, the executive director of the MCLF, they go over a list of recently published novels, lists literary agents send their way and even see what suggestions donors might have in order to pick the author for that year. Since it’s inception in 2003, the MCLF has provided funding for the library’s books and programs, currently eight percent of the library’s budget for the year. Because of their generous donors, the foundation is able to fund staff positions for the teen and children’s departments, the annual book festival and more. “Our foundation believes having a world-class public library system enhances the lives of those in our community,” Mann said. “Having a relevant, thriving public library can’t happen without a foundation, and we’re happy to fill those shoes for Columbus.”


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Columbus and the Valley

In addition to Simon’s appearance at the gala, she will also be having a public presentation and book signing a few hours before the gala at 1 p.m. in the Columbus Public Library Auditorium. Admission is free, and her books will be for sale. If you are interested in attending the gala in the future, you can receive an invitation by donating $1,000 or more to the foundation within the year. Libraries are more relevant than ever. The MCLF helps provide Muscogee County libraries with programs ranging from Pre-K literacy, career training and assistance, parent workshops and dozens of other interesting programs. Your contribution enables the MCLF to support more online services, more books, more materials and more programs than ever. For more info, contact Laura Ann Mann at mclibraryfoundation@gmail.com or 706.243.2705. C 53


From Vision to Action

Photo by Number 1 Digital


Can be found at: Barnes & Noble Columbus Museum Dinglewood Pharmacy Durham’s Pharmacy Galleria Judy Bug Books Marriott Midtown Medical Center Gift Shop Pierce Crossing Convenience Store Piggly Wiggly River Road Pharmacy Whitewater Express


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olumbus 2025 is an ambitious plan with the lofty goal of creating a more competitive and prosperous Greater Columbus region by the end of the year 2025. When the vision was first conceived in 2014 by a group of public, private and nonprofit leaders, the proposed end date seemed far off in a distant future, but now, only a few years later, fruition lies just around the corner.

Action Areas

With input from the community, five action areas were identified in the early days: to attract and retain talented, educated people, to expand and sustain targeted economic growth, to foster and support an enterprising culture, to build vibrant and connected places and to develop a cohesive image and identity. A sixth overarching action area was added in 2021: to promote equity and economic mobility. Committees for each area were assembled, objectives and strategies defined and implementation began in earnest by 2017. Tabetha Getz was named Columbus 2025 executive director a year later. “That seems like forever ago,” she said.

So much work is underway and so much has been accomplished across the six action areas, it is difficult to encapsulate the progress. Columbus 2025 has recently categorized some of the recent attainment in the condensed areas of jobs, talent and place. One major achievement this past year was the completion of a capital campaign. “We hit a goal of $9 million in pledges to support 2025 initiatives,” Getz announced. “That kind of money gives us the opportunity to put some things in place. So now we have to succeed, not just for the community, but also because people have trusted us with their dollars.”

Recent Success

“Now there are two years left, but 2023 was a very actionoriented year,” Getz reported. “We are well on our way to achieving the goals we set in job creation and population growth and marketing the region. It's not just strategic planning anymore. It's transformed into clear, measurable action.” JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2024

Workforce training sessions were led by local experts and community leaders to provide current information on services and benefits that can help address common obstacles to employment

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The objective to build an enterprising culture led to the creation of the industrious non-profit, StartUp Columbus. “They are the hub for all things entrepreneurial in the community,” Getz explained. In 2023, the organization assisted 34 new businesses through its incubator program, providing collaborative space and support services to help entrepreneurs to take their ventures to the next level. Another arm of the jobs action area focuses on traditional economic development. “We enhance the marketing of the region as a destination for business,” Getz clarified. “Our role is not to Events with StartUP Columbus offer the opportunity to share knowledge, best be the economic developer—the Chamber does that—but we are practices and experiences to enriching the local startup business ecosystem. tasked with telling the story of our community and telling businesses about Columbus.” This year, under the branding Choose Columbus, the committee and its partners have created Getz, the talent committee and local partners marketing materials, revamped the website at are targeting big city dwellers who may be looking ChooseColumbusGa.com, created an array of video for a higher quality of life. “Our role is attracting, content and published case studies, all aimed at retaining and developing talent, so we launched attracting businesses to the region. a new campaign called Move to Meaningful that “Ultimately, we'll have an ecosystem that attracts speaks directly to millennial talent in large cities.” entrepreneurs who want to start their businesses in Move to Meaningful points out that Columbus Columbus because they know we have the resources boasts many of the amenities of a larger city, that larger cities offer,” Getz said. “And then through but with less traffic and more opportunities for Choose Columbus, the goal is to attract new industries, community involvement. new employees, about 6,000 new jobs and $300 million The committee and its partners also work to Tabetha Getz in new payroll.” develop homegrown talent. The United Way is


