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Nov 21, 2012

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vol. 5 no. 17 community driven news

story on page 13

COVER BY JEFF BROTHERTON

VIEWS GETTING PAST 9-11 + VIBE WILLIE NELSON IN CSRA + VITTLES THAT’S ITALIAN! + VALUES MORNINGSIDE MOMENT NOVEMBER 21 _ VERGELIVE.com / 1


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THANKSGIVING BLESSINGS O

n November 21 True North Church in North Augusta provided Thanksgiving turkeys to the under-resourced at their two Adopt-A-Block neighborhoods, Ridgeview Manor Apartment Complex and Gentry Mobile Home Park. This is the fourth year that TNC has held this event. During the campaign, “Buy One, Bless One,” church members were encouraged to pre-order turkeys. The turkeys were cooked by a church member who considers cooking his way of “giving”. For every one bought, another was donated and delivered in time for Thanksgiving dinner. In all, more than 120 Thanksgiving turkeys were gifted this year. TNC works with in these neighborhoods throughout the year hosting events and providing tutoring for the children, teaching ESL classes to the Hispanic population, transporting families to church services, and much more; however, this event provided them the unique opportunity to knock on doors and meet new families. “The distribution is one of the few times a year that we actually go door to door in the neighborhoods, thus allowing us to meet new residents and update census information,” said Mike Fiedler, Missions Pastor. For more information about TNC or to learn how you can get involved with their Adopt-A-Block ministries, please visit truenorthchurch.com. by jennifer pruett

05 views

what’sinside

you won’t want to miss a page

Learn about a Tri-Faith Thanksgiving service, glimpse at a Black Friday option (Tech Talk), and get to know a local Chaplain who serves local law enforcement (Chaplain Ken Gross).

15 vibe

Plan your activities around the best calendars in the CSRA, the Daily Planner and Nightlife, read an exclusive interview with an artist touring with Willie Nelson (Mickey Raphael), and be inspired by holiday traditions in local theatre (Behind the Curtain).

29 vittles

Try a new healthy recipe (Fresh Food Bites), get tips on feeding your family on a budget (Feed a Family of Five for $50), and get the Buzz about area restaurant openings and closings (Buzz Bits).

35 values

Be inspired by a local group serving veterans (Morningside), find out what’s been going on in the health community of the CSRA (Here’s to Your Health), laugh out loud with Nora’s “Life Face First”, and be inspired by Steve Swanson’s Faith Story.

12,000 copies of Verge are published on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month. Copies are available FREE of charge at locations throughout the CSRA including Publix, Kroger and Earth Fare and 140 plus other locations in the CSRA. Of the 12,000 total circulation---4,000 of the copies are now direct mailed. Verge is a publication of Buzz on Biz, LLC, whose offices are at 3740 Executive Center Drive, Suite 300, Martinez, GA 30907. Reach us at 706.261.9981 or email staff members below in regards to story ideas, events listings, advertising inquiries or letters to the editor.

vergestaff yeah, we made this

EDITORIAL: president/executive editor Neil Gordon neil.gordon@buzzon.biz editor Jennifer Pruett jennifer.pruett@comcast.net primary writer Christopher Selmek events editor Sarah Childers events@vergelive.com

photography melissa@ sofiacolton.com, John Robeson, and Christopher Selmek PUBLISHING: group publisher Matt Plocha publisher@vergelive.com graphic design opendoorgraphicdesign.com sales Buddy Miller buddy.miller@buzzon.biz, Matt Plocha, Neil Gordon

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call us: 706.951.0579 email us: advertising & general stuff publisher@vergelive.com story tips, ideas and letters editor@vergelive.com free event listings events@vergelive.com find us online: vergelive.com

distribution Matt Plocha, Christopher Selmek, Buddy Miller

NOVEMBER 21 _ VERGELIVE.com / 3


Edgar’s Hospitality Group – Career Opportunities Edgar’s Hospitality Group, a dynamic hospitality business with aggressive growth plans including the launch of a conference center, upscale restaurant, and café venues affiliated with the Hospitality and Culinary Arts School of Helms College in Augusta, Georgia, is seeking passionate individuals looking for new career opportunities.

Executive Chef • • • • •

Creating, teaching, training and enforcing recipes and specifications with the culinary team. Ensuring quality and consistency are at the highest level while maximizing the operation’s personnel and resources. A superior guest service attitude and ability to instill in all employees. Minimum of 4 years in a culinary management position within a high volume high-end casual and/or fine dining kitchen. Culinary school degree and CEC preferred.

Restaurant Manager • •

• • •

Maintaining high standards for food, beverage, service and atmosphere. Extensive wine knowledge to include regions, varietals and vintages is required (Sommelier Level I or higher preferred). Prior experience as a restaurant manager or assistant restaurant manager in a high volume upscale casual or fine dining restaurant. Strong background in staff training to achieve and maintain desired superior service levels. Degree in hotel and restaurant management is desired.

Hospitality Sales Manager

• •

Successful implementation of all sales strategies to grow conference center and catering business, positioning Edgar’s Hospitality venues as the destination of choice for meetings and events. Impressive hospitality sales with abundant corporate and association relationships.

Qualified individuals with interest and capabilities to grow business and people to their full potential should send their resume and letter of interest to the attention of: Laine Dreher Vice-President Human Resources 5171 Eisenhower Parkway Macon, Georgia 31206 ldreher@helms.edu www.edgarshospiality.com www.helms.edu

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Around Town

“The Creek” Celebrates

/ PG 7

Hudson Hears

Fallout from 2012 Elections

Tech Talk

Black Friday tablet

/ PG 11

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Tri-Faith Thanksgiving

See Below for Story

Though the new Islamic Community Center of Augusta, located at 465 Old Evans Road, has yet to host its official grand opening, the center is already providing daily and weekly prayer services for the growing Muslim community of the CSRA. The new center is larger and includes more amenities than the old Mosque that existed for 31 years at 346 Middleton Drive, including a gymnasium, soccer court, indoor basketball court and nine classrooms. Imam Mohamad Jamal Daoudi, who graduated from the Christian United Theological Seminary of Boston after writing a doctoral thesis on bridge building between Islam and Christianity, hopes that the new building can become a center for education for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. “I’ve been here just a week, but generally speaking there is a misunderstanding about what we believe because the media does not present a good image of Muslims all the time,” he said. “People ask questions like ‘what do they do in their mosque?’, ‘do they believe in God?’, ‘who do they pray to?’ and ‘are they all terrorists?’ We are part of the beautiful mosaic of this country, and having been part of the building of America, we are continuing to contribute to its future.”

Because Islam does not have a clergy system, the day-to-day affairs of the community center are largely handled by volunteers. The Imam is the only leader to care for the religious affairs of the Muslim community, including leading prayer five times daily, leading the weekly Shabbat prayer service on Friday, conducting weekly lectures and acting as a social counselor. The five daily prayers required by Islam take about 5-10 minutes each, with the first one occurring at dawn and the last occurring well after sunset. At this time, Muslim men prostrate themselves in a sanctuary room facing northeast toward Mecca, rising and kneeling at the direction of their Imam, though those who are working or otherwise unable to visit the Mosque may face Mecca and pray on their own. Muslim women kneel near the back of the room behind a small partition, which they say is for the sake of modesty more than subordination. “Because of the nature of prostration, the body position that we put ourselves in, it is not proper for women to be in front of men,” said Rafeef Alobeidi, who teaches the Koran to a ... continued on page 9

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word on the street

“YES THEY CAN… EXPAND AGAIN”

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he third and fourth generations of Weinberger’s are planning a huge 2013 with more major growth into a secondary business related to the furniture and office design they provide for current customers. This is in addition to the move of their main furniture store to their new facility on the Riverwatch Parkway in Augusta. The Business Interiors segment of Weinberger’s is already set up there. That’s across the railroad tracks from their warehouse and Furniture and Rug Outlet. The Weinberger’s continue to operate their Lake Oconee store and the Furnish 123 store in Grovetown. Oh, by the way, they are in the middle of their 80th Anniversary sale. The Word on the Street is that their new, secondary business is getting fine tuned in November and December with a January launch date. Don’t think it will happen? Yes it can!

by Neil Gordon

Coming Soon to Evans!

Our Interest is in You! www.firstbankofga.com

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6 / VERGELIVE.com _ NOVEMBER 21


smatterings

Filling up on Community

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s November slips by and December draws near, hopefully you’ve had your fill of Thanksgiving goodness. We ask you to consider “filling up” a few more times with some great community events. It’s the time of year when there are many events to explore as the Christmas season “officially” goes in to high gear. From Christmas lights, parades and villages to black Friday sales and shopping locally to support our economy, there is so much to do and so little time. There are two specific events that we ask you consider attending -- the 9th Annual 12 Bands of Christmas and the 2nd Annual Champions Made from Adversity Chilly Chili Cook Off. VERGE is the proud print sponsor of both of these wonderful community-minded events. The 12 Bands event moves to a new venue, the August Common, and will be held on a Saturday afternoon -- a bold step as it shifts gears to become more family friendly. At last year’s CMFA event, VERGE won the “Kitchen Sink” category thanks to our secret weapon -- our cook. We look to defend the title this year with something even more surprising. Stop by, say hello and have some fantastic chili. Both events, on Saturday, December 8, 2012, and are great examples of community. Attend and show your support for these local organizations this holiday season. Read more about them on pages 21 and 23. Holiday shopping season is also here. We hope that everyone has their list and has checked them twice. Please make every effort to visit and shop at as many locally owned and operated businesses as you can; they need your support more than ever. Is there any cranberry sauce left? Matt

around town

A Look At Things To Do

PRESENTED BY

STEVENS CREEK CELEBRATES 25TH ANNIVERSARY CHURCH SERVICE

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ears were flowing and laser lights were pointing all over the floor and balcony of the Bell Auditorium on Sunday, November 4. Stevens Creek Community Church Pastor Marty Baker, his wife Patty and their three children rejoiced on stage at what the Lord has accomplished through their church family. Twenty five years ago the Baker’s began the church in a borrowed living room with approximately 25 guests, and for years after, about 100 attended services in the lunchroom of an area school. In the mid-90’s they attended a Willow Creek church conference in Chicago, and they began to incorporate modern praise music, videos, dramas and dance to connect with people on a “real” level. Eventually they moved into their current church at 600 Stevens Creek Road, and they are in the midst of a capital campaign to expand again.

