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Simon Says...


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Cobb Life

March 2012  Volume 8, Issue 2 EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER

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INDEX OF ADVERTISERS Acworth Art Fest Atlanta Kubota Atlanta Lyric Theatre BBQ Grill Doctor Beltone Hearing Big Liquor & Wine Blackwell's Jewelers Broadway Series Carpet Dry-Tech Cartersville CVB Center Academy Center for Allergy & Asthma Champion Windows Chattahoochee Technical Cobb Hardware Cochran Shutters Compassionate Care Ministries Dermatology Consultants The Historic Downtown Marietta Branding Project Due West Chiropractic Emory Adventist Hospital Expert Carmedix Fireplace Company First Cherokee State Bank Fleming Carpet Fresh N Fit Gaines Park Assisted Living Home Gas South Broadway Series – Young Frankenstein Georgia Memorial Park Harry Norman Henry's Louisiana Grill Heywood's Provision Company Hutcheson Horticulture Joanna Conyingham Johnson Ferry Baptist Church Kennesaw Dental KSU Continuing Ed Laurel Park Tennis Center Leafguard Life Grocery

74 45 68 12 31 46 77 63 36 81 46 3 61 35 76 11 78 40 37 71 26 12 36 49 33 58 30 67 62 48 22 77 69 56 10 79 65 58 18 56

Marietta Funeral Home Marietta Hearing Marietta Podiatry Marlow's Tavern Mayes Ward - Dobbins Funeral Home MFUMC Weekday Ministry Mini Maid Mysteria Antiques & Oddities New Life Chiropractic Northside Hospital Northside Hospital Sleep Center Painting Plus Parc at Piedmont Pinnacle Orthopaedics Plastic Surgery Center of the South Private Gallery R & D Mechanical Resurgens Roswell Street Baptist Sawyer Bailey Salon Signature Salon Spot-On Consulting Sue Hilton Sumner Neurology Sundial Plumbing Superior Plumbing The Bottoms Group The Framery The Georgia Ballet The Henssler Financial Group The Wild Wing Café Trust Mark Gold United Community Bank Wells Fargo Advisors - Chris Busby WellStar WellStar Atherton Place West Georgia Crematory White Rabbit Winnwood Retirement Woodstock Antiques

25 4 14 53 83 72 62 30 19 9 41 59 34 5 38 78 79 47 44 14 80 72 11 32 73 2 & 68 7 23 32 13 23 48 15 75 84 24 52 39 57 52

COBB ADVERTISING MANAGER

Becky Opitz ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES

Reneé Aghajanian, Stephanie deJarnette, Carole Johnson, Dawne Edge, Paula Milton, Tamara Heil, Melinda Young, Candace Hallford, Tara Guest GRAPHIC DESIGNERS

Caroline Brannen, Beth Poirier, Jennifer Hall PRODUCTION CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Leigh Hall CIRCULATION DIRECTOR

Matt Heck I N F O R M AT I O N

Cobb Life magazine is published nine times a year by The Marietta Daily Journal and distributed to more than 33,500 homes and businesses. SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES

To request a copy or to subscribe, visit our website at www.cobblifemagazine.com ADVERTISING

To advertise, contact Wade Stephens at 770.795.4001 SUBMISSIONS

Please send all editorial correspondence to mmaguire@cobblifemagazine.com Follow us on facebook


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W H AT ’ S I N S I D E

20 features 27 20 RISING STARS UNDER 40 Our annual profile of up and comers in Cobb 50 ARE Y’ALL READY FOR THIS? Gibbs Gardens opens this month 64 URBAN EXPLORING Our venture into the forgotten parts of Cobb

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departments 16 HOME Decorating with books 20 SPICE Inside East Cobb’s latest restaurant 54 SPICE Where there is smoke, there is flavor at Grand Champion BBQ 60 BLOOM Tips for getting your garden prepped for spring

in every issue F R O M T H E D I R E C TO R 0 8 NEWS & NOTEWORTHY 10 ON THE WEB 14 H I G H L I G H TS 6 6 SCENE 70 REFLECTIONS 82

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c o v e r Four of our “rising stars.” From left, Andreas Economopoulos, Joyette Holmes, Suzannah Gill and Jimmy Swartz.


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FROM THE DIRECTOR

Cobb is in good hands I had not seen Andreas Economopoulos in roughly 17 years since I graduated from Berry College. Andreas, or as he was commonly called then, “Dre,” was a couple of years behind me and despite the fact that he was an NAIA academic All-American soccer player and I was a wild English major with a penchant for writing poetry, playing guitar and causing general mayhem on campus, we still ran in the same larger group of friends and saw each other regularly. We weren’t the best of friends, but at a school with a small student population like Berry, the fraternity is almost the college itself. We re-connected a couple of years ago on LinkedIn, one of the new social media sites for professionals. I was impressed to see that he had founded his own company and was doing extremely well. When we were assembling our list, I nominated him, not only for his success as an entrepreneur, but also for his volunteering. Andreas made the cut and I got to re-connect with him face-to-face when he arrived for our cover shoot in our studio at the Marietta Daily Journal. Gone was his wild curly hair, now replaced by a short haircut, a smattering of gray around the temples. I had changed myself, of course. Gray storming my hair, much shorter now than it was the last time we saw each other, my dress more conservative and a generous 50 pounds or so added to my frame. If you’re looking for cockiness or brashness, you won’t

find it with Andreas. Despite being ultra-competitive, he is down-to-earth and would rather devote time to talking about his family, friends or the best places to eat in Cobb than business. His manner and approach to life summed up the other three stars who are on our cover. Jimmy Swartz, Suzannah Gill and Joyette Holmes. All possess the classic characteristics of “those who have it, don’t have to talk about it.” Lots of laughter was present during the photo shoot, stories of children dominated the conversations as did pleasant jokes about showing up for a cover shoot in a muscle shirt and jams. These are folks who are driven, hard-working and talented, but do not seem to take themselves too seriously. Perhaps that is part of their success? Regardless, their work, talent and growing place of prominence in Cobb County is reflective of all of the 20 Rising Stars under 40 present in this, our sixth edition. Why do I tell you all this? Simple. Humankind has a tendency to look to the future. And, except for the occasional optimistic “we’ll-havejetpacks” type of vision, most of the future prognostications are filled with doom and gloom. But, in our 20 under 40 issues, we show you that all is not doom and gloom. That there are leaders today who are in place to help make tomorrow a better place. Simply put, Cobb is in good hands. I hope you enjoy reading this issue and getting to know some of the young stars of Cobb. Best,

Mark Wallace Maguire


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news & noteworthy [arts and culture] Kennesaw museum reaches milestone

Johnston joins Atlanta Lyric Theatre Staff

The Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History recently celebrated its tenth year anniversary as a prestigious member of the Smithsonian Institution Affiliations program. The museum hosted a small ceremony to mark the occasion and was awarded a special plaque by a Smithsonian representative to commemorate the anniversary. "This is a very special day, and indeed an honor to be celebrating our tenth anniversary as a Smithsonian Affiliate,” said Dr. Richard Banz, executive director of the museum, at the opening the reception. "We are the only history museum in the State of Georgia that is an affiliate, and it has allowed us the ability to become a world-class facility." The program offers many services from education and artifacts to exhibitions, and since 2001, the facility has been hosting Smithsonian traveling exhibits. The Smithsonian plans on working towards bringing a number of new collections to the museum in conjunction with the upcoming commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Information: 2829 Cherokee Street Kennesaw 770.427.2117 www.southernmuseum.org

In January, the Atlanta Lyric Theatre got a new addition. Artistic Director and General Manager Brandt Blocker announced Bobby Johnston was hired as full-time production manager and technical director for the 32-year-old musical theatre company. “I am very pleased and honored to be making this announcement,” said Blocker. “Bobby has been working with the Lyric since January 2010 as our resident sound designer. His audio design and engineering has completely elevated the quality of our productions. Bobby has earned the respect and admiration of our entire organization through his passionate commitment to the Lyric and its productions.” Johnston has toured with some of the world’s most successful musical acts such as the Eagles, Rascal Flatts, Vince Gill, LeAnn Rimes, Sugar Ray, Collective Soul and Chris Isaak. The Atlanta Lyric Theatre is a resident company of the Earl Smith Strand Theatre on the Marietta Square. Information: www.atlantalyrictheatre.com CORRECTION: In the January/February issue of Cobb Life’s SCENE section we erroneously reported that William Entrekin’s art show was at Gallery 4463 in Acworth. The show was at Lake City Fine Art Gallery at 4815 B Main St. in Acworth. We regret the error.


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[home and garden] Anne Hathaway Garden Club Sale

The Anne Hathaway Garden Club will hold its annual Plant and Bake Sale April 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Marietta Educational Garden Center located at 505 Kennesaw Ave. The rain date will be April 20. Benefits from the sale allow the club to be involved in many local and statewide beautification projects. Local sites are at Park Street Elementary School and the Marietta Welcome Center.

[business] Cobb Galleria getting upgrade The Cobb Galleria Centre recently announced a series of renovations and upgrades, including a complete renovation of the 25,000-square-foot ballroom, common areas and restrooms. The majority of the renovations were completed earlier this year with the remainder slated to be wrapped up by June. The venue also invested in a wireless network upgrade to accommodate future changes in technology. Additional projects currently underway also include maintenance to the five-level parking deck.

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[food and dining]

Getting to the Greek

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Chobani is making Greek yogurt as fast as Americans are eating it. Its plant in upstate New York farm country already pumps out 1.5 million cases of the thick yogurt every week, and pallets are stacked four stories high in the chilled warehouse. But like other Greek yogurt makers, Chobani is expanding. Greek yogurt now accounts for a quarter of the total yogurt market after a dizzying growth spurt. The expansions come as the big U.S. yogurt makers are focusing on Greek products, too. Greek yogurt is made a bit differently than the thinner, more watery product that dominated U.S. supermarket shelves for decades. The whey is strained off, leaving a creamier yogurt high in protein and low in fat. While the quick growth has some hallmarks of a food fad — think cupcakes or bubble tea — the long-term investments point to a widespread industry belief that many Americans will continue to like their yogurt a bit richer. The Chobani plant today bustles with 14 production lines mechanically squirting yogurt into plastic cups that zip down conveyor belts. The company said production will increase from 1.5 million cases a week to more than 2 million when the current $134 million expansion is completed this year. Another $128 million Chobani plant being built 2,000 miles west in Twins Falls, Idaho, will add still more. The NPD Group, a consumer marketing research firm, reports that Greek yogurt appeals most to adult females and that it’s more popular in smaller and higher-income households.

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If you want more of the best in Cobb Life, follow us on the web. Our website www.cobblifemagazine.com has exclusive videos, photos and blogs. Plus, you can follow us on facebook and twitter and get invited to enter exclusive contests and more.


