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Volume 1 | Issue 7

February 2014 20-22

Northside Hospital Heart & Vascular Institute

Leaders in Cardiovascular Care

28 Wedding Venues In Every Issue

32 2

Artist Profile: Michael Dillon


North Fulton Family Life | FEBRUARY 2014

Taste of Life: Bread Pudding

06 Calendar

16 Family of 4

10 Business Life

18 Community Life

14 Pieces of the Puzzle

26 Academic Life

150 North Street, Suite A, Canton, GA 30114 (O) 770-213-7095 | (F) 770-213-7106




Perspective PUBLISHER/PHOTOGRAPHER Jack Tuszynski EDITORIAL Michelle Martin ART Tiffany Atwood


ecently, I was driving down Hwy. 20 on the way into the office, with magazine deadlines and a wealth of other thoughts on my mind. I was focused on the road ahead, when, suddenly up ahead, perched patiently between the two solid yellow lines...sat a squirrel. Not the frantic, manic ones I was so familiar with on the country back roads near my home, but a squirrel that appeared to have his act together — albeit in the middle of rushhour traffic. My first consideration was, “Drive on; he’s got this.” Then, I thought, “I bet he would appreciate a break.” So, I whipped into the nearest driveway, somewhat fearing the worst after the passing of several cars, and turned around. He still was in the highway, but had become the atypical nutty squirrel. He dodged in and out from a few cars on both sides of the highway, and in a couple of instances I just knew he was a goner! I flashed my lights to oncoming traffic and slowed in my lane as I approached the squirrel’s dart and

pivot. The squirrel returned to center and settled for a moment, glanced around, turned toward me and, with a flick of his tail, bound into the safety of the grass and up an oak. Sometimes, when we find ourselves in dire situations with our careers and families, crossing a busy highway or whatever chaos life throws our way, often all we need is someone else to accept our situation and give us a moment, a smile or a nod to make us feel better. That squirrel sure made me enjoy the rest of my day. Give a moment of your time to make someone’s day a little brighter. It’s good for the heart, good for the soul, and reminds us what loving our neighbors as ourselves is all about.

Jack Tuszynski, publisher

Candice Williams SALES George Colmant Janet Ponichtera CONTRIBUTING WRITERS State Senator John Albers, Ron Bradley, Crystal Bryant, Michael Buckner, Michael Consoli, Arlene Dickerson, Lisa Ethridge, Catherine Groves, Michelle Knapp, Dr. Amanda Kossick, Julie Lippitt, Chris Miller, Dr. Vishant Nath, Christy Noll, Karen Pye, Nick Roper, Liz Sobczyk, Laura Stalemark, Suzanne Taylor North Fulton Family Life magazine is your monthly community magazine and a publication of Family Life Publications. The magazine’s mission is to bring relevant, positive stories and timely information to its readers and to provide local businesses with a premium outlet for community-based advertising. Each month, copies are distributed free by mail and through local businesses in the North Fulton area. Please contact us or visit our website for a current list of locations where copies of the magazine can be found and other information. North Fulton Family Life welcomes your comments, stories and advertisements. Subscriptions are available for $25 per year. Please contact us for payment options. The viewpoints of the advertisers, columnists and submissions are not necessarily those of the Editor/Publisher and the Publisher makes no claims as to the validity of any charitable organizations mentioned. North Fulton Family Life magazine is not responsible for errors and omissions. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission from the Publisher. © 2014 All rights reserved.


North Fulton Family Life | FEBRUARY 2014

Am I Getting My Fair Share? By Chris Miller, Esq. When I get a call from someone who has lost a parent and asks when they should expect distributions from the parent’s estate, the next question is usually, “How do I know if I’m getting my fair share?” The answers are always found on a case-by-case basis, but here are some starting points to keep in mind:

Timing the Distributions — Different types of assets are transferred in different ways. For example, life insurance proceeds and retirement accounts are available to the designated beneficiaries shortly after a death certificate is issued and a claim form is submitted. This process usually takes only a few weeks. Jointly owned assets also quickly transfer outside of probate to a surviving owner. However, if probate is required to transfer an asset, then the process takes more time. A court first has to appoint an Executor

or an Administrator to conduct the business of the estate. To help ensure all creditors’ claims have been received, the Executor must allow at least six months to pass and must publish a notice in the newspaper. During that time, partial distributions are okay, but an Executor often waits until the decedent’s final tax return is filed and accepted before closing out an estate. If the Executor is selling property and dividing the sales proceeds, the estate administration could take years. If a Trust is involved, then the terms of the Trust may set distribution schedules that last decades or even lifetimes into the future.

Calculating Shares — Only joint owners and beneficiaries of accounts with designated beneficiaries can find out what assets are coming their way. Others do not often discover transfers happening outside of probate.

However, beneficiaries can and should ask an appointed Executor for an accounting of those assets flowing through probate. If the Executor does not respond, a beneficiary can petition the Court to order an accounting from the Executor. With the assistance of the Court supporting the beneficiaries, curious beneficiaries usually find out the answers to their questions.

Chris Miller is an attorney at Robinson & Miller, P.C., Attorneys at Law. 770-817-4999,



Calendar of

E ven t s February Through Big Apple Circus February Enjoy the pulse-racing thrills of the world’s greatest circus artists in one ring under the Big Apple Circus Big Top, where no seat is more than 50 feet from the ringside! The Big Apple Circus will feature amazing animal tricks, double trapeze artists, clowns, an irrepressible flimflam man, and a juggler extraordinaire! Visit the website for performance times. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, 2200 Encore Parkway, Alpharetta.


Through 13th Annual February Roswell Roots Festival Roswell Roots is the largest and most comprehensive African-American History celebration in Georgia, featuring a variety of exhibits, cultural events and music performances. Go online for the complete schedule of events.



Father-Daughter Valentine’s Day Dance Fathers and daughters are invited to put on their dancing shoes and step out together for this fun event, sponsored by the City of Alpharetta Recreation and Parks Dept. This year’s theme is “Hollywood’s Night of the Stars.” The event will feature dancing, refreshments, and a keepsake photo. Semi-formal/ dressy attire is recommended. Preregistration is required. 7:00-9:00 p.m., Alpharetta Community Center, 175 Roswell St., Alpharetta. 678-297-6100, Alphretta.Ga.Us/Recreation


Father-Daughter Valentine Dance Girls of all ages and their fathers (or an adult male escort) are invited to enjoy this special Valentine event, featuring music and dancing, entertainment, games,


North Fulton Family Life | FEBRUARY 2014

and refreshments. 7:00-9:00 p.m., Bill Johnson Community Activity Building, 10495 Woodstock Road, Roswell.


Masters of Soul Masters of Soul, featuring The TFC Band, authentically reproduces the look, choreography, style and sound of Motown, including performances of hits by The Temptations, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Jackson Five, Stevie Wonder, Barry White, Lou Rawls, and more. This performance is part of the Doubletree by Hilton-Roswell LIVE series. 8:00-10:00 p.m., Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest St., Roswell. 770-5946232,


Chattahoochee Challenge 10K Run for the love of nature at the 13th Annual Chattahoochee Challenge 10K Race along the Chattahoochee River, an official qualifier for the 2013 Peachtree Road Race. All participants will receive a T-shirt and swag bag. 1-Mile Fun Run, 7:30 a.m.; 10K, 8 a.m., Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. 770-992-2055 x 226,


Library Events ALPHARETTA 238 Canton St., Alpharetta 770-740-2425 Northeast/Spruill Oaks 9560 Spruill Road, Johns Creek 770-360-8820 Ocee 5090 Abbotts Bridge Road, Johns Creek 770-360-8897 Roswell 115 Norcross Street, Roswell 770-640-3075 AARP Tax Aides February 3-April 14, 10:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Mondays; 1:00-3:30 p.m., Wednesdays, Northeast/Spruill Oaks Free tax aide. Email Karen.Swenson@ for information. Sing! February 6, 4:00 p.m., Alpharetta Wendy Bennett will use her lovely singing voice to demonstrate the operatic, jazz and belt voices along with different musical styles, including the folk song, love song and Wendy’s favorite song. Ages 3-10. Teen Thursday: Life-Size Games February 6, 6:00 p.m., Ocee Classic video and board games come to life! Snacks will be provided. Ages 12-18. Registration is required. Underground Railroad Paper Quilts for Children February 8 & 15, 3:30-5:30 p.m., Roswell Come learn the basics of quilt making. Dawn Williams Boyd will share her techniques for “cloth paintings.” Ages 8-12. Reservations are required.