JOIN OUR RACE TO END DOMESTIC VIOLENCE The Jingle Jam 10K’s goal is to promote healthy lifestyles through fitness while furthering the mission of SafeHomes, Inc. The Jingle Jam is a Christmas-themed road race featuring music, a costume contest and an appearance by Santa himself. Chip timers will be provided to process times in real-time along with jingle bells so runners can “jingle all the way” to the finish line!

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During this 25th Anniversary celebration, Pastor Baker shared many highlights, including the night years back that almost 100 church members were baptized and gave their lives to Jesus Christ. He reinforced the church’s mission, “Love God. Love People. Serve The World.” Many well-wishers recorded messages played on the big screens at the Bell, including local pastors who started at Stevens Creek and have continued “The Creek” legacy by leading their own churches, “Journey” and “Genesis”. Several “lost souls” gave heartfelt testimonies of how their drug and alcohol addiction and failed marriages almost ruined their lives -- until they found Stevens Creek. A note from Baker, sent to those who attended the service, read: “Your presence there meant so much to us. I sincerely appreciate all of the volunteers that invested so much time and energy to make this event very special. I also appreciate all of our staff members who went above and beyond the call of duty to turn this public building into a sacred space. Patty and I deeply appreciate what you have done for our family. Your love and support through the years has given us strength and stability. You have honored us with your kindness. We will forever be grateful to you. Let me say it again, from our family: Patty, Stuart, Sarah, Samuel and myself, we say, ‘Thank you and may the Lord bless you’. by Neil Gordon

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Bringing Faiths Together

... continued from page 5

women’s group at the Islamic Center. “It’s doesn’t help anyone to keep their thoughts on God to have women lifting their rear ends in front of a group of men, so the setting of our faith is to put the women together at the back of the room.” “I’ve lived here for 20 years, and I’ve been asked many ridiculous questions by non-Muslim Americans wondering if my husband forces me to wear this style of dress,” she continued, speaking of the modest head-scarf worn be the women in her group. “No, the men are not controlling us. The majority of us are well educated, and while some of us choose to take care of our children it’s not because we can’t work outside the home. We’re not repressed; we wear this to make ourselves submissive to God, not to men, and to be modest.” In fact, according to Alobeidi, Muslim women are taught that beauty, modesty, chastity and everything good they try to emulate is epitomized in the figure of Mary, mother of Jesus. “We believe in the God of Abraham and Moses as described in the Old Testament,” said Alobeidi. “We love Jesus a lot and believe he was one of the highest prophets, that he was immaculately conceived, and that he will return one day. We also believe in Allah, which is the Arabic word for ‘the one God’, and in his angels, all of the prophets and the books revealed by Allah in the Torah and the Old Testament.” “We believe that the Koran is from the same God who sent the Bible, and that the Koran is His final message to the world,” she continued. “We follow the most current religion, but the miracle of our religion is not any one man who came to save us, but the Koran itself. The history of the Bible as a text is somewhat problematic because there are so many different translations, but all Korans are the same everywhere because the promise of God is that this is the only book that is protected, and this shows that it is the right book. I would encourage anyone who has read the Torah and the Bible to complete the trilogy and also read the Koran.” Alobeidi refers to the fact that every Arabic translation of the Koran is exactly the same. While anyone visiting the mosque may obtain an English translation there are many subtleties which can only be understood by reading the Koran in the original language that it was recorded in. For this reason, the mosque offers Arabic language classes every Thursday at 11:30 a.m., in which skilled linguists walk their students through the system of Arabic letters and their meaning. “All of the prayers we recite aloud are done in Arabic to preserve the integrity of their meaning,” said Enas Hassan, one of the center’s primary teachers of the Arabic language. “The Koran has always been the same, it has not been changed, and it will never be altered because of the corps of Muslims worldwide who memorize it front to end so that anyone who tries to alter even one mark will be known.”

TRI-FAITH SERVICE OF THANKSGIVING This is not meant to imply that Arabic speakers are better than English speakers, but only to honor the historical roots of the Koran as it was recorded in 631 AD. All those who attend services at Augusta’s Islamic Community Center deplore conflict-caused religious differences. “I don’t believe that anyone who is a believer and a practitioner of their faith has any conflict with any other faith,” said Alobeidi “I think the problem is entirely geo-political and it isn’t fair to drag Christianity and Judaism and Islam into the fight between people who really don’t understand the basic tenants of these three religions.” On November 15, members of the Muslim community participated with Jews and Christians in a tri-faith Thanksgiving Celebration at the Congregation of Children of Israel at 3005 Walton Way, in which all joined in fellowship for dinner and learned about each other’s beliefs. “We do believe in a very good relationship with our neighbors as mentioned by both Jesus and Muhammad, who commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves,” said Imam Daoudi. “Muhammad said you will not be a good believer if you are not also a good neighbor to those who don’t believe.” While the Islamic Community Center strives to be a center of learning and socializing primarily for the Muslim community, Imam Daoudi also hopes to attract non-Muslims who are curious about the practice of Islam. Anyone interested may call 706.210.5030, and the Imam will be happy to suggest a time and set aside a chair for their visit. “This is a community center where the Muslim community can come together to get to know each other and also to conduct their services, but I’m also planning to make this center available to our friends from the larger community to come and observe,” he said. “I would invite the public to come and get to know your Muslim neighbor.” by Christopher Selmek

The Jewish Congregation Children of Israel hosted this year’s tri-faith service of Thanksgiving Nov. 15, which also included the Episcopal Church of Our Savior and the Islamic Society of Augusta. This service included readings from the Holy Writings of each faith represented, led by Rabbi Robert Klensin, Father John West and Imam Jamal Daoudi, along with prayers and music. Members of all three congregations along with the general public were invited to attend and were asked to bring one non-perishable food item for Golden Harvest Food Bank.

“We started this to make a statement to the community about the ability of our three faith groups to come together,” said Rabbi Klensin. “It seemed Thanksgiving was a holiday we could all share, because the idea of giving thanks to God is something all three religions see as important. With the election recently passed, it seems a lot of people choose to focus on what is going wrong in America, but there are still a lot of things to be thankful for, and one of them is the freedom of religion we have in America that they don’t have in many other places in the world.” According to Klensin, this service is now in its sixth year and switches hosts every year, though it always includes the same three institutions and is always open to the public. “Unfortunately the extremists of each group will always try to use religion, and I believe they are using it improperly, but having these three faith groups come together makes a strong statement,” he said. “We believe in a very positive relationship with our Muslim and Christian brothers.” by Christopher Selmek

NOVEMBER 21 _ VERGELIVE.com / 9


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hudson hears investigative reporting on local politics

One Step Forward, One Step Back and One More To Go…

tech talk Latest Technology Trends

These opinions are those of Scott Hudson and not necessarily those of Verge Newspaper or its staff.

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he recent Presidential and local Sheriff ’s elections overshadowed virtually every other race being held in Richmond County. However, citizens can sleep easy knowing that voters in the commission races were as schizophrenic as ever. In fact, there were some mild surprises, but no jaw droppers. The one election outcome that had some scratching their heads was Super District 9 that heralded the return of Marion Williams to the commission. The conventional wisdom was that former solicitor Harold Jones would win outright, if not in a landslide. After all, Williams’ claim to fame is his history of being Augusta’s most controversial and some say unethical public servant of recent times. Williams is remembered for selling his church property to the Board of Education for a vast amount more than it was worth, the allegations of his attempted shakedowns of prospective business owners and his claims to having City Administrator Fred Russell’s computer hard drive in his pocket. To many people watching the election, Williams was less a curiosity and more of a joke; after all, he did not raise hardly any money and barely campaigned for the job. What was missing from conventional wisdom is the effect that the now years long controversy over the Augusta Convention Center and its many misdealings and hiccups would have over the election. Looking back, it seems that many saw Harold Jones as a “get-along” guy and Williams as the loud-mouth that would gum up the good old boys deals being made in regards to that facility. Williams after all has long publicly despised Billy Morris and would likely tear any contract apart looking for the Morris stamp of self-ingratiation. On that point, ones voting for Williams may be right. Conventional wisdom also had Ed Enoch winning District 3 with no problems. Enoch has high profile name recognition; he raised plenty of money and utilized social media to reach out to constituents. There were two things that Enoch did not take into account and that is many residents of District 1 are older and therefore have not fully embraced the Facebook revolution and those same voters, regardless of age, have long memories. It is an unfortunate fact that Enoch was blamed by many for the mess that was the Coliseum Authority during most of the decade of the 2000’s. He was blamed even though that body routinely ignored his legal advice and did what they wanted. The Authority even fired him once only to realize that was a huge mistake. Yet, even though Enoch was the one sane voice in the room, guilt by association was simply something he could not overcome. Davis, on the other hand, undertook a strategy of grass roots campaigning claiming to be enough of an outsider to avoid becoming a part of the machine while at the same time touting her lifelong connection to the community. She was feisty without being malicious and clearly articulated her vision for the community, and that strategy paid off in the end. The final step will be the outcome of the District 1 run-off with incumbent Matt Aitken seeking to keep his job on the commission. This race will be totally decided on voter turnout with the holidays and fatigue from the last election being major factors. It is already hard to stimulate a good turnout for run-offs, but adding in the other factors gives Aitken a clear advantage. However, conventional wisdom has been proven wrong so many times that it is not even worth polishing the crystal ball. Even though some were aghast at the Williams win and are openly fretting about Bill Fennoy punching and kicking his way past Aitken at the polls, the state of politics in Augusta has changed forever. Never again will Marion Williams put together the coalitions he is famous for crafting in the past. Sure, Williams would definitely pair up with Commissioner Lockett and a Commissioner Fennoy to obstruct meetings and parse the language of contracts. For a while such a scenario would bring a return to four-hour-long commission meetings with Williams claiming to “investigate what I expect,” whatever that means; but the political machine Williams once operated has long been retired to the junk pile. Commissioner Lockett has also soured on his colleagues with his constant obstructionism that he comes across as the boy who called wolf. Indeed he made great points during the TEE Center debates, but still his comments fell on deaf ears. Finally, the idea that a Fennoy win would bring back the racial split on the commission that hampered city politics for years is an empty fear. For one, a Fennoy win would mean five black commissioners, four white commissioners, and one Asian-Caucasian commissioner. More importantly, Commissioners in recent years have been willing to form coalitions that cross racial lines and those coalitions are being aided by the vocal community activists that are providing information to Commissioners and the public alike. Sure Marion Williams is back, but he is coming back home to a family he will barely recognize. scott hudson freelances for WGAC and is a local paralegal. Submit comments to scott@wgac.com