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[arts and culture] Craft Council Show coming to Cobb March 9 to 11 Liudmila Sherrer has been working with textiles for more than 20 years. In 2007, she rediscovered her love of hand felting techniques and developed her own signature method. Sherrer, along with many other artists, will be featured in the American Craft Council Atlanta Show, March 9 to 11 at the Cobb Galleria Centre. “I find inspiration from everything around,” she said. “I like to take photos from my travels as ideas for color combinations. Hand felting is very time consuming and a labor involved technique.” For making one scarf, Sherrer said it can take anywhere from eight hours up to 40, depending on how intricate a design she is working with. All of her creations are one-of-a-kind and carefully handcrafted by Sherrer. She will join about 225 other master artists at the craft council show, many of whom have work on display in museums and in some of the nation’s top art and craft galleries, according to a news release. Hours for the Atlanta show are — March 9, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; March 10, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and March 11, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information: www.craftcouncil.org/atlanta or www.feltinventions.com

Sherrer will be displaying her work, which includes vibrant scarves like these.

[food and dining] Cobb restaurants land at airport The Marietta bakery Gabriel’s, through a concessions firm, was one of 126 restaurant vendors to win a contract with the City of Atlanta to sell products at Atlanta’s HartsfieldJackson International Airport in the new Maynard H. Jackson, Jr. International Terminal, set to open this spring. Atlanta-based Concessions International inquired about a year ago about installing a Gabriel’s kiosk in the new terminal, as in a franchise deal. Concessions International will bake and prepare the products using Gabriel’s recipes, and it will operate the kiosk, which will be called Gabriel’s Desserts. Another Cobb County restaurant, Weinerz Butcher Shop & Deli, at 1592 Atlanta Road in Marietta, north of Windy Hill Road, will be opening in the terminal as well.

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[food and dining]

Cardamom, the forgotten spice

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The typical grocer sells some 50,000 different products. The typical shopper buys the same 264 over and over again. The point ? To persuade you to take a second look at some of the 49,736 foods that don't usually land in your cart. Cardamom, for example. First, the basics. Cardamom is a seed that is related to ginger and originated in India (both of which explain why it makes frequent appearances in Indian sauces, chutneys and rubs). The taste is citrusy and floral, as well as warm and peppery. Cardamom is sold whole (black seeds in a greyish-green pod) and ground (a fine greyish-blue powder). While the flavor is best when you get whole pods and grind them as needed, raise your hand if you can admit that's too much trouble. One example of how easy it is to use an overlooked ingredient like cardamom to overhaul your weeknight cooking is a simple roasted chicken and potatoes, shown above. For more ideas for using cardamom, check out the Off the Beaten Aisle column over on Food Network: http://bit.ly/fsCMUx


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New uses for

OLD BOOKS

Stacks of books turned into tables? Volumes made into shelves? Pages turned into sculpture?

Library purists, remain calm. Because we’re going to talk about doing things to books that might, under other circumstances, send a shiver up your spine (pardon the pun). As mountains of encyclopedias, atlases and almanacs become outdated, and an ocean of literary books succumb to the tides of time, craftspeople have come to the rescue. Using glue, cutting tools, bindings and even belts, artists — book lovers all — are turning abandoned books into creative furniture and art. Chicago’s Brian Dettmer turns vintage medical, art and history texts into intricate Escher-like 3D sculptures. Susan Porteous, a sculptor and artist in Denver, spins paper from old books on Gandhi into string, and

winds it on antique spools. British designer Jeremy May laminates hundreds of pages into exquisitely rendered jewelry. Jim Rosenau, of Berkeley, Calif., makes thematic shelves: One is made out of vintage cookbooks, another out of sports books. And Lisa Occhipinti, a mixed-media artist and designer in Venice, Calif., who wrote “The Repurposed Library” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2011), makes looped, birdlike mobiles out of old book pages — such as the 1952 illustrated children’s book “Paws, Hoofs and Flippers.” She festoons mirrors with pages from an old edition of “The Wizard of Oz.” She sells some of her work on Etsy.com and does commissioned work. For a piece called “Flora Grid,” she turns paper into flower bursts assembled in a contemporary pattern. And her “Circulation” binds a collection of weatherand time-beaten volumes into a graphic sculpture. by KIM COOK


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REPURPOSE YOUR BOOKS: A FEW TIPS “It’s about giving books a new life; it has nothing to do with destruction. It is all about honoring books, and that comes from a profound and lifelong love for them,” Occhipinti says. “I’m fascinated by how they connect people, places and time. Books contain vigor, and by reconfiguring them into new forms, I aim to give them a life off the shelf.” Her book gives advice and instruction on how to source old books; and includes make-at-home projects like a lamp base, utensil holder and switchplate cover. Jason Thompson is the founder of Rag & Bone Bindery in Pawtucket, R.I. His store sells new bound journals and stationery, but he also has written “Playing With

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 Look for old hard covers — they have sturdier outer cases and, usually, high-quality pages.  Outdated textbooks have lots of photos and illustrations.  Look for books with supple, non-brittle pages, with no mold, mildew or musty odor.  Library sales are a good source of old books, especially nonfiction volumes and paperbacks. Thrift shops, tag sales and even the neighbor’s recycle bin are all worth checking out.

Books” (Quarry, 2010), which showcases the work of several artists who deconstructed and reimagined old books. Once your own imagination has been sparked, you can try your hand at rolling, folding, decoupaging and papier mache-ing printed pages into all manner of creative objects. Some projects are easy, such as paper butterflies, blossoms and orb ornaments. Others involve more advanced origami, or a whole lot of patience, such as the basket made of dozens of tiny tightly folded pages. Online are several sites with ideas on how to stack books to make tables of all sizes, using heavy-duty glue or thick leather belts to lash them together.


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Finally Free from Arthritis Pain Without Drugs or Harmful Side Effects Living with arthritis pain can affect every part of your life. It keeps you from enjoying the good things in life – time with grandkids,playing golf, even working in the yard. It would be nice to get out of bed, just one morning, without pain. Every time you try and push through the pain, like standing or walking for a long period of time, you pay for it for the next 2-3 days with even more pain.

Do you have any of these arthritic problems? • Osteoarthritis • Rheumatoid arthritis • Bursitis/tendonitis • Degenerative joint disease • Lumbar disc problems • Aching pain in the arms or legs

Pain Pills Are Not The Answer Do you remember the Vioxx scandal? It was a medication designed to relieve arthritis pain... but like all drugs,it had side effects.After years of use worldwide, the makers withdrew it from the market because of the overwhelming evidence it caused heart attacks and strokes. There's a time to use pain medications, but not before seeking a natural way to correct the cause of the problem! Ask yourself – after taking all these pain medications, maybe for years... are you any better off?

Pain Is Not Just “Old Age” Have you had one doctor after another tell you this is just the natural process of the body getting older - that you should expect to have arthritis? Sure, if you don't take care of your damaged joints now, as you get older they will be worse (which is why you shouldn't wait any longer to see if I can help you.) However, old age is not the cause of your arthritis. I'll venture to say all 360 joints in your body are the same age, yet arthritis and joint degeneration has not affected every one of them – only your previously injured joints that have never healed properly. My name is Dr.Amy Valente owner of New Life Chiropractic Center. Over the past six years since we've opened the doors, I've seen hundreds of people come in suffering with arthritis and leave the office pain-free. I've made it my mission in practice to help those suffering with chronic pain like you.

“I only wish I had found you sooner...” I hear this too often, so I decided to do something about it. Just call before March 25th, 2012 and you'll get my "Arthritis Evaluation" for only $20. Here’s what you’ll get: • An in-depth consultation about your arthritis where I will listen – really listen. • A complete nerve, muscle and spinal exam to find the cause of your problem. • A full set of specialized x-rays to look for joint degeneration (arthritis) (These would normally cost you at least $200). • A thorough analysis of your exam and x-ray findings so I can show you how to fix the problems. I'll answer all your questions about chiropractic and arthritis pain. The appointment will not take long at all and you won't be sitting in a waiting room all day either. To take me up on this special offer, you must call before March 25th, 2012.

Call Today! 678-574-5678 Feel the improvement and say "Yes" to life again! Listen to what someone else has to say about it….. "I came into the office with terrible hip pain and stiffness.Now I am able to move around without all of the pain! Before I came to the office I had a lot of trouble sleeping but now I can sleep 7 hours a night without taking any medication!" Thanks! – D. Hames "When I came in to NLCC I was dealing with pain that at times left me unable to function normally. Activities such as working out, doing yardwork and lifting my grandson were difficult. Now that I am getting well I feel like a normal person again. I can exercise, lift weights and even pick up my grandson without worrying about the pain!" Thanks again! – K. Sears With my "Arthritis Evaluation",we can find the problem and then correct it.Think of how you could feel in just a few short weeks! See and feel your life change for the better. Start your body on the way to pain-free, normal living. Feel tight joints rest, relax, free up. Feel PA I D A DV E RT I S I N G

muscles tied in knots become more supple. Feel strength in your muscles increase. As you begin to see motion returning to your joints, you're preventing and reducing chances of disability and a crippling future. You're playing golf again – hitting longer drives, smoother putts, and lower scores – without pain. Arthritis can be successfully treated. Healthy, pain-free living should be yours. Please call our 24-Hour Helpline at 678-5745678 and tell the receptionist you'd like to come in for the Special Arthritis Evaluation before March 25th, 2012. We can get started with your consultation, exam and x-rays as soon as there's an opening in the schedule. Our office is located on the corner of Mars Hill Road and Hwy 41. I look forward to helping you get rid of your pain so you can start living a healthier, more joyful life.

Sincerely, Dr. Amy Valente, D.C. P.S. The only real question to ask yourself is this... isn’t life too short to live in pain? Call us today and soon I'll be giving you the green light to have fun again!

New Life Chiropractic Center 3451 Cobb Parkway, Suite 6 Acworth, GA Call Today:

678-574-5678


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Grilled Shrimp Adobo with yomato mosa sauce and crispy polenta. Opposite page, Hanger Steak Frites with herb onion caramel and parmesan garlic fries.

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s e e d blooming with taste

By Joan Durbin Photography by Reid Traylor

Thank your lucky stars that Doug Turbush settled his family in east Cobb 12 years ago. Because when Turbush, an acclaimed chef, was ready to open his own restaurant, he picked a location close to home. Part of the reason for that fortuitous decision was that Turbush had grown weary of commuting to inside the perimeter, where most recently he helmed the kitchen at the now-shuttered Bluepointe. But a second motivating force was Turbush’s firsthand knowledge of the area. East Cobb just didn’t have the type of dining scene Turbush had in mind.