Johns Creek Arts Center 5th Annual Bowls Event This annual event is a fantastic opportunity to purchase handmade, one-of-a kind pottery made by ceramic instructors and students at the Johns Creek Arts Center. Tickets are available in advance or at the door. Your ticket purchase includes your choice of one of more than 300 beautiful, unique, ceramic pottery pieces to take home (arrive early

College and Financial Aid Planning: Georgia 411 February 11, 4:30 p.m., Alpharetta Georgia Student Finance Commission will explain best practices for financial aid planning and provide an overview of the college planning tools on the website Learn how to use resources available regarding HOPE scholarships, filling out the FAFSA, applying to college and career planning. Space is limited. Reservations are recommended.

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Calendar of


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for the best selection. Additional ceramic pieces will be for sale at $20 each. The event also will include ceramic wheel and hand-building demonstrations. 3:00-7:00 p.m., Johns Creek Arts Center, 6290 Abbotts Bridge Road, Building 700, Johns Creek. 770-623-8448,


Open Hearts for Seniors Senior Services North Fulton’s annual fundraiser will include dinner, live music by The Grapevine, and silent and live auctions. Proceeds will support Senior Services North Fulton programs. 6:3011:00 p.m., Atlanta Athletic Club, 1930 Bobby Jones Drive, Johns Creek. 770-9931906,


Love Birds for Valentine’s Day Children are invited to participate in this free craft workshop making love birds. Ages 4-6; children must be accompanied by an adult. Pre-registration is required. 10:30 a.m., Crabapple Government Center, 12624 Broadwell Road, Alpharetta. 678-297-6160, Alpharetta.Ga.Us


Young Artists’ Concerto Competition Presented by the Georgia Philharmonic, young musicians from all over the Southeast will compete for a position in one of three categories: Apprentice (ages 5-13); Artisan (ages 14-18); and Virtuoso (ages 19-23). In addition, three young laureates will compete for a $500 scholarship from Atlanta Violins. 7:00 p.m., Cambridge High School, 2845 Bethany Bend, Milton.


‘The Great Gatsby’ The breathtaking glamour and decadent excess of the Jazz Age come to the stage in Georgia Ensemble Theatre’s production of Simon Levy’s adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel. Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire, passionately pursues the elusive Daisy Buchanan. Nick Carraway, a young newcomer to Long Island, is drawn into their world of obsession, greed and danger. 8:00-10:00 p.m., Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest St., Roswell. 770-641-1260,

March 8

Shamrockin for a Cure Come out and rock the night away with great food, amazing bands, and dancing — all in an effort to help cure Cystic Fibrosis. 7:00 p.m., Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, 2200 Encore Parkway, Alpharetta.


Super CPR Saturday Johns Creek firefighters/ paramedics will offer free, certification life-saving classes demonstrating proper techniques in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of the automated external defibrillator (AED). The classes are part of the city’s Heart Ready program. Reservations are required. 9:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. & 3:00 p.m., Fire Station #62, 10925 Rogers Circle, Johns Creek. 678-5123221,

Tiny Hands, Awesome Art: Art for the Very Young February 14 & 28, 10:30 a.m., Ocee Calling all toddlers and preschoolers! Please wear old clothes or bring a smock. All children must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver. Ages 18 months-5 years. Heart Ready Program (CPR/AED) February 15, 10:00 a.m., Ocee Johns Creek Fire Dept., in collaboration with the American Heart Association and Emory Johns Creek Hospital, will provide CPR and AED training to the public. Ages 12-18. Limited to 10. Registration is required. Email (subject line: “Heart Ready”) to register. Big Thinkers Science Monday, February 17, 2:00 p.m., Ocee A fun, science-based hour working with everyday objects. Tickets will be given out to the first 30 participants one hour prior to the start of the program in the Children’s Department. Ages 5-12. Kids in the Kitchen February 22, 11:00 a.m., Ocee A fun hour of health and wellness discussion followed by making a healthy snack. Tickets to the first 30 participants will be given out one hour prior to the start of the program in the Children’s Department. Ages 5-12. Are You Smarter Than a Griot? February 22, 3:00 p.m., Roswell All middle and high school students interested in testing their knowledge of black history facts are invited to join the Q & A “Roswell Roots Black History Challenge” competition. Can you answer more questions than the Griot, who was tasked with keeping an oral history of the village? Ages 11-18. Reservations are required. College Preparation for Teens and Parents February 24, 6:00 p.m., Northeast/Spruill Oaks Diane Cohen from College Process Consulting will lead this two-hour crash course covering virtually everything future college students and their parents need to know about navigating the college admissions process. Registration is required.


North Fulton Family Life | FEBRUARY 2014

Family Matters By Amanda Kossick, D.M.D.

Family is a valued treasure in today’s world, and I am blessed to work with mine. I cannot express what a privilege it has been to join my dad’s dental practice and work with my dad, mom and cousin. At Medical College of Georgia, I received so much knowledge from studying and clinical time. During my last semester, however, I found myself wishing and longing to be finished and out on my own, making my own decisions without having to have a “check.” When this finally happened and I started working at my dad’s dental practice, I realized how much pressure and responsibility come with making these decisions on my own. My safety net and familiar system were gone, and I found myself seeking approval just as I had over the past four years of college.

My dad stepped in and was the most amazing mentor to me. He helped guide me through the transition from school to private practice and set my feet straight again, looking forward instead of behind me. In addition to my dad, our patients supported and accepted me, even as a new graduate. They all have been so welcoming and willing to let me join Dad in taking care of their oral health needs. It has been most flattering for many of them to tell me how much I am like my dad. I would not be nearly as successful as I have been in the past six months without the help and guidance of our staff. I share this personal story to illustrate how important relationships and a community of supporters are in many aspects of life, including your physical, mental and oral

health. It is important for you to build a relationship with your dentist and other healthcare providers so they can get to know you, your preferences and medical history. The better understanding your healthcare providers have of you, the more effectively they can care for and treat you. If you have neglected your oral health lately, find a dentist who will take time to get to know you and provide the individual care that you need.

Dr. Amanda Kossick is a dentist with DeMercy Dental in Roswell. 770-641-8010,



Business What's New Spectrum Neurosurgical Specialists has expanded with the addition of Bart MacDonald, M.D., as board-certified neurosurgeon for the practice. A native of Georgia and graduate of Georgia Tech, Dr. MacDonald attended medical school at the Medical College of Georgia and completed his internship at the University of Florida. During his neurosurgical residency, Dr. MacDonald trained at Harvard’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Boston, where he trained with leaders in the fields of Neurovascular surgery and Neuro-oncology. In addition, Dr. MacDonald’s residency at the Dr. Bart MacDonald University of Texas Medical Branch included spine and brain trauma with an emphasis on complex spine. Dr. MacDonald focuses on microsurgical, minimally invasive, and percutaneous techniques to spinal surgery, including stereotactic and robotic spine surgery. In the end, his goal is to walk with the patient and the patient’s family through a very trying and difficult time with compassion combined with technical expertise. 2500 Hospital Blvd., Suite 310, Roswell. 770-664-9600,

Roswell Restaurant Week (courtesy Roswell Visitors Center)

Roswell’s diverse dining took center stage recently in the third annual “Roswell Restaurant Week.” Thirty-five restaurants throughout Roswell’s historic district participated in the two-week event, offering special, prix fixe or discounted menu options. The event, sponsored by Roswell Inc., in partnership with Roswell Restaurant Alliance, is designed to offer patrons a mix of international and local flavors and ingredients along with exploring the shops and galleries in Roswell’s historic district. This year’s event was the most successful to date, with 10 more participating restaurants than last year.

Northside Hospital-Atlanta, Northside Hospital-Cherokee and Northside Hospital-Forsyth have been named Top Performer on Key Quality Measures® by The Joint Commission (TJC), the leading accreditor of healthcare organizations in America. The three hospitals were recognized by TJC for exemplary performance in using evidence-based clinical processes that are shown to improve care for heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care. TJC recognizes accredited hospitals that attain and sustain excellence in accountability measure performance. The Northside hospitals are among 1,099 hospitals in the nation being recognized for 2012 (the most recent report), representing the top 33 percent of TJC-accredited hospitals.

Mugs on Milton celebrated its grand opening recently. The new coffeehouse offers a variety of coffees and espressos, teas, hot chocolates and fresh-baked items, including muffins, scones, mini pies and weekly specials. Mugs on Milton also offers catering for meetings and special events. The coffeehouse is open 7:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Monday-Friday; 8:00 a.m.4:00 p.m., Saturday (closed Sunday). 35 Milton Ave., Alpharetta. 770-268-8544,


North Fulton Family Life | FEBRUARY 2014

Add Shine, Volume & Curls to Your Hair By Laura Stalemark

LIFESTYLE Shine, volume and bouncy curls are what many advertisers use to portray beautiful hair. Achieving the look is not as hard as you might think.

lasting way to add shine while also actually repairing your hair and reducing frizz. The treatments last up to five months and are available only at certified salons.

