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NW GEORGIA’S PREMIER FEATURE READER / JANUARY 2011

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HAHA

M AG A Z I N E

The super-sweet success story behind Georgia’s favorite homegrown beer

$4.00


NW GEORGIA’S PREMIER FEATURE READER / JANUARY 2011

E BR W

HAHA

M AG A Z I N E

The super-sweet success story behind Georgia’s favorite homegrown beer

$4.00


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CLEAN, AFFORDABLE ENERGY IS GETTING A FACE-LIFT.

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V3magazine JANUARY2011

Departments/Features Columns 14 SMALL TALK: Q+A

Three-time NBA Finals champion James Worthy talks about the current state of the game and his new must-win cause

20 NWGA SCRAPBOOK

32 CENTS & SENSIBILITY

Long before the advent of Broad Street or our beloved Clock Tower, there were five ambitious men and one very important hat

A little hope for the new year, Mr. Steele? Looking to the 2011 economic forecast, even the beans wish they were greener

28 COVER STORY

40 INSIDE & OUT

How Sweetwater Brewing Company’s merry band of beer-makers sewed up the title for “dankest” suds in the Dirty South

For Dianna Edwards, a whiff of one very special scent evokes memories of kindness, “Great Shade”, and time immemorial

36 UP-AND-COMERS

42 TAKE ON HEALTH

Rome-bred artist and Dodd School whiz, Rob Dellenback, fights smoke with fire in the form of a smelly old dromedary

Dr. Chad Wagner of Harbin Clinic Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine fields our FAQs on sports-related injury


Serving Rome for 37 years

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PUBLISHER’S NOTE It was the year 2000, and Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Ca. was the backdrop for what would become one of the more memorable trips of my life.

Accompanied by four very close friends, I had traveled across the country to bid a temporary farewell to what is and always will be my favorite band, Phish. I spent the better part of my youth following their music from city to city, splashing broadcasting classes into my schedule when I could, and earlier that year Phish had announced that they would be taking an indefinite hiatus after a 21-show fall tour ending in Mountain View. This was perfect timing. At last I was on the home stretch to finishing school in Charlotte, which my love for traveling to see the group’s live performances had delayed long enough. And so, one last time, I made the necessary arrangements to cut a few more classes in order to fly out to San Francisco and bid my boys a fond farewell. As with most excursions of this nature, there are more stories to tell than I could (or would) if I had the entirety of this magazine to publish them. One I will tell, however, came bubbling to the surface just last month, as I sat at the bar of Atlanta’s own Sweetwater Brewery chatting it up with founder/owner Freddy Bensch (see “Sweet Taste of Victory”, pg. 28). Oddly enough, Bensch was in the middle of recounting how his domestic beer giant had gotten its start when, suddenly, I remembered the exact moment that I enjoyed my very first Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale. My Phish-loving chums and I had ridden the CalTrain (think MARTA, only way more efficient) from our hotel in San Jose up to Mountain View for the first of the shows Oct. 6-7, 2000. As we cruised through one of several gravel-laden parking areas set against the rolling hills of that gorgeous Bay Area region, I heard the familiar voices of hipster salesmen offering free-market deals on goods, food and, of course, beer. But on this day in particular, I heard the call of “Sweetwater 420! One for $3, two for $5!” Figuring I’d give something new a try, I reached for my wallet. I took the two-for-$5 offer and passed one to my nearest friend. Ooh, tasty! I thought upon cracking it open. Then I began to study the label on my little bottle of joy. Clearly printed on the befittingly fishthemed designed was an Atlanta address, which, being a tried and true Georgia boy in a sea of West-Coasters, made me smile even wider as I took my first sip. Both Freddy Bensch and Sweetwater marketing director, Steve Farace, were amazed to hear that my first sampling of their “baby” had taken place so far outside of their distribution area at that time. Chance delivered me to the right peddler at the right moment of thirst, I guess. Coupled with the breath-taking beauty of my California surroundings that afternoon, my first sip of Sweetwater 420 has stayed with me. And though I have enjoyed many of the complementary flavors produced by the Georgia-based brewer since, I honestly don’t think that moment would have tasted nearly as sweet without Bensch’s signature Pale Ale. Hopefully, you all will enjoy the all-access peek into Sweetwater Brewery featured in this month’s V3, as well as the other intriguing features surrounding it.

Ian Griffin, Advertising/Sales Director

M AG A Z I N E NW GEORGIA’S PREMIER FEATURE READER / JANUARY 2011

BREW

HAHA

M AG A Z I N E

The super-sweet success story behind Georgia’s favorite homegrown beer

$4.00

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF + PRODUCTION MANAGER + ART&DESIGN neal howard STAFF WRITERS anna armas, will seifert, reagen lowrey, matt rood, brian foster, j. bryant steele, dianna edwards PHOTOGRAPHY derek bell, sabrina wilson CONTRIBUTING PHOTOS avery white, russell mcclanahan CHIEF OF ADVERTISING + OFFICE MANAGER/SALES DIRECTOR ian griffin AD SALES + CLIENT RELATIONS chris forino, shadae yancey, terence broxterman AD DESIGN + CREATIVE ENGINEERING brittany howes PUBLISHER v3 publications, llc CONTACT one west fourth avenue, rome, ga 30161/ phone: 706.235.0748 email: v3publicatons@gmail.com

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ORTHOPAEDICS & SPORTS MEDICINE

Harbin Clinic welcomes Chad Martin Wagner, M.D., to Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine Dr. Wagner comes to Harbin Clinic from WinstonSalem, North Carolina. He graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in History. He received his Medical Doctrate Degree from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem. Dr. Wagner completed his residency in Family Medicine from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. He completed a Primary Care Sports Medicine fellowship from Wake Forest University. He is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine with a Certificate of Added Qualification in Primary Care Sports Medicine. He is a member of the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Dr. Wagner, his wife and children reside in Rome.