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Roasted beets and grapefruit with liquid parmesan pistachios. ’ve been in the industry a long time and I’ve lived here a fairly long time. I recognized the need early on,” Turbush said. There are plenty of places to get a good meal, he said, but none that offer cuisine at the level of restaurants inside the perimeter. “East Cobb really hasn’t had a taste of anything like what is available intown.” Now they do. Seed Kitchen & Bar opened last November in the Merchants Walk shopping center at Johnson Ferry and Roswell roads. Though at first it was dinner only, Seed quickly became so popular that Turbush began lunch service several weeks before he had planned. The menu isn’t extensive, but quality of ingredients, consistently good execution and especially Turbush’s savvy use of spices and Southeast Asian and Latin flavors make Seed a true standout. Seed’s declared culinary style is modern American, and there are several excellent dishes that stay within that comfort zone. But it’s clear that Turbush is into bold flavors, even in deceptively simple-sounding dishes such as pan-roasted flounder, which has enough seasoning to keep your tongue interested without overpowering the ultra-fresh fish. When we ordered it, the flounder was paired with caramelized Brussels sprouts and cauliflower laced with a hint of garlic Thai vinaigrette, and I guarantee that even those who think they don’t care for either veggie will be rabid fans.

“I

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New Bedford Scallops & Pork Belly with butternut squash and cider brown butter.

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Pork belly shows up twice on the menu, once in a starter of sliders nestled in steamed Chinese buns with hoisin sauce and scallions, and again in an entrÊe, sharing plate space with New England sea scallops, butternut squash puree and cider brown butter. After spending a year cooking in Bangkok and meeting his wife there, Thai food is at the top of Turbush’s personal hit parade and is well represented here. If your palate could use a wake-up call, give the shrimp sambal a whirl. On the list of small plates/starters, this has plenty of wow factor. Sambal olek, which is red chili paste, citrusy yuzu juice, palm sugar and fresh lime join forces for some nicely zippy shrimp.

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Thai beef salad, also a starter, is shelf liquors, carefully chosen wines easily found in actual Thai restauand craft beers. In addition to dozens rants. But I haven’t come across a bet- of excellent wines by the glass, Seed’s ter version than Turbush’s. The thinly cruvinet system allows guests to samsliced, tender beef is bathed in flavors ple some extraordinary vintages that that are deep, tangy and spicy, backed otherwise might be cost prohibitive. up by the natural pepperiness of Also, it would be criminal not to try at organic arugula. least one of the enticing One of the entrees we cocktails, from offerings particularly enjoyed was both vintage and congrilled hanger steak, temporary. One I love is hugely flavorful and tenthe Corpse Reviver, Kitchen & Bar which marries Leopold’s der with a concentrated beefiness spiked by a gin, cointreau, the 1311 Johnson Ferry breezy white French Thai-influenced mariRoad nade. And the house cut, wine known as lillet Merchants Walk twice-fried Parmesan blanc, fresh lemon juice Marietta garlic fries that accompaand absinthe. 678.214.6888 ny it are nothing short of Designed by ai3, the www.eatatseed.com architectural design firm addictive. In addition to small plates and mains, a whose clients have sprinkling of sandwiches included intown starts and salads round out the menu. such as 4th & Swift, Bocado and Desserts sound delicious, but we Holman & Finch, Seed’s interior is never had any room left over to try sleek and stylish, with a subway-tiled any. Perhaps the deconstructed apple bar and lounge area and lots of light, pie or decadent chocolate mousse white and blond woods in tables, cake with white chocolate sabayon chairs and flooring, and a floor-towill be in order on our next visit. ceiling bookcase filled with cookOne of Cobb’s most inviting bars books behind the chef’s table at the boasts an impressive selection of topedge of the open kitchen. 

seed

Chef Doug Turbush.

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C A L E N D A R

We’ve got another exciting year ahead at Cobb Life. Here is a brief preview of what is to come.

IL COMING IN APRDEN R A G HOME AND

APRIL home and garden eye on acworth business

M AY cobb moms eye on east cobb business

J U N E / J U LY the search for cobb’s best pizza

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WRITTEN BY ALLEN BELL, JOAN DURBIN, JENNIFER HAFER, KEVIN HAZZARD, ADAM MILLER, MICHAEL PALLERINO, RYAN PECK AND MEREDITH PRUDEN PHOTOGRAPHY BY REID TRAYLOR AND ADAM MILLER


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JUD THOMPSON

President, Butch Thompson Enterprises

the stats Age: 38 Family: Married to Carrie. The couple has five children, Mac, 11, Grace, 8, Tucker, 6, Cooper, 5, and Ella, 3. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, University of Georgia. Volunteer Work: Kiwanis Club; Marietta Youth Football League. Favorite Quote: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” — Philippians 2:3, NKJV

e often hear about super women but the equivalent term is rarely conferred upon men. Enter Jud Thompson. This super man, and Marietta resident, is a dedicated husband and father and hardworking company president, but he still manages to find time to commit to numerous charitable and community causes. It’s no wonder he’s been named the Cobb Chamber’s Citizen of the Year! Last year marked the third year running Thompson worked on the Kiwanis Club’s Field of Flags at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park and it was also the year he helped launch the Marietta Youth Football League. With his sights set ahead on 2012, Thompson and his wife, Carrie, are focused on building an area school for children with dyslexia. “Work is full time and there’s no question about that,” Thompson said. “But if something is meant to be … if God lays something in front of you, the time will multiply.” Well said!

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REED WEIGLE

20 RISING STARS UNDER 40

Senior Project Manager, Brasfield & Gorrie General Contractors

the stats Age: 34 Family: Married to Elizabeth. The couple has three children, Camilla, 6, Jack, 3, and Anne. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Auburn University. Volunteer Work: Member of The Church of the Apostles. Board of Directors, Associated Builder’s & Contractors, Board of Directors, Children’s Sports Network, Executives for Children’s, WellStar Foundation Business and Corporate Committee (2010 to present).

arietta’s Reed Weigle isn’t a doctor, but he plays an important role in delivery of health care in Cobb County and beyond. As senior project manager with Brasfield & Gorrie General Contractors, Weigle oversees the construction of new hospital facilities, including a new WellStar hospital in Paulding County currently under construction. “I really enjoy working with people,” Weigle said. “My job is to bring a team together, convince

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them to work together, and to work well together, to build the best building possible.” A native of Augusta, Ga., Weigle interned with Brasfield & Gorrie in 1998 and 1999, before joining the firm full time in 2001. As senior project manager, Weigle hires the construction team and manages the financial side of projects as well. “The job is constantly changing and what is required of me is constantly changing, so it’s not monotonous at all,” he said. “It’s a very demanding job; we put in a lot of

hours, but it’s also very rewarding.” One of the projects Weigle is most proud of is the Kennestone Outpatient Pavilion at the corner of Tower and Church streets. Where once there was a parking deck, now there is a beautifully landscaped area with brick walls, trees and “a very pretty building behind all of that.” “I love my job,” Weigle said. “Being involved in the construction of health care facilities, it’s a good feeling to know the buildings we build are helping people.”

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NICOLE PFLEGER

20 RISING STARS UNDER 40

Counselor, Nickajack Elementary

the stats arietta resident and Nickajack Elementary counselor Nicole Pfleger recently was named the 2012 American School Counselor Association’s National School Counselor of the Year. This prestigious honor recognizes the “best of the best,” and Pfleger said she is truly humbled to have been chosen. “I’m very young in the profession and I still have a lot to learn,” she said. “I feel like this award should go to all the people who taught me along the way, and I think about all the counselors across the country who work so hard every day but aren’t recognized.” This selfless “go-getter” has been in the workforce for just under six years and she’s already making a name for herself while making a difference in the lives of everyone she touches. From volunteering at the local homeless shelter to spearheading pay-it-forward-style school events during the national Rachel’s Challenge campaign, Pfleger is definitely one to watch in education.

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Age: 29 Family: Nicole has a younger sister, Danielle, who she said is also her best friend, roommate and creative eye. They share a giant goldendoodle named Boone who has been mistaken for Falcor from The Neverending Story. Nicole’s mom, Barbara, teaches at Sope Creek Elementary, and Nicole said she’s inspired by her selflessness and strength. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, University of Georgia; Master’s Degree, University of North Carolina; additional studies at Lincoln Memorial University. Role model: Father who came to the United States with two young kids, a wife and $200 in his pocket. Favorite Quote: “We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.” — Whoopi Goldberg


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SHEREE BROWN

Radiation Oncologist, North Georgia Radiation Therapy

the stats Age: 38 Family: Married to Thomas. The couple has two children, Amaree and Landon. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Spelman College; Medical Degree, Howard University. Favorite Quote: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” — Maya Angelou

r. Sheree Brown deeply cares about people, which is clear from her treatment of cancer patients, as well as her work through her church and community outreach. A radiation oncologist at North Georgia Radiation Therapy at Kennestone Hospital, Dr. Brown developed the desire to be a doctor as early as middle school. The youngest of five children and mother of two was inspired in part by her older sister, a physician, and her parents, both of whom were teachers. “Both of my parents are educators,” Dr. Brown explained. “My mom was a science teacher. She helped instill in us the desire for education and helping people. I had a great role model in my parents and my siblings.” A Sprayberry High School graduate, Dr. Brown’s interest in helping cancer patients stems from her father’s diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer when she was 14 years old. But it was her work with a breast surgeon during medical school that spurred her interest in treating breast cancer patients. “As far as being a physician, caring for patients and making a difference in their lives is what I enjoy most,” Dr. Brown explained. “I have a passion to help people. I truly enjoy the interaction and the relationship I develop with my patients.”

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JIMMY SWARTZ

Vice President, Accounting for WellStar Health System

immy Swartz believes in challenging oneself. He believes that success lies in the ability to see beyond what you believe is possible. This big-picture approach works perfectly in the ever-changing healthcare industry. As vice president of accounting for WellStar Health System, Swartz spends each day helping cater to the needs of healthcare providers and patients alike. Swartz devoted the first decade of his career in the public accounting arena with KPMG, where he conducted audits of not-for-profit hospitals, health systems and life

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and health insurance companies across metro Atlanta and the Southeast. Two years ago he landed at WellStar Health System, where he leads the accounting and treasury function for the state-of-the-art healthcare system. “Being able to work for an organization that serves the community in which we work is one of my great rewards,” Swartz says. “I take great pleasure in working for and supporting the healthcare organization that serves Cobb County. I truly believe that we provide care that goes above and beyond the expectations of our community each and every day.”

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www.sumnerneurology.com the stats Age: 33 Family: Married to Laura. The couple has five children, James, Meghan, Emily, Caleb and Faith. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, The Citadel. Volunteer Work: Board Member, Atlanta Hospital Hospitality House, community youth sports coach, church small group leader; Cub Scouts den assistant, speaker at various healthcare accounting education events.