Deep conditioning treatments are great for hair that has lost its shine from chemical treatments and/or daily wear and tear. Hair salons offer the treatments, or you can purchase at-home treatments. Shine serums also add shine. The serums can be mixed with your other styling products without weighing down the hair. GK smoothing treatments are a more

Adding products to damp hair before blow drying will dramatically help you achieve volume. After fully drying your hair, use the cool-shot button on your blow dryer to cool the hair while it is being lifted. Using Velcro rollers on dry hair also will add volume at the roots. Spray each section of dry hair with an aerosol hairspray before rolling the hair, lifting a section of hair upward at a time. After rolling each section of hair, use your hair dryer to warm up the hair on the rollers. Allow the hair to cool before removing the rollers.

Hot rollers and curling irons will help get your bouncy curls in order!

Hot rollers will help achieve the best bouncy curls; just follow the same steps as with Velcro rollers. If you use a curling iron, you’ll need several metal duck bill clips approximately 3 inches long. First, dry your hair using a volumizing product. Take reasonable sections of hair while using the curling iron. After releasing the hair from the iron, wind the hair back up with your hands and secure with a duck bill clip to help cool down the section of hair for better curl retention. Allow the hair to fully cool down, then remove the clips from the bottom up to prevent the hair from getting stuck in the next section of clips. Shake out the curls lightly with your fingers and set into place. L

Laura Stalemark is owner of Tryst Hair Salon & Boutique in Alpharetta. 770-772-7007,



Serving Your Community By Senator John Albers


olunteering in our community to serve others is a passion of mine. It is an honor and privilege to use my God-given talents for the sake of others. North Fulton and Cherokee are full of great communities and the opportunities to get involved are abundant. I serve on dozens of charitable organizations and boards, and find an intense joy making a positive difference. As a fourth-generation volunteer firefighter, I serve side by side with my fellow public safety professionals protecting life and property. Active firefighters have to complete continuous training and physical fitness. It is a unique opportunity to give back, but not everyone has to run into burning houses to help. Others support our firefighters and police officers with our Public Safety Foundation by raising money and taking care of our heroes in their time of need. No matter your talent or desire, there is a place for you. Both of my sons are scouts. My older son, Will, is an Eagle Scout. This is a tremendous accomplishment of which we


North Fulton Family Life | FEBRUARY 2014

are proud. His Eagle Scout project aided a local Roswell charity, enAble of Georgia, and will bring benefits for decades to come. My younger son, Ryan, is following in his big brother’s footsteps as a new Boy Scout. It is never too early to get your children involved in serving others and their community. Volunteering as a family is time very well spent and builds life memories. I volunteer to lead by example and inspire others for generations to come. I have enjoyed serving at church since my childhood. My decades of church service has ranged from delivering meals, providing medical care, building houses, coaching others in job networking, and participating in mission trips to offering computer help, governance, fundraising, painting, teaching and simply listening. I am blessed to be a member at Roswell United Methodist Church and encourage you to explore your faith and service to others. Roswell Rotary also is a shining example of so many doing so much good and living up to the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self.”

You may wonder why I would want to spend my spare time helping the community along with my position as an elected official. A better question would be: Why not? You will never regret missing an hour of TV over positively impacting your community, state and country. You will network, learn new experiences and become a better person. Believe it or not, you will be the biggest benefactor of your volunteer time. Please consider serving others joyfully and often. If you are looking for ideas, please drop me a line at: I do love serving you as your Georgia State Senator.

Senator John Albers represents the 56th Senate District, which includes portions of North Fulton county. 404-463-8055, John.Albers@Senate.Ga.Gov

Love One Another By Crystal Bryant

If you’re a parent, Valentine’s Day has taken on a new meaning. It has become less about you and your spouse and more about the kids. I enjoy buying little gifts to express our love for our kids on this special day, picking out cute, fun Valentine’s Day cards for them to exchange at school, and decorating shoe boxes for them to bring home their own cards and goodies. It’s interesting to watch them address the Valentine cards,

carefully choosing the perfect card for each friend. When I think about it, Valentine’s Day is a perfect practice in putting our love for others before ourselves.

But, that only lasts for so long with kids. Almost as soon as they get home, the sugar rush from all of the Valentine’s Day candy kicks in and they are back to normal. My two oldest boys, Christopher, 12, and Isaiah, 9, compete to be the first to show me all their candy and cards. Then, they fight over who has the most cards, the most candy, and the “best” candy. As I watch them eat their second or third piece of candy since arriving home, I yell, “Stop!” I ask them how many pieces of candy they have eaten so far. They usually say, “not many,” or “just a couple.” But, I know that isn’t the case, because I know

my kids — and because I can count for myself all of the empty wrappers in the bottom of the candy boxes! At that point, I hide the candy boxes out of reach so that the kids have to ask me if they can have another piece of candy. Of course, the fact that my kids may be untruthful about how much candy they’ve eaten and try to outdo each other doesn’t mean I love them any less. Does Jesus love us any less when we do wrong against Him? Romans 5:8 says, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And, in John 13:34, Jesus says, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Crystal Bryant is the wife of Pastor Chris Bryant at City On A Hill United Methodist Church in Woodstock. She is involved in women’s, prayer and children’s ministries. 678-445-3480,



Streaming Media Services By Michael Buckner I sort of feel it’s my obligation to keep the North Fulton audience informed about all the latest technology. In 2014, we should expect all sorts of crazy new features to our iPhones, Androids, and more. While I feel strongly about embracing all of what the world’s great minds have to offer, I am still walking into several homes where people haven’t embraced streaming services! For those who have, they rarely know the best way to take advantage of that service. Netflix is definitely the No.1 paid streaming service in America. For years now, Netflix has offered a $7.99 online subscription that allows people to watch a huge library of movies and TV shows. Now, Netflix’s upgraded $10/month service allows for multiple devices like iPads, iPhones, and more. The best way to watch Netflix at home is through

Roku, AppleTV, and Google’s new ChromeCast. My favorite is AppleTV, because you can use your iPhone or iPad to browse the titles. iDevices act as a touchpad for control. For $99 each, you can add AppleTV to each TV and you’re done! If you haven’t discovered AppleTV yet, check it out. AppleTV essentially brings the Internet to your TV. Pandora is another popular streaming service. Pandora allows you to type in a favorite musical artist, and it creates a radio station conforming to your taste. The best ways to get Pandora in your home is through Roku, AppleTV, or Sonos. Roku and AppleTV require a TV connection so that you can see what’s going on. Sonos is a much better avenue

Be the first to find the photo where these pieces belong! Please email to submit your answer. Be sure to include the magazine title, your name and contact information (address, phone & email). Only emailed answers with full information will be accepted. Individuals can win only once per calendar year. Happy Hunting!

Congratulations to our January winner, Judy Dunbar! 14

North Fulton Family Life | FEBRUARY 2014

for adding Pandora to any room in your house, simply because it is a self-contained unit. You can also add outdoor speakers. If you don’t know about these toys yet, do some research. Netflix, Pandora and the different streaming devices do so much more than I can cover here. I promise you’ll find a lot of useful applications for your interests.

Michael Buckner is owner of Audio Intersection, a provider of audio and video in Georgia. 770-479-1000,

Reduce Your Risk of

Cardiovascular Disease

By Liz Sobczyk, director of Cardiovascular Services, Northside Hospital You always hear about how healthy habits can help stave off your

hydrogenated” in an effort to steer clear

risk for certain diseases, such as heart

of trans fats. Some people may also need

disease, but a new research study from

medicine to lower LDL.

the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and

Delivering the Latest in Cardiac Care

check food labels for the term “partially

Prevention backs up that claim. Heart

Get active. Regular, moderate-to-

disease accounts for roughly 800,000

vigorous physical activity helps prevent

deaths annually. However, the study

heart and blood vessel disease; the more

estimates that as many as 200,000 of

vigorous the activity, the greater your

these deaths are preventable. In other

benefits. Plus, daily exercise can help

words, roughly one in four deaths from

keep you at a healthy weight. People with

heart disease could be avoided through

excess body fat, especially around the

regular screenings, early treatment and

waist, are more likely to develop heart

the adoption of healthy behaviors.

disease and stroke even if they have no other factors. Aim for at least 30 minutes

Northside Hospital Heart and

of exercise on most days of the week.

Vascular Institute is home to

A range of factors can raise your risk of

many of Atlanta’s “Top Docs,”

developing heart disease and having a

as named by U.S. News & World

heart attack or stroke. While you can’t

Report and Atlanta magazines. The

do anything about your age, gender,

Institute offers a full spectrum of

heredity or race, there are many factors

diagnostic, treatment and support

you can control:

(blood sugar) levels are under control. A

Alpharetta, Forsyth and Cherokee.