Chad Martin Wagner, M.D. Orthopaedics HARBIN CLINIC ORTHOPAEDICS Physicians Center-Suite 2000 330 Turner McCall Boulavard Rome, GA 30165 706.236.6362 harbinclinic.com 12

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WE’RE NOT WORTHY! Intro Brian Foster + Neal Howard Q+A Brian Foster Photos Derek Bell


This year’s guest speaker for the annual Rome High School football banquet may not have made a name for himself carrying the pigskin, but he was undoubtedly an inspiration to the dozens of young athletes who gathered to hear him talk Dec. 16. Taking the stage was former Los Angeles Lakers legend and 2003 NBA Hall of Fame inductee, JAMES WORTHY, who spoke to a star-struck house at Georgia Northwestern Technical College about what’s important outside of sports and how to overcome some of the struggles that teens face day to day. During his 13 seasons with the Lakers, Worthy helped lead a dynastic team alongside fellow legends Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar. He won three NBA titles with Los Angeles ('85, '87, '88) and was a seven-time all-star. The 6’9” small forward’s storied career began in 1979 under coach/icon Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a future number one draft pick and mentor to developing freshman Michael Jordan, Worthy anchored the Tar Heels on their way to an NCAA Championship in 1982. Subsequently, he was named Most Outstanding Player of the ’82 NCAA Final Four. These days, though, the all-time great is simply about elevating the spirits of young people, so that they may reach the same heights to which he so gracefully soared.

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(top left) Worthy takes time out for a laugh with Rome High Booster Club president, Duane Reid. (far right) One of the three NBA title rings Worthy earned as a member of the dominant L.A. Lakers, this one from 1988. (below) Worthy speaks to an attentive crowd of Rome High players, boosters and long-time fans at the school’s annual football banquet Dec. 16.

NBA player. I’m really trying to create an authentic student-athlete and you really have to get through to them early—by the 6th or 7th grade—and teach them how to be a student first, then an athlete. We also do a lot of work with the military. We try to help [service members] with government grants and applying for small business applications. On the foundation side we have a lot of missions, but my primary goal is enhancing the lives of the youth. I also do a lot of public speaking and I’m involved in a number of business ventures.

[V3] What’s been keeping you busy lately? I understand that you have a broadcasting job with the Lakers and that you also do a lot of work with [the James Worthy Foundation]… [JW] My primary job is in Los Angeles as an NBA broadcaster for Viacom. They have two television stations out there. With one of them, we broadcast all of the Lakers away games—pre-game show, halftime show and postgame. I’ve been busy with that almost the whole time since I’ve been retired. With the James Worthy Foundation we are doing what we can to enhance the lives of kids; to get them off the field, out of the gym, and give them some realistic opportunities. I tell kids all the time that they probably have a better chance of becoming an astronaut than they do becoming an

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what comes to mind. But the main thing I’m hoping they’ll realize is—and something that is an important part of their lives right now—is that they need to make the decisions that are going to best suit their futures. My talks try to [focus on] the real issues that they are dealing with right now. Drugs are a big issue…with kids; sex and teen pregnancy; dropping out of high school… I try to convey to them a message that will allow them to think and, also, understand the statistics of what happens in certain situations. I also try to tell them what it was like for me coming up and some of the struggles that I went through, so that they can relate. But I want to tell them not to get brainwashed [and put everything they have

“...I want to tell them not to get brainwashed [and put everything they have into] sports because it doesn’t last long and there aren’t enough slots for everybody. That’s my message to the kids—and that they have a great opportunity to exceed and excel.”

In speaking to the student-athletes of Rome High tonight, are you hoping to try to instill in them some of the broader visions that the James Worthy Foundation has for America’s young people? I don’t really have a speech when I talk to kids, I just go with the flow and talk about


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Dish

the

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Worthy autographs a basketball for a long-time UNC Tar Heels fan, one of many who showed up to meet the former Chapel Hill star Dec. 16.

trades…that put the Lakers in at first choice. But playing with those guys—Magic, Kareem, Michael Cooper and Bob McAdoo—we really liked each other. We had great chemistry and good cohesiveness. (Coach) Pat Riley drove us pretty hard. Winning those championships, there was a lot of pressure on you. How would you compare your time in the NBA with the current look of the league? Again we seem to be seeing the rise of the [dominant powers]. …I may be a little biased but, when I played, everybody cared about the game. The fundamentals were sound and the chemistry was really there amongst a lot of teams. I can’t knock these guys today, though. There is a ton of talent. But there are a lot of kids coming out [of college] early and the fundamentals, in some cases, are into] sports because it doesn’t last long and there aren’t enough slots for everybody. That’s my message to the kids—and that they have a great opportunity to exceed and excel.

“...Playing with those guys— Magic, Kareem, Michael Cooper and Bob McAdoo—we really liked each other. We had great chemistry and good cohesiveness ...Winning those championships, there was a lot of pressure on you.”

You played on some of the greatest basketball teams of all time. You won championships in the NCAA and in the NBA, and as a star amongst stars, you played with and against some of the greatest to ever take the court—Jordan, Magic, Bird, Kareem. What is it like playing so well at such a high level? I played with Magic, but Michael played with me. [Laughs] It was a blessing just to get a scholarship. That was all I really wanted to do. Playing for Dean Smith was a dream come true, especially after watching him bring Charlie Scott to the ACC. He was just a really conscientious man. Winning a championship—Coach Smith’s first one in ’82—was amazing. Getting drafted by the Lakers, a team with Magic and Kareem and those guys, was probably the best thing that ever happened to me as first pick in the draft. Usually, the first pick goes to the worst team, but I was very fortunate due to some

lacking. Sometimes I think the product has outgrown the game with all of the marketing and entertainment. But, again, I can’t knock them. They are young and from a [very] different era. Any predictions on who you think could walk away with the 2011 NBA Finals trophy this year? Right now the Celtics are extremely tough. Any time you lose the year before and come back with veteran players, you have a great shot. Orlando could compete down the stretch. But if the Lakers play up to their potential, it should be the Lakers and Celtics playing for it again this year. VVV

For more information on the James Worthy Foundation, please visit JamesWorthyFoundation.org

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The Story of Us Text by Brian Foster Photos courtesy of the Rome Area History Museum

Belying our beloved Rome is a little known tale of five founders, seven hills, and one stunningly simple “hat trick” of a name. (Hint: Just thank your lucky stars we didn’t draw “Warsaw”.) 20

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“For whom, and for what reason, the city of Rome, a name so great in glory and famous in the mouths of all men, was so first called, authors do not agree.” —Plutarch, Life of Romulus, circa 75 A.D.

