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NW GEORGIA’S PREMIER FEATURE READER / MARCH 2009

M AG A Z I N E

FRESHMAN PERSPECTIVE FLOYD COUNTY SCHOOLS’ NEWEST ANTI-FAILURE INITIATIVE TAKES WING WITH THE PEPPERELL DRAGONS

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vinividivici M A R C H 2 0 0 9 / DEPARTMENTS+FEATURES 12 LET IT GROW

Local green thumbs give NWGA’s seasonal growers the hottest trends in eco-friendly gardening

26 COVER FEATURE

Pepperell High’s flagship anti-failure initiatve (a.k.a. Freshman Academy) looks to reverse some ugly statistics

34 ATLANTA BEAT

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44 WOMEN IN MIND

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SMALL TALK

Ever wonder what it’s like to breeze into town, become the object of scorn to tens of thousands, then high-tail it out of Dodge only to repeat the cycle? NCAA Division I basketball official Doug Shows sure does, and he’s here to let us in on why it’s one doozy of a way to collect a check. Photo by Terry McGille



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PUBLISHER’S NOTE There are several things about my job here at V3 that make it worthwhile.

While dealing with the challenges that come each day with running a publication, my partners and I get the pleasure of participating with the wide variety of people that shape our surrounding communities. I’ve never lived in a region where residents–from CEO’s to small business owners–commit themselves so heartily to the betterment of their own towns.

M AG A Z I N E NW GEORGIA’S PREMIER FEATURE READER / MARCH 2009

This past month, I was informed by V3 sales guru, Jeff Miller, of an opportunity to interview one such person in the form of Peachtree Planning’s Doug Shows (see page 18 “You Don’t Know Shows”). It turns out Mr. Shows is not only a financial strategist, but a Division I NCAA basketball referee as well, and being an avid sports fan–yet another reason I love my job–it was a natural fit for me to conduct the interview. As a youth, I played just about every sport under the sun and was taught by my father to always respect the officials. Some might even say I did a better job of respecting the officials than I did my coaches, as I had a real problem with spending ANY time on the bench. Before going into the interview with Shows, I felt I had a great understanding of an official’s impact on the game of basketball, I left with a newfound respect for the job they do. Among other things, he expressed concerns about the example some parents set for their children by cursing the ref ’s from the stands. He told me that I would not believe some of the words that have come out of the mouths of children directed towards officials as a direct result of following a parent’s lead. I realized what a special person it takes to do a job where thousands people form an opinion about you without knowing who you are and certainly aren’t afraid to make their opinions known. The truth is that I am as guilty as any fan of rooting for their team in the heat of battle and rushing to scrutinize the officials. It’s just instinct to react to a call against your team in a negative fashion. The object of your disdain is obviously the referee that made the call, because it just couldn’t be that your team actually made a mistake right?! It’s the easy way out to blame a loss on someone else, and listening to Shows talk about his job on the court, it was clear he understands college basketball from the baseline to the bleachers. Though my reactions are much milder than the majority, the conversation I had with Doug Shows will forever change the way I view a basketball game. With March Madness coming up fast, it wasn’t pure luck that led us to such a timely piece for our March issue. This piece was a direct result of our involvement with this great community. For that, you have our gratitude. But the worth associated with knowing, understanding and affording tolerance to the people around us, is beyond measure. As a lifelong Roman, I am constantly amazed at the incredible individuals that continue to shape our community. Our readers, clients, and business allies, all play a vital role in fueling the passion with which this magazine grows. We here at V3 have been blessed with the opportunity to feature and call many of these dynamic citizens our friends. So, get to know your neighbor or that new co-worker.! You never know what interesting story is just around the corner. Ian Griffin, Director of Advertising/Owner

Ian Griffin



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M AG A Z I N E

FRESHMAN PERSPECTIVE FLOYD COUNTY SCHOOLS’ NEWEST ANTI-FAILURE INITIATIVE TAKES WING WITH THE PEPPERELL DRAGONS

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF + PRODUCTION MANAGER + ART&DESIGN neal howard STAFF WRITERS anna armas, will seifert, reagen lowrey, matt rood, brian gilton, carolyn grindrod, cody eirman, tricia steele CONTRIBUTING WRITERS leigh barrell PHOTOGRAPHY sabrina wilson ADDITIONAL A&D jeremy hulsey, collin vaughn CHIEF OF ADVERTISING + OFFICE SALES DIRECTOR ian griffin CHIEF SALES REPRESENTATIVE jeff miller ORIGINAL AD DESIGN anthony barba, ian griffin LEAD MANAGEMENT + BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT anthony barba PUBLISHER v3 publications, llc CONTACT one west fourth avenue, rome, ga 30161/ phone: 706.235.0748 email: v3mag@bellsouth.net

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ñ eco oce

LET IT GROW

ñ

trendy

friendly text+notes

by reagen lowrey

ñ From building backyard wildlife sanctuaries to making more drought-friendly selections, this year’s most popular gardening choices reflect both a sense of economic and environmental consciousness. Last summer, the Garden Media Group predicted a set of trends for 2009, and many of them have already hit the Rome-Floyd County area. To help the rest of us along

the right path, local experts Greg Clark, partner/owner of Three Rivers Nursery, Keith Mikler, Floyd County extension agent, and Ron Rowland, garden center manager for Rome’s own Lavender Mountain Hardware, share their insight into the upcoming season.

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concernedaboutwatering? ƒ rain barrels When water restrictions strike, collect rainwater in rain barrels to use for watering your landscape. Lavender Mountain Hardware, for one, stocks 60-gallon drums and make-it-yourself kits.

ƒ smart plant choice Choose plants that can hold their own for extended periods of time, without anything other than good old-fashioned rainwater. Native plants are ideal for this, given that they have likely survived past bouts of extreme weather. Bear in mind that succulents, by their very nature, require less water.

ƒ blended gardens

Even in the tightest times of water restriction, people have been able to aptly water their vegetable gardens and fruit trees. By adding vegetables, edible plants and shrubs (colorful lettuces, etc.) to your landscape, your ornamentals can soak in the runoff water.

goinglocal It seems that everyone everywhere is “going local.” The buzzword ‘locavore’ entered the dictionary just last year, and refers to those individuals who make it a point to purchase locally grown and/or manufactured goods and materials. The term has also hit the landscaping world in the form of native plant purchases, where people are not only recognizing the importance of boosting their local economies, but are also seeking more resilient plant life due to climate concerns. “We have definitely seen an increase in sales among native plants,” says Lavender Mountain Hardware’s Ron Rowland. “These plants have been around for hundreds of thousands of years and are...able to handle extreme weather, like we are experiencing in the Southeast, better than those that are introduced [to the region].” Rowland adds that, in most cases, these selections are also going to require a little less maintenance than non-native

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species. His personal favorites include the American beautyberry and the deciduous native azalea, which is, in fact, a type of rhododendron. He prefers the beautyberry for its rich purple berries, and contends that the azalea is easy to grow and blooms with brilliant orange/red colors. “We always encourage people to include native plants in their landscapes,” says Greg Clark of Three Rivers Nursery. “They can soften your landscape’s overall look and help to blend your landscape with its natural surroundings.” Clark recommends a variety of drought-tolerant (not to mention goodlooking) trees, including the red maple, red cedar and Eastern Redbud, which he says is one of the first trees to flower in the spring.

wildlife-friendly landscapes

From butterflies to birds and bees, this season’s landscape enthusiasts are, by and

large, thinking more about the environment. “People are not just planting for themselves anymore,” says Rowland. “They seem to be interested in choosing plants that are in harmony with the environment. For example, we have had a lot of requests for fruit trees and different kinds of shrubs, like persimmons, that benefit animals.” According to Rowland, blueberry bushes are an excellent food source for various wildlife species, particularly birds, and also make for a great landscaping plant. Have an interest in butterflies, perhaps? Try one of the variations of lantana or butterfly bush. At summer’s end, Rowland also suggests planting butterfly weed to provide a food source for migratory Monarch butterflies. And, finally, if you’re concerned with the protection of the disappearing honeybee population, simply monitor which pesticides you choose to employ and the times at which you use them. Rowland says to avoid spraying pesticides when bees are foraging—e.g., when flowers are in bloom.