Quit smoking. A smoker’s risk of

more likely to die from heart disease than

In addition, all three of Northside

developing heart disease is two to four

Hospital’s campuses have received

times that of a non-smoker. Exposure to

Chest Pain Center Accreditation

second-hand smoke also increases risk,

Reduce stress. Too much stress over

from the Society of Chest Pain

even for non-smokers. It’s never too late

time, and unhealthy responses to it, may

Centers (SCPC), recognizing their

to quit. Your risk of a heart attack starts to

create health problems in some people.

high level of expertise in treating

decrease within weeks of quitting.

Find healthy ways to manage stress: join a

services, with locations in Atlanta,

patients who arrive with heart

Manage your diabetes. Diabetes seriously increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, even when glucose woman with diabetes is two to four times a woman without diabetes.

yoga class, start meditating or make time

attack symptoms. Our cardiologists

Follow a heart-healthy diet. A diet

also perform minimally invasive

rich in fruits and vegetables and low in

surgical procedures to correct heart

salt can help keep your blood pressure

abnormalities, including pacemaker

within a normal range. If lifestyle changes

Limit alcohol. Drinking too much

implantation, cardiac catherization

aren’t enough, talk to your doctor about

alcohol raises blood pressure, can cause

and stent placement.

medicines that might work. Also, reduce

heart failure, and lead to stroke. It also

your consumption of saturated and

adds calories, contributing to obesity and

For more information about cardiac

trans fats, as this will help improve your

making it harder to lose weight. If you

services available at Northside, please

LDL (bad) cholesterol level. Use more

don’t drink, don’t start. If you do, limit


olive oil and other unsaturated oils, and

yourself to one drink a day.

for yourself each week to do something you love.



Student Skate Night


Kids Eat Free Kids eat free with an adult meal purchase from 5:307:30 p.m., Wednesdays, at Atlanta Bread Company in Roswell. Add face painting for a fun, (almost) free night out with the kids! 640 Crossville Road, Suite 100, Roswell. 770-650-0069


Valentine’s Date

The Cooler at Alpharetta Family Skate Center offers $2 off ice skating admission with a valid student ID on Student Skate Nights, 8:30-10:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays. The center also features a roller skating rink and offers programs that include figure skating, ice hockey, roller hockey and other sports. 10800 Davis Drive, Alpharetta. 770-649-6600,

with the help of Michelle and Suzanne at ScoopOTP, we found some. Curious for more? Visit!

Budget Dining


Fun on Ice

Family of

Looking for family fun things to do? We are too! And

Princess Tea Party Make a special Valentine’s Day memory with your little princess (or prince). Olivia’s Dollhouse Tearoom will host a special Valentine’s Tea with the Princess from 2:004:00 p.m., February 9. Tickets are $45 and space is limited. The tea party will include a Valentine favor, keepsake photo, tour of the dollhouse, and an etiquette lesson. Call for reservations. 5075 Abbotts Bridge Road, Suite 500, Johns Creek. 404-908-9073,

North Fulton Family Life | FEBRUARY 2014

Dr. Seuss Hat Collection Hats off to Dr. Seuss! In honor of the 75th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’s second book, “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins,” Dr. Seuss’s never-before-seen collection of hats will be on display February 1-16 at the Ann Jackson Art Gallery. The exhibition will also feature one of Dr. Seuss’s little-known art collections. Admission is free. 932 Canton St., Roswell. 770-993-4783,


Freeze Up

By Julie Lippitt

The month of January hit us hard with severe cold weather, resulting in frozen and busted pipes. February could bring us another cold spell, so be prepared! Typically, February is the coldest month in our area. Frozen or burst pipes can be a problem and, left unchecked, can cause thousands of dollars in water damage to your home. No one “plans” for plumbing problems, but some cautionary measures could prevent expensive repairs and damage to your home. The following are some simple measures that you can take before it gets cold to prevent frozen pipes: • Insulate pipes in your crawl space and attic if there is no heat source present. • Use electrical heat tape on exterior piping in barns and outbuildings. • Seal air leaks that allow cold air inside where pipes are located. • Disconnect garden hoses from the outside spigot and install a foam cover to protect the spigot. These foam covers are commonly referred to as “Dolly Partons” at the hardware stores. Also, when the temperature drops below freezing for several days, there are some additional steps you can take to prevent frozen/burst pipes: • Open any cabinets where the faucets back up to an exterior wall. The warm air circulating under the sink will keep the pipes from freezing. • A trickle of hot and cold water will also keep the pipes from freezing, as moving water takes much longer to freeze. • If you are going away, set the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees. If your pipes freeze, there are some important things you must do to prevent water damage to your home. If you turn on the faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucet on and call your plumber. If the pipe has burst, turn off the water at the main shut-off and call your plumber. Your plumber knows several ways to thaw out your pipes without causing further damage to your home. If you have frozen pipes in your home, you will love having a dependable plumber who can arrive at your home in a timely manner. Julie & Rick Lippitt are owners of Pete’s Plumbing in Alpharetta. 770-442-3934,



Community Ara Baronian Named Milton Officer of the Year Milton Community Outreach Officer Ara Baronian has been named Officer of the Year for 2013. Baronian, a Milton police officer for four Ara Baronian, years, was chosen 2013 Milton Officer based on his work of the Year in raising more than $24,000 for the purchase of K-9 officer Kyro, and on his expansion of the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) classes, Milton Police and Citizens Together (MPACT) neighborhood watch program, and Citizens Police Academy (CPA). Last year, Baronian hosted 24 students in the 10-week academy, added six neighborhoods to MPACT, a 21 percent increase in participation, and taught more than 100 women and girls in six RAD classes. “Officer Baronian has truly embraced his role as the community outreach officer and it shows in this work,” said Capt. Shawn McCarty, who runs the City of Milton Police Dept.’s Uniform Patrol Division. “His efforts have greatly helped the department overall in providing quality services to the city.” In other Milton news, Milton City Manager Chris Lagerbloom recently received the Credentialed Manager designation from the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). He is one of just 1,300 local government management professionals currently credentialed through the ICMA Voluntary Credentialing Program. To receive the prestigious ICMA credential, an applicant must have significant experience as a senior management executive in local government; have earned a degree, preferably in public administration or a related field; and demonstrated a commitment to high standards of integrity and to lifelong learning and professional development. 18

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Pam Billingsley Wins ‘Roswell Remarkable Woman’ Award Pam Billingsley, historic site coordinator for Bulloch Hall, was honored recently with the Leitalift Foundation’s “Roswell’s Remarkable Woman” award. The Leitalift Pam Billingsley Foundation was founded by Leita Thompson, a businesswoman who paved the way for other women to have meaningful careers and to lead fuller lives. The foundation perpetuates the goal of its benefactor by supporting the health, education, arts and culture of the women of Roswell. Billingsley has been historic site coordinator for Bulloch Hall since 1989. She identifies Bulloch as her passion in life; her scrupulous care of the home, the human history that filled and surrounded it, and her dedication to preserving that heritage for generations to come led to her being recognized by the Leitalift Foundation.

Alpharetta CVB Giving Away Concert Tickets The Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) will give away two VIP seats to the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park in its “2014 Awesome Concert Series Giveaway” contest. The VIP concert package will include two VIP seats, VIP parking passes, and VIP access to the Carl Black VIP Club. To enter, sign up for the Alpharetta CVB e-Newsletter at, or enter in person at the Alpharetta Welcome Center (178 S. Main Street, Suite 200, Alpharetta). One winner will be drawn from the contestants who sign up by March 31. Limit one entry per person.

JCPD Prepares for Polar Plunge Johns Creek Police Dept. (JCPD) officers will charge into the frigid waters of Lake Lanier as part of Special Olympics Georgia’s fifth annual JCPD is raising funds for Special Olympics Georgia Polar Plunge fundraiser by participating in the 2014 Polar Plunge. on February 15 at Lake Lanier Islands Beach and Water Park. This will mark the third year that JCPD has participated in the Polar Plunge. The event also will feature music and dancing, games, a Corn Hole tournament, food and fun. All donations from the event will go directly to Special Olympics Georgia. The public also can donate and/or participate in the Polar Plunge. Registration will begin at 11:30 a.m., followed by the “plunge” at 2:00 p.m. For more information, visit

Is a Generator

Good for Your Home? By Nick Roper

Have you prepared your home for the bitter winter weather? Most people think about home insulation, freezing water lines, outdoor pets and plants when winterizing their home. But, have you considered installing a generator at your home? Connecting a generator to your furnace and electrical panel could be one of your most important home investments. Whether it is gas or electric, the furnace will not work without power. If you make the initial investment for a standby generator, your power can be restored in a few seconds — making you the most popular person on your street during a major power outage.