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he founding of the great city of Rome, the enduring capital of the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic, Roman Empire and Republic of Italy, is riddled in mystery as the ancient historian Plutarch confesses in his Life of Romulus. Was it the ancient Pelasgians, Trojans, or

ancient Greeks who first founded the city? Or did it occur hundreds of years later in the 8th Century B.C., when the mythological twins Romulus and Remus were said to have established Rome on the hills above of the Tiber River? The tale of Romulus and Remus has weathered centuries as the most favored of the foundation fables. Future heirs to the throne of the Kingdom of Alba, as infants, the two were left for dead on the banks of a stream by their great uncle, King Amulius. Nursed to health by a she-wolf and

woodpecker, and under the guidance of their adoptive father, Faustulus, the twins grew to be strong, smart and capable men. Upon learning of their divine/royal lineage, they fought Amulius and restored the throne of Alba to its rightful ruler, their grandfather, Numitor. The brothers then returned to their adoptive home on the banks of the Tiber and decided to build a great city, the city of Rome. Nestled in the foothills of Georgia’s share of the Appalachian Mountains, the nascent beginnings of another Rome, though humble in comparison to the mythological origins of its forbearer, are somewhat more realistic. But they are not without legend. By the early 1830s, “Head of Coosa”, a wet, wooded peninsula at the confluence of the Etowah and Oostanaula Rivers (the present-day location of downtown Rome), was in the geographic center of a slowly eroding Cherokee populace. “Everywhere were woods except at the forks, and that was swampy and full of willows, with an occasional sturdy tree and hungry mosquito,” writes early Rome historian and biographer, George M. Battey, Jr. in his 1922 book, A History of Rome and Floyd County. “The rivers were still alive with fish; wild turkeys and deer were often seen; snakes were numerous; quail were abundant and squirrel skipped in their native element where Broad Street now extends.” Wolves and bears also still roamed the countryside. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 had just passed. It was an aggressive bill championed by President Andrew Jackson, and one that called for the ceding of all Cherokee territories in the Southeast. For its part in the new law, Georgia, the only state to distribute land to white settlers via a lottery system, held its sixth and seventh land lotteries in 1832, dividing the Cherokee territories of Northwest Georgia into 10 large counties. Jacob Scudder surveyed one of the 10, Floyd County, months later in 1833. Scudder assessed both the Native American populations and the settlement of Cave Spring. At the time of the transfer of land from the native populations to the white settlers, there were over 1,100 “fullblood” or “half-blood” Cherokees within the boundaries of the new county—a population that was none too pleased with this “agreement.” Rome-Floyd County had once been the hunting and battle grounds for the Creek, and later the Cherokee tribes, before they were forced from their lands by a final act of Congress. This forced exodus opened up the territory to a host of settlers, many of them

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Colonel William Smith

looking for new opportunities to become farmers or traders, to look for gold, to begin new families, or simply to get a fresh start. Livingston, a small settlement on the banks of the Coosa that was the former site of an old Indian village in western Floyd County,

the spring of 1834 and the temperatures were steadily rising. After a long day’s travel, Mitchell, who was from Canton, and Hargrove, from Cassville, made the decision to water their horses at a small stream on the wooded peninsula bound to the west and south by the Etowah. To the north lay the Oostanaula. As noted in Jerry Desmond’s, Georgia’s Rome: A Brief History, Colonels Mitchell and Hargrove “sat and rested under a willow tree, [and] they noted the beautiful scenery of the area and the availability of water, thinking it would be a wonderful place to build a town.” Aside from the rural aesthetic of the land, they undoubtedly saw the great potential for commerce, trade and transportation along the three rivers. They weren’t the only ones in area that shared this vision. A local planter by the name of Major Philip W. Hemphill soon approached the two weary travelers. Historian George M. Battey Jr. envisions the fateful meeting as follows: “A stranger (Hemphill) having come up to refresh himself at the spring, and having overheard the conversation, said: ‘Gentlemen, you will pardon me for intruding, but I have been convinced for some time that the location of this place offers exceptional opportunities for building a city that would become the largest and most prosperous in Cherokee Georgia. I live two miles from here. My business takes me now and then to George M. Lavender’s trading post up the Oostanaula there, and I never pass this spot but I

‘Gentleman, you will pardon me for intruding, but I have been convinced for some time that the location of this place offers exceptional opportunities for building a city that would become the largest and most prosperous in Cherokee Georgia.’ was established as the county seat in 1833. It appeared to be the central location in which the new settlers’ commercial affairs would best develop. The jewel of the county, however—and perhaps of the entire region—lay some 12 miles downstream, along the peninsula, at the head of the Coosa River. Passing through the county on the way to court proceedings in Livingston were two lawyers, Colonel Daniel R. Mitchell and Colonel Zachariah B. Hargrove. It was

Colonel Daniel R. Mitchell 22

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think of what could be done.’ ” Major Hemphill invited the two lawyers to be his guests for a couple of nights at his home, a.k.a. “Alhambra”, which, to this day, still stands on the Darlington School campus. The discussions had between the enterprising Hemphill, Mitchell and Hargrove over those two evenings was of the new town at the headwaters of the Coosa River. As the idea developed, they were soon joined in their planning party by a fourth gentlemen, Colonel William Smith of Cave Spring. The four men agreed to pool their money and buy all available lands on the peninsula, as well as ferry rights upon the rivers. General James Hemphill, a cousin of Major Hemphill, was a member of the Georgia legislature and was sought to facilitate the transfer of the county seat from Livingston to the new town. “Since Mitchell and Hargrove were fairly well established elsewhere,” Battey writes, “they agreed to leave the legal matters in the hands of John H. Lumpkin of Oglethorpe County, who was ready to resign as secretary to his uncle, Governor Wilson Lumpkin, and to grow up with the town.” But before the matters of founding a new town were allowed to progress much further, the city would need a name.


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s Plutarch once wrote, the origins of the ancient city of Rome are somewhat mysterious. As the tale of Romulus and Remus became the widely accepted myth of origin, the root of the name “Rome” was attributed to its founder, Romulus. In deciding the exact location to begin the building of their new city, Romulus and Remus were at odds. “Romulus chose what was called Roma Quadrata, or the Square Rome, and would have the city there,” wrote Plutarch. “Remus laid out a

piece of ground on the Aventine Mount, well fortified by nature, which was from him called Remonium, but now Rignarium. Concluding at last to decide the contest by a divination from a flight of birds, and placing themselves apart at some distance. Remus, they say, saw six vultures, and Romulus double that number; others say Remus did truly see his number and that Romulus feigned his, but when Remus came to him, that then he did indeed see twelve.” Remus, believing Romulus to be a cheat and a liar, confronted his brother while he was busy laying the foundations of his city. Remus was struck and killed in the ensuing scuffle; some believe by one who was not Romulus. Nevertheless, after burying his brother, Romulus took the reigns as the city’s lone founder. Mitchell, Hargrove, Hemphill, Smith and Lumpkin (Rome, Ga.’s five gentlemen founders), were a little more amicable than Romulus and Remus in the

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ike Romulus some 25 centuries earlier, the five founders of Georgia’s Rome quickly got to work laying the foundations of their new town. Mitchell was in charge of surveying the land and developing a map of Rome’s first streets and city blocks. “This work was done from (present-day) Third Avenue northward, since the farm below was owned by Col.