leading an initiative called Community Schools United to encourage family and community engagement in the schools through workshops, resource rooms, training sessions and other projects. This past year, the Community Schools United after-school programs resulted in 70 percent of participating students achieving growth in core school subjects. Along with academic achievement, additional programs target students’ social, emotional and cognitive development to better prepare graduates for entering the workforce. Extensive poverty presents a major barrier for talent development and upward economic mobility here in the Chattahoochee Valley. So, in coordination with Columbus 2025, the United Way created a role to oversee a communitywide effort to reduce poverty in Columbus by 50 percent in the next 10 years. Jerica McCrary was recently named vice president of poverty reduction, and Getz says she has “hit the ground running.” McCrary will have the unique opportunity to combat poverty on a macro level. She can pool resources for

Community Schools United is a program to narrow achievement gaps, ensuring that all students receive the necessary support to reach their full potential through our ongoing Community Schools United strategy.

a greater impact by aligning agencies, city departments, corporate entities and other groups that share similar missions. “This is part of what makes Columbus 2025 so successful,” Getz explained. “We’re not beholden to a single organization.”


Columbus 2025 has been tasked with the dual challenge of fostering a sense of identity and place for current residents, while also projecting that image to the rest of the world. Public art, especially art that celebrates the local area, helps communities embrace their unique identity and

Jerica McCrary

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gives residents pride of place, actually curtailing vandalism and crime. To that end, the Painted Space Project has commissioned local artists to create vibrant murals in several communities that currently lack access to public art. Open meetings have been held to glean from each neighborhood what unique landmarks, local heroes or historic moments should be depicted. “People come and tell us the story of their neighborhood, and then we try to reflect that in the art on the walls,” Getz relayed. The first mural was unveiled in December at the Food Mill; four more are already in process for this year; and two more are planned for 2025. With its rich and diverse offerings, the Greater Columbus region is a great place to live, work and play, but that message has to be conveyed to other places in order to achieve goals like attracting talent or businesses. “Visit Columbus does a fantastic job promoting us as a vacation destination, but we’ve never marketed the region as a destination for potential residents,” Getz said. Last year Columbus 2025 and its

Tabetha Getz, Taylor Schumacher, Mayor Skip Henderson, Kylie Grilla, Ben Moser and Anna Redd enjoyed volunteering at RushSouth Music Fest in October.

partners developed just such a marketing and public relations campaign, with an eye toward landing Columbus on the coveted “best of ” lists enjoyed by cities like Greenville, Chattanooga and Charlotte.

Looking Ahead

The unabridged list of all that Columbus 2025 and its many partners have accomplished so far would be staggering, and there is much still to do in the next two years. Getz is excited to see it coming together. “It took all this work to get here, but there is heightened momentum in Columbus right now that I haven’t felt before,” she said. “We are so close to some really large-scale, game-changing initiatives hitting for us in a big way.” C

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Spring Harbor residents (L-R) Jim Townsend, Gib and Freddie Richardson and Sandy Townsend enjoy the Blue Heron grand opening.