A standby generator has many benefits. It can run off of your natural gas or propane supply, conduct a weekly self-check to ensure that it is always ready, and, with some models, can be controlled with a smartphone, tablet or computer. There are many different makes and models, so do some research to determine which generator is best for your needs. Generac, a large manufacturer of generators, includes on its website a feature that will offer recommendations based on the size of your house and the items that you want to back up. Also, make sure to have a licensed, professional electrician handle the installation. A generator isn’t just a seasonal investment for when it’s cold. There are countless situations in which a standby

generator could save you throughout the year. Imagine that while you are on vacation a thunderstorm or tornado comes through your town, knocking out the power to your home for a day or two. Without a standby generator, everything in your refrigerator and freezer would be ruined. A generator could also keep your family safe, because when your power goes out so does your alarm system. This is a great benefit whether you are at home or traveling. The initial investment for a standby generator varies with the different types, sizes and features available. My advice would be to first get an installation estimate and choose a generator that will fit both your budget and home back-up needs.

Nick Roper is manager of business development for H&H Electric and Security LLC. 770-735-1136,




By Michelle Martin “American Heart Month” in February is designed to raise awareness of heart disease and promote heart health nationwide. According to the American Heart Association, each year an estimated 380,000 men and women in the United States die as a result of heart disease — making it the leading cause of death among men and women. In fact, approximately 83.6 million Americans are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or after-effects of stroke. Northside Hospital Heart & Vascular Institute is comprised of a cardiovascular team of awardwinning “ATLANTA TOP DOCS” at all three Northside Hospital locations in Atlanta, Cherokee and Forsyth. These highly skilled physicians provide patients a comprehensive, integrated network of preventative, diagnostic and medical services for the heart, veins and arteries. With Joseph Ricotta, M.D., as medical director of vascular services and Michael Balk, M.D., as medical director of cardiology services, Northside Heart & Vascular Institute is an international leader in cutting-edge techniques and technologies that offer patients the most advanced and thorough care available today.


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As Patricia Tyson, director of Northside Heart & Vascular Institute, explains, “Northside Hospital has won the National Research Corporation Consumer Choice Award for the past 16 years because of our exceptional patient care,” she says. “That same level of care applies to our Heart & Vascular Institute. Patients are able to contact the Northside Heart & Vascular Institute to talk with a nurse or find a physician at 404-851-6550.”

graft and stents through the groin that have been custom made to fit individual patients; the morbidity and mortality rates are exponentially better,” he says, noting that he has patients throughout the United States and from other countries with aortic aneurysms who travel to Northside for this specialized procedure. Dr. Ricotta will travel to Warsaw, Poland, this spring to assist doctors in performing the procedure for the first time there.


Northside Heart & Vascular Institute also is involved in cutting-edge research and clinical trials that can provide patients with access to new technologies and treatments not yet available at most other programs. For example, Northside Heart & Vascular Institute currently is the only program in Georgia treating leg artery blockages with a new minimally invasive procedure that uses a balloon coated with medicine. “At Northside Heart & Vascular Institute, we strive to be the leaders in our field to figure out new and better ways of treatment,” says Dr. Ricotta. Dr. Ricotta estimates that 85-90 percent of artery blockages can be treated with minimally invasive techniques available at Northside Heart & Vascular Institute.

The Heart & Vascular Institute at Northside Hospital is revered for offering the latest advancements in cardiovascular treatment. Dr. Ricotta, for example, is the first and only physician in the United States approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to modify and create Fenestrated-Branched Endograft, to treat thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms, a minimally invasive procedure for implanting custom stents. Doctors from all over the world come to Northside Hospital to learn from Dr. Ricotta how to perform this highly specialized procedure. “Traditionally, aortic aneurysms are treated with complex open surgery. With this new procedure, we insert the

Dr. Balk heads Northside Heart & Vascular Institute’s cardiology division, which provides diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure, chest pains, irregular heartbeats, heart attacks, strokes and other heart issues. One of the latest advancements in cardiology is the Transradial Cardiac Catheterization, a less-invasive alternative to traditional catheters that uses the wrist instead of the leg. This approach is much easier on patients; the risk of bleeding is minimal, and they can return to normal activities in a very short period of time. The integration of cardiology and vascular services by some of the top physicians in their field

“At Northside Heart & Vascular Institute, we strive to be the leaders in our field to figure out new and better ways of treatment.” Dr. Joseph Ricotta

distinguishes Northside Heart & Vascular Institute as a “one-stop shop” for cardiovascular care, Dr. Ricotta says. “Our motto is that we can do it all — from simple in-office varicose vein treatments to complex open surgery. We work together as an integrated network to ensure our patients get the same high-quality level of care by all of our physicians at all locations.” Northside Heart & Vascular Institute’s “network” approach to providing quality care with continuity extends across all of Northside Hospital. As Tyson explains, physicians at the Heart & Vascular Institute work closely with other Northside doctors to monitor Read more on page 22

Photos courtesy of



patients who are at risk of developing heart problems as a result of other conditions. “Women who are pregnant can develop high blood pressure,” she says, “and some side effects of radiation and chemotherapy can be toxic to the heart. Our obstetrics and oncology specialists work closely with the physicians at our Heart & Vascular Institute to monitor patients’ heart function.” While some heart issues are the result of genetics, others can be prevented with proper nutrition and healthy lifestyles. Northside Heart & Vascular Institute’s team includes physicians who specialize in preventative care, helping patients to stop smoking and manage their cholesterol, blood pressure and weight through healthy diets and exercise. Northside Hospital-Forsyth also developed a follow-up program for patients enrolled in its Heart Failure Clinic. “To keep patients on track after they are discharged, Northside Forsyth Heart Failure Clinic coordinators call patients every day for at least 30 days. This follow-up is to monitor their weight, salt consumption and medicines, and also schedule their follow-up appointment within a week of being discharged from the hospital,” Tyson says. “We’ve seen a huge improvement in patients there; their progress is amazing,” she says. “Northside Heart & Vascular Institute believes in a comprehensive approach to cardiovascular care — from prevention to diagnostic, treatment and follow-up. With our team of expert physicians and cutting-edge techniques, Northside Hospital Heart & Vascular Institute provides world-class treatment for patients throughout metro Atlanta and around the world.”

Dr. Joseph Ricotta and Dr. Michael Balk

Patricia Tyson

Atlanta — Cherokee — Forsyth



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Lifting Up North Fulton’s Families in Need By Karen Pye, development director


ave you ever wondered what the face of homelessness looks like? You might be surprised. The fastest-growing segment of homelessness is single mothers with children. It could be someone working in your child’s school, your hospital or doctor’s office, or your local fire or police station. Every family tells a different story as to why they are homeless: job loss, abandonment, illness, etc. Fortunately, there is an agency that serves these families with a proven program that couples housing and support. The Drake House is a registered 501(c)(3) that offers crisis housing and empowerment to qualified families who are ready to work toward financial self-sufficiency. The Drake House was formed in 2004 by a group of community leaders who identified a need for emergency housing of women and their children in the north metro Atlanta area. Armed with a vision of keeping the family together, the group identified key personnel with experience in the field and a 16-unit apartment complex. Funding for programs comes from individual, faith, corporate and civic support; Fulton County and United Way grants; and special events, including The Drake Walk on May 3, and Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin’ on August 24, which are managed by volunteers. Each apartment is sponsored by a faith or business partner, who furnishes and prepares for each resident family and mentors the family through the program. Referrals come through several sources, including school social workers from Fulton County Schools. “All of the school-aged children are able to remain in their original school through a federal program that provides transportation,” says Christy Merritt, director of programs. There is no charge to a family that lives at The Drake House, but a rigorous in-take process is


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a prerequisite. Trained social workers work with each family to prepare a personalized empowerment program that is reviewed weekly. A career coach assists mothers with writing their résumés and developing interview skills. Monday nights at The Drake House are busy. Volunteers provide dinner and babysitting for the preschool children while the mothers participate in a mandatory Life Skills class that covers personal finance and budgeting, boundary setting, organizational skills, health and wellness, and parenting. Elementary and middle school students work with tutors, and high school students learn about career choices, budgeting, healthy relationships, and more. Meanwhile, volunteers fill grocery orders for each family from the food pantry and purchase perishables with donated gift cards. The Drake Closet stores help raise awareness of homelessness in North Fulton and raise funds to support The Drake House programs. Located at 825 Mimosa Blvd. in historic Roswell and at 26 Old Roswell St. in historic Alpharetta, the small resale boutiques (manned primarily by volunteers) sell gently used donated women’s clothing and accessories. The average stay for a family at The Drake House is 112 days, and, by saving enough money for a nest egg, there is a promising 77 percent success rate. Community support and partnerships of The Drake House offer families living there — 289 families and 534 children to date — an opportunity for a lift up and out of homelessness. 770-587-4712, ext. 307