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BRIAN HENDERSON

Managing Director and Certified Financial Planner, The Keystone Financial Alliance of Raymond James

the stats Age: 34 Family: Married to Jill. The couple has two children, Parker, 4, and Macey, 3. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Auburn University. Volunteer Work: Wellstar Hospice Board of Advisors; chairman, Georgian Club Advisory Council; past board member, Must Ministries; past board member, Life Impact Ministries; YWCA Leadership Cobb (Class 2008); member, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church. Favorite Quote: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have always imagined.” — Henry David Thoreau

Insight. Initiative. Integrity. These are the qualities that Marietta’s Brian Henderson believes every leader should possess. As the managing director and a certified financial planner with Keystone Financial Alliance of Raymond James, Henderson helps guide his clients through the many changes and transitions occurring in their life. He calls what his firm does “integrating the personal/human side of change with the technical/financial side.” After starting his career with Merrill Lynch in Birmingham, Ala., Henderson joined Keystone 10 years ago. Today, Henderson and the Keystone team help their clients understand the important role financial security plays in survival in the 21st century. “Our industry sits in an enviable position with the ability to blend our technical skills with the equally important human life skills needed to thrive going forward.” Helping families provide for future generations may be the most rewarding aspect of all, Henderson says. “The opportunity to connect on an authentic human level with our clients and their families, and to affect them in a personal and positive way, is truly a blessing,” he said.

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T.J. YATES

NFL Quarterback, Houston Texans ast Cobb native T.J. Yates is enjoying the offseason from professional football, taking advantage of free Sundays to rest his throwing arm. Between airing out passes for the Houston Texans and pinching himself in disbelief, Yates’ right arm received a much heavier workload in 2011 than that of the average rookie quarterback in the NFL. Completing a whirlwind stretch that saw him make the jump from unheralded high school recruit to record-breaking college player at UNC, Yates continued his wild ride to football stardom by seizing an unexpected opportunity in Houston, helping lead the Texans to their first ever division championship and postseason berth in 2011. “It was kinda crazy. After the season ended and I got a chance to sit back and look at what happened, it was pretty wild. It hap-

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pened really, really fast,” said the 24-year old Yates, a 2006 graduate of Pope High School in East Cobb. A fifth-round draft pick last April, Yates was elevated from third-string to first-string in a span of November days, when Houston signal-callers Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart both went down with season-ending injuries. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Yates responded like a seasoned veteran, leading the Texans to three straight victories and the AFC South crown after throwing for 949 yards and three scores down the stretch. The good times continued to roll in January, when Yates led Houston to a 31-10 triumph over Cincinnati in the wildcard round of the AFC playoffs. Yates’ meteoric rise into the NFL spotlight was consistent with a fast track he hopped on nearly seven years ago.


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Yates entered his senior season at Pope season, Yates was a four-year college in the fall of 2005 on no one’s pigskin starter (2007-2010) and broke 37 school recruiting radar. After sitting out his junior records for Tar Heel quarterbacks, throwyear to focus on basketball — Yates was a ing for 9,377 yards. low-level Division I hoops recruit — new Following another unlikely turn of coach Bob Swank lured Yates back to the events, Yates finds his name in the Texans’ gridiron by introducing a wide open spread record books. The guy who nearly played passing attack at basketball at Furman or Wofford now has the stats Pope, a former friends visit him in Houston askoption-based ing where they can buy his NFL Age: 24 running team. jersey. Family: Single; son of John and “It was more “I had no idea where to get it,” Carol Yates; has two older brothto my liking Yates recalled with a laugh, ers, Evan and David. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, than what we before adding they found a rack UNC-Chapel Hill. ran before,” of No. 13 threads on display at Role model: Houston Texans said Yates. the Texans team store at Reliant Foundation; fundraising for the Showcasing Stadium. education, character development his throwing “Definitely a cool feeling,” he and health and fitness of Houston arm, Yates said. youth. flourished as a Under contract in Houston for Favorite Quote: “Take your hands senior. When three more years, Yates will enter off the steering wheel and let University of the 2012 season as a backup, but Christ drive.” — Carol Yates North Carolina secure in the knowledge that he scouts attended belongs in the NFL — a destinaa September tion that seemed unimaginable game to check out a Woodstock High not long ago. School linebacker, it was Yates who stole “I’m proud and I know I can go out the show by throwing for 330 yards and there and play and compete with some of five scores in a double-overtime loss. the league’s best,” said Yates. “I just want One week later, he had a UNC offer and to get better in the offseason and go into accepted immediately. Following a redshirt next season as a better player.”

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ERIN TUDOR

20 RISING STARS UNDER 40

Principal, Tudor Consulting Group, LLC

rin Tudor met her future husband, Jeremy, while she was living in Aspen, Colorado on an extended break from her college studies. “I gave up the perfect life for the perfect guy and followed him to Atlanta,” she said with a chuckle. “It was a big adjustment.” Once here, she began working in a local law firm, managing client relations and marketing technology. After several years, Tudor wanted a change and obtained her teaching certificate. But she soon realized a teaching career wasn’t really what she wanted. Around that time, a call from her previous employer resulted in a freelance consulting job at the firm. In a very short time, good word of mouth about her work brought new clients and put Tudor on a path to form her own company in 2009. Today, Tudor Consulting Group has a client stable of eight national and international law firms. Clients include local stalwarts Brock, Clay, Calhoun & Rogers and national

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firms such as Smith, Gambrell & Russell. Tudor is one of the premiere consultants in the metro area for attorneys who need expertise in project management, client and project development and optimizing marketing with technology. “I’m like Julie on ‘The Love Boat,’ going around with a clipboard and saying okay, what needs to be done today,” Tudor said. One of the perks of being her own boss is being able to spend more time with her children. But it also allows her to helm the Marietta-based Friends Group for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, which this year raised funds for a clown from Big Apple Circus to visit Children’s young patients. She also organizes the twice-yearly consignment sale that benefits the hospital system. “It’s very rewarding work because it’s the most magical and amazing place,” Tudor said of Children’s. “My children have never had to visit it for treatment, but I’m so glad it’s there.”

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the stats Age: 37 Family: Married to Jeremy Tudor. The couple has two children, Will, 6, and Allie Clara, 4. Education: University of West Florida. Volunteer Work: President, Hope & Will’s Closet benefitting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, president of the Marietta Friends Group benefitting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, volunteer at Walker School preschool and Peachtree Presbyterian Church Favorite Quote: My grandmother used to tell me to “be kind and gracious, turn heads, be the best friend.”


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JESSE WALTON, JR.

Financial Advisor and Certified Private Wealth Advisor

the stats Age: 39 Family: Married to Angela. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Howard University. Role model: Active member on the Finance Ministry at St. James United Methodist Church in Alpharetta, Member of 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc., and active member with National Black Arts Festival. Favorite Quote: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” — Abraham Lincoln

hen he was 27, Jesse Walton Jr. had a career-changing “never again” moment. He was working in marketing for the Coca-Cola Company when in 2000, he became a casualty of the biggest layoff in the company’s history. “That was my never again moment,” he recalled. “I have no desire for someone else to drive my career for me; I like to have my hands on the steering wheel myself.” Combining a personal passion for economics with an entrepreneurial spirit, Walton set out to forge his own path. In 2000, he joined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney as an investment professional, where he focuses on assisting high net-worth families, businesses and nonprofit organizations with investment management, comprehensive financial planning, and business solutions. His practice concentrates on retirement planning, income distribution planning and wealth protection strategies for pre-retirees and retirees. Last year, Walton’s assets under management grew by 25 percent. “I like helping people achieve their financial dreams,” the Marietta resident said. “If I do my job right, it helps them achieve peace of mind, whether that’s saving money to send a child to college or saving for retirement.”

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TRAVIS HARRIS

20 RISING STARS UNDER 40

Vice President, Mobilized Fuels

the stats Age: 38 Family: Married to Tonya. The couple has three children, Dawson, 15, Grace, 11, and Cosby, 6. Education: The University of Georgia. Volunteer Work: Camp Twin Lakes (www.camptwinlakes.org); Wounded Warrior Family Retreats; YWCA of Northwest Georgia; The Charles D. Burnett Foundation, Inc. Favorite Quote: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

ravis Harris will never forget the devastation. Following the streak of tornados that ripped through northern Alabama last year, he was part of a team from Mobilized Fuel, the company where he serves as vice president, that helped lend a hand. Shortly after order was restored, he received a letter from a Publix Super Markets executive lauding what Mobilized Fuel had done. Since August 2001, Harris has been a driving force for the petroleum distributor, which helps in the refueling of private corporate fleets such as Publix. During natural disasters, product shortages and times of industry uncertainty, Harris and company works with their business partners to get things where they need to be. “The best part of working in this industry is that we are indirectly responsible for ensuring that products or consumable goods relied on by our community reach their final destination on a daily basis.” A tireless, philanthropic spirit, Harris assists in a number of local charities. “The best thing about working in Cobb County is having the opportunity to integrate into a business community that is steadfast in its commitment to growth and prosperity, never forgetting the obligation required of those who rely on the product of one’s success,” he says. “The philanthropic spirit in Cobb County is amazing and the synergy between business and non-profit is very symbiotic.”

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BRANDT BLOCKER

Artistic Director and General Manager, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

the stats Age: 39 Family: One son. Education: Loyola University. Favorite Quote: “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.” – Ronald Reagan

riginally from New Orleans, Brandt Blocker moved to Cobb County in 2007 to take the helm as artistic director and general manager of Atlanta Lyric Theatre. Since arriving at the Lyric, Blocker has doubled the organization’s budget, and more than quintupled their subscriber base. Based at the Strand, the company has received more Suzi Bass Award nominations than almost any other theatre organization in Atlanta over the last four years. Blocker was first exposed to musical theatre when an Irish nun at his Catholic school, St. Benilde’s, suggested he try out for the role of Rolf in “The Sound of Music.” Since that original part, Blocker has been involved with several hundred productions as an actor, singer, director, and producer. Prior to arriving at the Lyric, Blocker was resident musical director at Rivertown Repertory Theatre, and stage and music director at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre in New Orleans. He also established his own production company, Brandt Blocker Productions LLC, where he served as producing director for musical theatre throughout south Louisiana. In Cobb, in addition to his work at the Lyric, Blocker has served as music director for the Shuler Hensley Awards. “Cobb County is a terrific home, a wonderful place to raise a family, and an incredible supporter of the arts,” Blocker reflected. “Cobb is the place for successful arts ventures in the metro area.”