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Mitchell, Hargrove, Hemphill, Smith and Lumpkin (Rome, Ga.’s five gentlemen founders), were a little more amicable than Romulus and Remus in the founding and naming of their new city. Instead of...brawling to the death, they chose to place five names into a hat and draw the winner.

founding and naming of their new city. Instead of interpreting divine signals and brawling to the death, they chose to place five names into a hat and draw the winner. As George M. Battey describes the process: “Col. Smith put in the name Hillsboro, typifying the hills, and this later became the name of the suburb he developed, South Rome; Col. Hargrove suggested Pittsburg, after the iron and steel metropolis of Pennsylvania; Col. Hemphill preferred Hamburg, after the great commercial city of Germany; Col. Mitchell, recalling the seven hills of ancient Rome on the Tiber, wanted Rome; and Mr. Lumpkin favored Warsaw, after the city of Poland.” Of course, Rome was the name chosen, and no one lost his life this time around.

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Smith and at the time was considered unsafe for building on account of the high waters...” writes Battey. Smith’s farm was used as a horse track and tournament arena during the dry months, when the banks of the Etowah were neither flooded nor steeped in mud. By the end of 1834, Rome had replaced Livingston as the county seat, and within a year of its founding the city’s first brick

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courthouse was erected, as well as its First Baptist Church. Those first few years, Battey writes, “Rome and Floyd County received, along with many ‘floaters’, a highly substantial and even aristocratic citizenship. The founders were men of character and iron will—accustomed to blazing their way through one kind of forest or another. They started with little and made out with much. There were no luxuries to be had, hence

they worked with the things in nature, and fashioned out of them whatever they could.” Ancient Rome was built on the backs of slaves, as were many of the early buildings of the new Rome. “With almost frantic building of hotels, churches, saloons, stables, dry goods stores and homes, the lumber business boomed,” notes historian Jerry Desmond. “Flatboats carrying fresh cut logs crowded the rivers on a daily basis, much of


a discontented Native American population still in the area, life in Rome never lacked for excitement. “These gangs [of whites and natives] were extremely profane,” Battey writes, “and poisoned the atmosphere for such a distance that ladies and young ladies would never venture closer than across the street. Knife and pistol scrapes were frequent, especially late at night after the more peaceful inhabitants had retired to their beds.” Eventually, laws were put on the books, and the town marshal and local judges began to get a firmer hold on the villainy and lawlessness. As Rome grew, bridges were built across its rivers, steamboats began chugging their way up and down the Coosa and Oostanaula, and trains soon made their way into the heart of the city. By 1850, Rome had a population of approximately 2,500, and commerce, especially the trading of cotton,

“There were no luxuries to be had, hence they worked with the things in nature, and fashioned out of them whatever they could.”

the work being done by black slaves.” Many of these slaves had once been owned by some of the more well-to-do Cherokees in the area, but many traveled with their wellto-do masters into the city as the area was beginning to swell with new settlers. The “floaters” referenced by Battey would give the town a “wild west” flavor for a number of years. Marauding bands of drifters often set up camp in town, and with

was booming rapidly. “Rome had a volunteer fire department, street lamps, a jewelry store, four drugstores, three livery stables, a college for females, a bookstore, a host of lawyers and doctors, a number of grocery stores and a railroad connection to the outside world,” writes Desmond. Saloons and barrooms no doubt outnumbered houses of worship during this period, as well. At the dawn of the Civil War, Rome was one of the fastest growing and finest cities in all of Georgia. But unlike the near impenetrable citadel erected by the ancient Romans, Rome, Ga. was sacked by an occupying force a mere 30 years after its founding. The burning and bombing would not last, though, as the City of Seven Hills would find its foothold again as the cultural and commercial center of the Northwest Georgia region. Romulus and his unfortunate brother, Remus, saw a beautiful patch of land and a wonderful opportunity atop those seven rolling hills along the Tiber, just as Colonels Mitchell and Hargrove did when they first trotted though a wooded strip of land in the spring of 1834. Through war, drought and flood, both cities have endured triumphantly to this very day. VVV

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(below) Sweetwater Brewing Company’s Freddy Bensch toasts to another successful year in the beer business. (left) A fresh batch of brew makes its way down the line at Sweetwater’s Atlanta headquarters.

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here is a lot of TLC that goes into brewing a fine ale, and a lot of people in the world who appreciate one.

Freddy Bensch, known as the “Big Kahuna” in the world of Sweetwater, happens to be both creator and appreciator of such beverages, and has dedicated the bulk of his life to the craft. As founder and owner of the Sweetwater Brewing Company, located just off I-85 in Atlanta, Bensch has enjoyed great success in the domestic beer game. The unique brews that flow out of his facility are distributed at great volume across the Southeast, carrying a look, appeal and taste all their own. Sweetwater’s journey started in the early 1990s, when Bensch was a student at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Already fascinated by the brewing process, he and a friend applied for jobs at the Boulder Brewing Company right after they turned 21. “We had the crappiest jobs in the brewery,” says Bensch. “We were in charge of knocking bungs out of the side of kegs and cleaning them out to be refilled. “I don’t know if you have ever smelled the inside of a keg that has sat around someone’s back yard for a few weeks, but it gets pretty gnarly. So, we basically shot the

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bungs at each other and tried not to throw up while getting them sanitized. “When we finished our first shift, the brewmaster at the time came to us and told us we did a great job, and [said] to help ourselves to a pile of beer. I think we made five bucks an hour but got to take home five cases of beer a day. That pretty much cemented us both in the brewing business.” From there, Bensch seized upon every opportunity to learn the business inside and out. He soon graduated to helping build start-up breweries and, eventually, landed in Charleston, S.C. When that project ended, the search began for a spot to build his own brewery. According to Bensch, it didn’t take very long to choose Atlanta. “We came to Atlanta right before the Olympics,” Bensch says, “and the energy