Get the Most Out of Training by Scheduling in Advance By Arlene Dickerson Many jobs require continuing education to remain licensed. Doctors, lawyers, financial advisors, engineers and even teachers all have to prove that they are keeping their skills sharp. Unfortunately, due to busy schedules, a lot of us put off that training until the end of the year — a time that is already busy with holidays and deadlines. Scheduling your continuing education classes in advance can give you a number of advantages. Best Choices for Classes and Locations. Certain professions require a specific number of course credits every year, but may not require the course work to be in a specific niche. If you work primarily in a niche field, however, there may not be a tremendous amount of courses available for you. Registering for

those courses early guarantees you a spot in a class that will be both useful and go toward your credit requirements. Some classes are offered at multiple locations. Signing up early gives you the best chance at a class near your home or office, rather than having to travel an hour or more. Lower Registration Fees. Many training classes offer an “early bird” savings that can sometimes be as much as 50 percent off the registration fees. For expensive classes this can be a huge savings. Take it when you can! Take Pressure Off of Yourself. If you are required to complete a specific number of hours annually, planning them throughout the year takes the pressure off of yourself. You can plan your workload and meetings with plenty of notice so that you can focus and get

the most out of your class. Leave Room for Rescheduling. It happens to all of us. Sometimes, even the By Arlene plans Dickinson best-laid develop a kink. Scheduling your classes earlier in the year gives you flexibility in case something comes up. You will have time to reschedule the class, or even retake it, if need be. Putting a little bit of foresight into scheduling your continuing education can reduce stress and save you money. That helps make for a successful training experience.

Arlene Dickerson is the co-owner/ director of Technical Resource Solutions. 678-928-9491,



Academic Independence High School Graduates 75 at Winter Commencement Independence High School held its winter commencement ceremony recently for 75 graduating seniors. The ceremony was held at The Milton Center auditorium. Emma Thomas Halpin, class of 2003, gave the commencement address. Margaret Pupillo, area executive director for the Northwest Learning Community, certified the diplomas on behalf of the Fulton County Board of Education. Graduates also were honored with a catered brunch, courtesy of Principal Tabatha Taylor, and a postcommencement reception hosted by St. James United Methodist Church. Independence is a fully accredited Fulton County public school of choice.

Valentine’s Day

is Still a Special Day By Christy Noll

There are several beliefs as to the origin of Valentine’s Day. The Catholic Church recognizes several saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Saint Valentine was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers (who were forbidden to marry because they thought single men made better soldiers). Presumably, Saint Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s daughter and wrote his love a letter, “From Your Valentine,” as a farewell; the expression is still used today. I think of love, friendship, roses, chocolate, jewelry, cards, and kids’ 26

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Creek View Elementary Hosts Fun Run

Ken Thompson, a parent volunteer, leads firstgraders in Creek View Elementary School’s Cheetah Challenge Fun Run.

More than 350 teachers, students and parents participated in Creek View Elementary School’s third annual Cheetah Challenge Fun Run, held recently at the school. The Cheetah Challenge was started in 2011 by the PTA as a way to promote a healthier lifestyle. Each grade ran the 1K/.62-mile course. Another Broken Egg provided a healthy breakfast for all participants and their families. Other event sponsors included Eric A. Johnson DDS, Fuel Up to Play 60, Harry’s Farmer’s Market, Big Peach Running Company, Jason’s Deli, Athleta, and the Windward Lake Club.

Northwood Elementary Wins Reading Bowl Northwood Elementary School (NES) won Fulton County’s Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl Competition for the second consecutive year. Students read from a list of 14 nominated books, then studied and discussed them in depth. The quiz bowl competition featured 11 Fulton elementary schools in a one-on-one round robin format. Members of the team are Annie Cloonan, Kelli Morgan, Maci Cottingham, Taylor Graham, Jackson Courtney, Alex Krajewski, Skyler DeWitt, Maggie Nolen, Sophia Refeca, and Chase Critser. The team is coached by Northwood Media Center parapro Claudia Tillison and Media Instructor/Team Coach Cheryl Corrigan.

crafts with Valentine’s Day. But, my 11-year-old son said it best when I asked what Valentine’s Day means to him. “Valentine’s Day is when you do something special for those you care about.” As a child, I took a red plastic basket or a decorated paper bag to school to exchange Valentine cards. Today, kids decorate shoe boxes with wrapping paper or construction paper and a slit in the top to collect their friends’ Valentine cards. Preschool and elementary classes have cookies and refreshments and make Valentine crafts. My family recognizes Valentine’s Day with cards (store-bought by me and handmade or designed on the computer by the kids and my husband), small toys for the kids, and roses or chocolate for me! My husband and I used to go out to dinner before we had children; now, we usually make a nice family dinner or all go out to eat together. When the kids were preschool age, I dressed them in red and

had their photo taken at Picture People in the mall for the grandparents! Several fun and affordable ideas to make Valentine’s Day special for your family and friends include roses from Costco (only $20); making a keepsake plate from a “wired and fired” store; making chocolate-covered pretzels; and baking heart-shaped cookies with pink icing and sprinkles. Pinterest also has some fun do-it-yourself Valentine crafts, including handprint hearts on decorated paper and framed in a typography frame found at Wal-Mart for only $2.50 (idea from Just remember that you don’t have to “go big” to make Valentine’s Day special for the ones you love.

Christy Noll is founder of, a resource that connects North Fulton families with community organizations, programs and events.

Grant Programs Help Keep Student Drivers Safer at North Fulton High Schools

Fulton County Schools wants all students to be safe on the road. Unfortunately, car crashes remain the No. 1. cause of death for teens, and drivers ages 15-19 have a higher rate of crashes, injuries and fatalities than adult and elderly drivers. In fact, last year car crashes took the lives of 156 teen drivers in Georgia. Recently, the Fulton County School System received a $45,000 SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) grant from the Georgia

Office of Highway Safety to help combat these somber statistics. The grant will fund SADD activities and programs at 13 high schools in Fulton County, including Alpharetta High School, Cambridge High School, Centennial High School, Chattahoochee High School, Johns Creek High School, Northview High School and Roswell High School in the North Fulton area. At these schools, SADD chapters are designed to address drinking and driving among teens during the 2013-14 school year through the following activities: • • •

Establish or maintain a SADD chapter; Complete a minimum of two safetybelt checks; SADD & The Law: 21 or Bust; SADD

• •

& The Law: SADD Mobilizes; Mock Car Crash; Lights On For Life Day; Safe Prom or Safe Graduation activities; Provide leadership training to SADD chapter members; and Support impaired driving prevention activities.

Throughout the rest of the school year, high schools will participate in these programs, as well as encourage healthy and substance-free living prevention and intervention programs. Schools are also encouraged annually to observe Alcohol Education Month (November), Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month (December), Parenting is Prevention Month (March), Alcohol Awareness Month (April), and Worldwide “No Tobacco” Day (May 31).



Local event planners offer tips and trends for choosing the perfect place for your dream wedding. By Michelle Martin


any brides-to-be have been designing their wedding day since they were little girls. Little by little over the years, they’ve pieced together many of the important details to plan the wedding of their dreams. Even so, many couples find themselves overwhelmed with all the decisions, including choosing a wedding venue, once the dream becomes reality. Two local wedding planners offer their insight into current trends and important factors to consider when selecting the perfect spot to say “I do.” Pam Elmore, owner of Pampered Events (PamperedEventsInc. com), has been planning weddings and other special events for more than 20 years. She has some crucial advice for brides-to-be. “Most brides want to pick out their dress first, but I would rank the wedding venue even more important than the bride’s dress,” she says. “The sooner you select and book your


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wedding venue, the more likely you are to get your preferred place on your preferred date.” Natalie Durham, owner of Arranged to Eat (ArrangedToEat. com), suggests couples have a certain theme in mind before selecting their wedding venue. “It’s easier to pick a venue when you understand the kind of experience you want, not only for yourself, but also your guests,” she says. “Choosing a venue that has meaning to you as a couple will enhance the personal quality of your special day.” Elmore and Durham provide the full range of wedding planning services to clients throughout metro Atlanta and north Georgia, including North Fulton and surrounding areas. While many couples choose a wedding venue close to home, more and more are venturing 30 minutes or more outside their local area. Dahlonega, Ga., the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, and Highlands, N.C., are increasingly popular destinations for weddings. According to Elmore and Durham,

these locales offer the natural beauty and historic charm that couples want to reflect their style and personalities. “Dahlonega’s vineyards/wineries, countryside barns, bed-and-breakfasts, and rolling hills provide a gorgeous wedding backdrop,” Elmore says, noting that the area has averaged more than 500 weddings annually in recent years. “Dahlonega is close enough to drive to, yet still offers guests a change of scenery and a variety of activities that can turn a wedding into a weekend getaway.” The Smoky Mountains and Highlands areas continue to be popular wedding destinations for couples who want to take advantage of their spectacular views as their wedding backdrop. “Rustic elegance is one of the biggest trends currently in wedding venues,” Durham says. “These areas offer the rustic, beautiful setting and romantic ambience that couples want, and keep decorating to a minimum.”