ccording to North American Native tradition, the blue heron brings messages of self-determination and self-reliance, representing an ability to progress and evolve. The long thin legs of the blue heron are said to reflect that individuals don't need massive pillars for stability but must be able to find strength from within. It’s no coincidence, then, that the majestic bird serves as both the logo for the Spring Harbor retirement community and the name of its fine-dining restaurant­—the Blue Heron Bar & Grill. “At Spring Harbor beauty, independence, and personal growth provide the fulfillment its residents expect. The renovation and expansion project that brought the Blue Heron restaurant to fruition is just the start to the continued evolution of Spring Harbor,” explained Shane McDougall, Spring Harbor executive director. “Our mission is to meet and exceed our residents’ expectations each and every day and to make a positive difference in their life,” he said. “Dining plays such an important role in retirement communities across the country, so for Spring Harbor to have this as an amenity for residents it elevates our program and who we are as a community. It helps our organization better deliver on our mission each and every day.” The idea for The Blue Heron was born in 2015. At the time, Spring Harbor had two restaurants on campus—one was a formal dining room and the other was a bistro for casual dining. The leadership soon realized residents and guests were frequenting the Bistro more often than the formal dining option, which led to renovations of the bistro. “Fast forward eight years, and we have “The idea behind continued to see a trend of residents The Blue Heron preferring casual dining,” McDougall said. was that we “Recent studies have also shown a trend in senior living dining towards more casual and wanted to create inviting spaces that offer residents a choice.” a destination By 2021, it was clear that simple area where it renovations wouldn’t be enough. A full expansion was required. After the COVIDencouraged 19 pandemic had mostly passed and residents to gather socializing was less dangerous, the goal and socialize.” was to increase options and update the -SHANE MCDOUGALL amenities for current and future residents.


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Columbus and the Valley

The Blue Heron Bar and Grill brings elevated dining to Spring Harbor residents

“The Blue Heron,” McDougall said, “was something that we believed would elevate our dining program and create a true destination for our residents and their loved ones to enjoy.” The project focused on kitchen enlargement for storage and cooking, additional seating, updated outdoor space and a full-service bar. The overarching goal with the designer and architect was to create a single restaurant with three distinct different areas. The sunroom is perfect for outdoor dining. The main area of the dining room is available for grabbing a quick meal out of the Grabn-Go cooler or to sit down for a table-side service at dinner. Perhaps the biggest change for Spring Harbor is the bar/lounge area. The bar reflects changes seen in the senior living communities over the past five years. "We made the decision before the project started that this is something we wanted to bring to our residents,” McDougall said. “Residents want to be able to enjoy a hot dog and beer while sitting at a beautiful bar and watching sports.” Expanding the options for outdoor activities for residents and their families was another focal point of the redesign. The fireplace was completely remodeled to include a gas timer, an outdoor kitchen and tables were added along with a water feature. “You can now enjoy the outdoors with a glass of wine while you watch your grandkids play on the shuffleboard or putting green,” McDougall said. “The idea behind The Blue Heron was that we wanted to create a destination area where it encouraged residents to gather and socialize.” The Blue Heron Bar & Grill opened for full service on October 27, 2023. 61


THE (L-R) Anita McClendon, Melissa Stokes, Will Sanders, Bernita Stephens, Chef Marc DiMitri and Hannah Boisvert are ready for guests.

“I can honestly say it’s been nothing but excitement,” McDougall said. “The renovation started back in May, so our residents were ready for the doors to be open and to enjoy the space again. The reactions from residents, employees and guests have all been very positive.” To date this has been the largest capital project in Spring Harbor’s history. However, neither current nor future Spring Harbor residents will experience an increase in monthly dues. “Our leadership team did a great job of strategically working this into our capital budget for the fiscal year,” McDougall said, “and more importantly the project stayed on budget and on time.” The Blue Heron menu was created by executive chef Marc DiMitri to include shareables, daily specials and new entrée selections. Residents can kick off the day with a breakfast menu that includes daily specials, omelets and waffles. There are shareables like hoisin glazed steak, wonton nachos and goat cheese asparagus flatbread. Entrées include the gourmet Blue Heron Burger, braised short rib

(L-R) Bill Tustin, Shane McDougall, Allen Holladay, Tommy Claridy, Will Sanders and Laura Drew cut the ribbon at the grand opening.

grilled cheese, chicken quesadillas and avocado wontons. Spring Harbor believes itself to be the premier retirement community in the surrounding area. Its mission is to meet and exceed the expectations of its residents’ expectations every day to make a positive difference in their life. The Blue Heron Bar & Grill renovation and expansion is just the beginning of what McDougall sees as the continued evolution of Spring Harbor. “Dining plays such an important role in retirement communities across the country,” he said, “so for Spring Harbor to have this as an amenity for residents it elevates our program and who we are as a community. It helps our organization better deliver on our mission each and every day.” Spring Harbor is located at 100 Spring Harbor Drive in Columbus. For more information, call 706-641-0424 or visit www.springharborseniorliving.org. C