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WILL PETERSON

20 RISING STARS UNDER 40

Owner, Otter’s Chicken

here is something about spending time with people when they are at their most relaxed – and hungry. Just ask Will Peterson, who is owner and general manager of Peterson Foods, and operates Otter’s Chicken in The Avenue at West Cobb. Offering a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, along with all things chicken, Peterson’s restaurant, which opened in June 2010, is quickly becoming one of Cobb’s most sought-after dining destinations. A former operations manager for Logi-Trans Express, Peterson followed his dream of opening a restaurant where the food is good and the people are better. “The best thing about working in the restaurant business is getting to know the customers,” Peterson says. “We have a very loyal customer base, and through relationships that started at Otter’s, I have become close friends with many of them. I get to work in a very relaxed atmosphere that I really enjoy. We have a fun staff, so work doesn’t really always seem like work.” A native Cobb County resident who now lives in Powder Springs, Peterson is equally committed to giving back to the community. “I consider it a real honor to be able to work with a number of our schools, our parks and other civic groups,” he says. “We try and do as much as we can to help these groups.” So, what’s the upside? Maybe loyal customer Maddy Lowry, 6, said it best: “Otter’s is way better than Zaxby’s.”

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the stats Age: 26 Family: Single Education: Bachelor’s Degrees, University of Georgia, Shorter University. Master’s Degree, Shorter University. Volunteer Work: Hillgrove High School community football coach; Leadership Cobb (Class of 2012); member of McEachern United Methodist Church. Favorite Quote: “I don’t know what the key to success is, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.” – Unknown

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ROB TEILHET

20 RISING STARS UNDER 40

Executive Director, Georgia Conservation Voters myrna’s Rob Teilhet has a passion for being a part of something bigger than himself. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Teilhet served eight years in the Georgia General Assembly and ran for Attorney General as one of the youngest statewide candidates in Georgia’s history. A Smyrna resident, Teilhet and his family are members of the United Methodist Church of Marietta. “In Smyrna, there are a lot of couples our age,” the father of two observed. “We’re all kind of growing up together and figuring it out together. It’s become a very special place. Cobb County remains so welcoming primarily because of the people.” As executive director of Georgia Conservation Voters, Teilhet guides the political voice for the state’s environment. The work of the organization includes endorsing campaigns, helping political candidates, and educating the public. The signature issues addressed by the nonprofit include water, transporta-

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tion, and renewable energy. “Our challenge is to take the values that most Georgians hold – stewardship, conservation, respect for God’s creation – to make sure that we take care of it for future generations,” Teilhet explained. “It’s a big job. It’s an exciting thing to do.”

the stats Age: 37 Family: Married to Heather. The

couple has twin daughters. Education: Bachelor’s and Law Degrees, University of Georgia. Volunteer Work: Earthshare Ga. board member. Favorite Quotes: “But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.” —Psalm 9:18 “For all your days be prepared, and meet them ever alike. When you are the anvil, bear — when you are the hammer, strike.” — Edwin Markham

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ANDREAS ECONOMOPOULOS

Director of Recruiting (Owner), Professional Insight Technology

the stats Age: 36 Family: Married to Amy Fields Economopoulos. The couple has two children, Aiden, 8, and Anna, 5. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Berry College Volunteer Work: Last year’s sponsorships included the Anna Crawford Children’s Center, Radiant Sprint for Cancer and Lifeschool International. Favorite Quote: “The best things in life aren’t things.” — Art Buchwald

sk lifelong Cobb resident Andreas Economopoulos to describe what defines today’s leaders and his answer is easy: honesty, a sense of humor and aptitude. You could say Econopulous has an eye for these types of things. As director of recruiting and owner of Professional Insight Technology, he focuses on IT recruiting and staffing within Atlanta’s technology community. It has been quite a ride for Economopoulos, who grew from a one-man shop in 2006 with profits of $200,000, to a seven-member team and profits of nearly $2.5 million in 2011. After graduating from Berry College, where the Sprayberry High grad was an NAIA Academic All-American soccer player, he landed at an Atlanta recruiting firm, which closed shortly after the Dot-com bust in 2001. After starting a recruiting firm with three former employees, the trio disbanded after several years. So Economopoulos started Professional Insights. “It was quite scary,” he recalls. “We had one child and another on the way. But the risk paid off.” Success aside, he is most proud of his company’s charitable work, which includes sponsorship of the Anna Crawford Children’s Center, where his wife, Amy, is clinical director. “I believe successful companies should help their communities, which are the springboards for success. It has been tough for everyone, but the non-profit organizations are the ones really feeling the pain. The needs for their services never slow down.”

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JOYETTE HOLMES

Owner, Law Office of Joyette M. Holmes, P.C.

the stats Age: 36 Family: Married to Bridges. The couple has two daughters, Morgan Kennedy and Reagan Savannah. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, University of Georgia; Law Degree, University of Baltimore. Volunteer Work: Special Olympics Bowling Tournament Volunteer. Favorite Quote: “No, no, we are not satisfied, and will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., referencing Amos 5:24

hen Joyette Holmes was a senior in high school, an English teacher tasked the class with writing a paper on the future careers of their classmates. All but one of her peers pegged Holmes as a future attorney. “The single exception said I would probably be a nurse because I was too nice to be a lawyer,” the Marietta criminal defense attorney recalled. “I’m not an argumentative person in ‘real life,’ but when I get in the courtroom, it’s just a different thing.” Prior to opening her own boutique law firm in 2007, Holmes served in the Cobb County Prosecutor’s Office as an assistant solicitor. She also did an intern-

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ship with Cobb County Juvenile Court while an undergrad at the University of Georgia. “Defense work is my passion,” she said. “The

Constitution requires a vigorous defense of those accused of a crime, and the state has the burden of proof. As a criminal defense attorney, I’m making sure my clients

get the due process of law.” A native of Valdosta, Ga., Holmes is a member of the Georgia and Cobb County Bar associations and now lives in Kennesaw.

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SUZANNAH GILL

20 RISING STARS UNDER 40

Vice President, Benefits, The Bottoms Group

he world’s most populous country is a peculiar place to spend a formative year for someone who preferred Georgia Tech’s small experience to UGA’s exuberant the stats masses, but that’s how Age: 28 it worked Family: Single out for Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Suzannah Georgia Tech; Law Degree, Gill. University of Georgia School of “It was an Law. amazing Volunteer Work: Georgia Tech President’s Scholarship Program; year,” the Georgia Tech Business Network; East Cobb Girls On The Run; Leadership Cobb native says Class of 2012. of her stint as Favorite Quote: “Your life does not an English get better by chance, it gets better teacher in by change.” — Jim Rohn China. “I just needed to broaden my horizons and challenge myself.” Having done both, Gill returned to Georgia, earned her law degree and got a job in employee benefits law for a large firm. She quickly realized, however, that big companies were no more her style than big colleges. So when she got a chance to work for The Bottoms Group in Marietta, she didn’t hesitate. “I love small business,” she says. “You make a bigger impact. There’s less bureaucracy.” What did her time in a huge country teach her about working in a small company? Self-reliance. “I was on my own, relying on my wits. It puts your present challenges into perspective.”

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Watch a behindthe-scenes video of Suzannah Gill and the other Rising Stars featured on our cover at www.cobblifemagazine.com

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SHANE HALL

Owner/Operator, Cochran Shutters

he best leaders know all aspects of their enterprise, from the top down. But when you run a small company, you often have no choice. No one knows this better than Austell’s Shane Hall, owner of Cochran Shutters in Austell. “I started out here as a painter right out of high school,” Hall says. “I was the lowest guy on the pole. Now I’m the owner and the stats some days I’m still the Age: 39 painter. I’m actually the top Family: Married to Allison. The dog and the lowest guy.” couple has two daughters, Abigail, Hall bought the company 7, and AnnaKate, 4. in 2006 after founder Jim Education: Campbell High School Cochran retired. But, as is so Favorite Quote: That which does often the case, Hall wasn’t not kill us makes us stronger. alone. He was joined by his former guardian, DeWayne Swann, a man who has been Hall’s father figure since his days in the Calvary Children’s Home. The hardest part of running a small business? Knowing your employees count on you for a paycheck. The best? “In this economy the positives can be hard to find. But my flexible schedule and time with my children, that’s the biggest draw for me.”

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DEMMING BASS

20 RISING STARS UNDER 40

Chief Operating Officer, Cobb Chamber hen Demming Bass pitches Cobb County to prospective businesses he undoubtedly talks up its universities, its history, and Six Flags. But does the Chamber of Commerce COO talk about love? After all, that’s what brought him here. “Yeah, I guess you could say I moved here for my wife [Holly],” Bass admits. “Well, that and a great

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career opportunity.” Bass started his career at the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. Despite great success, it was at a National Chamber Conference that his life really began to take shape. “That’s where I met my wife Holly,” Bass says. “We dated long distance for about eight months before I relocated.” Bass worked for the Gwinnett Chamber for six years, eventually fol-

lowing his wife yet again when she took a job in Cobb County. His wife currently serves as CEO of Cobb Travel and Tourism. “It was a huge promotion for me but really, it was Cobb that attracted us,” says Bass, who now calls Smyrna home. “Cobb is a great mix of the old and new. It’s hard to imagine being anywhere else.”

the stats

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Age: 38 Family: Married to Holly Bass. The couple has twin daughters, Ashley and Reagan. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, North Carolina State University. Volunteer Work: 2012 Chairman for United Way of Cobb County; Junior League of Cobb-Marietta Community Advisory Board; Cobb Honorary Commanders Alumni Association. Favorite Quote: “The strength of the Pack is the Wolf and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.” — from Rudyard Kipling’s “The Law of the Jungle”


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EDDIE BERMUDEZ

20 RISING STARS UNDER 40

Partner and General Manager, Kiosco restaurant hen an early morning fire and heavy smoke damaged Kiosco Colombian Restaurant on Sept. 18, 2011, regular patrons who love the food at the small eatery just off Marietta Square feared it would be closed for good. Kiosco had become a go-to dining destination for its tasty, well-prepared Colombian cuisine and its reputation for quality and friendliness. Just a little more than two months after the fire, the restaurant rebounded. It reopened the day after Thanksgiving and personable general manager and partner Eddie Bermudez once again was making sure customers were happy and well fed. This is Bermudez’s second year as a part of the Kiosco team, and he comes to his role well prepared. “I have been working in the restaurant business since I was 15 years old,” he said. “My grandmother had restaurants for 25 years in Colombia, which happened to be where I spent the majority of my summers. “Needless to say I have seen my share of kitchens. I have basically played all the roles at one point or another from being a drive-through operator, to washing dishes, to waiting tables, to cooking, to bussing tables, to shaking hands and saying thank you to customers.” A hard worker who believes in putting in long hours to build Kiosco’s success, Bermudez is excited about his first venture in restaurant partnership and management. “It’s such a different experience, but I enjoy being under pressure and having to perform exceptionally to create the buzz we have been receiving in the last year.” Due to his heavy work hours, however, Bermudez said it’s hard to find time for actual volunteer work. But he enjoys giving back to the community through food donations and sponsorships for civic and charitable organizations. Born and raised in New Jersey, Bermudez originally intended to be a criminal lawyer. He worked two jobs while in college but when his immediate family moved to Georgia, his career path changed. “I eventually visited, fell in love, went back, packed up my bags and never turned back. When I got here I needed a job so I went straight into restaurants again,” he said. “If you have great food, a reliable staff, perfect customer service, and passion for what you do day in and day out, you will be okay. I’ve been blessed to have all the above,” he said.