According to Elmore and Durham, other popular wedding venues available locally include lakefronts and outdoor venues; private (historic) homes; country clubs, hotel ballrooms and conference centers; and restaurants, museums and botanical gardens, just to name a few. The many different settings and styles can leave couples feeling confused and uncertain. To help couples select their perfect wedding venue, Elmore and Durham suggest narrowing the options based on the following key considerations (after budget, of course).

What time of year do you have in mind for your wedding, and do you want an indoor or outdoor ceremony? While outdoor venues provide a beautiful setting for wedding ceremonies, they are always dependent upon the weather. “I always advise couples who go with an outdoor venue to have a great ‘Plan B’ — and ‘Plan B’ is never their dream wedding,” Elmore says. She also cautions couples against outdoor weddings in the summer, because the heat and humidity can make guests uncomfortable and also ruin the wedding party’s hair and makeup for photographs.

Do you want a traditional church wedding? Many churches do not have ample space and/or facilities to accommodate wedding receptions, which can limit couples who want their ceremony and reception at the same venue. But, churches still offer a lot of benefits. “Churches are still a great option for couples who want a meaningful, sacred ceremony,” Elmore says. “Plus, they are available year-round, are budget-friendly, and can be beautifully but simply 30

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decorated with flowers and candles.” Both Elmore and Durham agree that it’s best to choose a reception venue within close proximity of the church to make it more convenient for guests.

Would you like the wedding venue to reflect your interests? If you like to hike, for example, you may want to consider a wedding venue in the mountains, just as Durham did for her own wedding. Couples who like to dance may want a venue that has a dance floor and can accommodate a live band. Or, couples who love the arts may want to consider a museum or theatre as their wedding venue. “It’s important not to force a venue to fit you, but for you and your guests to naturally fit into the place,” she says.

Do you want to use specific vendors? Some couples have in mind a certain bakery or caterer for the wedding cakes and other food that will be served at the reception. Durham and Elmore say this could be a sticking point, as more and more venues are limiting clients to use only their preferred vendors or are charging a substantial fee for outside vendors. “Make sure you understand the additional costs associated with using outside vendors,” Elmore says. “Most venues still charge a fee to slice and serve the wedding cakes.” Adds Durham, “Often, there are minimums

to meet for food and drinks, which can be quite costly. Choosing a venue that is flexible and allows outside vendors is highly recommended.” Whether using the venue’s preferred vendors or outside vendors, Elmore advises couples to ask for a tasting before making a decision.

Is an all-inclusive venue important to you? Hotels, banquet halls and conference centers typically can provide everything — including the food, cake, flowers, décor, tables and seating, music, and coordinator services — to make the wedding planning process as simple and streamlined as possible for couples. “Hotels are a great choice for couples who will have a lot of out-of-town guests attending their wedding,” Durham says. All-inclusive venues that offer an on-site wedding coordinator may still require a designated person or professional event planner to oversee all of the details on the actual wedding day, she adds. While all-inclusive venues can make the wedding process easier and less stressful for couples, Elmore says they should be prepared to compromise in some areas. “Most venues do an outstanding job overall, but may not offer exactly what couples had in mind in some areas. It’s important for couples to identify what are non-negotiable ‘must-haves’ for them. Knowing these ‘must-haves’ will help couples to narrow their choices to the venues that most closely match their dream wedding.”




e By Catherin



ichael Dillon’s passion for art and community runs deep. “Communities are getting farther away from cookie-cutter and are moving toward craftsmanship,” he says. “People are starting to understand that if it is from the heart, then they can enjoy it more.” Dillon has more than 20 years’ experience as a blacksmith and owner of Dillon Forge blacksmith shop in Crabapple, but he is much more than a blacksmith. He creates sculpture, railings, and furniture, primarily forged from iron, and also works with stainless steel, bronze, aluminum, and carved stone. Originally from Kansas, Dillon graduated from Kansas City Art Institute and also studied art at the University of Georgia through an international graduate studies program in Cortona, Italy. “My desire is to create a visual work of art that reflects the nature of what the client envisions,” he says. Dillon describes his current art as having two parts: his studio work, which

S c u l p t o r,

reflects his personal feeling of what he’s taking from the world; and his public art, which refers to commissioned pieces designed around a requested concept. Recently, the City of Duluth selected Dillon over 80 other artists to design a focal piece for the city’s round-a-bouts. Inspired by Duluth’s farming history and paying homage to Agco, an American agricultural equipment manufacturer whose headquarters are in Duluth, Dillon is already at work on the public art piece. “This is a new and exciting time for Duluth, and a great starting point for the city. The fact that Mayor Harris secured funding for this project from private donations is really neat.” In addition to the Duluth display in progress, Dillon designed a piece of public art at McCabe Park in Nashville. Dillon forged the piece, “Aileron,” from iron and bronze; it measures 18x25x4 feet. The piece was inspired by the constant movement in the park and the bi-planes that once flew in and out. Dillon says the response to “Aileron” has been great, and local teachers have created assignments around the piece. He also has a piece, “Fire Bird,” on display at Fire Station No. 39 in Charlotte, N.C. In addition, Dillon is collaborating with Chaim Avneri in creating a holocaust memorial for Chabad of Cobb.

the physical process of forming, shaping and building each piece as much as the creative process behind each piece.” Dillon is excited about the art movement throughout the United States. “More and more people are finding purpose and fulfillment in art. From creating artistic pieces to organic foods, there is a growing trend toward art, and it is exciting to see this happen.” Working in his shop behind his home, Dillon says he is “living his dream.” Surrounded by the tools of his trade and by many masterpieces forged by his own hands, as well as his home and his family, Dillon says, “My family and community inspire me every day. I love what I do, inspired by nature, blacksmithing, and industrial machinery.”

What differentiates Dillon from many other artists, he says, is that he does 99 percent of the work himself. “I enjoy

Catherine Groves has lived in Georgia for 15 years and has lived in the South for considerably longer. Catherine studied psychology, is working on an English degree, and is writing her first novel.


North Fulton Family Life | FEBRUARY 2014


Be an Encourager By Ron Bradley, D. Min.

We can never receive too much encouragement! No one has ever said to me, “Pastor, you are too supportive!” The following fable illustrates my point. A group of frogs were traveling through the woods and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs told the two frogs that they were as good as dead. The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop; that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop

the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?” The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time! Moral of the story: There is power of life the power of life and/or death and/or death in our words. in our words. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day. A destructive word to someone who is discouraged can be what takes him/her down. Special is the individual who will take the time to encourage another.

“ There is the

As a young man, NewWay Ministries’ Larry Crabb — who had a stuttering problem — was encouraged to participate in his church’s communion services by praying out loud. In a terribly confused prayer, he recalls “thanking the Father for hanging on the cross and praising Christ for triumphantly bringing the Spirit from the grave.” When he finished, he vowed he would never again speak or pray out loud in front of a group. Before he could leave, an older man stopped him. “Larry, there’s one thing I want you to know. Whatever you do for the Lord, I’m behind you one thousand percent.” I desire to be an encourager like that, don’t you?

Ron Bradley is the pastor at First Baptist Church Roswell. 770-587-6980,



Store Essential Travel-Related Documents on Your Smartphone By Michael Consoli

Your smartphone’s photo album can be used for more than collecting snapshots of family, friends and the great-looking entrée you just had at your favorite restaurant. I recommend using it to store photos of your important travel documents. To be clear, you must bring the original hard copies when you travel, but having pictures of certain documents will provide you with back-up in the event something is lost or stolen. Having digital copies of these documents also makes it easy for you in the event you need to email or text a document to someone. LIFESTYLE

Make sure to take close-up photos and check that they’re clear and readable. Here’s a list of seven important documents to include:

Identification: Your passport gives you proof of citizenship, as well as supplying a photo ID. In lieu of a passport, save a picture of your driver’s license and birth certificate. Make sure identification numbers and details are readable.


North Fulton Family Life | FEBRUARY 2014

Prescription Medication: Save a picture of each pharmacy bottle, showing the name and dosage of your medication. Travel Reservations: If you don’t have your e-document emails saved to your phone, keep a photo of your airline e-ticket, hotel reservation and cruise-line boarding pass. Insurance Policy: Save a picture of the front page of your travel insurance policy, showing the name of the insured, the policy number, and the insurance company’s contact phone number.