Microsoft Unveils The ‘Surface’ Tablet M

icrosoft unveiled its first foray into the PC hardware market with the $499 Surface tablet, which compares with pricing and features of Apple’s iPad. The announced prices actually undercut pricing of some of Microsoft’s hardware manufacturer partners. The least expensive of its Surface tablets matches the entry-level price of the latest iPad but has twice the memory. The $499 Surface model doesn’t come with clam-shell cover that doubles as a keyboard and has featured prominently in Microsoft’s marketing of the device however. Microsoft will also offer a $599 model that comes with a black version of the cover-keyboard combination, and a $699 model with the keyboard cover but that has greater data storage capacity. The keyboard add-on comes in different colors and can be purchased separately for $119.99. A higher-end keyboard with a more traditional feel is priced at $129.99. The pricing positions the Surface against the iPad, though there are some differences in the companies’ devices. The Surface also comes in lower than some offerings by hardware companies that plan to make their own devices using Microsoft’s new operating system software. The new operating system, Windows 8, is designed to work on devices with touch screens. Some tablet manufacturers have complained about the prospect that Microsoft might charge less for the Surface than they can. Pricing on some partner devices disclosed so far is indeed higher. Asustek Computer’s Vivo Tab RT, for example, is being listed for sale at $599. Lenovo is offering a device called the IdeaPad Yoga that is priced at $799 and folds from a clamshell to a tablet mode. The question now is how many of the new devices will Microsoft sell, because early indications are that Microsoft is making a serious commitment to marketing and production. The company has placed orders to produce 3 million to 5 million Surface tablets in the three months ending Dec. 31, according to component suppliers in Asia and Silicon Valley. It’s estimated that the Surface tablet could capture 14% of the tablet market in 2013, including sales of Surface and devices from other hardware makers running versions of Windows. The $499 version of the Surface comes with 32 gigabytes of flash-memory data storage. That compares with 16 gigabytes of capacity on a $499 model of Apple’s latest iPad. The $699 model of the Surface has 64 gigabytes of memory. Microsoft’s first Surface models run Windows RT, which is designed for hardware powered by chips licensed from ARM Holdings. Microsoft has begun selling Windows 8, which works on x86 chips sold by Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. Microsoft said it will also offer a version of Surface for that software, but it likely will not hit store shelves until after the first of the year. Also, the current Surface models connect to the Internet only via Wi-Fi. Cellular network ready versions are timed to be on sale by Thanksgiving. Microsoft marketing officials differentiate Windows 8 based tablets including Surface by arguing that the products are more suited for business tasks, while iPads and other competing products are best at passive activities such as watching movies or surfing the Web. For instance, the Surface devices include a version of Microsoft’s popular Office software. Windows RT isn’t compatible with some PC apps written for earlier versions of Windows but Windows 8 is expected to be a closer match in compatibility. Microsoft has responded in a big way with Windows 8 for PCs and laptops, and now has blurred the lines with a strong tablet product, the Surface tablet, that could indeed replace notebook PCs for many users. Microsoft intends to spend literally billions of dollars promoting Windows 8 products over the next year, and it’s likely to be the ‘game-changer’ that the hype has built it up to be. KEVIN WADE is the CEO and “techspert” for Intellisystems, a small business I.T department for area companies. He works with them to prevent network failure, data loss, or backup disasters and provides technology advice to keep clients and the community informed. Intellisystems is located in the Alley in Aiken, in Columbia at the Atrium on Stoneridge Drive, and in downtown Augusta. For more info, visit intellisytems.com

NOVEMBER 21 _ VERGELIVE.com / 11


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Helping Those Who Serve and Protect

ONE ON ONE WITH CHAPLAIN KEN GROSS T

hanksgiving week marked 30 years that Chaplain Ken Gross has volunteered his time to minister to area law enforcement. He serves the Richmond County Sheriff ’s Department, the Marshall’s office, the GBI and the Georgia State Patrol in Milledgeville.

“I have never pastored a church,” he said. “Law enforcement is my congregation.” His relationship with the Sheriff ’s Department began as a computer technician servicing equipment. During that time, he became interested in law enforcement and concerned about the officers’ emotional needs. “Freddie Sanders, who ran for sheriff, was administrative assistant to the sheriff when I started,” he recalled. “He and I were ham radio operators. I had this idea, I ran it by him and he made it happen for me to be recognized as the chaplain for the Richmond County sheriff ’s office.” Chaplain Gross is on call around the clock, available by telephone, making home and hospital visits whenever he is needed, and scheduling counseling appointments. He spoke to Verge about what he calls his “ministry of presence.” Verge: Where is your office based? Chaplain Gross: I have a home office where I keep up my prayer request list. That includes everyone who’s sick, had surgery, is bereaved, has family in the military and so forth. I update it a couple of times a week, and I publish something called the Chaplain’s Page, which is a thought for the week. I’m in my office at Daniel Village when I have a counseling appointment. I’ve done scores of law enforcement weddings. We do some marriage and financial counseling, and any counseling events happen in that office. But that is the smallest percentage of my activity in the sheriff ’s office. A great deal of my time is spent visiting hospitals. We have 750 employees, and I am the chaplain for 750 families. Recently, it was a deputy whose 35-year-old sister was having brain surgery. You go into prayer before they go into surgery, and that gives them a calming effect and confidence that God knows what’s going on and God will bless this surgery. We’ve seen wonderful answers, including that brain surgery, in recent months. Verge: What were the steps to becoming a chaplain? Chaplain Gross: I joined the American Association of Christian Counselors and began to get their publications. I

joined the International Conference of Police Chaplains and went to weeklong annual training with them each year. The State of Georgia, through various chaplain organizations, offered chaplain certification programs, and when the Georgia Sheriff ’s Association formed a chaplains division, I took responsibility for training new sheriff ’s department chaplains for the first three or four years that that organization existed. In that training we do death notifications, family issues, stresses of law enforcement duty, stresses associated with line of duty deaths, and some courses on how the 911 dispatch communication works and those sorts of things. Not that we want to be law enforcement officers ourselves; in fact, one of the things we guard against is people thinking we’re going to enforce the law or are experts in any way. I get calls all the time and I say, “We can’t go there. I’m not a certified law enforcement officer. I’m a certified instructor and a certified chaplain.” Verge: When there is an emergency, at what point do you enter the picture? Chaplain Gross: I go as soon as I find out. They are sometimes in denial that there are emotional needs to be met. Especially command staff will say, “We don’t need anybody to help us.” Much of my ministry is a ministry of presence -- just being there. I never stop with just being there, but I always remember, and I encourage anybody else, when a neighbor or somebody’s husband or wife dies and you say, “I’m not going to the funeral home; I wouldn’t know what to say to them,” don’t say anything. Just be there. It means so much to people and it’s so easy to just be there. My other theory that applies to a lot of things is that all of us have something that doesn’t cost us anything, but it’s worth a million dollars to somebody else, and that’s a proper word of encouragement to somebody who’s going through a tough time. Verge: How long are you available? Chaplain Gross: I am always available. So many things will trigger grief, and that can go on for years. Everything that I print, every opportunity that I have to convey -- for example, phone numbers: I will always put “7/24” next to the phone number and everybody knows that means you call us anytime. When people go through difficult times, I tell them that the number is good 24 hours a day, because you may wake up at 3:00 in the morning and experience your worst depression, distress, panic or whatever is associated with your event, and I want you to know that you can call me. I’m willing to go wherever I need to go and do whatever I need to do.

Verge: What makes the job most worthwhile? Chaplain Gross: The reward is two-fold. It’s a sense of accomplishment that I was able to help this person -- it may have been to save their life or help them through distress. And I’m strong enough in my Christian belief to know that I’ve got a few rewards in heaven waiting. Sheriff Charlie Webster used to tell me, “We’re going to have a meeting in heaven of all the people you helped when they were terminally ill and making sure they were ready to meet God.” That is the greatest reward. Verge: How do you help the law enforcement officers in times of crisis? Chaplain Gross: When we lose an officer, there are a lot of tears from people who would not like to admit that they cry. I think God prepared me, even as a child, for law enforcement officers in uniform and in tears by the fact that the most traumatic thing I can remember as a child was the three times I saw my dad cry. I didn’t know men cried. I still remember the trauma of seeing my dad just bitterly weeping over something. I learned early on, and a lot of what I do is to tell people, “It’s OK for you to have nightmares over what happened if you had to shoot someone. It’s OK to cry if a fellow law enforcement officer has been gunned down. It’s OK to feel what you feel. It is normal.” People often just need someone to tell them, “What you’re going through is normal. There’s nothing wrong with you for feeling the way you feel.” That sounds so simple, and yet, once again, it’s one of those things that’s worth a million dollars to someone if you can tell them at just the right time. I believe strongly in the power of prayer. I believe it gets results and it promotes calmness and confidence in the person for whom you’re praying. So I live for this. by Alison Richter

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Nightlife

After Dark in the CSRA

/ PG.19

Daily Planner

What’s Happening Around Town

/ PG. 20

Behind the Curtain ‘Tis the Season

/ PG. 23

Working with Willie Nelson

One on One with

Mickey Raphael See Below for Story

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losing in on four decades with Willie Nelson, harmonica player Mickey Raphael describes himself as “very lucky” when he looks back on 39 years of touring and recording with the country music legend -- the man he affectionately refers to as “a benevolent dictator.” Asked to describe Nelson, Raphael remarked, “He’s very unselfish and would do anything for you. I get to stand next to him onstage and watch him sing and play guitar, and he blows my mind. He keeps getting better. He never ceases to amaze me.” Verge: Is it harder to challenge each other when you know each other so well? Raphael: Willie is such a prolific player. He pushes you to your limits because there are no limits. He surprises me every night. He’s an amazing guitar player who goes into outer space with his solos. The best part of the gig is listening to him and playing off of

11/21/2012

him. When I take a solo, it’s all eye contact. If he faces my way, and it’s my solo, I take it, or take half of one. We’re constantly watching each other. Everyone has his eye on him. Verge: Can you finish his musical sentences or does he surprise you? As we know, his phrasing and timing are not on the beat. Raphael: I don’t have to keep time. That’s the rhythm section’s duty. When he gets way ahead of the beat, or flips the beat, they’re with him, so I don’t know if those guys can play in time from following Willie. Their timing may not exist at all! He is unique in his phrasing. If you can count, you’re fired! That magic in the band comes from traveling and living together and being dedicated to Willie. They would die for the guy. I’ll play with anybody, but for the rest of the band it’s Willie Nelson and Family, and really, it is. ... continued on page 17

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touring with Willie Nelson

listening to who were influences. I’ve been called on for a lot of session work in so many genres -- Elton John, Motley Crue, Blue Oyster Cult. The exposure with Willie has opened up a lot of doors and I’m very grateful for that. I learn from him every day.