n January 18th, the curtain will rise on the 2024 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Dozens of brand-new feature films will make their world premieres and send film fans and film critics alike scurrying to theaters throughout the year to catch up as these new titles find distributors large and small. So, before this new slate of cinema takes over the cultural conversation, I’m taking one last opportunity to point out a few of the best films of 2023 that may have flown under your radar. American Fiction: The brilliant Jeffrey Wright (The Batman, Westworld) plays Monk Ellison, an African American university professor and author of literary fiction. When he’s told by his agent that publishers feel his newest novel isn’t “black enough”, Monk sets out to write the most offensive

novel filled with racial stereotypes that he can imagine—and it becomes a runaway bestseller. American Fiction is a hilarious satire that explores racial identity and the appropriation of that identity for commercial gain. Writer-director Cord Jefferson makes an impressive leap from television to motion pictures with this debut film. He’s a filmmaker to keep an eye on. Dream Scenario: Paul Matthews (Nicolas Cage) is the type of person who seems to have no control over the outcome of his life. He’s indecisive and hates himself for it. Life has a way of simply happening to him. Then one day, Paul achieves notoriety in the oddest of ways: people begin dreaming about him. Not just people in his inner circle of family and friends. People all over the country begin to see Paul in their dreams. Ironically, Paul is just an observer, a spectator in the dreams of others, which is perfectly on brand for the man we’ve briefly gotten to know. He rescues no one in peril (including his own daughter); he doesn’t impact the course of the dream. He simply wanders aimlessly in the background in much the way he wanders through middle age. Dream Scenario examines what it means to be “famous” in our current social media culture. You don’t need talent; you don’t need skills. You just need to be recognizable, and Paul has certainly become that, literally overnight. Nicolas Cage is a marvel throughout the film. If you’re expecting a big performance with crazy line readings, you will be surprised by the quiet, nuanced Cage at work in this film. It’s one of his best films and one of the year’s best films. The Holdovers: 2023 was the year of the teacher protagonist in cinema. This newest film from director Alexander Payne (Sideways, Nebraska) is set in the world of New England prep schools in the early 1970’s. Paul Hunham (played by Paul Giamatti) is a graduate of Barton Academy and has been teaching there for as long as anyone can remember. Even his boss is one of his former students. Over Christmas vacation, Paul draws the short straw and remains on campus along with the head of the cafeteria (played by Da’Vine Joy Randolph) to look after the lone student who can’t go home for the break. The Holdovers is the best comedy of the year with a witty script from David Hemingson. Giamatti, Randolph, and hopefully Payne can expect Oscar nominations on January 23rd. It’s one of the must-see films from 2023, and it’s currently available on home video. C Scott Phillips is a Columbus resident and current president of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. His reviews and other work can be found at Forbes.com


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Columbus and the Valley


Valley Scenes

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Kudos Congratulations to local spoken word artist, comedian, actor and playwright Jonathan Samuel Eddie for receiving the 2023 Governor’s Award for Arts & Humanities.

Highside Market Grand Opening Locals enjoyed the open house of the new Highside Market in Uptown Columbus. Guests browsed the Highside businesses including Council Wardrobe Studio, Parlor Doughnuts, The Silver Hanger, Fox & Pheasant, Whit’s Frozen Custard, Mountain High Outfitters and Club Pilates. (R) Highside Market developer and Cotton Companies owner, Chris Woodruff welcomed the attendees.

2024 Dancing Stars of Columbus: Coming Soon! This year’s local contestants for the annual Alzheimer’s Association fundraiser were announced. Pictured (L-R): Dr. Iveta Boyanchek, JJ Harrison (Pro Dancer), Tracie Chamblee, Sangeeta Patil (Pro Dancer), Will Clark, Bailey Banks (Pro Dancer), Mary Stamper Grogan, Nikalah Rolle (Pro Dancer), Dave Arwood, Tony Reese, Libba Dillon, Amanie Bussey, Shane Ragan, Jennifer Cooper. Contestants not pictured: Alison Dowe, Nick Dudley, Daphne Hill, Crawford Knox, Dr. Rutvij Shah and Ryan Williams. The event will be held March 28, 2024 at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center.