LET IT GROW “Honeybees are in extreme jeopardy,” he explains, “and folks just don’t realize what a tragedy it would be if we lost them. It is such a concern right now that it is worth a little insect damage to your plants [not to use pesticides inappropriately]. Anything that you can do to help [the bees] is good.”

growityourself gardens By far the biggest trend this spring will be a resurgence of the “grow it yourself ” (GIY) garden. As a matter of fact, the latest Garden Writers of America survey purports that more than half of all American gardeners planted vegetables last year, and Clark claims he has already witnessed a sizeable surge in sales for home gardening products at Three Rivers Nursery. “We are not just seeing an increased interest in backyard gardens,” says Clark, “but we are also seeing people without the yard space planting vegetables and herbs in containers on their back porch.” This increased interest is not just spurred on by growing economic concerns, mind you. Of course, fresh fruits and vegetables

can be rather expensive at the grocery store, and household budgets are a bit tighter these days due to the recession, but people are also concerned with the startling number of recent food scares. From salmonella outbreaks in spinach and peanuts to life-threatening cases of E. coli, people are beginning to wonder: What really is in our food?

“When people grow their own food, they know exactly what they are putting into it,” says Clark, adding that the benefits don’t stop there. “Gardening is really a great way to get your kids into something that they can touch and see the fruits of their labor... It is hard work, but it’s very rewarding work for everyone in the end.” VVV (more tips, pg. 16)

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LET IT GROW

growityourself:gettingstarted ƒ 1: soil testing first so that it has adequate time to “Oftentimes, people put way too much emphasis on the plants rather than the soil,” explains Floyd County extension agent Keith Mikler. “But you really need to make sure your soil has the right nutrients so your plants can grow.” By taking the time to test your soil properly prior to planting, your crop yield will be much greater. To begin, purchase a soil testing kit. Take 5-6 random samples in different areas, each 2-3 inches deep, and place them in a plastic bucket. Bring this bucket to the Floyd County Extension Office in downtown Rome, and for a fee of only $8, your soil will be sent to a lab for testing to determine its true pH. In order to ready your soil for planting, Mikler recommends starting this process as early as possible.

ƒ 2: grounds prep Once your lab results have been

returned to you, you’ll know what sort of nutrient and pH amendments to make to your soil. If you need to add lime, for instance, do this

react. Though it is better to do this later than not at all, it should be noted that it is especially difficult to make adjustments once planting has occurred. Fertilizers should also be added at this point, in order to balance out the nutrients. Next up, there is the issue of weed control. This, says Mikler, is going to involve the wielding of some sort of cold steel—i.e., a hoe or tiller. He recommends personalsized tillers for small home gardens, such as the Mantis 2-Cycle Tiller/ Cultivator.

ƒ 3: optimal layout If soil testing is the most important

step in garden preparation, then how you choose to lay out your garden is surely a close second, as vegetables require a certain amount of space to grow properly. The Floyd County Extension Office has charts that help to determine optimal spacing and row orientation. “It is really important to take the time to design a plan for your garden,” says Mikler. “It may seem

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like a lot of unnecessary work to sit down with a pad and paper, but your garden will be much more successful.” Knowing where to put vegetables and how much space you will need is crucial. Keep in mind that the sun rises in the east and sets to the west, so plant your rows accordingly. Also, don’t allow tall plants (corn, etc.) to shade out the rest of your veggies.

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[V3:] Just to get our readers through the particulars, how many years have you been officiating basketball? [DS:] Division I (NCAA)? Seventeen years. What about overall? High school, recreation league, et cetera? Since I was 13 years old. And I’m 40 now, so if you want to do the math on that… It’s been a long time. How were you first introduced to basketball, and how did it later translate into your becoming a referee? I started playing when I was a little kid—fourth, fifth grade—then played all the way [through high school]. My dad refereed high school and small college basketball for many years, and when I turned 12 or 13 years old he took me to some games with him. I was just intrigued by officiating, and by being with him and his [crew] that night, and I started asking a lot of questions. I’d sit in the stands and listen to the fans, the coaches and the reactions and so forth. Then, when I was about 13 or 14, there was a need at the local YMCA for officials to work [games for] the little kids. I’d get a few extra bucks, so my dad said, ‘Hey, why don’t you go down there and work it out?’ So they put me straight to

want to play in the pros, you want to play college ball, maybe you want to be a coach sometime down the road. Then, there’s refereeing... How did your interest in officiating come about so early on, particularly when, for most kids that age, it’s considered the least “attractive” career path in the game? I actually played through high school, and it worked out great. Because if you’ve played the game yourself, you understand just a little bit more when you’re officiating; you understand the strategies, the defenses—basic stuff, pick and roll, et cetera. So that’s what made it a little easier to understand, especially when I was starting out really young as an official. You know, you would stop the game and help the little kids out. You’d say, [In a kid-friendly whisper] ‘You’ve got to dribble the basketball, you can’t run with it,’ or, ‘You can’t hit ‘em when they shoot the ball.’ You’d stop the game and, essentially, be coaching at the same time as officiating. Because if you’re doing little kids’ games, there’s only one official, so you were basically doing a little bit of everything—janitor, official, the overall game manager in that gym. You would have a lot of hats to wear when [I was] coming up.

“...YOU’RE OUT THERE LOOKING AT 50 TO 60,000 PEOPLE JUST THINKING,

THIS IS A LONG WAY FROM WORKING A YMCA GAME...” work, and I’d work three nights a week and all day Saturday—until I got older and progressed a little bit—refereeing kids’ games up to maybe fifth, sixth, seventh to eighth grade. Then I got into high school and started working some higher level games, men’s leagues and so forth. Usually, as a child, a basketball lover dreams to be a player. You

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vini vidi vici / v3 magazine

Okay. Then, on the flipside: As a high school player, did the fact that you were also an official help you on the court? Did understanding the ref’s mindset firsthand work to your advantage? Absolutely. I had a really smart coach back then, and he would always tell us to get along with the officials. We would actually go up and give the ball to the official, introduce ourselves…

Now, I don’t know if that necessarily helps you, but at least they’re not looking to you as a target, as being a problem, and I think it makes a big difference when a player shows basic respect for an authority figure and someone who’s in charge of the basketball game. At what point did you decide to pursue officiating as a full-fledged profession? In college. I was doing intramural games, and the local guy over at the recreation department encouraged me to get into some local high school games there,

as well as some junior college games. At the same time, he too was officiating, so they put me in a position to kind of go along as an associate and learn how to deal with that higher level of basketball. Given that I was around some of the best people at that time, it just kind of segued into [my] going to summer camps for officiating, and at those camps they have supervisors from various conferences—junior college to NAIA Division II, even Division I—and so, some of those guys would come along afterwards and they’d say, ‘Hey, buddy, we’d like to try you out in this junior college


SMALL TALK

When Rome’s own DOUG SHOWS first felt the refereeing bug, he never dreamed he would one day find himself offiating on college basketball’s grandest stage. But if you think you can rattle this seasoned NCAA veteran with a few jabs and jeers, well, my friend, clearly

YOU DON’T KNOW SHOWS INTERVIEW BY IAN GRIFFIN

COURTSIDE PHOTOS BY TERRY MCGILLE

league this next season.’ And, man, you’re excited. Then maybe the next year is NAIA, maybe the next is Division II. Basically, you’re being worked a little bit in those leagues to see how well you’ve progressed, and I guess my reviews were satisfactory enough to keep moving me forward. Was there ever a moment, maybe at the Division I level, that you found yourself standing in the middle of a court and thinking, you know, ‘Man, I’ve really landed something with this’? Well, yeah, the Final Four in 2005. That was… [Laughs with humility]