I play with other people to keep fresh and bring things into the mix to keep me versatile. I like to stretch out.

this in the attic.” A guy came up with a couple of those pickups and gave them to him.

Verge: What’s your advice to young players about making it work within a band? Raphael: When you’re in the studio or onstage, you’ve got to be able to listen and work with other guys. When you’re a young player and still learning, you want to play everything you know as fast as you can. It’s like Willie says: Less is more. I’m concerned about playing one note with great tone rather than a solo with all the licks I know. Learn to listen and play well with others. You don’t talk when someone else is talking. It’s the same thing with music. When the singer is singing, stay out of the way of the lyrics. People want to hear what the singer and the other players have to say. If it’s not your turn to play, watch the other guys and be gracious with your playing. It’s a team effort.

Verge: Where are you in the pocket? Raphael: I weave the web around the pocket and thread it together, and if it gets too crazy, I don’t have to play. I can do rhythm things and be a catalyst to it all and try to keep it together. If it’s too far out there, I shut up and listen. That’s something Willie taught me: It doesn’t hurt to sit back and listen. You don’t have to play all the time. The best advice I ever got came from Grady Martin. He played guitar on all the Nashville stuff, and when he retired from the studio, he toured with us. He was a brilliant musician; that’s his guitar work on the Naked Willie album. He played on everybody’s records. The night I met Eric Clapton in L.A., I asked him if he wanted to meet Willie, but he wanted to meet Grady — that’s how incredible Grady was. One day, Grady shook his head and said to me, “Smoke a cigarette. Take that damn thing out of your mouth. You play too much.” That was the first time anyone gave me any guidance. His delivery wasn’t the most warm and fuzzy, but the fact that he took the time to tell me was a term of endearment. Genre to genre, you have to listen to what the song needs and what you can contribute. Charlie McCoy is a great example. He never plays a note that doesn’t have to be there. He’s a very economical player, and a little goes a long way.

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Willie Nelson, returns to the Bell Auditorium with special guest Lukas Nelson on December 4, 2012, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available online at georgialinatix.com, by phone at 877-4AUGTIX and at the Champion’s Box Office at the James Brown Arena for $87, $67, $47 and $37.

Verge: What have been some of the highlights of playing with Willie? Raphael: We toured with Bob Dylan and Neil Young, two of my heroes. I’ve become a peer of a lot of artists I grew up

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Verge: What makes Willie Nelson a good boss? How does he inspire his musicians? Raphael: The fact that he’s doing his best and is so into it. He inspires you to take it to the next level. He’s such a great player that the heat is definitely on to be up to the level. I’m fortunate to be able to do sessions with great guitar players, and I want to live up to that level. Any musician should, because that’s what’s expected of you. The artist hires you because they trust you to pull it off.

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Verge: Where do you find Baldwin amps? Raphael: Pawnshops, or someone says, “My uncle kept

Verge: You have the ultimate gig, behind a master guitarist, singer and songwriter, and working with the best, including the Highwaymen. Raphael: I miss Waylon [Jennings]. I played with him. I was a fan of his before I met Willie. Johnny [Cash] was always bigger than life and intimidating to me, even though he was the sweetest guy I ever met. I miss those guys. There’s talk sometimes of Willie and Kris [Kristofferson] touring together. Maybe there will be a Highwaymen collection, with outtakes and other versions of the songs that haven’t been released. I don’t know. It’s all about licensing and content. The Highwaymen were great, because in addition to the four guys, the band were all-stars. It was Chips Moman’s studio band, the same band basically that did the Memphis sessions with Elvis [From Elvis in Memphis] and played on “In The Ghetto,” “Suspicious Minds” and “Kentucky Rain.” Playing with that band, I was in heaven. Then you’ve got Kristofferson, the greatest writer on the planet, the Shakespeare of our time, Waylon, Willie and Johnny. Johnny Cash was a spiritual influence for me. We were playing Australia and he invited me to dinner with his wife, June. He knew I was interested in Biblical history and he was a scholar of the Old Testament. He had a floor-to-ceiling home library of reference books. He gave me a concordance and showed me how to use it. He inscribed it, “May you see and receive all good things.”

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Verge: Not to divulge the secret recipe, but how does he get that tone? No one sounds like Willie Nelson -- no one. Raphael: People think it’s the hole in the guitar. It’s not the hole. It’s a classical acoustic Martin with gut strings, electric Baldwin pickups and a Baldwin amp. We have several of those amps and they’re not consistent. We have one more pickup, and when that guitar goes, it’s over. That guitar got left on a bullet train in Japan once. The roadie forgot it, and thankfully, he was able to get it back. That guitar is handcarried everywhere. It has a keeper.

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NIGHTLIFE THURSDAY, NOV 22

DAVE MERCER @ Somewhere in Augusta | 10 p.m.

NOVEMBER 22 - DECMEMBER 7 2012

THURSDAY, NOV 29

COUNTY LINE BAND @ Somewhere in Augusta 10 p.m. SHE N SHE @ Wild Wing Café 10 p.m.

THANKSGIVING BASH WITH ACOSTA @ Wild Wing Café 10 p.m.

FRIDAY, NOV 23

FREAKIN’ NUTZ @ Wild Wing Café | 10 p.m. FUNK YOU @ Sky City 10 p.m.; $5 JUCIFER + WITCH BABY @ Soul Bar | 10 p.m. THE DAM-FI-NO BAND @ The Country Club Saloon | 10 p.m.; $3 to $5

FRIDAY, NOV 30

CELIA GARY CD RELEASE @ M.A.D. Studios | 7 p.m.; $8 t0 $10 GARY RAY @ The Country Club Saloon | 10 p.m.; $3 to $5

JOSH PIERCE + TAYLOR SWAN @ M.A.D. Studios 7 p.m.; $7 to $10

CHRIS LANE @ The Country Club Saloon | 10 p.m.; $3 to $5 IT’S MARDI GRAS ON THE DANCE FLOOR @ Club Argos | 10 p.m. DEAD CONFEDERATE + EYE CANDY + SHONNA TUCKER @ Sky City | 10:30 p.m., $10

THURSDAY, DEC 6

THE TWO MAN GENTLEMAN BAND | Sky City | 10 p.m.; $5

FRIDAY, DEC 7

THE SOUTHERN MELTDOWN BAND @ Shannon’s Food & Spirits | 8 p.m.

HAPPY BONES @ Joe’s Underground Café | 8 p.m.; $2 SABO & DAVE @ Wild Wing Café | 10 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, NOV 28 THE GOOD PEOPLE DUO @ Wild Wing Café | 10 p.m.

COCO: Who are some of your favorite local bands and/or DJs? CHELSEA: Locally speaking, I’ve always loved Nuklear Blast Suntan. My favorite local DJ, who just recently relocated, is definitely Joycette. I also really like King Harold and Matt Porter. There are too many talented musicians in Augusta to name!

TANGO NIGHT @ Casa Blanca Café | 6 p.m.

Fridays

ALL-OUT ACOUSTIC FRIDAY @ Hotel Aiken | 9:30 p.m. FREE DANCE LESSONS @ Country Club | 7 p.m.

LIVE MUSIC @ The First Round 10 p.m., free LIVE MUSIC @1102 Bar and Grill | 10 p.m., no cover

Saturdays

FRESHSOUNDS DANCE PARTY @ The Playground 8 p.m.

DRINK + DROWN @ The Library Nightclub | 10 p.m., $10

Tuesdays

PIANO @ The Willcox | 8 p.m.

Wednesdays

ANGEL BROWN + ATL DREAMVISION @ Club 706 6 p.m. MANUEL’S MUSIC WEDNESDAYS @ Manuel’s Bread Café | 5:30 p.m. BIKE NIGHT!@ The First Round 8 P.M.

OCO: What is your musical background? CHELSEA: My musical background includes 12 years of vocal training, 8 years of piano lessons and 2 years of guitar lessons. My friends Joyce Russell and Ryan Davis helped me learn how to djay, which I have been doing for three years. I wrote one solo acoustic album entitled “Incarnadine” when I was 16 and I was the lead vocalist for the band Estrela, appearing on their EP when I was 17.

OPEN MIC NIGHT @ The Playground | 8 p.m.

LIVE DJ @ 1102 Bar and Grill 10 p.m., no cover

CODY WEBB @ Wild Wing Café 10 p.m.

CHELSEA LOGUE

COCO: Who are some of your main influences? CHELSEA: I have many, many influences. Some I wouldn’t even say are influences as much as individuals from whom I draw inspiration. Recently I’ve been into Grimes, Purity Ring, Gorillaz, and Bjork. I’ve always been inspired by Joni Mitchell. And as far as DJs, I’m into Diplo, RJD2, DJ Shadow, and anyone from EdBanger Records.

SPORTS NIGHT @ Surrey Tavern | 7 p.m.