Valuables: If you’re traveling

with valuable items like jewelry, camera equipment or a laptop computer, store photos of them on your smartphone. If any of these items are available for sale at your destination, you should include photos of receipts in the event you’re questioned by local customs officials when you return home.

Parking Lot: This isn’t a

document, but there’s nothing worse than getting home from vacation and forgetting where the car is parked! If you’ve parked at the airport or cruise port, take a picture of the locator sign near your car.

Travel Agent’s Business Card:

Know how to contact your agent in the event you have questions or need assistance while traveling.

Smartphones are truly versatile devices with many uses above and beyond making phone calls and sending text messages. Keeping copies of travel documents on your smartphone will provide you with some added peace of mind while you’re traveling. L

Michael Consoli is a professional travel and cruise specialist and owner of Cruise Planners. 770-650-7667,

Call or visit the website for details and registration. 770-993-8806, February 5, 12, 19 & 26 ProAlliance Networking Wednesdays, 7:30 a.m. GNFCC Office ProAlliance, held each Wednesday at the GNFCC office, features a light breakfast and casual networking in small groups. This format allows you to share information about your business/work in a non-threatening environment, develop leads for potential new business, and help others reach their goals.

Movie Tavern 4651 Woodstock Road Roswell

Celia Sandoval State Farm 990 Holcomb Bridge Road Suite 1 Roswell

Doctor’s Hearing Center Inc. 1118 State Bridge Road Suite 207 Johns Creek

February 5 & March 5 Lunch Connection 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. The Metropolitan Club 5895 Windward Parkway, Alpharetta Held the first Wednesday of each month, Lunch Connection includes 30 minutes of interactive networking emphasizing the exchange of critical information about you and your organization. Lunch will be served and content delivered as selected speakers share valuable insight on various local and national business trends. February 25 Eggs & Enterprise 7:30 a.m. Location and speaker TBA Monthly breakfast sessions feature distinguished keynote speakers with timely topics and issues facing the North Fulton region. From education to economic development, to public policy and political advocacy, this is the place to be to stay on top of the issues and meet the leaders making the decisions and, at the same time, make valuable contacts. March 27 & 28 GNFCC Business Expo Marriott Windward 5750 Windward Parkway, Alpharetta

Nothing Bundt Cakes Alpharetta 5230 Windward Parkway Suite 102 Alpharetta


North Fulton Family Life | FEBRUARY 2014

April 26 41st Annual Chairman’s GALA 6:00-11:00 p.m. The St. Regis Atlanta 88 W. Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta

Cold Sores By Vishant Nath, D.M.D.

Anyone who suffers from cold sores can attest to the pain and discomfort that they cause. Due to the nature of the virus that causes cold sores, once you develop a single cold sore, you are susceptible to developing them in the future. Here are some tips for preventing the spread of the virus and for treating cold-sore outbreaks. Cold sores are groups of small blisters that form on the lips or around the mouth. The blisters contain a clear fluid. They can be quite painful, especially if they break open and scab over. The herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) causes cold sores. Once a person has HSV-1, it remains in his/her system for life. The virus can remain dormant for long periods of time and occasionally become active, causing a cold sore. HSV-1 is extremely

contagious. It is spread by the transfer of the fluid inside the blister. This most commonly occurs by kissing someone or sharing cups or eating utensils with someone who has a cold sore. It can even be spread by someone who has HSV-1 in his/her saliva, but does not have an active cold sore infection.

occur. Once you notice this tingling here are some tips to keep in mind: •

“Once a person has HSV-1, it

remains in his/her system for life.” Some over-the-counter medications provide relief from cold sores via numbing the pain or promoting faster healing time, but none will prevent the blisters from forming. If you have HSV-1, it’s very important to become sensitive to the warning signals of a cold sore flare-up. The area where the blisters will form will start to tingle before the blisters

Especially if you have children, avoid kissing them or sharing any food, drink, or eating utensils with them until after the blisters have fully and completely healed. Wash your hands frequently during the outbreak. Avoid touching your eyes, as the virus can be spread to your eyes, causing ocular herpes. This is a potentially serious eye infection.

Certain situations seem to trigger HSV-1 to become active. These include colds and the flu, lack of proper diet and exercise, lack of sleep, and exposure to the sun without SPF protection. For additional information and advice, consult your dentist or physician.

Dr. Vishant Nath is the owner of Canton/Roswell Pediatric Dentistry. 678-352-1090,




Taste of Serves 8



Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding

6 slices dried bread, cut into ½-inch cubes 1 cup hot water 1 cup packed brown sugar 4 eggs, lightly beaten 2 cups warm milk ½ cup sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoon cinnamon 1 8 teaspoon salt Vanilla sauce

Place the bread in a greased 2-quart baking dish. Mix the hot water and brown sugar in a bowl. Pour over the bread. Combine the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and mix well. Pour over the top. Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Drizzle with vanilla sauce. Can be served warm or cold.

Vanilla Sauce 2 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon cornstarch 3 tablespoons butter ¾ cup milk ¼ cup light corn syrup 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Sauce Mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in the sugar mixture. Add the milk and corn syrup and stir to mix well. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla. Serve warm.

Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce Recipe is from the “At Your Service: Southern Recipes, Places and Traditions” cookbook, produced by the Junior League of Gwinnett & North Fulton Counties (JLGNF). Since 1986, JLGNF has been serving the women and children of Gwinnett, North Fulton and South Forsyth counties. The mission of JLGNF is to strengthen the community by creating and implementing collaborative volunteer projects, including programs aimed at building self-esteem in girls ages 5-8. In addition to the cookbook, JLGNF’s fundraising efforts include an Attic Sale in the fall and the “High Heels High Times” fashion and shopping event in the spring.


North Fulton Family Life | FEBRUARY 2014


Weed Prevention By Lisa Ethridge

Weeds are unwanted plants that deprive desirable plants of water, light, and soil nutrients. Some proactive work in early spring can prevent these pesky plants from sprouting and save hours of back-breaking work during the hot summer months. Elimination of weeds will also improve the growth and beauty of the plants you love. All garden soil contains weed seeds, which wait beneath the soil’s surface for rays of sunlight to germinate them. After germination, the chaotic circle begins. One single weed can produce anywhere from 10,000 to more than 100,000 seeds. An old gardening

proverb proclaims, “One year’s seeds yield seven years’ weeds.” Mulch has multiple benefits in the garden. A good 3-inch layer cools the soil, retains moisture, and smothers seeds, thereby keeping weeds at bay. It will also feed the soil as it decomposes. Before applying mulch, consider installing a sheet of landscape fabric or layers of newspaper to such areas as foundation plantings, where there are established bushes. The fabric won’t work well in areas where there are bulbs or other plants that naturally multiply and spread. The next step is to choose mulch that will make the bed more attractive and last throughout the year. Some folks use shredded leaves as mulch. In our area, shredded bark or chips are common. Pine straw looks good and can be home to beneficial insects. Pebbles and rocks are good for weed control and drainage. It’s a good idea to mulch

young or new plants with compost of some kind. A plant that’s just getting established will benefit from the slow release of nutrients in the compost. Using a variety of mulch materials adds dimension to the landscaping. Because mulch can suffocate tree roots, proceed with caution when mulching around a tree. Place mulch several inches from the trunk with an increasing depth away from the tree to create a basin to catch water and nourish the root system. This year, make a game plan for preventing weeds and stick with it. Proactive weed prevention means you’ll spend less time weeding and more time enjoying your garden. Lisa Ethridge is a certified master gardener with North Fulton Master Gardeners, part of the UGA Cooperative Extension Service. 404-613-7670,





Alpine Bakery & Trattoria


Audio Intersection


Bloom Orthodontics


Camp Juliette Low


Cigar Merchant


Cruise Planners

9, 31

DeMercy Dental


Dentistry at Milton

Inside Front

The Framing Studio

Inside Back

GNFCC Business Expo

Back Cover

H&H Electric & Security LLC


Healthy Smiles of Georgia


Little River Animal Hospital


Mini Maid


North Atlanta Ear, Nose & Throat Associates

Inside Back

Northside Cardiology


Northside Hospital-Forsyth Northside Heart & Vascular Institute

1 Cover, 20-22

Pete’s Plumbing Inc.


Reinhardt University


Robinson & Miller Attorneys at Law


Roswell/Milton Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics Schakolad Chocolate Factory


Technical Resource Solutions LLC


Williamson Bros. Catering & Event Planning North Fulton Family Life | FEBRUARY 2014


Talk of the Table

Tryst Hair Salon & Boutique



5 31




Stone Mountain, GA

Permit #1037

N Fulton 2 14  

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