“We came to Atlanta right before the Olympics and the energy was electric. We hung out and tried some of the beers here, and we felt like we could do something completely different.”

here was electric. We hung out and tried some of the beers here, and we felt like we could do something completely different. Most of the beers we tried from this region were very malty European-type lagers, so we wanted to bring something new to the area.” And so began the highly successful life and times of the Sweetwater Brewing Company, which now sits tucked away in a comfortable Atlanta industrial district. Things weren’t always so cozy though, and, in the end, it would be pure passion and


SWEET TASTE OF SUCCESS

How Freddy Bensch and his merry band of beer-makers made Atlanta’s SWEETWATER BREWING COMPANY the “dankest” taste in the Dirty South

TEXT BY IAN GRIFFIN+NEAL HOWARD. PHOTOS BY DEREK BELL

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work ethic that would carry them from one of the rougher neighborhoods in Atlanta to becoming a domestic powerhouse. “The first location of the brewery was on the complete flipside of where we are now,” says Steve Farace, Sweetwater’s marketing director (a.k.a., “minister of propaganda” to staff members). “Our signage was literally a bumper sticker on the door because we didn’t want people to know we were there.” Farace notes, however, that no matter the location, the focus has remained the same from day one. “We have never based our success on how much money or how much beer we make; it’s all about making the best beer we can make.” Today, the company that started with three employees has ballooned to a roster of 63, all of whom contribute to Sweetwater’s mass production of five year-round brews and five seasonal brews (known as “catch and release” brews to Sweetwater enthusiasts). With all this relatively rapid growth, Bensch now makes it his mission to stay mindful of the company’s humble roots. He seeks to maintain a culture that has fostered great productivity since the days when it was just three guys and a Labrador retriever named Badger. “Our best employee when we first started was my lab, Badger,” says Bensch. “He was our official leak protector, because you knew if he disappeared for a while he had found a leak somewhere. He was one of the best employees we ever had and his footprint is still on the bottom of all our six packs.” With Badger keeping precious suds from finding the company floor, Sweetwater’s three bipedal employees were free to handle

all subsequent duties—building, brewing, and pouring everything they had into their new product. “To be honest with you, the biggest hurdle we had to cross was getting the start-up money and becoming relevant enough to get wholesalers to pick up our brand,” says a candid Bensch. “Once you achieve that growth, it’s all about keeping it going.” And one thing that certainly keeps it going at Sweetwater is the notion that fun breeds a happy staff. This idea is perhaps

best illustrated by a creation affectionately known as the “Dank Tank” (seen above)— i.e., a monstrous vessel adorned with a wildly painted, witch doctor-like figure visible through the glass partition separating the brewery workspace from the tasting area. Four times a year, the tank is filled with an entirely original brew unlike anything brewed before it, and the kicker is that it will never be brewed again. The limited amount of beer is then released, consumed, and quickly retired, giving beer-lovers an

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“SOMETIMES WHEN I REFLECT BACK ON ALL THE BEER I DRINK, I FEEL ASHAMED. THEN I LOOK INTO THE GLASS AND THINK ABOUT THE WORKERS IN THE BREWERY AND ALL OF THEIR HOPES AND DREAMS. IF I DIDN’T DRINK THIS BEER, THEY MIGHT BE OUT OF WORK AND THEIR DREAMS WOULD BE SHATTERED. THEN I SAY TO MYSELF, ‘IT IS BETTER TO DRINK THIS BEER AND LET THEIR DREAMS COME TRUE THAN BE SELFISH AND WORRY ABOUT MY LIVER.’ ” —DEEP THOUGHTS BY JACK HANDEY, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE

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CENTS&SENSIBILITY with J. BRYANT STEELE

Life in a casserole economy Tax-break conundrums, federal compromises and ‘slow change.’ Anybody else looking forward to a new year?

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aise your hand if you had several helpings of green bean casserole over the holiday season.

Yeah, I thought so. Green bean casserole is sort of like economic rationalization. You think green beans and your mind goes, “Healthy!” Meanwhile, you ignore the word “casserole” with its implications of canned mushroom soup, or perhaps sour cream, canned fried onions, and all the fat and sodium that you’re ingesting. This is something like what the Georgia General Assembly can expect to face when it convenes Jan. 10 under the Gold Dome in Atlanta. One thing they’ll consider is corporate tax breaks to attract new businesses to the state. They also will have to pass a budget, one that will likely include further cuts to education funding. Here’s the conundrum: Businesses like tax breaks—don’t we all—but they also take into account other factors in deciding where to locate, and usually somewhere on top of the other factors is quality of education. So, the General Assembly could end up sending a mixed message about Georgia as a good place to locate a business. Of course, the state, its technical colleges, chambers of commerce and local/regional

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development authorities are promoting higher education as they attempt to attract large, high-tech employers. The days when people could drop out of high school and spend their lives in a low-tech textile mill, instead of striving for more, are pretty much gone. The textile mills that remain, and the new industries the state and region are recruiting, require more knowledge of employees. But the basis for high-tech jobs—avionics, auto manufacturing such as the Kia plant in LaGrange and the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga—starts with early education. And that’s where, once again, the budget-cutters are looking. On another front, home foreclosures will probably spike again in the new year as lenders finish their due diligence and put more homes on the market at reduced value, either through a real estate agent or at auction. Despite the added complications for any buyer of a foreclosed house, the cost of owning a new home (or bigger home) at low prices is attractive, which will push down housing starts. That’s not good news for, say, bricklayers. But carpenters, roofers and interior designers, to name a few, can adjust strategy with an eye toward remodeling—at least to a certain extent. Yet some potential homebuyers are still holding off, according to real estate reports, because they think prices will fall even

more. But that’s just going to pull down the market even deeper. Advertising will drop off this month—it always does in January—but will pick up slightly as Valentine’s Day approaches. It will then drop off again before seasonending clearances and warmer weather kick in, things like sidewalk sales and other promotions. But how much are people going to spend? The latest unemployment report shocked analysts and investors. The expectation was that it would at least hold steady. Instead, it went up from 9.6 percent to 9.8 percent nationally. Georgia remains higher than the national average and Northwest Georgia remains higher than the state average. Jobs create spending, whether for houses or cars or appliances or clothes, and that creates more jobs. It’s just that old cycle. Sales tax revenues have increased for six straight months, and that doesn’t include December numbers, which are yet to be calculated. But January’s numbers will likely bring a drop. The federal tax legislation signed into law in December is perhaps the best example of compromise between the two controlling political parties in a long time. In casual conversations, people have told me they’re pleased over the extension of tax cuts, allowing them to keep more money in their


pockets. They say they might go out and spend a little more. But there is still wrangling over how to reduce the federal debt through spending cuts and the personal sacrifices many are making. So there’s your economic green bean casserole: There are days it tastes really good, and there are days when you go in for your annual physical and your blood pressure isn’t what it should be.