MIKE FROST JAZZ @ The Willcox | 8 p.m.

Coco rubio’s One on One Chat With CSRA Musicians

REAL DANCE MUSIC @ Rose Hill Estate | 6 p.m.

WEEKLY Mondays

SUNDAY, NOV 25

TUESDAY, NOV 27

4 CATS IN THE DOG HOUSE @ The Willcox | 6 p.m.

LIVE JAZZ FRIDAY @ The Partridge Inn | 10 p.m.

SPORTS NIGHT @ Surrey Tavern | 7 p.m.

PLAYBACK THE BAND @ Wild Wing Café | 10 p.m.

BOOM BOX @ Soul Bar 8 p.m.

VAGABOND SWING @ Stillwater Taproom | 10 p.m.; $5

HAPPY BONES @ Joe’s Underground Café | 8 p.m.; $2

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JC BRIDWELL BAND @ Wild Wing Café | 10 p.m.

TUESDAY, DEC 4

SATURDAY, NOV 24

LIVE MUSIC @ Mellow Mushroom (Augusta & Evans) 8 p.m.

80’S NIGHT WITH DJ RANA @ The Playground | 9 p.m.

HOLY GHOST TENT REVIVAL @ Sky City | 10:30 p.m.; $5

THE UNMENTIONABLES @ Somewhere in Augusta 10 p.m.;

Thursdays

coco’s q&a

NOW DANCE, BABY! SATURDAY @ Hotel Aiken | 9:30 p.m., with DJ Kenny Ray, Greatwhitefunk & Smurf

COCO: What’s your take on the local music scene? CHELSEA: My “take” on the local scene...let me just say I think the scene needs an injection of new sound. I always hear people talk about trying to create music in different ways and it would be really exciting to see something new and different come out of Augusta. COCO: You’ve been in the local music mix for many years now; it seems... how have things changed for the better (or worse) then when you were younger? CHELSEA: Being a very young, female musician in any place or time in history is definitely challenging. I have learned a lot about etiquette, criticism and judgment in my musical career. Overall I would say I have gained some respect and lost some innocence. That’s how it goes! COCO: What are your future plans? CHELSEA: My future plans as a musician are to focus on making more solo music, whether it be electronic or acoustic. I really haven’t allowed myself to hone in on my real musical talent in a while, but the time has come and that is about to change! COCO: Any advice for young girls who want to get into music? CHELSEA: My advice for young girls wanting to get into music is to know who you are and who you want to represent yourself as to your audience. Don’t let people make you feel small and insignificant. Stand up for yourself. KNOW that you are beautiful and your music is important. COCO: Do you have any other hobbies? CHELSEA: I’m a hairstylist during the day. I’m into reading non-fiction. I’m definitely a movie buff. I’m also a doggie Mommy to two rascal Chihuahua children, Patou and Samo. COCO: What’s the best album & movie you’ve heard & seen this year? CHELSEA: Best Album: Purity Ring “Shrines” / Best Movie: “Melancholia” Lars Von Trier COCO: What’s the best way to keep up with you? CHELSEA: The best way to find out where I’ll be is through social networking on Facebook and Instagram, and I also always design fliers for my show which you can find downtown!

Sundays

BEER PONG @ The Playground 10 p.m. LIVE DJ @ 1102 Bar and Grill 10 p.m., no cover KARAOKE WITH PEGGY GARDNER @ Shannon’s Bar & Grill | 8 p.m.

coco rubio opened The Soul Bar in 1995 and Sky City in 2008 with the intent to help revitalize downtown Augusta and to make it the entertainment center of the CSRA. When he is not working downtown, he likes to stay home and hang out with his daughter Maya, his wife Holly and their dog Pearl.

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Cooking for a Cause

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CMFA’s Chilly Chili Cook-off

For $50, entrants may participate in both the Kitchen Sink category and a special competition sanctioned by the Chili Appreciation Society International. Contestants in this category must prepare their chili on-site and may not use beans in their chili. CASI competitors may join in the fun of serving chili to visitors but should also provide a small sample for the judges to taste.

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hampions Made From Adversity will present their second annual Chilly Chili Cook-off, Dec. 8 at Evans Towne Center, featuring musical guests, wheelchair basketball and rugby demonstrations, and lots of beer and chili.

“It’s so easy to enter the CASI competition and cook with the big boys, and even though it’s a little intimidating to cook with people who have traveled around the world and are proud of all their trophies,” said Snover. “It’s a very friendly competition and it’s not like their very secretive or unwelcoming.”

This is CMFA’s only fundraiser of the year, which provides money to help people with disabilities participate in sporting events and in many cases get their life back in order after experiencing traumatic injuries.

Last year’s competition included a variety of different types of chili including one competitor who made vegetarian chili and another who added Mexican chorizo sausage to the pot. Last year’s Kitchen Sink winner, Verge, included both peanut butter and venison in their pot. Organizers were so impressed with all of last year’s competitors that they hope to see even more this year.

“Our mission is to advance the lives of people with disabilities and their families through sports programming, which is free to all of our participants,” said Chairman Jeff Snover. “What we find is that while some people are born with disabilities and others acquire them, through physical activities like the ones we provide they can help each other learn life skills and grow in confidence. We’re not looking to make athletes, although many of our participants have gone on to become competitive athletes, but our focus is on helping them to become part of a community.” “Some people who become disabled think that their life is over, but through the kinds of programs that CMFA provides they learn that they can still play basketball, they can go hunting or perform in the Olympics, and they can still be part of a team that supports them,” said office manager Kelly Garcia. “We even have a once a year adaptive water-skiing clinic they can participate in. We like to say that they can do the same sport a different way.” A lot of specialized equipment is involved in these programs, which is why CMFA seeks grants and the cooperation of sponsors to offset their costs. According to Snover, sponsors have already underwritten this year’s Chilly Chili Cook-off so that they’re in the black before the event and can take advantage of the proceeds. Last year’s event raked in $15,000, but they’re hoping to make $20,000 this year. “Last year we held our cook-off at the Commons, but this year we moved it to Evans Towne center because it cost less money for us to do it there, and because we have people coming to the event from all over the CSRA and it was about even which site they preferred,” said Garcia. “Our presenting sponsor, Fairway Ford, is just up the road and they were very happy to have us at a nearby location.”

“At this point we’re ahead of where we were last year and there are going to be a lot more people cooking on site,” said Garcia. “We’re still accepting sign ups on the web site and up until the day of the competition, as long as there is space available. I think a lot of people came out last year to check the layout and now that they see how easy it is they’re eager to join in the fun.”

“Last year it was a first year event and we were still learning, so we went in about five different directions and found that the people who sold arts and crafts aside from making chili really didn’t do too well,” said Snover. “This year we’re scaling it back and keeping it just for people who want to come out and drink beer and eat chili.” Last year’s cook-off hosted 30 people cooking and giving away chili, which mostly included people participating in the Kitchen Sink category. This basic category costs $25 and requires entrants to provide four gallons of chili that can be prepared on or off site and can include any variety of ingredients. “Four gallons seems like a lot, but you’d be surprised how fast it goes,” said Snover. “Last year I prepared three gallons of chili myself, we opened at 11:00, and within two hours it was completely gone even though we were only giving it away in little two-ounce cups.”

CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR IN AUGUSTA

December 1: The day’s schedule of events is as follows: 10:00 a.m. - Holiday Market at the Augusta Common 2:00 p.m. - The Miss Augusta Christmas Fantasy Parade 4:00 p.m. - Family Fun at the Augusta Common 5:55 p.m. - Mayor Copenhaver will “throw the lights” lighting up Downtown Augusta 6:30 p.m. - Lighted Boat Parade on the Savannah at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater These events are free and sure to delight adults and children of all ages. The beautifully decorated 40-foot blue spruce Christmas tree in the Common and the sparkling lighted pole decorations along Broad Street will surely add warmth to this 2012 holiday season. Take this opportunity to get downtown and enjoy Augusta has to offer. See you downtown!

This year’s event will also feature musical guests Sibling String, Daddy Grace and The Hollers. There will be an auction with prizes donated by Academy Sports and several other vendors, a free throw contest, and wheelchair basketball and rugby demonstrations. “The majority of our athletes do enjoy getting out and being at a big community event like this,” said Snover. “Those who have recently acquired a disability are new to the stares they might get from people who aren’t used to seeing wheelchairs, but community re-integration is just another part of the rehabilitation process that we try to help with.” General admissions costs $5, but children 12 and under are free. For more information, call 706.364.2422 or visit cmfa.us.

By Christopher Selmek

Downtown Aiken Comes Alive for the Holidays

Downtown Aiken will hold its annual Christmas tree lighting on Friday, November 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Laurens Street and Richland Avenue. Special guests, Santa and Mrs. Claus will make an appearance, and guests will enjoy music, caroling, candle lighting and refreshments. The event is free, and all ages are welcome. After the tree and downtown decorations are lit, the holiday spirit will be alive in Aiken. On Saturday, December 1, from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., the 42nd annual Christmas Craft Show will be held at the H. Odell Weeks Activities Center. The show will feature exhibitors from all over the Southeast, and crafts including wood furniture, paintings, jewelry and holiday ornaments will be available for purchase. Admission and parking for this event are also free. Get out with the family and enjoy downtown Aiken this holiday season.