We’d go out 30 or 40 minutes before each game and observe the players, meet with the captains, check the clocks and so forth. And you’re out there looking at 50 to 60,000 people just thinking, This is a long way from working a YMCA game when you were a one-man crew, opening and closing the doors, sweeping the floor, asking for volunteers out of the stands to do the clocks. Now, here you are, in one of the best basketball venues in the country. Can you describe the pressure that comes with officiating the NCAA Tournament—i.e., pinnacle of

college basketball? I don’t care what [the situation may be], officiating is, essentially, reaction to experience. If you have the experience, it’s the way you react to [a play], be it in a positive or negative way. If you’ve seen that particular play—an out-of-bounds play, block, charge, basket interference—a thousand or 10,000 times over several years from watching a lot of video and watching other basketball games, you’re able to put into your computer a [positive or negative] reaction, either getting the call right or getting it wrong. There’s an insurmountable

amount of pressure out there because of the crowd, the coaches, the ‘business’ part of the job. It’s television, there are 15 different camera angles, you have an instantaneous reaction, and they can replay it 30 times from whatever angle. Yeah, there’s a lot of pressure in that way. But I think when it comes down to it, it’s your experience, what you’ve gained from that experience, and how you react to those particular plays. As a sports fan, there’s no doubt that we give the officials in any sort of game a lot of flack. But it seems to me, because of the pace of the

vini vidi vici / v3 magazine

19


game, that the kind of scrutiny that falls on a basketball referee is far heavier than any of the other major American sports. Yeah, because the game is so fast. Football is three to five seconds a play, then you stop. Baseball is pitch, stop. Basketball can go four to five minutes nonstop before the first whistle. And the play is so fast, the ball moves so move quickly. You have out-of-bounds plays, you’re going to have fouls, you’re going to have violations. Essentially, when you talk about the fans, [you have to ask whether] they are astute on the rules. Do they understand charges, what a hand-check is? Do they understand the guidelines that we

have to put out there on the floor as far as sportsmanship? Until people fully understand that, I don’t think they are recognizing the responsibilities we carry when we come on the floor. Because we are under so much scrutiny. I mean, we’re being watched not only by [fans] at the game, but by the supervisor of each particular league, the NCAA is watching us for the NCAA Tournament, the coaches are doing evaluations. Everything we do, from every foul to every nocall—even the time to come out on the floor—is being watched. It seems from league to league that the different crews have their

“I DON’T THINK [PEOPLE] ARE RECOGNIZING THE RESPONSIBILITIES WE CARRY... EVERYTHING WE DO, FROM EVERY FOUL TO EVERY NO-CALL–EVEN THE TIME TO COME OUT ON THE FLOOR–IS BEING WATCHED.”

“WE TRY...TO APPROACH A COACH WITH A LOT OF RESPECT [AND] ESTABLISH A DIALOGUE...

BUT WE CANNOT HAVE A DISSERTATION ON EVERY SINGLE CALL.”

own feel for the game. As a fan, the most important thing you want to see is that it is called consistently on both sides. For instance, I notice when I watch Big Ten ball that it’s a little more physical than what you’re going to see in the ACC and SEC. Is it just my imagination, or is there some truth to this? The NCAA, I would say, is pretty consistent. We have a supervisor, John Adams, and he has pretty much put out there that we have a certain level (of officiating) that we want to maintain… He puts up almost weekly guidelines, and the coaches receive those, and, essentially, we are told [what they want done and how they] want it officiated. If we need to go by the replay monitor, these are the guidelines to go by. If we need to have an intentional or flagrant foul called, this is what the guidelines are. So, we are moving toward [greater] consistency in that area. Before a game, does the officiating crew get together? It sounds like, with this movement, everyone is just supposed to follow the same guidelines. But if you have, say, a team that plays more up-tempo or one that likes to play the half-court game and really bang it out in the post, do you talk about that before the game and say to one another, ‘Okay, these two teams both play the half-court and it’s going to be a physical game. Do we let a little of that slide, or…?’ That’s where the experience comes in. That’s where you see professional people working the games at this high level. The three officials out there, yes, we have a really strong pre-game prior to going out on the floor. The crew chief, whoever may be designated that game, he’s the one that starts the meeting, then we all interject.

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Yes, we do talk about particular players and their tendencies, as well. We talk about the style of play. Is it going to be fast-paced? Are there going to be a lot of blocked shots? Do we have a guard who likes to initiate a lot of contact? Are they going to press, trap, run a zone? We talk about all of those different areas so that we are not surprised, so that we know what the tendencies are going to be, so that we are prepared to go out on the floor and give 100 percent every night. We won’t mention any team names, but I am aware that you will be officiating an SEC game tomorrow night and that one of the teams involved likes to run high ball screens at the top of the key. Is that the sort of tendency for which your crew will prepare? We don’t want to be caught off guard. We want to be prepared for any and all circumstances. Again, this goes back to our pre-game and preparation, and in the SEC, for example, we have a DVD we watch…before each conference game that, basically, shows us 10 to 15 plays that were either correctly or incorrectly called. But we’re not concerned about the call itself, we’re asking why we made the call correctly or why we missed the call. That way, we can be prepared for certain styles of play. A minute ago, you mentioned the crew chief. Can you explain to us how a crew chief and his crew are selected for association with one or more particular conferences, as opposed to being selected for the NCAA Tournament, Final Four, and so on? Basically, the crew chief is the lead referee in that particular game, and


SMALL TALK it’s interchangeable. I’d say in the SEC I would be a crew chief most of the time, and then, occasionally in another league, I’d be the U1 (the umpire usually responsible for overseeing pre-game duties with respect to the home team). Then, there’s also another U2 (visiting team umpire), but that’s all interchangeable. It goes down to experience: who’s been in the league the longest, the number of tournaments, the number of NCAA appearances. Then, basically, it’s what the supervisor wants [as to] who is going to be in charge that particular night. The next night, it may be the U2… Those of us on the outside looking in see and hear a lot about coaches who “work” the referees. If they see a call they don’t like, the more diplomatic ones say, ‘This is why I think that was the wrong call.’ Then, if you’re paying attention, later in the game you see a call on a play that’s similar to that one and it goes the other way. Does it benefit a coach to come over in a cordial way, as opposed to jumping down your throat, and say, ‘Hey, look, I don’t think that was the right call’? Does that sometimes result in a call going his way somewhere down the line? Well, you’re going to listen to a coach who doesn’t say a whole lot. Because, when he does, he may have a valid point. The ones that cry wolf, eventually you’re going to turn a closed ear to them. We try, at [the NCAA] level, to approach a coach with a lot of respect, we try to establish a dialogue and good communication. But we cannot have a dissertation on every single call. I can’t go over and explain every call I make, nor can my partners, but if you have a valid point and there’s a tough situation, we try to extend an ear to them. But there has to be a mutual respect. We can’t go over there while they are yelling at us and try to tell them what happened. It has to be in a calm manner. Otherwise, we’re not going to discuss it. For a coach, what is the breaking point at which you have to either toss him from the game or back him off with a technical foul? When they start using particular

language or start getting personal, that’s when they cross that line—or if they step out of the coaching box to argue a call. A lot of decisions can go either way. A charge versus a blocking foul seems the most obvious. Palming, if you go by pure definition, seems to happen all the time. But if you had to pinpoint only one call, what call would you say is no doubt the most difficult to make on the floor? There are two very difficult calls to make in college basketball. The first one is goaltending/basket interference, which are two separate rules. Goaltending is when [the ball is disrupted in] downward flight, and basket interference is while the ball is still in the cylinder or has already hit the rim. These are very difficult calls because [we have to determine the following]: Is the ball still in the cylinder? Has it reached its apex and is it on a downward flight? Another tough area is out of bounds. People don’t realize how tough out-of-bounds [calls] are because it’s like a pinball in there with four, five, six players, and all of a sudden that ball shoots out on the baseline and you have to make an instantaneous decision. We can’t stop and just start thinking about it for second. We can’t come together like football officials and huddle for awhile. It has to be an instantaneous decision. Granted, if we need assistance, we are able to look to another partner who may have had a better vantage point than the lead official beneath the basket, but these are two very difficult calls that most people don’t recognize. Like you said, most people think block/charge. Well, yes and no. Once you see those plays a number of times, and depending on what happened previously in the game…that can be an easier call than goaltending/basket interference or a tough out-ofbounds play. When are you allowed to go to the replay monitors? We can go to the monitors for a number of reasons now. They’ve given us a little bit more latitude. We can certainly check to see if it’s a three versus a two, or vice

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versa. We have a small window to do that; it has to be within a certain timeframe. You can’t check something that happened 10 minutes beforehand. We can go check to see if there’s a flagrant foul, so we can always upgrade a foul. If we call a foul or intentional foul, we can

impact a ref psychologically? Again, we try to go out there and do the best we can…with the information we have. I mean, everyone can be a Monday morning quarterback. People who don’t know the rules can always make a comment. Nonetheless, I feel that when we have three solid

“...EVERYONE CAN BE A MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK.

PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW THE RULES CAN ALWAYS MAKE A COMMENT...” always upgrade it to a flagrant foul, which means an ejection if we see something—somebody hits somebody or throws an elbow—that we didn’t see from the live play. We cannot downgrade it. You can’t downgrade an intentional foul to just a common foul, or an ejection to an intentional foul, but you can always upgrade it. We can always go to the monitor for a fight, or a perceived fight, and we have rules and guidelines that go on from there. Last-second shot: At either half, we can see if the red LED lights have gone off or [look at] the clock. We have to work with the television producers a lot of times, who are in the trucks at the games, to work that out. That’s something that goes on in our pre-game… Because we talk to the producers, tell them, you know, ‘We have a situation… We need all angles. We don’t just need one angle, we need everything you’ve got.’ Then we can make a solid decision from there.

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That’s a good example of media and the officials working well together, but I know those of us on this side of the coin can be rather harsh on a ref. At the same time, there’s a split-second call made, it’s the wrong call, we see that on video later, and some commentators immediately jump down your throat. Then they make a big deal about it on SportsCenter. How does that kind of nit-picking

officials out there on the floor, on any given night we are going to work hard as a team. Are we going to make mistakes? Absolutely. But we hope those mistakes don’t effect the outcome of the basketball game, and that’s the bottom line. You have a job here in Rome, you live here. Being an NCAA official requires a lot of traveling, long nights, a lot of time away from home. How do you juggle these demands? First, I have a very supportive family. My wife, Corinne, and my kids work with me on this, and they understand that dad is going to be gone a little bit here and there. But we try to make it up at certain times and, obviously, in the summertime. They enjoy watching the games on television, and I think it’s a sense of comfort to them to know where I am and to watch what I’m doing. As far as work is concerned, I work with some great guys over at Peachtree Planning who are able to work with me while I’m gone. We do a lot through email and over the telephone. It works out very well. It’s difficult with the travel. I don’t think people realize how much traveling we do when it comes to officiating. I mean, we are getting up at 4:30 in the morning, driving to the airport, getting on a plane, getting to whatever city it may be, trying to grab a quick lunch, maybe take a 30-minute nap, go do the


SMALL TALK

ballgame, repeat for the next two or three days, then try to get home in between. There’s a lot more to it than just driving down to the arena 30 minutes away, then doing a game and coming home. It’s not like that when you’re at this level. When I lived in Charlotte (N.C.), I actually worked on television crews for the Hornets, but eventually had to give it up because you’d get a call, you’d get on a flight, then you’re there for two or three days, then you go somewhere else. I was single when I was doing that, and when I decided to have a family, I had to hang it up. My wife, she encourages me a lot. She helps me out…because she enjoys sports a lot, and that makes a big difference. Same with my son, John. He loves sports, he’s involved with sports… Then, obviously, with the Marriot points and Delta miles and so forth, it allows us to have some nice vacations, as well. Have you had the opportunity to introduce John to any influential coaches or players? I know you can’t mention any names, but… Oh, yeah, absolutely. My son was a ball-boy in the SEC Tournament last year in Atlanta. He had the best time he’s ever had, and he was up close and personal with all of those players and coaches. And just to be in that environment, he really enjoyed that a lot. My wife got to meet (Hasheem) Thabeet from UConn last Saturday up in New York. You know how tall he is (7’3”), and my wife is [Laughs] not very tall, so it was kind of a fun thing to see. Tell us both your proudest and most embarrassing moments on a basketball court. What I’m most proud of is being around some great officials and great people. I’m around just a lot of great human beings when it comes to officiating. Obviously, the Final Four was the pinnacle of my career. The Southeastern Conference Championship that same year was a pinnacle of mine, as well. But each and every night is a challenge, and like I said before, you’re only as good as your last call. So, all of that stuff that’s history, those are just

pictures now. Now you’ve got to move forward and take care of the game tomorrow night, Saturday, Sunday, this coming week. I guess the most embarrassing was my first game in the SEC. I was in front of the scorer’s table and there were about two or three substitutes up there. The ball was coming towards me and I backpeddled, then I went tumbling heels over head…and landed on a couple of them. [Laughs] They’re all moaning and groaning, I’m moaning and groaning. The ball had already gone out of bounds, but I didn’t blow my whistle, and after what seemed like an eternity—really, probably about five or 10 seconds—we all got up and I said, you know, ‘Blue ball!’ And the crowd cheered [Joking in spite of himself], obviously, because I had made the right call. Pretty embarrassing. …Is there a group of fans, be it a specific conference or school, that you could say are the most passionate? I think every league has a few schools that are very, very passionate, and probably more so than others in those particular conferences. There are some very, very difficult arenas to go into. I enjoy that. I would prefer to have a nationally broadcasted game with a very difficult crowd and two Top 10 teams. I like that… We had a tough game the other night with Mississippi State and LSU in double overtime. Two teams competing for the Western Division of the SEC? Talk about passionate! That’s about as passionate as it gets. Great basketball game. Typical, classic SEC battle is what that was. And that’s what makes this a lot of fun. But we work hard when we work, make no mistake about that. There’s a lot of talk about the SEC being down this year, and you see it firsthand. Do you think we will see a major rebound in that conference within the next season or two? I just think there is a lot of parity among a lot of teams throughout the country. I don’t think any particular league is up or down, I think you just see the ebb and flow of freshmen through seniors.

“...I WOULD PREFER TO HAVE A NATIONALLY BROADCASTED GAME WITH A VERY DIFFICULT CROWD AND TWO TOP 10 TEAMS... THAT’S ABOUT AS PASSIONATE AS IT GETS.” College basketball is a four-year deal…so you have certain teams that may have more senior leadership that particular year. Then, the following year, they may have a lot less experience. But straight across the board, with the parity among so many teams now, it’s not just your Top 10 teams and everybody else. Anybody, on any given night, can be beaten in college basketball, and that’s what makes this game so much fun. That’s why they play the games, first and foremost. On paper, it may look one way, but when they put them out there on the floor and it’s 40 minutes, it might just be the other way around. I agree. It’s fun to watch your George Masons and your

Davidsons rise from obscurity, isn’t it? The tournament run George Mason made a few years back, for example, was great to see. Absolutely. I’ve had the opportunity to work in several leagues, and...there are some teams out there that get at it and have passionate crowds. And when the tournament rolls around, they’re going to be in the thick of things. Can’t get you to make any tournament picks this year, can I? [Laughs] I couldn’t tell you. There are so many good teams this year that have the opportunity to be in the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, even the Final Four… I think this year’s NCAA Tournament is going to be really, really good. VVV

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(left to right) Pepperell High students Brook McCoy, Breann Lindsay, Paige Reed and Will Bailey take time away from class to commend the school’s “Freshman Academy” approach.

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COVER STORY

WHOYOUCALLIN’

FRESHMEAT? HARDLY ANYONE WANTS TO GO BACK TO THE ACNERIDDEN,CLIQUE-DRIVEN, AWKWARD TEENAGED TIME THAT IS FRESHMAN YEAR. IN THE “LORD, LET’S NOT DO THAT AGAIN” DEPARTMENT, SEEMINGLY ENDLESS DAYS OF TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHO’S WHO AND WHAT’S WHAT ARE USURPED ONLY BY FIRST KISSES, FASHION FAUX-PAS AND STUBBORN PRIGS OF VIRGIN FACIAL HAIR. GRANTED, TODAY’S 14 TO 16-YEAR-OLD POPULATION APPEARS A BIT MORE VERSED IN THE WAYS OF THE WORLD THAN THEIR GENERATIONAL PREDECESSORS, YET, IT SEEMS FAIR TO ASSUME THAT ANYONE IN HIS OR HER RIGHT MIND WOULDN’T WANT TO REPEAT THE EXPERIENCE TWICE (MUCH LESS LEAVE WITHOUT A DIPLOMA TO JUSTIFY THE TORMENT). THE STATE OF GEORGIA CURRENTLY BOASTS ONE OF THE HIGHEST FRESHMAN REPEATER (A.K.A. FAILURE) RATES IN THE NATION, AND FOR SOME TIME NOW, FLOYD COUNTY HAS BEEN ONE OF THIS DISMAL STATISTIC’S BIGGEST CONTRIBUTORS— THAT IS, UNTIL PEPPERELL HIGH SCHOOL’S VISIONARY “FRESHMAN ACADEMY” SOUGHT TO FLIP THE SCRIPT.