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the stats Age: 24 Family: In a committed relationship. Education: Studied criminal justice at Ramapo College of New Jersey. Volunteer Work: Sponsors organizations and nonprofits such as Visions Anew, The Earl Smith Strand Theatre and firefighters and police through food donations. Favorite Quote: “Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as to think.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson


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BETH DICKINSON

20 RISING STARS UNDER 40

Pastor, Vinings United Methodist Church

the stats Age: 33 Family: Married to Keith. The couple has two sons, Jacob, 8, and Thomas, 3. Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Magna Cum Laude, University of Georgia; Master of Divinity, Candler School of Theology, Emory University. Volunteer Work: Preaches at local retirement communities and volunteers at her son Thomas’ school. Favorite Quote: “Watch to see where God is working and join Him!” — Henry Blackaby

t 33, Rev. Beth Dickinson is one of the youngest pastors of one of the oldest churches in the Atlanta area, and the chemistturned-lady of the cloth has seen Vinings United Methodist Church quadruple to almost 100 members since her arrival six years ago. “She has completely re-energized the church,” says Eva Goss, a member of VUMC, the oldest church in the city. “She created a number of events that have outreached to Vinings and she is beautiful outside and inside.” Beth started a career as a chemist at a start up company on the Georgia Tech campus where she began listening again to a call to ministry. She had always wanted to be a youth minister and it was during this period that she realized a career in chemistry would stand in her way. So she enrolled at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and almost a decade later finds herself at Vinings UMC. “This community has a huge heart,” says Beth. “My dream for the church and my goal for the church is to be a center for the Vinings community to come and find new life and experience the love of Jesus Christ.”

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This March, James H. “Jim” Gibbs, founder of Smyrna’s award-winning Gibbs Landscape Company, will open one of the most amazing creations in the Southeast, complete with hundreds of acres of plants, trees and flowers and the largest Japanese gardens in the nation.

Introducing

Gibbs Gardens, where everyday is bound to be a

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BY THERRA C. GWYN

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A life’s work can be measured in many ways. For James H. “Jim” Gibbs, it’s measured in acres. Two hundred and twenty acres to be exact, filled with cherry trees, crape myrtles, dogwoods, daffodils, azaleas, hydrangeas, rhododendron, roses, day lilies, water lilies, ferns, wildflowers and 800 Japanese maples. Add 24 ponds, 32 bridge crossings and 19 waterfalls and you have Gibbs Gardens, a natural and landscaped world-class wonder, No Membership Fees owned and designed by Jim Gibbs and located in Cherokee county. No Funeral Home Needed Gibbs, 69, is the founder of Smyrna’s award-winning Gibbs Landscape Company and a founding $ member and lifetime trustee of the Atlanta starting at Botanical Gardens. There’s a generous amount of All-Inclusive Cremation gardening genes in Gibbs’ family tree. His mother Credit Cards Accepted was a blue-ribbon flower arranger, his grandmothers and aunts energetic and talented gardeners whose enthusiasm influenced him as young child. Gibbs Gardens, which opened to the public March 1, is the fruit from the seed of an idea the Atlanta businessman started nurturing 40 years ago. Scan with your phone for more information! His dream of a large and encompassing garden estate, one that displayed the natural beauty of Georgia and offered peaceful enclaves, meadows of spectacular blooming flowers and a variety of trees WESTGEORGIACREMATORY.COM to showcase fall splendor planted itself in his mind in the late 1970s. At that point, Gibbs had travelled the world and spent time enjoying gardens in different countries. He then started searching the Southern landscape for the ideal location to make his dream reality. He knew just what he wanted – 25,000 Square Feet of Decorating Bliss! rolling topography, plentiful natural Come see why we were voted Cherokee’s #1 Antique Mall! water and proximity to the city of Atlanta. Bring in this ad for $5 OFF your next purchase of $50 or more! (Limit 1 per customer.) After six years of combing the state, he found and purchased property in Ball Ground. In 1980 the gar5 6 4 3 B e l l s F e r r y R d • Ac w o r t h , G A 3 0 1 0 2 dens literally took root and started to w w w. Wo o d s t o c k A n t i q u e s . n e t • 6 7 8 . 4 4 5 . 7 8 6 1 grow in Cherokee County.

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“It’s his life’s work,” said Barbara Schneider, marketing manager of Gibbs Gardens. “The site on the property where the manor house is located is the highest ridge in Cherokee County. The view of the north Georgia mountains is beautiful and it’s an easy drive from Atlanta.” Growing and planning world-class gardens takes talent, time and the blessing of Mother Nature. The gardens the public will view this spring were 30 years in the making. The lush and varied landscape has elements of the local (dogwood, azalea, mountain laurels) the exotic (Japanese gardens on 40 acres), the romantic (a Monet water-lily garden, recreating the famous painter’s Garden at Giverny and featuring 140 varieties of water lilies) and the historical (boxwood grown from cuttings from Gibbs’ grandmother’s Appomattox, Virginia estate, a property kept in his family for 340 years and where Ulysses S. Grant set up headquarters on the front lawn during the Civil War). Gibbs’ long – held dream is now reality and it was always meant to be shared. “I am feeling great now that my 40-year dream to open my gardens to the public is coming true. Every year has brought new seasons of fun and excitement and I will continue to design and develop new gardens that compliment nature," said Gibbs. “A gardener’s garden is never complete."

information The gardens are located on Gibbs Drive in Ball Ground, Ga., 30107 Open to the public from March 1 – November 30. (Closed on Thanksgiving). Open Thursday through Sunday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (last admittance at 4 p.m.) Admission prices: Adults $20; Seniors (65+) and children (4-17 years) $18 Children 3 and under admitted free. Group rates and season passes available. Information, updates and detailed driving directions at www.gibbsgardens.com To schedule a group e-mail info@gibbsgardens.com

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Grand Champion BBQ proves where there’s

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SMOKE flavor

by joan durbin

photography by erin gray

t h e r e ’s


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The beef brisket at Grand Champion BBQ is top-notch as is the pulled pork, opposite page.


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While the barbecue may be the star of the show, sides, such as this sumptous mac ‘n’ cheese, are delicious as well.

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Okay, I’m going to stick my neck way, way out here. Grand Champion BBQ has some of the best ‘cue you can find locally, maybe even regionally. Yeah, yeah, I know. Barbecue is highly personal. What floats my boat may have me looking for a life jacket. Even so, I don’t think anyone who truly appreciates the art of smoking pig or other proteins is going to have a problem with the food served by GC’s two young proprietors, Robert Owens and Gregory Vivier. Before GC’s opened, I had heard through the foodie grapevine that Owens had worked at the renowned Sam’s BBQ in east Cobb when Sam Huff’s partners, Dave Roberts and Dave Poe, were still on board. I found out later that Owens had learned his craft from Poe, who still produces absolutely top-notch ‘cue at his own restaurant in west Cobb. Roberts also has his own place, Community Q in Decatur. Owens met Vivier earlier in their culinary careers when they both cooked in kitchens owned by Concentrics, including Piebar, Trois and One Midtown Kitchen. Vivier’s most recent gig was chef de cuisine at Lowe’s Hotel. So on our first visit to GC’s, we had high expectations. Opened only two weeks ago, GC’s (that’s how they refer to themselves) is in a Publix shopping center on the extreme eastern fringes of Cobb County in an area that is technically Cobb but has a Roswell address. As with all good barbecue joints, there’s nothing fancy about it. You order at the counter from a menu and food is brought to your table. It’s an open kitchen set-up, so you can chat with the owners and staff as you watch your order being put together. On our first visit, my dining partner had baby back ribs, I opted for pulled pork, and we both ordered mac and cheese and coleslaw as our sides. The ribs came unsauced, which we prefer, because it’s easy to disguise subpar ‘cue when it’s slathered in sauce. The pink ring indicating real, honest-to-gosh wood smoke was very visible. The meat came away from the bone cleanly when bitten, but didn’t fall off on its own, which would have signaled the ribs were overdone. The flavor was intense, a pleasing meld of meat, smoke and the rub, which is one of three the owners have created. This one includes smoked paprika, ancho and chipotle chiles, garlic, cinnamon and honey. It’s a complex flavor profile that takes the ribs to a new level.


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Those ribs, by the way, come to GC’s fresh, never frozen, just two days from the slaughter. Raw, a slab weighs 3.25 pounds and is almost picture perfect. At $20 for a full slab, they’re a huge bargain. Pulled pork here has ideal texture and no dryness. Again, I would have liked a tad more smoke in it, but a drizzle of the excellent North Carolina vinegar-based sauce made it very enjoyable. The other sauce offered here is a Kansas City-style concoction, which means tomatobased and sweet, with a bit of smokiness. Owens said he is still fine-tuning the level of smoke absorbed by some of the meats. “Too much and it turns people off,” he said, “but there are a lot of ‘cue lovers who really want that taste.” For the chicken, mustard seed, coriander and caraway are in the rub mix. It also comes to the table unsauced, and the second time we visited it had more smoke, which we really liked.

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From left, Grand Champion BBQ co-owners Gregory Vivier and Robert Owens.

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We also asked for brisket on our second visit and found it to be as good as any I’ve ever had, and that’s saying a lot considering I’ve eaten brisket done by some very accomplished cookers. The rub used on this and the beef short rib includes dried Serrano pepper, mesquite, granulated garlic and molasses. I’ve said it before, and at the risk of repeating myself, for me the only part of a smoked brisket worth eating is the end with more fat on it. It’s juicier and 10 times more flavorful. If fat seriously offends you, just trim it off. You’ll still get the benefit of exceptionally moist and tasty meat. But I did actually enjoy GC’s lean slices after I’d added some sauce. In my experience, darn few ‘cue places have sides that are the equal of the proteins. Here’s where the culinary backgrounds of Owens and Vivier really come into play. Their attention to flavor profiles and obsession with details pay off big time here. The mac and cheese is their friend Dave Roberts’ recipe, celebrated for its multiple cheeses and silky creaminess that clings to the pasta. GC’s goes it one better by adding smoked gouda. It is devastatingly good. Owens said some customers are mixing it into an order of Brunswick stew (very good in its own right) to create what they have dubbed redneck lasagna. The collards are easily my favorite version of this Southern staple. Smoked ham hocks are a key ingredient, and a slight tinge of vinegar makes the greens pop. Coleslaw, which is minced fine and creamier than I normally like, is assertively seasoned, and the bit of apple they add to the mix negates the need for a lot of extraneous sugar. 


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The greens and beans also make a strong appearance at the restaurant, adding a nice complement to the meat.