BIZ BITS

as the economy recovers from the latest recession, Georgia will be ahead of other states because of its balanced budget (a state constitutional requirement). “We are positioned for greatness in this state,” Loudermilk said. Representative Rick Crawford, a Democrat from Cedartown, said the state

Representative Barbara Massey Reese, a Democrat from Menlo, said she hopes the efforts of the Tax Reform Commission will bring support for the agriculture industry, calling farms an economic backbone in most Georgia counties. Additionally, she pointed out the loss of manufacturing jobs over the last several years, particularly in Northwest Georgia. With all the seriousness, however, the presentation ended on a light note. Due to time constraints, the lawmakers took only two questions from the floor. The second questioner was Joe Cook, well-known director of the Coosa River Basin Initiative, who said, “Yes, I have a question about illegal immigration.” There was stunned silence as the panel and audience members looked around. After a perfectly timed pause, Cook said, “Actually, I have a question about water.” There was laughter, and perhaps a collective sigh of relief, from the lawmakers. VVV

...There are days when it tastes really good, and there are days when you go in for your annual physical and your blood pressure isn’t what it should be.

Speaking of the General Assembly, the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce held its annual “Prelegislative Breakfast” in December. Area representatives addressed a large audience and issues compiled by the Chamber, which included education, water, taxes, transportation, economic development and tourism. Senator-elect Barry Loudermilk, a Republican from Cassville, said that “people demanded change on Nov. 2,” referring to the general election. He said that the state and nation are going to see change, “but it’s going to go slow.” He also said that

has needed a reform of its revenue structure and that he is anxious to see that will be presented by the Tax Reform Commission, who are scheduled to make a presentation to the General Assembly in this year’s session. Representative Katie Dempsey, a Republican from Rome, covered a broad range of topics but spoke of “challenges with Hope Scholarship” and preparing children, beginning in pre-kindergarten, to seek the state-funded scholarships. But she also said, “We have to make sure the tax code is business-friendly” to help create jobs.

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MCA


Beautystop

the

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ROB DELLENBACK:

TEXT BRIAN FOSTER PHOTOS AVERYWHITE

:

ART’S THOUGHTFUL

‘BUTTHEAD’

A

new sculpture focused on American advertising and consumer waste by Summerville artist and Rome High alumnus, Rob Dellenback, is currently on display at the Emporium Center Gallery in Knoxville, Tenn. As part of the Arts and Culture Alliance of Knoxville’s 2010 National Juried Exhibition, Dellenback’s piece, “Camel”, is a life-sized reimagining of one of the world’s most infamous mascots, originally brought to us by a brilliant—yet deadly—century-old marketing campaign from the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. From a distance, “Camel” is a work more comparable with the art of taxidermy than that of experimental sculpture. And as one approaches the beast, which towers over

visitors at more than eight feet tall, it soon becomes apparent that Dellenback does not in fact dabble in skin and fur, but rather spent cigarette filters. Composed entirely of used butts, his thought-provoking piece serves as a stark reminder of what Mr. Reynolds’ eerily cartoonish, desert-dwelling namesake is truly selling. “ ‘Camel’ explores the pervasiveness of advertising in modern culture,” Dellenback explains, “specifically the ability of the industry to take repugnant objects and

transform them into universally recognized symbols with broad appeal. The scale of the piece and the smell of the cigarette filters work together to give the piece a powerful olfactory and physical presence, evoking the colossus of advertising.” “Camel” was a child of humble origin, says Dellenback, as one of over 80 small art installations he was assigned to produce over a two-week span while a student at the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art. Then, after considerable scrutiny, the 2009 UGA graduate felt that the smaller, initial rendition of the piece, first layered in the brown paper lining from Camel cigarettes, had the potential to evoke a much larger statement on a much grander scale. “I started the project looking at the cigarette itself as sort of a cultural artifact...,” says Dellenback. “Once I really investigated the materials [used to make cigarettes], all of

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especially in the South. We focused a lot on conceptualizing ideas, more than just on any [one] specific craft.” In addition to presenting “Camel” alongside dozens of other nationally recognized artists in Knoxville this winter, Dellenback says he will continue to explore the various art forms through which his unique

“When you enter the room and see the camel, you don’t immediately know that it’s [made of ] cigarette butts ... It isn’t until you actually get close enough to smell it that you start to think about what these materials are and what the piece really means.”

the particular metaphors that they lend themselves to were apparent. The interior of the filter was going to be a much more successful vehicle to utilize that metaphor than the paper itself, for the fact that it [stimulates] your olfactory sense and it does mimic actual camel fur. “When you enter the room and see the camel, you don’t immediately know that it’s [made of ] cigarette butts. Most people just assume that it’s a life-sized sculpture of a camel. It isn’t until you actually get close enough to smell it that you start to think about what these materials actually are and what the piece really means.” Using the 100-year-old Camel cigarettes logo as a starting point, Dellenback first sketched a life-sized template of the image. After studying the proportions of the animal, he then created a steel frame to serve as a chassis for the hulking sculpture. The figure’s steel skeleton was then covered with glue-soaked burlap to provide a strong canvas on which to apply the thousands of used filters. With the help of several friends and volunteers, Dellenback spent nearly a year collecting all of the butts necessary to complete the project. As it turns out, the bars, streets and sidewalks of Athens, Ga. proved a fertile site for the heavily gloved team to pick over. “Camel” was completed just before Dellenback’s first large exhibition (a.k.a., his Senior Exit Show) in 2008. “In my time at UGA, I got involved in the experimental art program (Art-X: Expanded Forms) and really enjoyed interacting with a variety of mediums,” Dellenback says, tipping a hat to the Dodd School. “The program I entered had a wide focus that included video, sculpture, performance, installation, interactive and Internet art. The program really tried to push the students to find new ways to make art, and I think that was really good for me and really helped to form the artist I have become today. There are not a whole lot of programs like that,

creative style manifests itself. In addition to producing video and Internet art, a line of Dellenback t-shirts—by way of his burgeoning screen-printing company—is currently in the works as well. “I have ideas that I plan on pursuing that are sculptural or

installation-based projects,” he says, “but, for now, those are on the backburner…” “Camel” will appear as a featured exhibition at the Emporium Center Gallery in Knoxville through Jan. 26. A public reception will be held Jan. 7 at 6 p.m. to announce the winners of the juried event. This will be the last showing of “Camel” in such a forum, says Dellenback, as he plans to propose donating the sculpture to the American Cancer Society. So come, see, smell today’s more telling version of Joe Camel in person. For as the decades-old slogan goes: “I’d walk a mile for a Camel,” and Knoxville isn’t too far up the road. VVV