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COVER STORY (below) The Academy’s “Mayor” Dan Tibbets lectures a surprisingly attentive freshman civics class on the impeachment of Bill Clinton

literate, motivated, and work-ready students undoubtedly leads to greater overall stability when the going gets tough—not to mention a lengthier classified section in the Rome News-Tribune. But what in heaven, prêt ell, does all this have to do with the ninth grade? “Everything,” according to Floyd County Superintendent, Dr. Lynn Plunkett.

five. And though the relative newness of the program means overall graduation rates are not yet truly quantifiable, it is apparent that what local educators are doing is, in fact, working. The potent concoction mixed for PHS includes eighth-grader visits to the high school in advance of secondary enrollment, thorough school introduction for students and parents prior to the first day of class, a wholly separate wing (apart from all upperclassmen) for core academic courses,

freshman retention rates for pepperell high school since inception of Freshman Academy / *2003-04 = inaugural year

2003-04 ! 30%

2004-05 ! 21%

2005-06 ! 16%

2006-07 ! 8%

2007-08 ! 5% IN NEARLY EVERY STATISTIC AIMED AT INDICATING THE EDUCATIONAL HEALTH OF A COMMUNITY, GEORGIA’S

FLOYD COUNTY HAS RANKED BELOW THE NATIONAL AVERAGE IN RECENT YEARS. According to a 2007 report published by the Georgia Family Connection Partnership, only 68 percent of Floyd’s students graduated high school on time, and while the state average isn’t much higher at 72 percent, the realities behind these revelations are staggering. Like it or not, any major employer or industry looking to nest itself in Northwest Georgia is going to scrutinize these numbers, and

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though loads of advancements made in technical education and general responsiveness to manufacturers’ needs has brought notable economic investment to the community, it stands to reason that a well-educated population fares far better with respect to attracting a more diverse sampling of hirers, trades, and industry. The sort of diversified local economy actualized when a community boasts

“Statistics, studies, and simple common sense all indicate that if a student doesn’t make it through the ninth grade, the odds are stacked high against the possibility of that student’s graduation from high school and, subsequently, the ability to get and keep a job.” Enter Freshmen Academy, a fast-growing trend in secondary education not only in Georgia, but across the country. The aim is simple: to better transition eighthgraders into high school life, so that they may pass into their sophomore years with the skills they will need to succeed through the remaining three. The method is varied; the cost significant, at first glance. The results, however, are astounding, and in just four academic years, the program piloted at Pepperell High School (PHS) has chiseled Floyd’s freshman retainer rate from 31 percent to just over

and a “freshmen only” faculty that meets daily to compare notes on the newbies’ struggles and victories. This is complemented by a yearlong, alternating elective known as High School 101, which focuses on everything from test-taking/study skills to decision-making, communication to networking, even money management and relationships. Behind this “official” infrastructure, conversations with the folks who make PHS’ incarnation of Freshman Academy happen reveal a shared secret: a whole lot of teamwork. Starting with the very brick and mortar upon which it was built, the Academy has been thoroughly executed from the jump, with particular attention paid to results garnered along the way. Pepperell was chosen to pilot the countywide program four years ago, a time at which plans were already underway


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COVER STORY for a new school building, and in a fortuitous twist of fate, county and school leaders were allowed to work directly with

with parents throughout the transitional year—all in an effort to roll “good decisionmaking into every facet of the

PHS Freshman Academy instructors (left to right, front row) Brandon Parker, Courtney Smith, Evelyn Jones and Dan Tibbets; (second row) Sharon McDaniel, Sabrina Padgett and Jeff Kirk; (third row) Freda Davidson

curriculum, Sarah Whitley, jumps right in, “It’s just the case that, for a while, we were only graduating those who really wanted it. But we have changed our attitude towards helping students find resources and [to] realize the value and importance in that degree.” It’s a bit like “caring enough to get in the way,” Ray jokes. The teachers, however, do most of this getting in the way. “Many of these kids are right on the fence,” remarks one seasoned instructor while discussing the Academy with her peers. “This is the year where we can really make a difference and change their minds about education.” “Ninth grade simply makes it or breaks it,” remarks another. These unsung heroes don’t seem to mind not receiving much recognition, and they share very similar feelings. “We are embracing those who don’t know where they fit,” says one. “We celebrate our successes together,” offers another. Jeff Kirk is teaching science at

And while Coosa, Model and Armuchee all have unique needs, she expects the academy concept to be just as successful at these schools as it has been, thus far, at Pepperell.

TALKING WITH ADMINISTRATORS, TEACHERS AND STUDENTS IN THE HALLS OF PEPPERELL HIGH, IT IS CLEAR THIS ISN’T JUST ONE OF THOSE PROTOTYPICAL, “TOP-DOWN” IDEAS. For one, each player the project’s lead architect to design a structure conducive to implementing the program. Though only PHS was expected to begin implementing the program during the 200304 school year, the entire system decided to join them in the necessary training and preparation. According to Superintendent Plunkett, there was a mutual emphasis on the need to “fully commit” to something that would, hopefully, manage to “effectively address the issues” the system was facing. The Southern Regional Education Board’s “High Schools That Work Initiative” builds on the tenet that the first year of such a program is essential to upping graduation. The Freshman Academy concept—i.e., the “school within the school”—has proven itself to be one of the best new secondary education movements in terms of the consistent ability to address the needs of the first-year high school student. “It’s a philosophy shift more than anything else,” Plunkett explains, “especially for high school teachers who are used to being told to ‘back off ’ at the high school level.” At Freshman Academy, teachers are, instead, encouraged to work as a team, share a common planning period, address discipline issues internally, and work

curriculum.” While the rest of the county high schools did not have the benefit of architectural redesign, each has since begun implementing the academy concept in incremental stages. And because of each school’s strong relationship with its corresponding middle schools, the feasibility of work between freshman faculty and middlegrade educators is high. This kind of “vertical teaming” seems essential to making sure students arrive knowing what to expect, as well as assuring that they are prepared to take on those responsibilities. “We are learning more about the psychology of the ninthgrader,” says Plunkett. “They are each having to adapt to major change, and we have to change the way we respond to that reality.” By continuing to look at course-specific success rates, disciplinary actions taken, freshmen retention rates, and student reports, Plunkett plans to continue funding the program’s expansion despite a harsh budgetary climate. “We didn’t just start a program, we built the capacity for the program to expand right from the beginning,” she explains. “Making sure that we were selfsufficient with trained teachers and administrators, systems of data analysis and school improvement planning [was] built right in.”

in the game seems to truly believe in the movement and are eager to articulate this. “All the data and research shows that the transition from eighth to ninth grade is more shocking for a student than the shift from senior year to the first year of college,” says PHS principal Phil Ray. “This is a great building, but it’s also very scary for a new student.” Assistant principal for

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“IT USED TO BE MORE OF A ‘SINK OR SWIM’ OPERATION,

BUT IN THE ACADEMY WE’RE GOING TO THROW A LINE.”

the Academy for the first time this year. “It’s like a big family,” he says. “I wish my first 25 years

between blocks,” agrees Dan Tibbetts, teacher of government and proclaimed “mayor” of Freshman Academy. “The kids notice,” says English teacher Sharon McDaniel. “If someone acts up in Mr. Kirk’s third block, Mr. Jones is going to know about it before the student gets to him on fourth block.” This level of accountability offers protection for students facing tough times, as well as added motivation for each pupil to practice self-control, and creates a platform for meeting student needs. “It used to be

“[HERE] YOU’RE NOT JUST A NUMBER ON AN ATTENDANCE SHEET, YOU’RE

A FIRST AND A LAST NAME.” teaching had been this way.” Kirk also refers to the constant communication he believes is crucial to the Academy faculty’s success. “We talk every day, several times a day, usually at the intersection of the halls in

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more of a ‘sink or swim’ operation, but in the Academy we’re going to throw a line,” says Tibbetts. Ms. Freda Davidson shares a story from last fall semester, one in which a freshman girl’s father lost his job and she decided to drop out in order to supplement the family. With just a few hallway conversations and a phone call to a community volunteer, a job was found where the girl could work after school and on the weekends without sacrificing her diploma. “We nipped that in the bud within 48 hours I think,” Davidson prides. In another heart-warmer from later that same semester, teachers rallied together the means to provide Christmas for a student who confessed to his High School 101 advisor that his family was struggling. Sadly, the word “struggle” is common in Pepperell’s domain. Almost half its students are on the free or reduced-price lunch plan, and many families face employment uncertainties and life below the poverty line. “The closing of the mill changed the socioeconomic landscape of the area,” explains Principal Ray.