Grand Champion BBQ 4401 Shallowford Road Roswell (770) 587-4227 www.gcbbq.net CHEROKEE LIFE March/April

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ROCK SOLID


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If you feel like getting out in the garden, now is as good a time as any to spread rock on the ground. Or not (more on that later). You say your ground already has enough rocks in it? True enough, but the rock I’m talking about is a powder, and is likely a different kind of rock from what you already have. But why put down more rock of any kind? The reason is that rock powders sold for garden use are particularly high in minerals. For example, rock phosphate is, as the name implies, rich in phosphorous, one of the “big three” nutrients needed by plants. In fact, rock phosphate is the stuff, after being treated with sulfuric acid, that becomes the phosphorous in synthetic fertilizers. Colloidal phosphate, also known as soft phosphate, is a similar product, this one ground up finer than rock phosphate. Two other commonly used rock powders — granite and glauconite — are rich sources of potassium, another of the “big three” nutrients needed by plants. (The third, nitrogen, is not found in rocks.) Glauconite is also called greensand, or Jersey greensand if that’s where it was mined. And it is greenish. Besides the major nutrients phosphorous and potassium, these rock powders are also sources of micronutrients. Micronutrients are needed in only minuscule amounts by plants, but nonetheless are essential to their health. A soil can be naturally deficient in micronutrients: For example, pockets of molybdenum deficiency exist in Nevada soils; natural cobalt deficiencies exist over much of Iowa and parts of the Northeast. Synthetic (“chemical”) fertilizers generally supply no micronutrients at all.

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APPLICATION FOR THE LONG HAUL Because they are merely ground-up rocks, rock powders do not readily dissolve in water to give up their goodness to plant roots. Release of their nutritional goodness takes time, as well as the work of bacteria, fungi and roots. Freezing and thawing opens up cracks in the soil so rock powders applied now at least get into the soil, even if they don’t yet dissolve. There’s no rush, though, to run outside and start spreading. What rock powders lack in quick action they make up for in long-term effect; they release their goodness over a decade or so. A typical application would be about 10 pounds per 100 square feet.

ARE GROUND ROCKS REALLY NEEDED? There’s also no rush because you might have no reason to apply them in the first place. Rock powders are relatively expensive for the amount of phosphorus or potassium they offer. And unless some

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local garden store has rock powders for sale, you could pay as much or more for shipping as for the material itself. More to the point is whether rock powders are superfluous. If you constantly feed your soil an abundance and variety of compost, leaves and other organic materials — as any good gardener does — your soil already is rich in phosphorus, potassium, and micronutrients. This is especially true if you use plenty of compost made from all sorts of materials, including kitchen scraps. Orange rinds from Florida, old bread from Kansas-grown wheat, and banana skins from Costa Rica each contribute to the smorgasbord of micro- and macronutrients contained in homemade compost. So, do I ever use rock powders? Yes, about every decade or two, mostly as insurance and to supply micronutrients around trees and shrubs that don’t get annual dressings of compost. But I’m not saying that using these rock powders is really necessary.

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he last several years the trend of finding forgotten, out-of-the-way or abandoned buildings and homes has gained interest across the nation. For many, there is a beauty in the decay. We got inspired by the movement, known as urban exploring, and sent out our photographer Reid Traylor. Here are some of the images he found of

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hidden Cobb VEGAS

NIGHTS

Left, perhaps the most eerie of our discoveries, the interior of this former night club on Cobb Parkway still has much of its setting intact.

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STORE?

We don’t know what this old building, above, used to house. Located on West Atlanta Road, its only inhabitants now seem to be animals and bugs.

COCKPIT OF STARLIFTER

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C-141

Photographed inside the cockpit on the grounds of the Aviation Wing of the Marietta Museum of History at the intersection of South Atlanta Road and South Cobb Drive. And, yes, that is a pigeon sitting in the co-pilot’s seat.


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DESERTED PARK

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OFFICE

Abandoned half-way through construction, this office park off of Austell Road has piles of power conduit lines laying about in a haphazard mess.

VEGAS

NIGHTS

Another shot of Vegas Nights, this one with a lone lion guarding nothing.

COBB LIFE

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ighlights A closer look at events and activities throughout Cobb County in March MASTER WORKS #3 – A MUSICAL FEAST >> Georgia Symphony Orchestra presents “Master Works #3: A Musical Feast” with special guest Martina Filjak on piano, and the GSO Chorus with Jesse Blumberg, baritone. The concert features Piano Concerto No. 1 by Johannes Brahms and “Belshazzar’s Feast” by William Walton. The GSO performs on March 10 at 8 p.m. in the Bobbie Bailey Performance Center on the Kennesaw State University campus. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $10 for students. The Georgia Symphony Orchestra also offers the opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at the Georgia Symphony Orchestra, and meet the musicians, conductor and soloists in an informal, rehearsal setting at Casual Friday on March 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the Bobbie Bailey Performance Center at KSU. This open rehearsal begins with an informative chat with musicians, includes recorded musical examples, guest interviews and spoken anecdotes, and concludes with your attendance at an open rehearsal. Tickets to Casual Friday are $5. Information: 770.429.7016 or www.georgiasymphony.org

DAUGHTRY IN CONCERT >>

VALARI’S PICNIC PARTY FOR A CURE >> Valari's Picnic

Daughtry has announced the first leg of their upcoming tour in support of the multi-platinum rock band’s third album, “Break the Spell.” Singer Chris Daughtry, guitarists Josh Steely and Brian Craddock, bassist Josh Paul, and drummer Robin Diaz are excited to bring their bigger-than-life show into theaters across the country to provide an intimate experience for fans. Daughtry is pleased to welcome a special guest, Nashville-based pop rock group SafetySuit whose new album “These Times” debuted at number seven on the Billboard Top 200 chart. Opening the show is singersongwriter Mike Sanchez. Daughtry performs on March 27 at 8 p.m. in the John A. Williams Theatre at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Ticket prices are $32.50, $42.50, and $52.50, plus fees. Information: 770.916.2808 or www.cobbenergycentre.com

Party for a Cure takes place March 18 at The Brickyard in Marietta. The event raises funds for Susan G. Komen Atlanta Race and for the Cure’s Brick House Crow’s Team, created in the memory of Valari Camp. The event takes place from 2 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $20. The ticket price includes all the food and drink you can eat and drink, live music by The Cosmic West and other entertainment. We at Cobb Life, especially, give this event a thumbs up. We featured Valari in our magazine a few times and her daughter Katy Ruth Camp is a regular contributor.

AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’>> An ensemble of energetic and irresistible performers and the hottest jazz band in town will bring down the house with a musical parade of thirty of Fats Waller’s greatest hits. A joyously creative songwriter of the 1920s and 30s, Fats Waller penned over 400 songs in his career – many of which have entered the classic repertoire of jazz standards still being performed today. “Ain’t Misbehavin’” pays tribute to his legacy and music, and includes the ever popular songs “The Jitterbug Waltz,” “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter,” “‘T’Ain’t Nobody’s Biz-ness If I Do,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Find Out What They Like,” and “Your Feets Too Big.” Performances of “Ain’t Misbehavin’” run through March 4 at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre. Shows are at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. on Sundays. Information: 770.293.0080 or www.earlsmithstrand.org


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MARIETTA-COBB MUSEUM OF ART>> The Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art presents two exhibitions this winter, including works by local artist Robert Meredith and “Art of the Golden Generation.” Both exhibitions run through March 25. The Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art is located in downtown Marietta at 30 Atlanta Street. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11 am to 5 pm, and Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, free for children younger than six years and free for members. Information: 770.528.1444 or www.mariettacobbartmuseum.org

THE GOLDEN TICKET>>In Atlanta Opera’s “The Golden Ticket,” a young boy named Charlie finds a “golden ticket” admitting him to Willy Wonka’s topsecret chocolate factory where he encounters chocolate rivers, inflating blueberries, magic elevators and other delights. “The Golden Ticket” is a poignant tale about wishes coming true. The Atlanta Opera presents “The Golden Ticket” on March 3 at 8 p.m., March 6 at 7:30 p.m., March 9 at 8 p.m., and March 11 at 3 p.m. in the John A. Williams Theatre at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Ticket prices range from $24 to $139, plus fees. Information: 404.881.8885 or www.atlantaopera.org

JEANNE ROBERTSON>>Jeanne Robertson is an overnight success nearly half a century in the making. She keeps audiences rolling on the floor with laughter, which consistently keeps her at the top of the game. At 68 years young, this former Miss North Carolina stands tall at six-foot-two and has a personality, heart and sense of humor just as soaring. For years, her witty speeches were mostly limited to conventions and meetings. But with the dawn of the digital age, the world became exposed to Robertson’s infections humor and before long she went viral. She performs on March 16 at 8 p.m. in the John A. Williams Theatre at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Tickets are $32.50 plus fees. Information:770.916.2808 or www.cobbenergycentre.com

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FLYIN’ WEST>> In “Flyin’ West,” Atlanta playwright Pearl Cleage examines the lives, memories and hopes of four female former slaves expecting a better life in the West away from the uncertainties of the post-Civil War South. But their new surroundings are not free of danger and unexpected turns. Produced by Theatre in the Square, performances of “Flyin’ West” are March 7 through April 8 on the MainStage. Performance times and ticket prices vary. Call Theatre in the Square for details. Information: 770.422.8369 or www.theatreinthesquare.com


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RALPHIE MAY>> As lovable as he is outrageous, Ralphie May is one of the most popular comedians in the country. Since his debut on season one of “Last Comic Standing,” audiences can’t get enough of the larger than life comedian. Now, Ralphie proves he’s too big to ignore with his record-breaking fourth Comedy Central Special and North American tour. Voted one of Variety’s Ten Comics to Watch, Ralphie spreads his comedic wealth further than ever by tackling topics that will make you think and occasionally squirm. Ralphie May performs on March 17 at 8 p.m. in the John A. Williams Theatre at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Tickets are $30.50, plus fees. Information: 770.916.2808 or www.cobbenergycentre.com

CHAKA KHAN>> Jazz 91.9 WCLK, celebrates its longstanding legacy of jazz and service to the Atlanta community by featuring a signature jazz benefit concert each year. This year marks the 38th Anniversary for the station, which hails as the longest running jazz station in Atlanta and the southeast. The benefit concert with Chaka Khan is sure to make this an especially memorable occasion converging upon the musical genre’s for which Jazz 91.9 has become acclaimed over the years. Recognized for her powerful vocals, Chaka Khan will perform her biggest hit songs with show-stopping stage presence and style that sets her apart from any other singer before or after. Jazz 91.9 WCLK presents, live in concert, music legend, rhythm and blues icon, and jazz pioneer Chaka Khan on April 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the John A. Williams Theatre at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Ticket prices range from $53 to $98. Information: 770.916.2808 or www.cobbenergycentre.com