NOVEMBER 21 _ VERGELIVE.com / 21


behind the curtain

vibe

‘TIS THE SEASON’ T

is the season…when you have more theater options than should even be allowed. Everyone has their traditions this time of year. Perhaps it’s heading out to the Christmas tree farm and picking that perfect specimen which will drop needles in your carpet for the next month. Or maybe it’s touring all the local department stores to figure out which one has the least creepy Santa. But let me tell you about two things that may not be part of your tradition, but should be. The first happens over Thanksgiving weekend and has been ringing in the holidays for decades in Augusta. It’s Dance Augusta’s presentation of the Nutcracker. I’m going to be honest, even as an artist, I struggled the first time I got tickets to the ballet. I need words to help me get into a story -- or so I thought. The Nutcracker was magical from start to finish. From a giant rat with a sword to little girls climbing out from under the biggest woman’s dress you’ve ever seen, this Christmas classic will instantly put you in the mood for the toy soldiers and snowflakes that dominate the decorations in every store. And for those who, like me, thought the ballet might be a daunting task to sit through, I promise you know much more of the music than you think you do. The other tradition is a bit newer, but just as packed with magic, and that’s the Augusta Players’ presentation of A Christmas Carol. This will be the fifth year that the company has produced the musical version of this story, and it’s very similar to the one starring Kelsey Grammar and Jane Krakoski that NBC debuted a few years back. I’ve heard people say they don’t want to see the same thing every year. I think that’s a bunch of hogwash, otherwise the Grinch and Rudolph wouldn’t be played into oblivion. I’ve been in the production three times, I can sing every word, and there’s still something extraordinary about when the curtain goes up on that street in London, with a sign “Scrooge and Marley” painted above one of the doors. And I have to shout out to one of my great friends, Michael Hamilton, who once again plays everyone’s favorite miser in this musical telling. He’s back for his fifth time playing the Christmas character who is second only to Santa Claus, and his performance somehow gets better each year. Though you’ll despise his very being at the start of the show, he (along with a precious choir of angels) will have you in tears by the end. And very much in the Christmas spirit. So along with some turkey this Thanksgiving, grab some tickets to two classic performances. I may have just given you the best gift you’ll get this year. wes hennings has been in the performing arts since he could walk, and since moving to Augusta has been in dozens of productions with companies such as The Augusta Players, Fort Gordon Dinner Theater, Enopion Theater Company and the Augusta Opera, both on stage and behind the scenes. By day, Wes is a technical director and media producer. Questions? Story Ideas? wes.verge@gmail.com

22 / VERGELIVE.com _ NOVEMBER 21


The 12 Bands of Christmas

December 8th downtown AUgusta

T

he 12 Bands of Christmas released their ninth annual Christmas album in mid-November, which will soon be coming to stores throughout Augusta so that they can give pediatric cancer patients the gift of music while giving their families immediate financial assistance. All money raised by sale of the CDs goes to help families with children actively being treated for cancer at Georgia Health Science University’s Children’s Hospital, as well as all money raised by the concert Dec. 8 at the Augusta Common from noon to 8 p.m. “This is the first time we’ve done it outdoors as a festival, which opens it up to more people than when it was inside the Imperial,” said Joe Stevenson, executive director. “We’re going to have vendors, and Santa Claus will be there. It’s an all-day family-friendly event and I like the idea that families can bring their kids out for a little while and it doesn’t interfere with any other holiday parties or plans they may have.” According to Stevenson, while more people are becoming familiar with the annual album and concert, few people realize that they are a non-profit organization that helps local families year round. Since they started, the 12 Bands of Christmas has donated over $250,000 to families in need, including $7,000 since this June. “Our board decided that we want to focus on the family, and two of our board members have kids who have been treated at the pediatric ward, and that has really helped our direction,” he said. “Once a month we go and play music

for the kids. I do a lot of playing myself, but the age range is anywhere from infants to 16 years olds so it’s tricky sometimes gauging what types of songs to play. A 16 year old gets bored pretty quickly with the ABC song.” “None of the bands, or anybody really, truly understands the healing power of music until they get to go up to the ward to perform and experience it for themselves,” he continued. “I think some of the parents get more out of it than their children because they’re in such an uncertain situation that it’s good to have just one thing go right for them when they get a free show.” This year’s album includes original songs recorded by some of Augusta’s hottest bands, including Funk You’s “Hit the Stocking First” and the Ramblin’ Fevers’ “Noel”. Stevenson wrote three of them himself, Jeremy Graham Band’s “Christmas Dinner Noel”, Impulse Ride’s “Sunshine Christmas” and his own band, People Who Must, performing “Christmas Rewind.” Another group, Black Swan Lake, is currently very popular in Europe and has already contributed to orders for the album coming in from the United Kingdom because of their contribution, “It’s Christmas All the Time.” “We start putting it together in May when we ask bands if they want to be on the CD,” he said. “Christmas songs are hard to come by at that time of year, but sometimes they have an idea for something they want to perform, or sometimes I’ll show them some songs I’ve written and see if they’re interested in one of them. All are original songs this year except for JAMP, which is the James Brown Academy of Music Performers, and they did a James Brown song appropriately enough. Their a really talented group of kids led by James Brown’s daughter, Deanna Brown Thomas, and we were really happy to get them in the studio this year.”

City of Harlem 2012 Christmas Events

The City of Harlem announced the schedule of events for the 2012 Christmas season. The celebration for the holiday season will begin on Thursday, December 6 with the Christmas tree lighting at Harlem City Hall. Choirs from local schools will perform, and kids will get to visit with Santa Claus. On Saturday, December 8, downtown will come alive with the “Christmas in the Heart of Downtown Harlem” festival. Food and craft vendors will be on hand. The festival will be held from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., with a parade at 11:00 a.m. Parade entries will include festive floats, classic cars and marching bands. The deadline for festival and parade entries is November 28. Applications are available at Harlem City Hall or on the City’s website, harlemga.org, under the “events” tab. For more information call Harlem City Hall at 706.556.0043.

vibe

“Jeremy Graham and Mason Jars are two bands I’ve wanted to be part of 12 bands for the last couple years, but there were scheduling conflicts and it just didn’t work out, so I was really happy to be able to get them this year,” he continued. “Being one of our bands is a big commitment not just because you have to write and record a song but you also have to be available to play at our concert.” The 12 Bands of Christmas concert will set up on the Common Dec 8 and costs $10 for general admission or $30 for a VIP ticket that includes food, drinks and heaters in the catered VIP section. Regular attendees will be able to take advantage of multiple food vendors as well as the opportunity to meet some of the bands. “It’s a pretty open festival, and security isn’t crazy like you can’t go past a certain area,” said Stevenson. “The bands usually invite their family and friends and they like to go out and mingle with the crowd after their set is over, then they can enjoy the day with everybody else.” More than anything, Stevenson hopes that he and the many people who came together to help create this album can help get people into the Christmas spirit. “Too many times on past CDs I’ve gotten songs that only mention the word Christmas one time, but I made it clear to all my artists that I wanted these all to be songs that people could listen to while they’re decorating the tree,” he said. “My job is a really weird thing because Christmas is in my vocabulary all year, and I write Christmas songs all year, but I never get tired of it. I’ve got kids of my own, one is about to turn three, and he’s really into it now. It seems like Christmas comes earlier every year, and I think that’s just fine. Let’s celebrate Christmas all the time.” For more information, visit 12bands.org By Christopher Selmek

Festive Events Planned for City of North Augusta

On November 27 the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony will take place in Calhoun Park in front of Lookaway Hall. The ceremony will begin with bands and carolers at 5:00 p.m., and at 6:00 p.m. Mayor Lark Jones will push the button to light the Christmas tree. Following the tree lighting, festivities will continue with a chili cook-off, popcorn, hotdog and hot cocoa carts, and marshmallow roasting at the courtyard fire pit, sponsored by the North Augusta Lions Club. Another holiday event is taking place at the North Augusta Living History Park. Christmas in the Backcountry will be held on Saturday, November 24 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Santa Claus, dressed in Victorian coat and cap will be available for visitors and photos by parents, and Kessie, the Colonial Slave, will share stories and songs of life during the colonial area. For more information visit colonialtimes.us.

NOVEMBER 21 _ VERGELIVE.com / 23


featured events

vibe

MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER CHRISTMAS E

xperience the Magic! Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis is coming to Augusta. The tour, now in its 27th year, is still met by sold-out audiences and was one of the top 20 concert tours in the nation last year. This year Mannheim Steamroller’s two touring ensembles will hold over 90 performances throughout the United States. Grammy Award winner Davis will direct and co-produce the performances with MagicSpace Entertainment, one of the top ten promoters in North America for tours, Broadway shows and concerts. The shows will feature the favorite Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller along with state-of-the-art multimedia effects in an intimate setting. The spirit of the season comes alive with the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller. Don’t miss this ultimate holiday tradition from the number one Christmas music artist in history. Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, part of Taylor BMW Broadway in Augusta 20122013 season, will be at Bell Auditorium on November 29 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets range from $55 to $65 and can be purchased by calling 877-4AUGTIX or online at augustaentertainmentcomplex.com. by Jennifer Pruett

+ THURSDAY

11.22 ARTS CORKS & CANVAS

A painting class for experienced and firsttime painters. Materials provided. Each Tuesday and Thursday, through Dec. 6. Call to pre-register. The Psalmist’s Studio; 7 p.m.; $25 to $30; 201 Valdes Dr.; 706.868.0990

+FRIDAY

11.23 + SATURDAY

11.24

Celia will perform live at two release shows, an early show from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and a late show from 10 p.m. to midnight. The $8 price of admission includes the live performance plus a free copy of “Harmony” EP. Tickets may be purchased at madstudiosaugusta.com.

SPORTS TURKEY TROT 10K RACE Dress in 80s attire to

Celia is also working on creating a music video for her first recorded song, ‘This Time Again’, which she expects to release m i d - N o v e m b e r. At the same time, she is designing merchandise, writing new songs and looking for new opportunities to perform in Augusta, Aiken, Evans and throughout the CSRA. For more information, visit celiasmusic.com. by CHRISTOPHER SELMEK

+ THURSDAY

11.29 FESTIVAL CLASSIC CAR CRUISE-IN Hosted by

GasCar and sponsored by C&C Automotive. Proceeds benefit Veterans Fisher House. Sno-Cap Drive-In; 4 p.m.; free; 618 West Ave., North Augusta; 803.279.4004

win prizes. Proceeds benefit the local Salvation Army. One-mile fun run begins at 9 a.m.; $10. Downtown Augusta; 10 a.m.; $35 to $45; 5th and Telfair Sts.;

STRICTLYRUNNING.COM THEATRE “MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET” Aiken

Community Playhouse; 8 p.m. Additional shows 11/30, 12/1, 12/2, 12/7 and 12/8 at 8 p.m.; $10 to $25; 126 Newberry St., Aiken; 803.648.1438

CONCERT A MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER CHRISTMAS

SNOCAPDRIVEIN.COM

Bell Auditorium; 7:30 p.m.; $55 to $65; 712 Telfair St.;

SPORTS AUGUSTA RIVERHAWKS VS. KNOXVILLE ICE BEARS

SPORTS AUGUSTA RIVERHAWKS vs.