Complementing the mentorcentered approach taken by PHS teachers, the school system, with Superintendent Plunkett at the helm, has begun finding creative, effective ways to either ensure credit completion or provide opportunities for credit recovery—if a student is willing to work, of course. From night school, Saturday school, individualized meeting times and the summer Bridge Program, every level of administrative planning and budgeting is directed toward teaching the valuable character lessons so intrinsic to starting over, trying again, getting it right, and, despite early defeats, working towards an important goal. “Think about it,” says Whitley, “every student that fails, we have to teach again, costing us money, resources, and time with new students. By ensuring timely completion of ninth grade, we can reduce class sizes for subsequent classes and offer a better education for future students.” By spending school resources on the side of prevention, the Floyd County system is not only better meeting the needs of its communities, but also better stewarding taxpayer funds. This topic is both crucial and controversial, given that many possible budget-crunching


G

COVER STORY scenarios would entail axing several of the program’s arms. And if stats, figures and economic chatter don’t make you a fan of Freshman Academy, you’d still have a hard time denying the energy and enthusiasm expressed by everyone involved—even the students themselves. “Teachers just care more. They want us to be better,” says PHS freshman Jessey Acosta, who speaks English as a second language. Fellow academy student, Rosa Dobbs, says, “At first” upon entering high school, she thought things like, “Oh my gosh, it’s high school and it’s scary!” Now, Dobbs says she has “made tons of new friends” and that, even though at one time it seemed impossible not to get lost, these days she has it “down pat”. As for the familiarity of teachers and classes, Rosa contends, “I feel really confident about coming back next year.” Emily Bevels, though a bit more shy than some, agrees.

“The teachers don’t pick at you, and you experience more with other ninth-graders and become friends with people you never thought you would before.” Dobbs talks specifically about her High School 101 experience, a class that is separated by gender. “In some classes,” she explains, “you just don’t want to have an opinion, but [HS 101] feels more free. Girls can express their thoughts and not worry about guys thinking perversely.” “And those who never talk, talk,” Bevels chimes in. “I know,” adds Rosa. “It’s like ‘You have something to say!’ and we realize we have a lot in common. In other classes, there’s just not enough room for discussion. But [in High School 101], I feel encouraged to be a better student, a better role model, and a better person all around.” Lest someone think these statements to be forced, contrived, even baited, it is essential to know that these

young girls were asked to comment on their experiences without any prior knowledge of the topic and, most importantly, without any teachers or administrators present. Their eyes genuinely sparkle, and they openly encourage one another without fear of derision from their peers. “In the Freshman Academy, you’re not just a number on an attendance sheet, you’re a first and a last name,” says Bevels. “You are somebody, and you know your teachers will be there to help you make tough decisions.” She speaks with great poise and conviction for a young woman her age. Some teachers even give their phone numbers to students for use in an emergency or when facing academic challenges, but the kids quoted above agree, “It always feels like every teacher is giving us their full attention.” The girls talk about friends they know at other county schools, and in different school systems altogether. The consensus is that

pupils enrolled at Freshman Academy, when compared with the anecdotes from other kids their age, are less stressed and have a better grasp on many things than their peers. Since the program’s inaugural year, each class composed an oversized banner with each student’s handprint and name displayed. It is a collective statement meant to signify their decision to graduate from Pepperell High School. As they walk to and from class each and every day, they are reminded of an imperative, shared mission. One teacher tells of a senior student who, last year, asked her, “Why didn’t we get to be a part of that group?” Ironically, he felt isolated from the community created by the Freshman Academy. With continued success and purposedriven instruction, no Floyd County student will ever know that feeling again, and even more will be graduating ready to tackle work or college headon. VVV

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moveover,

Mr.diamond

Times are changing— everywhere, for everyone. So, how about one more big shift?

One that, while perhaps not as important as the nation’s economy, is notable nevertheless.

T e x t b ya n n a a r m a s

p h o to s b y s a b r i n aw i l s o n

senses of style and, more and more with each passing season, our social statuses. The Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) As society, fashion and perspective have opened its first fashion-focused exhibit, “In evolved over the centuries, a catch word the Bag” (ITB), on Feb. 5, and higher-ups seems to have evolved, as well. These days, have scheduled it to run through May 2. Essentially, ITB explores the origin, evolution and design of the trusty old purse. The project is co-curated by Kevin Knaus, vice president of global fashion and trend for Material Designer: Darby Scott / Hand-crafted with 18World, and Clint Zeagler, owner/ karat gold, amethyst, smoky topaz and citrine, then scattered with assorted diamonds. proprietor of Atlanta’s Pecan Pie Couture. To begin, the exhibition area dubbed the “Process Gallery” draws attention to the often overlooked blood, sweat and tears that go into a bag’s design and construction. According to co-curator Knaus, the most frequent comment he hears from visitors is their newfound appreciation for what, somewhere behind the scenes, goes into these modern-day must-haves. “I’m hearing that people didn’t realize what art and what craftsmanship it [takes] to design a handbag,” says Knaus. “People are like ‘Oh, okay. Now I understand why some woman is paying $8,000 for a bag.’ They didn’t understand the whole process before.” And to hear Knaus tell it, the process in lieu of the tired old “diamonds” cliché, is closer to home than we may imagine. “handbags” are now a girl’s best friend. Some He points out samples and photographs, are just as pricey (if not more so); others, adding, “We show you the (zipper company) not so much. Some are just as intricate and YKK, which is the largest in the world. rare as the world’s most beloved gem. And Its North American headquarters are in we ladies—even men, on occasion—simply Marietta,” he explains. “And American cannot live without our handbags, the place Tanning and Leather, in Griffin, is one of the in which we keep our identities, personal

fa m i ly j e w e l

five largest leather companies in the world. It’s the only one in the U.S. that works with designers such as Michael Kors and Hermes. “There is nothing in this world now, from interior design to architecture, graphic design—there is nothing that doesn’t interrelate with fashion. Everybody wants their product, even their computer, to be fashionable.” Alluding to the tough economic climate as of late, Knaus offers the following: “Our economy is in a different situation now, but there is still a customer for [designer] bags. The retailers are still doing well. You’ve got to have something that people strive to and look to. We tried to show all different levels of [value and prices in the exhibition], we didn’t just show a status handbag.” MODA executive director, Brenda Galina, seconds that notion. “We purposefully didn’t make this into a mini Saks Fifth Avenue,” says Galina. “You are going to see purses that people, for some reason, bought and loved. And sometimes you’ll look at it and wonder why they loved it, but that is their [self-expression]. “This exhibition appeals to everybody,” she adds. “This morning, we had people who came from Shanghai and Beijing to film the exhibition as a cultural exchange between Beijing and Atlanta.” With an expansion plan led by Galina, for the past two years MODA has strived to showcase any manner of compelling designs in the refinement of a bigger, fresher, far more modern museum. “We have featured furniture, home, graphic and industrial


With “In the bag”, Museum of design atlanta

ATLANTA BEAT

shows us why the handbag is a woman’s STYLISH new B.F.F.