MAN IN BLACK: AN EVENING OF THREE WORKS>> James Kudelka's “Man in Black” delivers imaginative choreography over a mix of hits and hidden gems by rockabilly legend Johnny Cash. Atlanta Ballet presents “Man in Black” on March 23 and 24 at 8 p.m., and March 24 and 25 at 2 p.m. in the John A. Williams Theatre at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Tickets prices range from $20 to $120, plus fees. Information: 404.873.5811 or www.atlantaballet.com


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YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN>> The classic Mel Brooks musical is alive, and it’s headed to Cobb County. Audiences will have a monstrously good time at this spectacular new production, winner of the 2008 Outer Critics Circle Award and the Broadway.com Audience Award for best musical. Don’t miss the sensational cast delivering favorite moments from the classic film, plus brand new numbers for the stage, including “Transylvania Mania,” “He Vas My Boyfriend,” and “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” This wickedly inspired reimagining of the Frankenstein legend follows bright young Dr. Frankenstein as he attempts to create a monster – but not without scary and hilarious complications. Gas South Broadway Series presents “Young Frankenstein” on March 29, 30, and 31 at 8 p.m., and March 31 and April 1 at 2 p.m. in the John A. Williams Theatre at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Ticket prices range from $25 to $56, plus fees. Information: 770.916.2808 or www.cobbenergycentre.com FRANKENSTEIN’D>> This original post-modern production explores themes surrounding one of the world’s most well-known popular icons. “Frankenstein’d” isn’t just a monster, it’s method. Devised by director Charles Parrott and cast, “Frankenstein’d” is March 21 at 8 p.m. at the Black Box Theater in the Wilson Annex on the Kennesaw State University campus. Tickets are $5. Information:770.423.6650 or www.kennesaw.edu/arts

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GA. METRO DANCE THEATRE>> Formerly Ruth Mitchell Dance Theatre, Georgia Metropolitan Dance Theatre pre-sents their spring production, “Peter Pan.” A delight for children and adults, this highflying show captures the magic of Tinkerbell and Peter, and the mischievous pirate Captain Hook. Performances of “Peter Pan” are March 23 at 7:30 p.m., March 24 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and March 25 at 2 p.m. in the Jennie T. Ander-son Theatre at Cobb Civic Center, 548 South Marietta Parkway, in Marietta. Ticket prices are $24 for adults, $22 for seniors and students. Information: 770.426.0007 or www.georgiametrodance.org

FIRST FRIDAY ART WALK>> The new season of First Friday Art Walks on the Marietta Square begins on April 6, and continues on May 4, June 1, July 6, August 3, September 7, and October 5. Art Walk is a free self-guided tour of the Marietta Square’s eclectic art scene. Galleries, museums, cultural venues, restaurants and boutiques host artists within their businesses from 5 to 9 p.m. on the first Friday of every month, rain or shine. Look for an official Art Walk banner in the window to identify participating venues. Choose your own route, or begin from Artists' Alley at Dupre's Antique Market at 17 Whitlock Ave. Art Walk informational maps are provided at each participating location. Information: 770.429.1115 or www.artwalkmarietta.com

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Vegas in Vinings The Vinings Historic Preservation Society recently hosted its biannual Vegas in Vinings gala at the Vinings Club. The Vegas-style event benefited the society’s preservation efforts at the Pace House, Old Pavilion and Yarbrough House. 1. Vegas in Vinings co-chairs Rebecca McClure and Josie Carlyle, of Vinings. 2. Vinings Historic Preservation Society past president Margaret Hathaway and society board member Diana Rector, both of Vinings. 3. David DeRuyter and Sky Rector, both of Vinings. 4. From left, Vinings Historic Preservation Society Executive Director Gillian Greer, society president Karen DeRuyter and Sheryl Greer, all of Vinings. 5. Vinings Historic Preservation Society past president Margaret Hathaway of Vinings and auction chair Cheryl L. Spiva of Smyrna. 6. From left, Kent and Ann Canipe of Vinings. 7. From left, Ralph Perrella and Beverly Brafford, of Vinings.

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Vegas in Vinings

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11 8. From left, Raegan and Jon Ferguson of Vinings. 9. From left, Mike Smith and Cindy Martel, both of Smyrna. 10. District 34 state Rep. Rich Golick, R-Smyrna, an event sponsor, with his wife, Cobb County State Court Judge Maria Golick. 11. From left, Barbara Colaianni of Woodstock and Morton Hodgeson of Vinings. PHOTOGRAPHY BY NATHAN SELF

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Vegas in Vinings 12. Carl and Carol Filip of Vinings. 13. Vegas in Vinings sponsors Ken and Terri Hilderhoff of Vinings. 14. From left, Vegas in Vinings sponsors Marshall McCabe of Vinings, Diane Johnson of Vinings and Christopher Pelaia of Smyrna. 15. From left, Ron and Louis Sifen of Vinings.

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Daddy Daughter Date Night

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Chick-fil-A recently hosted its Daddy Daughter Date Night at its East Lake location in east Cobb. Part of a set of events at all metro Atlanta Chick-fil-A locations, the night included dinner and limo rides for the fathers and daughters, and all girls received a pink rose and pearls to make a bracelet with their dads. 1. From left, Katie, Shannon and Shelby Miller of Marietta. 2. Catie and Sam Crowe of Marietta. 3. Dennis and Ruby McCoy of Marietta. PHOTOGRAPHY BY REID TRAYLOR

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Daddy Daughter Date Night 4. Micheal and Elizabeth Ghioto of Marietta. 5. Stephen and Camryn George of Marietta. 6. Jeff and Emerson Domke of Marietta. 7. From left, Kate, Matt and Ellie Davenport, all of Marietta.

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COBB LIFE

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Daddy Daughter Date Night

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8. From left, Ariana, Billy and Anabella Holt of Marietta. 9. Jeff and Rachel Brown of Marietta. 10. Hannah and Jeff Haymore of Marietta. 11. From left, Adelaide, Bobby and Ava Rose Camp of Marietta. 12. Craig and Kendall Cochren of Marietta.

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COBB LIFE

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Cobb County ‘Home for the Holidays’ VIP reception

Cobb County held a VIP reception prior to the showing of 'Home for the Holidays' at the Jennie T. Anderson Theatre in December. Dozens of residents attended the event, which featured a dinner and special presentation. 1. From left, Catherine Rhodes of Marietta, Miss Cobb County Stephanie Burkholder of Marietta and Miss Cobb County Outstanding Teen Amelia Hunt of Acworth. 2. From left, Katie Crocker and Marijo Armington, both of Marietta, and Jane Heavilon and Shari Tarter, both of East Cobb. 3. From left, Ada Junge of Roswell and Judy Blackwell of Marietta. PHOTOGRAPHY BY REID TRAYLOR

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‘Home for the Holidays’ VIP reception 4. Gloria and Gary Miller of Marietta. 5. Ozell Risener and Lennie Risener of Smyrna. 6. Donna Templeton of Marietta and Richard Epps of Powder Springs. 7. Dan and Tami Gallagher of Acworth. 8. Rick and Jackie Cavallo of Marietta.

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YMCA Boots and Blue Jeans event

1 The YWCA of Northwest Georgia recently hosted the Boots and Blue Jeans event, also called the second 100+ Women Against Domestic violence FUNraiser. The event took place at Jim R. Miller Park and included dinner provided by Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q. 1. From left, Susan Potter of Smyrna and Hellan Kreeger and Linda Stegall, both of Kennesaw. 2. Lasona and Trent Turk of Kennesaw. 3. Brad and Angela Shipp of Marietta. 4. Diane and Ernie Heinrich of Marietta.

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Cobb Chamber of Commerce Annnual Gala

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5 The Cobb County Chamber of Commerce recently hosted its 70th annual dinner gala at the Cobb Galleria Centre. 1. From left, Marietta residents Jason Waters, Katie Waters and Jeffrey Waters. 2. Lisa Kinchen and Louie Hunter of Marietta. 3. Daniel and Ashley O'Neil of Marietta. 4. Eric and Robin Latimer of Acworth. 5. Denise and Mark Zangari of Kennesaw.

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Reflections exhibit opening reception

1 The third "Reflections" Exhibit took place at the Mable House Arts Center in Mableton in February. Dozens of residents attended the opening night reception. The event was sponsored by the National League of American Pen Women’s Atlanta Branch. 1. Lisa Gleim-Jonas and Bill Jonas of

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Vinings. 2. Scott and Sandra Anderson of Marietta. 3. From left, Bill Wikes of Atlanta with Teresa and Richard Allen of Marietta. 4. From left, Rick Brice of Atlanta with Lori and Richard Nesz of Smyrna. PHOTOGRAPHY BY REID TRAYLOR

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reflections

New FRONTIERS By Adam Miller This is the brief history of a rope. A mountaineer’s rope. The kind you see on TV. 120 feet long. Red with black and yellow specks. I bought it in the tenth grade for a hundred bucks when I started rock climbing. It is amazingly resilient. It can carry a car from a helicopter or stop a climber from hitting the ground as he loses his footing hundreds of feet off the earth. It’s followed me to every Southern state, been dragged along granite, limestone and sandstone. It’s carried my weight in all these places. I flash back to an outcropping in middle Tennessee—my dad, Phil, 70 feet below looking up in terror as I leaned over smiling. I remember a long fall I took on the rope in Centre, Alabama, because, instead of belaying me, my friend was busy flirting with some girls who were walking by. I remember my girlfriend (now wife), Megan, belaying me in Roswell and floating weightless as I fell from a cliff pulling her skyward. I also remember the day I cut it to tie the kids’ bikes to the roof of our groaning Honda minivan as we packed for Hilton Head. I severed 20 feet, singed its ends and secured it to the luggage rack. Honestly, sawing through that rope with a Leatherman knife felt both exceedingly manly (for this suburbanite) and also as the premature end of something.

But now, a few years later, I realize it marked the beginning of something brand new. While climbing with that rope is out of the question, it’s found other more noble uses. Now in at least five pieces, it’s been repurposed as rope swing, brush hauler, bike strap and backyard winch at our West Cobb home. My son, Benjamin, sees it as a makeshift whip or swinging vine. My two daughters, Abigail and Sarah Kate, have perfected death-defying performances swinging from part of it in our front yard tree. The neighborhood kids line up to take their turn at the act. Perhaps I haven’t spent days on the side of a big wall in the Yosemite Valley in California or crossed distant glaciers in Nepal. But you also can’t say I’m settling. For now, all that is someone else’s adventure. I’ve got my own right here in West Cobb, with that rope and so much else making life a little crazier and a little more magical. As much as that rope reminds me of long ago summers, you could also say it’s linking me to the future. With each branch I tie with one of its pieces to haul it from the backyard, with each twirl the kids give it, it’s perhaps drawing this family steps closer to an expedition more daunting and rewarding than any distant summit. 


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Cobb Life Magazine March/April 2012