James Brown Arena; 7:35 p.m.; $10 to $21; 601 Seventh St.; 706.993.2645

+ SUNDAY

877.4AUGTIX

Fayetteville FireAntz. James Brown Arena; 7:35 p.m.; $10 to $21; 601 Seventh St.; 877.4AUGTIX

+ FRIDAY

11.25 11.30

CONCERT MASTERWORKS III The annual Handel’s

MESSIAH Sing-In performance. West Acres Baptist Church; 6 p.m.; free; 555 Gibbs Rd., Evans; 706.755.5849

COLUMBIACCO.ORG

SPORTS JINGLE JAM 10K EXPO Savannah Rapids

Pavilion; 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.; $40; 3300 Evans to Locks Rd.

JINGLEJAM10K.COM

ARTS THE NUTCRACKER

IMPERIALTHEATRE.COM

elia Gary will release her debut EP “Harmony” at M.A.D Studios, 307.5 11th Street, on Nov. 30.

24 / VERGELIVE.com _ NOVEMBER 21

The Daily Planner is our selective guide to what is going on in the city during the next two weeks. IF YOU WANT TO BE LISTED: Submit information by email (events@vergelive. com) or by mail (Verge, P.O. Box 38, Augusta, GA 30903). Details of the event - date, time, venue address, telephone number and admission price - should be included. Listings included are accurate at press time, check with specific venues for further details.

Presented by Dance Augusta. Imperial Theatre; 7 p.m. Additional shows 11/24 and 11/25 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.; $17 to $40; 745 Broad St.; 706.722.8341

Female artists to present M.A.D. releases

C

daily planner

+ MONDAY

11.26

THEATRE THE NUTCRACKER

Columbia County Ballet; Imperial Theatre; 7 p.m.; $15 to $29; 745 Broad St.; 706.722.8341

IMPERIALTHEATRE.COM

THEATRE COLORFUL CONVERSATIONS Paine

College Department of Media Studies in partnership with Blue Bistro Theater. Varying perspectives of African American relationships. Paine College’s Odeum Music Room, located in the Gilbert Lambeth Memorial Chapel; 2 p.m.; $3 to $5; 1235 15th St. PAINE.EDU

+ TUESDAY

11.27

FESTIVAL LIGHTING OF THE NORTH AUGUSTA CHRISTMAS TREE Includes

a chili cook-off, food vendors, musicians, local artwork and an inflatable for the kids; Rain date Nov. 29. Calhoun Park & Lookaway Hall; 5 p.m.; free; 103 W. Forest Ave., North Augusta; 803.441.4311

FESTIVAL CHRISTMAS CRAFT SHOW Vendors

display handmade, holiday treasures, available for purchase. Event ends daily at 6 p.m. Odell Weeks Center; 9 a.m.; free; 1700 Whiskey Rd., Aiken; 803.642.7631

THEATRE “HARVEY” A play by Mary Chase. Fort

Gordon Dinner Theatre; 6:30 p.m.; $25 to $40; 32100 Third Ave.; 706.703.8552

FORTGORDON.COM


daily planner + SATURDAY

12.1

SPORTS JINGLE JAM 10K RACE Benefiting SafeHomes,

Inc. Evans Towne Center Park; 8 a.m.; $40; 7016 Evans Towne Center Blvd.

JINGLEJAM10K.COM

FOR KIDS BRUNCH WITH SANTA Jack & Jill of

America, Inc., with the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History. Ends at noon. Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History; free; 1116 Phillips St.; 706.724.3576

Market from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., Miss Augusta Christmas Fantasy Parade at 2 p.m. on Broad St., and a holiday festival from 4 p.m. until the tree lighting at 6 p.m. Augusta Common; 10 a.m.; 936 Reynolds St. THEATRE A NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS Presented

by Augusta West Dance Studio. Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre at ASU; 2 p.m.; $12; 2500 Walton Way; 706.860.0998

12.4

Methodist Church chorale; Etherredge Center at USC Aiken; 4 p.m.; 471 University Pkwy., Aiken; 803.641.3305 USCA.EDU

COLUMBIAGCOUNTY.GOV FESTIVAL LIGHTED BOAT PARADE Jessye Norman

Amphitheater; 6:30 p.m.; free; 9th and Reynolds Sts.

CONCERT WILLIE NELSON

Bell Auditorium; 7:30 p.m.; $37 to $87; 712 Telfair St.; 877-4AUGTIX

trained volunteers lead free, 2.5-mile, 1.5 hour hikes through the Nature Park every month. Phinizy Swamp; 9:30 a.m.; free; 1858 Lock & Dam Rd.; 706.828.2109

ART DECK THE HALLS

A Gallery on the Row Christmas open house. Be prepared to deck the halls after our Christmas Open House. Ends at 5 p.m. Gallery on the Row; 10:30 a.m.; free; 1016 Broad St.; 706.724.4989

Tickets at Jim Bush Flower Shop, CommuniGraphics or Parks Pharmacy. Ends at 9:30 p.m. Also 12/8 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Greater North Augusta Area; $20 to $25; 5:30 p.m.

AUGUSTAARTS.COM

Accidentals, The Roger Denning Holiday Concert. Lunch immediately following in the River Room facility. Lunches are $10 per person. St. Paul’s Church; noon; free; 605 Reynolds St.; 706.722.3463

& Heritage Center of North Augusta; 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Also open 12/8 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; free; 100 Georgia Ave.; 803.441.4380

Columbia County Orchestra Association Music and Executive Director, Rob Nordan; Use promotional code “bigband” and save $5. Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center; 7:30 p.m.; $20 to $25; 706.726.0366

TUESDAYSMUSICLIVE.COM

+ WEDNESDAY

12.5

blend of fiddle, jazz and classical influences fused with soaring, folk inspired vocals. Burke County High School; 7:30 p.m.; $5 to $15; 1057 Burke Veteran’s Pkwy., Waynesboro; 706.437.0070

THEATRE SCHRODINGER’S CAT PLAYS EXTREME THEATRE GAMES Le Chat

Noir; 8 p.m.; $8 to $10; 304 8th St.; 706.722.3322

+ SATURDAY

CONCERT FROM BACH TO BROADWAY The Columbia

County Choral Society; First Baptist Church of Evans; 7:30 p.m.; $15; 515 North Bel Air Rd.; 762.233.7793

CCCHORALSOCIETY.ORG

ART FIRST FRIDAY ON THE ROW Violinist Dr. Angela

Morgan on the violin; Peruse the artwork at the December First Friday event at Gallery on the Row. Meet the artists, enjoy wine and refreshments. Gallery on the Row; 5 p.m.; free; 1016 Broad St.; 706.724.4989

GALLERYONTHEROW.COM

PORTRAITS OF SOUTHERN ARTISTS Artist Jerry Siegel;

Morris Museum’s Coggins Gallery; Runs through Dec. 2. Morris Museum of Art; 1 Tenth St.; 706.724.7501

12.8

ART OF JOHN PENDARVIS

Jeremy Graham Band, People Who Must, Mason Jars, Black Swan Lane, Ramblin’ Fevers, Folly, Tara Scheyer and the Mud Puppy Band, Impulse Ride, J.A.M.P., Granny’s Gin, Funk You and Jesup Dolly. All proceeds support Pediatric Cancer Patients and their families in our area. Augusta Common; noon – 8 p.m.; $10 (children 12 and under, free); 936 Reynolds St.

28. Sacred Heart Cultural Center; 5 p.m.; free; 1301 Greene St.; 706.826.4700

CONCERT 12 BANDS OF CHRISTMAS MUSIC FESTIVAL

FACEBOOK.COM/12BANDS

ARTS HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE & ARTISANS MARKET Arts

CONCERT AUGUSTA AMUSEMENTS BIG BAND

CONCERT CHRISTMAS WITH ANNIE MOSES A

OUTDOORS SWAMP SATURDAY The Academy’s

FESTIVAL NORTH AUGUSTA CHRISTMAS TOUR OF HOMES

Downtown Augusta; 5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.; free; Broad Street from 5th to 13th Sts.; 706.826.4702

CONCERT TUESDAY MUSIC LIVE Presenting UGA

Center Park; 5 p.m.; free; 7016 Evans Town Center Blvd.

12.7

FESITVAL FIRST FRIDAY

AUGUSTAWESTDANCE.COM

FESTIVAL CHRISTMAS IN AMERICA TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY Evans Towne

+ FRIDAY

+TUESDAY

CONCERT MASTERWORKS CHORALE The St. John’s

FESTIVAL CHRISTMAS LIGHTUP SPECTACULAR Holiday

november 22 - december 8 2012

Ends Dec. 15. Candler Memorial Building at Paine College; 706.821.8200 MORRIS, WEIGLE AND AVRETT EXHIBIT Ends Dec.

DOLL EXHIBITION Ends

Dec. 31. Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History; $2 to $5; 1116 Phillips St.; 706.724.3576

REFECTIONS ON WATER IN AMERICAN PAINTING Ends

Feb. 10. Morris Museum of Art; $3 to $5; 1 10th St.; 706.724.7501

AUGUSTAPLAYERS.ORG

GOOD CAUSE ART AUCTION & WINE TASTING Bid on some

fantastic items, including two limited-edition Chagall lithographs. Auction begins at 7:30 p.m. RSVP by Dec. 3. Augusta Jewish Community Center; 6 p.m.; $25; 898 Weinberger Way, Evans; 706.228.3636 AUGUSTAJCC.ORG

+ ONGOING

WEEKLY HISTORY HOLIDAY TOURS OF THE BOYHOOD HOME OF PRESIDENT WOODROW WILSON Tuesdays –

Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wilson Boyhood Home; $3 to $5; 419 7th St.; 706.724.0436

WILSONBOYHOODHOME.ORG HISTORY HOLIDAY GINGERBREAD VILLAGE EXHIBIT Augusta Museum

of History; $2 to $4; 560 Reynolds St.; 706.722.8454 AUGUSTAMUSEUM.ORG

ART EXHIBITS AN LAURYN SPROUSE + STEPHANIE FORBES EXHIBIT

THEATRE CALL FOR QUICKIES SCRIPTS Le Chat

Noir; Writers may include one-act plays of up to a half hour or short plays between 5 and 15 minutes. Adult themes and content permitted. Deadline Dec. 31.