TOWERingfeat Designer: Timmy Woods / Hand-crafted from

acacia wood, this Eiffel Tower bag (above), fit with Swarovski crystals, is the actual accessory carried by Sarah Jessica Parker on HBO’s longrunning hit series, Sex and the City. vini vidi vici / v3 magazine

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ATLANTA BEAT designs,” she says, “and we are [booked] for the next couple of years. Co-curators Kevin and Clint did a beautiful job putting [ITB] together.” Knaus says, “We came up with this idea that your handbag is a piece of art, [so] why don’t we have women loan us their bags for the exhibition? …It worked out beautifully. “We were lucky enough to get bags from the actual sets of Friends, Sex and the City,” he adds, rather enthusiastically. “We got the archived Warner Brothers’ set bags designed by Timmy Woods [through] HBO. Timmy Woods is…a very famous handbag designer who carves everything out of wood.” ITB also incorporates bag concepts created by students from two widely revered design institutions, Georgia’s own Savannah College of Art and Design and the Domus Academy in Milan, Italy. This gives each visitor an inside look at what the famous handbag designers of the future may have in store. In fact, ITB’s lead organizers say there have already been several inquiries as to where these works of art may be purchased in the present. Exploring the rest of the gallery, amazing works by internationally known designers—Prada, Valentino, Chanel—share exhibition space with independent Georgia and Carolina luxury designers. But while notoriety may separate some makes from

“Maybe you want to feel a certain way on a particular day, so you choose a big, comfy bag… You may pick a clutch that says, ‘I’m sexy and sophisticated.’ A purse can be a personal icon for a woman. “I find the reverence of a handbag very interesting. It is a utility piece that has become a piece of fashion with rules. ‘Don’t look in someone else’s purse; don’t place it on the floor,’ ” Jokingly, Zeagler then reveals how most ITB display donors went about outlining the rules regarding their handbags’ care. “And sometimes,” he concludes, “it’s more about the bag itself than what’s in the bag.” VVV

“It is the unseen, unforgettable, ultimate accessory of fashion that heralds your arrival and

BAG/Bouquet

Designer: Jessica McClintock (embellishments by Jay Richardson) / Courtesy of WSB Channel 2 News anchor, Monica Kaufman-Pearson.

C A M E LWA L K

Designer: Pat Vine / Tapestry jeweled bag with red leather accent. / Courtesy of Atlanta-based businesswoman, Aida Perez Flamm.

birkinRocks

Designer: Hermes / Birkin/chocolate brown leather bag with gold hardware. / Courtesy of Barbara S. Joiner.

prolongs your departure.” —coco chanel

others, each “piece” has a story of its own to tell—an owner, a designer, a quote that shares why this bag, in particular, means something special to one individual or another, to society and world culture on the whole. Co-curator Zeagler, who also teaches at SCAD and Georgia Tech, says he personally wanted to make sure the exhibit did a good job of telling why, exactly, women are so emotionally attached to their handbags. “Design can help people express who they are or who they want to be,” he says.

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p e a r ly g i r l

Designer/Donor:TiffanyTeague/Accompanied by the Atlanta artist’s own original sketches and fabric samples.


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ROOD REVIEW

THEROODREVIEW withMATTROOD

Going to the “Dog”:

The Academy’s Best Pic for ‘09, Slumdog Millionaire, begs the everyday viewer to join in the belly rubbing Danny boyle’s new film, slumdog millionaire, is like watching blind people make love. though it seems instinctive, you know there’s a whole lot of thought and preparation to make sure it’s not just a pillow you’re fondling. In essence, Slumdog follows the life of a Chai waiter who winds up competing on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Of course, mixed into this simple character depiction is a convoluted past filled with love-stricken devastation, but the film really maintains a romantic theme anchored around a poor kid on a tacky game show. A bad sign, especially for a film that I assumed would be full of highpitched Indian princesses playing sitars and wearing way too much clothing. Still, I immediately caught interest in the film’s incredibly high caliber (which helped me to ignore my ex-girlfriend’s advances). And though I ended up sitting alone for the last hour, in the end, I felt I had made the right decision. (Slumdog Millionaire: better than a familiar brunette.) Anyhow, Slumdog tells the story of Jamal (played at varying ages by Dev Patel, Tanay Chheda and Ayush Mahesh), a young man whose true love has been continually separated from him throughout his short life. But unlike the typical lover in lament, Jamal grows up a homeless child, struggling to survive the Dharavi slums of Mumbai by way of thieving and conning tourists. Alongside his older brother, Salim (Madhur Mittal, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, Ashutosh Lobo Gajiwala), Jamal spends his life relatively carefree except for his panging adoration of Latika (Freida Pinto, Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar, Rubiana Ali), an orphan girl who Salim protests. Because of his feelings for Latika, Jamal ends up being 40

vini vidi vici / v3 magazisne

overly sensitive to everything around him. Conversely, Salim turns wicked, holding strong resentment for what he perceives to be society’s neglect for him. In time, the two distinctly different brothers reveal their hidden intentions and outlooks—a plus with respect to the film, which made it incredible to watch all three sets of actors portraying each character during different periods in their lives.

on an acclaimed author’s vision—in this case, Vikas Swarup’s international bestseller and Commonwealth Writer’s Prize winner, Q and A. Here, Swarup’s powerful novel employs dark and brooding elements based around the ever-loving epitome of Hollywood glitter and glam: the game show. By using the show to tell the story, Slumdog draws an obvious line in the sand between the protagonist’s humble beginnings and the media frenzy of Hollywood. Jamal’s total lack of interest in the show, despite the pressing of its villainous and altogether shady host (played superbly by actor Ani Kapor), makes it all but impossible to miss the point and think that Swarup and company are making a “positive statement” (as some genius critics have chosen to insinuate). Instead, it’s a

But setting a new standard is typical of a Danny Boyle flick, and there are quick shots amidst intense dialogue, followed by cool montages with great music as a backbone. I hadn’t heard British group M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” before watching Slumdog (because I’m massively uncool), and was shocked to find out that it wasn’t written specifically for the movie. But a constant wave of fresh music isn’t a new concept to Danny Boyle either, though the level of immersion this particular soundtrack invokes is even more concrete. Also similar to Boyle’s earlier works (Trainspotting, The Beach), Slumdog is based

constant reminder of all that Jamal struggles against, and if you didn’t get it, you shouldn’t have watched it. (Hey, guys, I heard Underworld 3 just came out!) To wrap it up: Many American audiences will just label this one another weird foreign film, but those that appreciate good cinema will be greatly rewarded. It’s difficult not to identify with some character in this film, and in the end, you are almost forced to root for Jamal. Slumdog Millionaire is easily one of the best films released since Guy Ritchie married Madonna and Tarantino grew up. So head to the theater for this one, but be wary of taking a date. VVV

Many american audiences will label this one just another weird foreign film, but those that appreciate good cinema will be greatly rewarded.


HI-TEKNOLOGY withWILLSEIFERT

Best in the Game:

A consumer dissection of the gaming industry’s three leading consoles In the incredibly popular and profitable gaming industry, as of late there has been growing dissent among its biggest fans. the central question fueling the feud: which of the ‘next-generation’ gaming consoles— sony’s playstation 3, microsoft’s xbox 360, or the nintendo wii—is the best multimedia buy overall? Given that I am in the unique position of having a venue to recommend today’s best and most user-friendly technologies (as well as being an owner of all three systems), this month I have taken it upon myself to crown one of the world’s three best-selling home consoles king, ending the bickering once and for all. So, on that note, let’s begin with the company that brought you the previous generation’s reigning champ...

play on, playa

sony playstation 3

cost/value ´´´ performance ´´´´´ additional features ´´´ The Sony Playstation has stood proudly atop the gaming console mountain ever since the first system was introduced back in 1994. After experiencing monumental retail success, Sony chose to up the ante in 2000 with the release of the Playstation 2 (PS2), which sold over 140 million units, making it the top-selling game console to date.