For more information on the Arts and Culture Alliance of Knoxville’s 2010 juried competition, please visit KnoxAlliance.com. For more information on Rob Dellenback’s art, please visit rjd3.com

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INSIDE&OUT with DIANNA EDWARDS

I remember everything A whiff of one very special scent evokes memories of kindness, “Great Shade”, and time immemorial

H

aving cut too close to the bone this Thanksgiving while rereading Joan Didion’s intense 2005 memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking, I turned in December to the sugar plum promise of Nora Ephron’s latest work, I Remember Nothing.

Being the writer she is, Ephron remembers quite a lot; most of it funny and some of it richly scented. In her essay, “Journalism: A Love Story”, I could literally smell the dingy, smoke-filled city room of the 1960s New York Post. But then, it is still December as I write this, and December is the month of scent memory for me. Scent and memory are manifestly linked. Our sense of smell is the first, last, and most primal of our senses. Because, “Unlike the other senses, smell needs no interpreter. The effect is immediate and undiluted by language, thought, or translation,” writes Diane Ackerman in her masterpiece, A Natural History of the Senses.

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I cannot separate December from the thin green scent of freshly broken branches. Even if my home were not decorated with hemlock and cedar, I would smell green trees in my memory. Fraser fir. A tree in the small living room of my childhood on Freydale Road in Marietta, Ga. We placed it in the front windows (of course) near the heating vent so that it was a cozy place for a little girl to sit and create homes for tiny gold angels to live in a heavenly forest kingdom amongst its aromatic branches. I joined them (of course) in my imagination. One whiff of a Fraser fir candle and I am a child again, living with golden angels on the branches of that Christmas tree, snug in the warmth of my parents living room. “I remember everything.” This is what my father told me Dec. 1, 2010. John Wiley Edwards, born in a log cabin in Hot Spot, Ky. during the Depression; Phi Beta Kappa graduate of

Duke University; deputy design director of Lockheed’s C-5 airplane; has rarely spoken clearly in the past year. He remembers little of his great, expansive life. He will not see another Christmas. But on that Sunday in front of a snapping fire, pungent with the smell of seasoned

Loss. It is the most profound and terrible four-letter word ever written. Loss in an aching, sucking void that spins on and on. For any who have experienced it, loss changes the way we interact with gravity every day ... It takes time and wisdom and loving kindness to reach the point where we can realize that loss can also be the very gate of wisdom.

white oak (smoked vanilla) and a mantle of pine boughs, some luminous hand touched him, and from the depths of illness and time he dredged forth names and memories that had been lost to him. He took his caretaker, Lili, through all the photographs on the mantle and the wall. He spoke the names of each person clearly. His mother and father. His beloved wife, my late mother. His


children. His friends. He had Lili call me so he could tell me himself, clearly and with strength, “I remember.” To hear his voice again, almost young, almost strong, as proud as he had ever been…well. Well.

I Remember Kindness

I was 15 when I first met Ray Thacker of Grand Oaks in Cartersville. [see “Ain’t Life Grand?”, V3 December 2010]. He is as much a part of my childhood—and now my life—as the scent of Fraser fir. He was beautiful, he was elegant, he was gentle and he listened. He was everything an awkward young girl struggling with the sudden, sharp loss of her brother needed. Loss. It is the most profound and terrible four-letter word ever written. Loss is an aching, sucking void that spins on and on. For any who have experienced it, loss changes the way we interact with gravity every day. It freights every step; nags every joy; hazards every happiness. It takes time and wisdom and loving kindness to reach the point where we can realize that loss can also be the very gate of wisdom. Loving kindness is what Ray Thacker gave to my family during those days. That kindness often took the form of a glittering designer gown for my mother or a trend-setting hairstyle for me, both of which had us joining Thacker’s crew modeling at special events. Yes, moi. Shy and unsure of myself, walking down a catwalk wearing the had-tohave item of late-1960s fashion: hot pants. (There are no pictures. Do not Google for them.) Ray Thacker has the gift of seeing promise in the most unlikely of subjects, be they beautiful homes seemingly beyond restoration, like Grand Oaks once was, or human beings that need love and kindness to find a path of confidence. He calls this gift being an “encourager.” It was only recently that he told me he’d learned this gift, at least in part, from my parents; that John and Juanelle Edwards had loaned him strength and love long before he returned it to them when they needed it. He called my parents the “Great Encouragers” of his life. There’s more to the story, of course, but it is too dear to share. Suffice it to say Ray

Thacker gave me a knowing of my parents as young adults that made my heart swell. I wanted to know them as people. And I want to live my life as my parents did; as Ray Thacker does; with a keen eye and a listening heart for the promise that lies just beneath the surface in all people and things.

I Remember People

I first encountered the saying “Tree of Great Shade” in Gary Jennings book, Aztec. But it bears similarity to the writing of far greater author, Solomon, when he wrote, “In his shade I took great delight and sat down, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” Indeed, these friends sheltered and sweetened the lives of many in Rome and Cave Spring over the years. Their shade will be missed. Hook Birdsong, with his quick, curious mind and constant grin. He could never stop learning or growing or finding some new subject to throw himself into. Jean Norton Davis, who saved my home’s life, restored its library with walnut beams hewn from her family’s trees. She walked in beauty all the days of her life. Howard Norton with his easy, loping smile, his gift of song, his oh-so-generous kindness to a stranger in Cave Spring. Harwell Free, a father and father figure to so many in Lindale, including my husband. He and his wife raised children any family would proudly claim.