YP Cocktails and Company featured Bo Bartlett Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals gathered for Cocktails and Company at the Bo Bartlett Center with artist Bo Bartlett (C) and CSU artist-in-residence Noah Buchanan (L). Brantley Pittman (R) facilitated the discussion and question and answer session.


Columbus and the Valley

Havana Nights Debutante Party The 2023 Havana Nights themed Debutante Ball was held in November at Green Island Country Club. Debutantes pictured are: (L-R) Mary Margaret Saunders, Elizabeth Hay Manderson, Mildred Collins Rustin, Tayler Leigh Baker, Anna Marie Albright, Anita Katherine Scarborough, Carter Elizabeth Hudson, Cora LaDelle Lee, Holland Lesley Alexander, Laurie Clare Jones, Marguerite Helen Brooks, Mary Avnor Parker, Mia Rowan Vongsavang, Rebecca Jordan Calhoun, Anne Winstead Waldrop, Rosemary Franklin Rice and Brooke Nicole Tillery



Columbus and the Valley


Area Attractions



Bo Bartlett Center

Columbus Botanical Garden

Located on 36 acres of green space in north Columbus, come enjoy four acres of developed gardens with a 10 year plan for new gardens to come. Admission: $10 adults, $5 ages 4-18. Closed Monday. 3603 Weems Rd., 706.327.8400, ColumbusBotanicalGarden.org

Coca-Cola Space Science Center

An experiential learning space and cultural hub for the visual arts whose mission is to explore creativity and learning within the context of the work and studio practice of artist and Columbus native Bo Bartlett. Free admission. 921 Front Ave., 706.504.8800, BoBartlettCenter.org

Jill Tigner with John and Julie Cabelka

City Mills Grand Opening


The Columbus Museum

Closed due to renovation. The Museum Gift Shop and additional programming will remain active at their temporary location next door. Closed on Monday. Free admission. 1327 Wynnton Rd., 706.748.2562, ColumbusMuseum.com

Beth and Tracy Sayers with John Pezold

The historic City Mills Hotel in Uptown Columbus opened it’s all new event space. Attendees enjoyed jazz music on the banks of the Chattahoochee River along with tours of the MillHouse restaurant, hotel rooms and bride and groom suites.

Gallery on 10th

This artist cooperative features over 23 local and regional artists with over 1,000 pieces of original art on display, including the largest collection of Columbus’ Historic Landmark Art. 9 E. 10th St., 706.321.8948, GalleryOn10th.com

National Civil War Naval Museum

Experience the story of the U.S. and Confederate navies during the Civil War. This museum features two original Confederate warships recovered from the Chattahoochee River along with uniforms, weapons, models and art that tell the story of this little known aspect of the American Civil War. Admission: $9 adults, $8 seniors/military, $7 students. 706.327.9798, PortColumbus.org

Sheree Griggs, Baleigh Griggs, Holeigh Daniel and Cassie Myers.

National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center

Dragonfly Trails

Grab your bike or just yourself to enjoy Columbus's network of off-road greenway trails for recreation, transportation & interaction. There are 34 miles of trail that include the RiverWalk, Fall Line Trace and a 1.4-mile connector. This is an ongoing project. facebook.com/dragonflytrails

Pine Mountain Trail

This 23-mile trail is located in FDR State Park in Harris County. PineMountainTrail.org

Providence Canyon

A popular state park seven miles west of Lumpkin on Ga. Highway 39. Known as the “Little Grand Canyon.” 229.838.6202, GaStateParks.org/ProvidenceCanyon

RushSouth Whitewater Park

Experience fun along the Chattahoochee River in Uptown Columbus/Phenix City. Fun includes crossing the Chattahoochee on the blue heron adventure zip line and ropes course, rafting in a kayak or guided raft on the world’s longest urban whitewater course, frisbee golf, fly fishing, paddleboard yoga, playground with splash pad and so much more for all ages. 706.321.4720, RushSouth.com

Priceless artifacts and immersive experiences tell the history of the U.S. Army Infantry in this world-class museum located outside the gates of Fort Benning. Campus includes an authentic World War II Company Street, 3/4-scale replica Vietnam Wall, giant screen theater, simulator attractions and full-service restaurant. Closed Monday. $5 per person donation requested. 706.685.5800, NationalInfantryMuseum.org 66