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If you knew someone that loved video games four-plus years ago, chances were he or she owned a PS2, and in most cases you can still find it displayed somewhere in that person’s home to this day. So, based on this notion, it’s only natural to presume that the Playstation 3 (PS3), which debuted in the fall of ’06, must be the best in the business today, right? Well, as much as I’d love to give it the crown (especially given that I paid a ridiculous $599 for mine), the PS3 certainly has its flaws. Most disappointing of all, despite having been on the market for well over two years, there is a complete lack of top-quality, exclusive games available. Sony built its formidable gaming empire based on the company’s terrific assortment of Playstationexclusive games, with an open invite to all third-party game developers to fill in the gaps. However, as of my March deadline, Sony had put out only a few games even worth mentioning that were solely

available for the PS3, and had almost completely amassed its sales figures on third-party software (i.e., producing no stalwart sequels to their PS1 or PS2 franchises for the PS3). Seriously, I’ve owned this system for two full years, and I currently own a grand total of four games… FOUR! It’s almost as though Sony put a billion dollars into the development of an indomitable gaming powerhouse and forgot that people may actually want to play a decent game on it from time to time. On a positive note, Sony’s wisest decision was to include a Blu-Ray drive in every PS3 console. A revolutionary move, given that this was a relatively new technology when the system was released just two short years ago, one that had not yet taken flight with the general public. In turns out this foresight has not only helped Blu-Ray win the entertainment technology industry’s high

definition DVD format war (versus the now void HD-DVD), but has also helped them sell over 21 million units thus far. Another pro on Sony’s side is that they have chosen to give every PS3 purchaser free access to the Playstation Network, which features an online store where one can download free game demos, themes, add-ons, or even stream movie rentals straight to his or her console. This web portal also allows gamers to play other die-hards online, as well as providing the ability to update both the system itself and its games when improvements have been made. But while this sounds great in theory, the mere fact that most downloads take hours to complete— even with the fastest of Internet connections— proves, once again that you get what you pay for.

(s)lick in a box

microsoft xbox 360

cost/value ´´´´ performance ´´´´´ additional features ´´´´´ Next up is the oldest of the new generation’s “big three”, the Microsoft Xbox 360. Microsoft first entered the console market after seeing the Playstation take it by storm in the late ’90s. That being said, Microsoft introduced its first game console, the Xbox, in 2001


HI-TEKNOLOGY to compete against the PS2 for the title of top dog. Initially, Microsoft failed miserably, mainly due to brand loyalty for Sony. But the introduction of its ultimate first-party franchise, Halo, and a robust online gaming infrastructure, Xbox Live, eventually elevated the system to where it stands today. The Xbox Live service costs a very reasonable $50 per year, and though the network offers the same range of features as does the PS3 for free (worldwide online play, downloads, what have you), the 360 earns a definite oneup when compared to Sony’s poster child, with particular regard to overall speed and efficiency. Although the original Xbox only sold a paltry 24 million units in its heyday, it would be the father unit’s successor that would see Microsoft getting it right… Almost. Of course, the 360 is a beast of a machine, and its highdef graphics and completely overhauled online system made it an instant success, and it has only grown more popular since its launch in 2005. But despite its status in gaming lore, the machine itself is faulty by design, and those readers who know firsthand what the infamous “red ring of death” is know exactly what I’m talking about. (note: This is the dreaded failure upon which your 360, basically, melts itself into a useless $400 paperweight, leaving you on the phone with Microsoft tech support annoyed as all hell, begging some outsourced headset in Mumbai to send you a shipping box so that you can return it for repair.) To back this up, I’ll add that I personally have had to resend mine three times, and eventually grew so tired of doing so that I ended up just buying a new one at sticker price. But not all have experienced this, and consumer loyalty to this imperfect machine has now paid off to a high degree, both in terms of first AND thirdparty game selection, as well

as the increasingly amazing Xbox Live service and its vast capabilities. Today, over 17 million members of the Live community currently have the options to play against one another in a wide assortment of games, download demos, movies, TV shows, and most recently, Netflix. This Netflix addition, and the access to stream over 12,000 different movies and/or TV programs with a paid membership to both services, has already received rave reviews, and is pushing the 360 ahead of the competition along with the stripes it has earned as all-in-one entertainment delivery system.

wii be movin!

nintendo wii

cost/value ´´´´´ performance ´´´´ additional features ´´´´

in the end, enjoying the games? With this philosophy in mind, Nintendo and the Wii went straight for the cutting edge by employing motionsensitive controllers that, conversely to the PS3 or 360,

open up an entirely new approach to gameplay and game development. Now, games are allowed to be fully interactive, giving the player a genuine sense of control with respect to both mind and physical

movement. No longer will your mother, wife, or brother yell, “Stop sitting around playing those stupid games!” For when you play a Wii, you are actually doing something. In fact, the system itself actually comes with a disc (the Wii Sports game package), which includes a few popular head-to-heads such as tennis and bowling—activities that actually get you off your flabby butt and moving to play—and for this reason, the Wii tops the ranks in terms of accessibility to gamers of all ages, young and old. As an aside, the Wii also features an online store where owners can purchase a host of games from any of the former Nintendo consoles, as well as Sega’s grand old Genesis, Master System, and TurboGrafx-16 (hello!) offerings. And, oh yeah, it’s even backwards compatible with the GameCube, so if you were disappointed the first go-‘round, you can give it another whirl. Sweet. VVV

The last of our new millennium heavyweights is a horse of a drastically different color: the Nintendo Wii. The•name Nintendo has Assistants Certified Nursing ingrained itself so deeply into pop culture over the decades that it has become synonymous with “video games”. Ever since the introduction of beautiful and wonderfully cartoonish characters such as Mario, Relations Representative Our Services Include: Zelda and Donkey Kong, Community the American public has grown to • certified nursing assistants love and adore Nintendo for • occupational therapy being part of a first-generation • physical therapy gamers’ virgin foray into our • social workers increased obsession with gaming. • nursing Nintendo’s latest offering, however, has changed the game completely. Left for dead by the industry media as the follow-up to Nintendo’s horrible previous generation console, the GameCube, the company’s higher-ups decided to leave the fight for high-definition graphics power in the hands of its biggest competitors eric shaw / community relations representative and, instead, veer toward true 31three rivers drive ne • rome ga 30161 innovation. eshaw@uhs-pruitt.com • 706.232.5908 phone After all, why make it “look” better when the focus itself is, 706.232.5947 fax • 706.346.2090 cell

vini vidi vici / v3 magazine

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Killing ‘The Pill’ For good procedure. However, it is performed in less than 30 minutes and women are generally able to return to their daily routines within 24 hours.

T

ired of waiting for him to get a vasectomy? Now there is Essure, the in-office procedure for permanent birth control. It has the benefit of involving no hormones, no cutting, no burning, nor does it come with the risks associated with general anesthesia and tubal ligation.

Essure offers women what no birth control ever has:

• No cutting • No going under general anesthesia • No slowing down to recover • No hormones • No guessing - your doctor can confirm when you can rely on Essure for birth control • Short procedure time Essure only takes about 13 minutes to perform • Trusted by women and doctors for over five years

Essure was approved by the FDA in 2002 and nearly 200,000 women have had undergone the procedure worldwide. Based on four years of clinical data, it was found to be 99.8 percent effective. The inserts are made of polyester fibers, nickeltitanium, and stainless steel, all of which are materials that have been used successfully for years in other procedures (e.g., artificial heart valves, blood vessel grafts). During the procedure, the small, flexible micro-inserts are placed in the fallopian tubes via a scope that is inserted through the cervix, then up into the uterus. Patients may have some cramping or pain—similar to what you experience with your period—during and after the

Over the next several weeks, your body creates a barrier that prevents sperm from reaching the egg. After three months, you will undergo a confirmation test that will also be conducted in the office. This test verifies your fallopian tubes are blocked and that you can rely on Essure for quality birth control. Since Essure does not contain hormones, it does not cause weight gain or impact the menstrual cycle. Yet, if you have been using hormone-based birth control, it is possible that your period may become slightly heavier due to the hormone decrease. At Rome Women’s Health Center, I have personally performed the Essure procedure over the last year and have never been compelled to discontinue the procedure due to patient discomfort. In addition, all the confirmation tests have shown successfully blocked fallopian tubes. If your family is complete and you are interested in permanent birth control, consider Essure. If the idea of zero hormones, no incision, no burning, no anesthesia, a quick recovery and the reliability of a confirmation test sound appealing, it could very well be the procedure for you. Either way, men everywhere are breathing sighs of relief. VVV

Biography Originally from Atlanta, Dr. Leigh Barrell did her undergraduate work at Berry College, medical school at Medical College of Georgia with a residency at Georgia Baptist Medical Center in Atlanta. Dr. Barrell is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and has practiced in Rome since 1998. She opened Rome Women’s Health Center in October 2007 and resides in Rome with her husband Kevin and 7 year old daughter, Katie.


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V3 Magazine March 2009