If December is the month of scent memory, January is the month of New; named for the mythological Roman god of gates and doorways, beginnings and endings, and time itself.

I Look Forward to Flowers

The first snow fell this morning in Cave Spring. Fat, soft flakes that settled into the crevices of the 100-year-old bricks from the Green Hotel, encircling the old concrete shell birdbath rising outside my dining room. These bricks will return to the hotel when the restoration of the Hotel and Log Cabin begins. Snow makes my child’s heart leap. It is the earth’s version of a down comforter; a warm blanket for seeds and plants and the flowering we will see come spring. If December is the month of scent memory, January is the month of New; named for the mythological Roman god of gates and doorways, beginnings and endings, and time itself. Come to think of it, snow smells like January: Crisp, clean, and aware, with just the smallest hint of sleeping flowers. VVV

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Dr. Chad Wagner of Harbin Clinic Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine answers your questions regarding his field of expertise, including the diagnosis and treatment of sports-related injuries. Dr. Wagner specializes in the nonoperative management of orthopaedic and sports medicine injuries. He has special interest in sports concussion management, shoulder injuries in throwing athletes, and musculoskeletal ultrasound. He lives in Rome with his wife and two daughters. What is a sports medicine physician? A sports medicine physician is a physician with specialized training who treats musculoskeletal injuries, promotes lifelong fitness and wellness, and encourages prevention of illness and injury. Sports medicine physicians help the patient maximize function and minimize disability and time away from sports, work or school. What type of training does a sports medicine physician have? Sports medicine has been a recognized subspecialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties since 1989. Sports medicine specialists are physicians who, with a primary certification in family practice, internal medicine, emergency medicine, pediatrics, or physical medicine and rehabilitation, obtain one to two years additional training in sports medicine through recognized fellowship (subspecialty) programs. Is there a difference between a sports medicine physician and an orthopaedic surgeon? Both are well trained in musculoskeletal medicine. Many musculoskeletal injuries

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Getting Back in the Game: FAQs from a Harbin Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine specialist are non-surgical; sports medicine physicians specialize in the non-operative medical treatment of musculoskeletal sports conditions. They also specialize in the nonmusculoskeletal aspects of sports medicine including treating athletes with chronic or acute illnesses (such as mononucleosis, asthma or diabetes), sports nutrition and healthy lifestyle promotion. Orthopedic surgeons are also trained in the operative treatment of these conditions. Sports medicine physicians can expedite referral to an orthopedic/sports surgeon when indicated and can help guide referrals to appropriate physical therapy and imaging tests. Can you tell me some of the more common conditions seen by a sports medicine physician? Conditions range from acute injuries— fractures, sprains and strains—to overuse and chronic injuries, such as tendinitis, bursitis, stress fractures and arthritis. I have heard a lot about concussions in sports recently. Do you also see patients for those? I do. From my specialty training I have additional expertise in the nonmusculoskeletal aspects of sports medicine, including the management of concussions. At Harbin Orthopedics, we have implemented the computerized ImPACT™ concussion assessment tool…to assist in our diagnosis and management of sports concussions. I am not an athlete, but my knees hurt. Can I see a sports medicine physician?

Yes, as a non-operative musculoskeletal specialist I see patients of all activity levels and ages, from children to adults. My goal is to return my patients to their desired level of pain-free activity as quickly as possible. Can you tell me more about the Harbin Clinic Sports Medicine Program? At Harbin Clinic Sports Medicine we have a team of sports medicine physicians, orthopedic surgeons, athletic trainers, primary care physicians, neurologists and other specialists who provide a comprehensive team approach to our care of athletes [young and old]. We strive to provide remarkable care to meet the needs of our patients and their families. If I am interested in seeing a sports medicine physician at the Harbin Clinic, who do I contact? I am part of the team of physicians at Harbin Orthopaedics. If you would like an appointment, please contact us at 706.236.6362. For more information, visit our website at harbinclinic.com/ortho. VVV Dr. Chad Wagner completed medical school at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston Salem, N.C. Dr. Wagner completed his Family Medicine Residency and Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, where he served as team physician for a high school and a minor league baseball team, and as assistant team physician for Wake Forest University and Winston Salem State University athletic teams. After practicing in Winston Salem for several years, he joined Harbin Clinic Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in November 2010.


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203 Turner McCall Blvd. Rome GA 30165 706.235.3408 888.235.3408 staff@etowahemployment.com vini vidi vici / v3 magazine

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>>>From 30, “SWEET TASTE OF VICTORY”

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opportunity to sample what can only be described as a once-in-a-lifetime cold one. “The Dank Tank is pretty much just a crazy one-off that we do,” Bensch says. “It gives us the chance to get creative and continue to try new things. For instance, we just got done sampling about 30 different kinds of coffee for our next Dank Tank experiment, and I hope that explains why we may be a little jumpy today. “We have a bunch of good people working here and, in a lot of ways, we just let them run with it. That allows us to find a vision and let them take it from there.” Consider yourself lucky if you get your hands on any one of these one-timers, as the demand is certainly higher than the supply. But if you are serious enough about beer to take matters into your own hands, the brewery is open every week for tours on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays beginning at 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2:30 p.m., giving the public ample opportunity to try everything on tap. Also, “We can also host events with anywhere from 50 to 750 people,” says Steve Farace. “We base the pricing around the number of guests and can recommend live entertainment and caterers for just about any event. If your guests are over 21 and like beer, I promise there is no better spot in Atlanta to throw a party.” While both the reputation and distribution numbers of Sweetwater’s family of beers has grown, the focus on producing a high-quality product has only grown stronger. Bensch insists that if a business does things the right way, everything else will fall into place. Since not a one of their brews is pasteurized, freshness is of the utmost importance for premium taste, making shelf life something that Sweetwater takes very seriously. With plans for local expansion (the company has already purchased a warehouse on the property next to its current location) and the future implementation of bottle conditioning (an in-bottle fermentation process said to extend shelf life), in time, you may be able to find Sweetwater brews in any package store across the 50 states. But that will only happen if it “flows” with the current culture. “At this point, we are very happy with where we are,” says Bensch. “But remembering what it took to get here is what drives us to maintain the standard we built this brewery on, and that is [ensuring] that every one of our beers reaches the consumers fresh and tasting its best.” VVV


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V3 Magazine January 2011  

January 2011 issue of V3 Magazine

V3 Magazine January 2011  

January 2011 issue of V3 Magazine