Columbus and the Valley



Columbus and the Valley

Features Omnisphere Theater, WestRock Observatory, Challenger Learning Center and Space Shuttle Odyssey Exhibit. 701 Front Ave., 706.649.1470, CCSSC.org

Historic District

Walking tours available by appointment only. 1440 Second Ave., 706.322.0756, HistoricColumbus.com

Little White House

FDR’s retreat in Warm Springs, Ga. and the only home he ever owned. He died there in 1945. 706.655.5870, GaStateParks.org/ LittleWhiteHouse

THEATRES Liberty Theatre & Cultural Events Center

Call for events and times. 813 Eighth Ave. 706.225.4915, ColumbusGa.gov/ LibertyTheatre

RiverCenter for the Performing Arts

This state-of-the-art facility includes the 2,000-seat Bill Heard Theatre, the center’s main venue and home to the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. 900 Broadway, 706.256.3612, RiverCenter.org

Springer Opera House

The State Theatre of Georgia is one of America’s most vibrant professional theatre companies with a popular Mainstage Series and an innovative second space series called Studio II. For show dates, see calendar listings. 103 10th St., 706.327.3688, SpringerOperaHouse.org


Dining Guide Your Restaurant Could Be Here! CONTACT:

Margie Richardson 706.575.7825

Big Mama Vietnam Kitchen Big Mama’s is proud to serve you fresh, homemade food made with local ingredients that you are sure to love. Our specialty involves healthy cuisine with plenty of fresh vegetables and a variety of flavorful spices. Tu-F 11AM-3PM, 5PM-9PM, Sa-Su 11AM-9PM 5300 Sidney Simons Blvd., Unit 14 BigMamaVietnamKitchen.com

Country’s Barbecue Real Barbecue Slow Cooked Over Hickory and Oak. Casual dress, takeout, catering, kids’ menu. Su-Sa 11AM-10PM Mercury Dr., 706.563.7604 Broadway/14th St., 706.596.8910 Veterans Pkwy., 706.660.1415

The Food Mill Shop their variety of local pottery, jams and more in their indoor market. Enjoy breakfast or lunch in the café, and shop their prepared to-go items and family meals to make eating healthy easy. All purchases support their nonprofit mission of reducing barriers to food security in our community. Learn more about their catering services, private event room and more at thefoodmill.org.

Fountain City Coffee at Banks Food Hall FCC's second location located in Bank's Food Hall. Serving up made from scratch baked goods and delicious sandwiches daily in the heart of Columbus. M-Th 8AM-6PM, F-Su 8AM-8PM 1002 Bay Ave. • 762.524.7774

Mellow Mushroom The combination of a great menu, hand-tossed dough, fresh ingredients and friendly service makes the Mellow Mushroom a must when you have a taste for pizza. Bring your group for a family-friendly dinner or join your friends in our comfortable neighborhood bar. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 11AM-9PM. 6100 Veterans Pkwy. • 706.322.4602

Ruth Ann’s Restaurant A Columbus tradition for families, friends and great food. Ruth Ann’s offers authentic Southern style lunches, and breakfast is served all day. W-Su 6:30AM-2PM 940 Veterans Pkwy. • 706.221.2154. Place your next takeout order at ruthannsrestaurant.com.

Speakeasy A local favorite serving great, homemade food and drinks in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. Su-Th 11AM-8 PM, F-Sa 11AM-9 PM 3123 Mercury Drive • 706.561.0411

Uptown Vietnam Cuisine Uptown Vietnam Cuisine offers authentic, traditional Vietnamese dishes that are both delicious and healthy, featuring fresh ingredients and a variety of flavorful spices. Dine-in, carry-out and party trays are available, as well as a 10 percent military discount. M-F 10:30AM-3PM & 5-9PM, Sa 11AM-9PM • Closed Sunday. 1250 Broadway • 706.576.9922

Wasabi Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar Traditional Japanese cuisine with hibachi grill tops and fresh sushi. Come and try our flavorful and fresh ingredients. Su-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM 1808 Manchester Expy 706.642.0888 Dine in or order online at wasabijapanesecolumbus.kwickmenu.com

M-F 7:30AM-4:00 PM • 3718 2nd Ave Suite A • 706.330.3972

To have your restaurant featured here, contact Margie Richardson at 706.575.7825 68

Columbus and the Valley



Columbus and the Valley


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