+ SUNDAYS

Ends Dec. 31. Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History; $2 to $5; 1116 Phillips St.; 706.724.3576

Presented by Augusta Players; Imperial Theatre; 8 p.m.; $20 to $43; 745 Broad St.; 706.722.8341

Individuals, schools, civic groups and churches to participate in this event on Saturday, Dec. 1. Motorized boats only, please. Augusta Riverfront Marina; 6:30 p.m.; $25; 803.279.2323

INFO@LCNAUGUSTA.ORG ART Sunday Sketch The

ANNUAL QUILT EXHIBITION

THEATRE “A CHRISTMAS CAROL, THE MUSICAL”

COMMUNITY REGISTER FOR THE LIGHTED BOAT PARADE

WEEKLY

Morris Museum of Art; materials supplied by the museum; 2 p.m.; free; 1 10th St.; 706.724.7501

THEMORRIS.ORG LITERARY CREATIVE WRITING

+ THURSDAYS

WEEKLY GROUP Geared toward

fiction writers interested in improving their craft. Columbia County Library; 10 a.m.; free; 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans; 706.447.8184 ECGRL.ORG

+ SATURDAYS

IMAGES OF SOUTH CAROLINA | BLOCK PRINTS Edna Reed

Whaley; Opens Dec. 4. Morris Museum of Art; $3 to $5; 1 10th St.; 706.724.7501

SHADOWS OF HISTORY | PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE CIVIL WAR Julia J. Norrell; Opens

Dec. 8. Morris Museum of Art; $3 to $5; 1 10th St.; 706.724.7501

GOOD CAUSE FESTIVAL OF TREES Nov. 27 to Dec. 8;

view the museum and bid on decorated trees. Auction on Dec. 8. Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History; 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; 1116 Phillips St.; 706.724.3576

HISTORY HOLIDAY GINGERBREAD VILLAGE EXHIBIT Ten local bakers

will create gingerbread creations of historic structures of the CSRA. Ends Nov. Augusta Museum of History; $2 to $4; 560 Reynolds St.; 706.722.8454

WEEKLY

FESTIVAL AUGUSTA MARKET AT THE RIVER Local farmers,

crafters, artists and other vendors. Eighth Street Bulkhead; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; free; Corner of Eighth and Reynolds Sts.; 706.627.0128 THEAUGUSTAMARKET.COM

HISTORY AIKEN HISTORIC TOUR Two-hour guided tour

aboard a climate-controlled trolley. Reservations highly recommended. Aiken Visitors Center & Train Museum; 10 a.m.; 406 Park Ave. SE, Aiken; 803.642.7631 aikenrailroaddepot.com

+ FOR MORE EVENTS

PLEASE GO TO WWW.VERGELIVE.COM FOR COMPLEAT LOCAL EVENT LISTINGS

AUGUSTAMUSEUM.ORG

Gaartdensity Art Gallery; free; 1155 Broad St.

NOVEMBER 21 _ VERGELIVE.com / 25


26 / VERGELIVE.com _ NOVEMBER 21


Healthy Eating Oatmeal, Anyone?

Buzz Bits

/ PG 27

Openings and Closings

/ PG 29

Feeding the Family

Local Italian Style See below for story

V

iva Italy! The quaint restaurant with the red and white canopy nestled in beautiful Jackson Square in downtown North Augusta was a warm welcome for this family who sets out enjoy great meals on a modest budget. Italian is unquestionably our favorite cuisine, so we were thrilled about family date night at Antonio’s Italian Eatery. Antonio’s is a gem – a small, locally-owned restaurant serving pizza, pasta, Stromboli, calzones, sandwiches, salads and homemade desserts – yep, I said homemade desserts. Antonio’s opened just over the 13th Street Bridge at Jackson Square in North Augusta late 2010. Open for both lunch and dinner daily, it’s convenient to downtown North Augusta working professionals, and it’s just minutes from downtown Augusta. Looking at the menu, it seemed that Antonio’s could cater to any budget. They offer “Slice Specials,” including drinks and salad option, ranging from $4.99 to $6.29. The menu is robust enough, however, offering so much more than pizza, that there’s something for everyone.

We went for dinner and ordered a nice sampling from the extensive menu. Passed around the table were Chicken Parmigiana, Fettuccini Alfredo, Stromboli, White Pizza and Greek Salad. The Chicken Parmigiana was my hands-down favorite. This freshly breaded chicken breast with parmesan cheese topped with homemade marinara sauce and topped with mozzarella cheese and served with spaghetti marinara was flawlessly prepared and presented. The chicken was tender and the breading just right. The marinara sauce was perfectly robust, seasoned with tomatoes, onions, garlic and spices. It was not too spicy, nor too mild. The White Pizza – garlic, olive oil, spinach and tomatoes -- held a close second. It was a ... continued on page 29

NOVEMBER 21 _ VERGELIVE.com / 27


28 / VERGELIVE.com _ NOVEMBER 21


food bites - kick it!

vittles

Tis the season for… oatmeal?!?!

O

nce we sowed wild oats, now we cook them in the microwave” ~anonymous Mention oatmeal in front of a group of people and generally it will illicit a mixed response of funny faces and smiles. What is funny though is how oats, traditionally an important part of some livestock feed, not only seem to disappear from our diets as we get older but over the years have fallen far behind other grains such as wheat and barley overall. Also funny is how adults continue to seek the perfect morning boost through caffeine and sugar when as kids oatmeal, despite being the perfect blood-glucose stabilizer, played the part of the perfect daily kick start -- plus it warmed up the belly nice in the cold months. Since oatmeal’s heyday in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s it can probably be said that most Americans look to oatmeal more as a cookie or snack bar ingredient than they do as a hot breakfast bowl item. While not a terrible thing, oatmeal continues to be most effective when used in a more natural state, helping achieve even lower levers of cholesterol than as a cookie or snack bar. Plus, raisin haters can still enjoy the benefits without making funny faces at the dried up fruity bits. Now being aware that many people don’t have a ton of time to make breakfast in the morning, I’ve not only dug up a great “from scratch” recipe but also spent a few mornings playing guinea pig to some instant oatmeal experiments which I’ve narrowed down to one full of protein and power. article by John “Stoney” Cannon

Power Pronto Oatmeal INGREDIENTS: - 1 pack instant plain oatmeal - 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter - 1/2 tablespoon Splenda brown sugar blend - Water (amount based on thickness preference) Directions Boil water. While waiting place remaining ingredients in serving bowl. Add boiling water and mix. Eat. It’s that simple. Now you not only start the day warm and energized but also happy, knowing that you’ve only consumed a couple hundred calories, less than ten grams of fat, a low amount of good carbs and some solid protein. And it was quick! So now…for the serious oatmeal peeps… Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal INGREDIENTS: - ½ cup old-fashioned oats - ½ cup of skim milk - 1 sliced ripe banana - 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon - ¼ cup canned and pureed pumpkin - ¼ teaspoon ground cloves - ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg - ½ cup frozen blueberries (optional) Directions Cook oats, milk, banana, and cinnamon in pot over medium-high heat stirring regularly until thick and bubbling. Lower temperature to medium and stir in blueberries, pumpkin, cloves and nutmeg. While a little more time consuming (not much really) and a little higher in fat and calories, this recipe is still a great tasty meal to start the day. With a little imagination anyone can turn oatmeal into their own personal morning meal with just some generic instant oats

feeding the family

vittles

... continued from page 27

Antonio’s Italian Eatery

nice alternative to the tomato-based, meat-topped pizza that we’re accustomed to. The crust was a perfect balance of bready and crispy, with just a hint of salt, and the toppings were fresh, light and delicious. The Fettuccini Alfredo, despite being a bit heavy, had great flavor. The sauce was rich and nicely seasoned with just the right amount of garlic. However, it seemed a little heavy on the cheese. I know some might question that statement – can there ever be too much cheese? Well, this made the dish almost too rich to have more than a couple of bites. Of the dishes on the table, it was the only one with leftovers. The Stromboli and Greek salad were sure hits as well. The salad had fresh ingredients and lots of feta, and the oil and vinegar dressing was delicious. One of the kids ordered a house salad (with ranch dressing, of course), and I had to sneak a bite. You see, I am a professed salad dressing snob -- anything that comes from a bottle just isn’t for me. A sure way for a restaurant to have me as a repeat diner is to offer homemade salad dressings. It is such a small thing, but it makes a huge difference. We didn’t really save room for dessert on this outing, so Rob and I snuck a piece of peanut butter pie to go and shared it after the kids went to bed. Mean, I know, but parents just have that right. The pie was outstanding – there’s just not much better than homemade peanut butter pie enjoyed by the fireplace in the comforts of your own living room! The atmosphere at Antonio’s is quaint and family friendly. The décor is simple, and the staff is helpful and attentive. The restaurant has that locally-owned, small-town feel. Several people came in and ordered “their usual” while we were there. Everyone was greeted with a smile and left with full bellies.

FOOD QUALITY SERVICE ENVIRONMENT

We came in right on budget this trip. Our bill was $51, and it was worth every dime. Antonio’s has certainly not seen the last of the Panini family. The menu is varied and extensive offering something for everyone. article by Sally Panini

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the film reel

vittles

now playing on the big screen

F

LIFE OF PI

orget the popcorn -- smuggle a turkey leg into the theater because in the spirit of the season, moviegoers have plenty for which to be thankful. Ang Lee is back in the director’s seat, Bradley Cooper is having an emotional breakthrough and Brad Pitt is playing a tough guy, thereby giving him plenty of opportunities to show off a smoldering glance for the ladies. Aww, yeah. LIFE OF PI is Ang Lee’s first 3D project and much is expected from the Oscar-winning director of Brokeback Mountain and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The film is an adaptation of Yann Martel’s 2001 best-selling novel about an Indian boy named Pi who cohabitates with a ferocious Bengal tiger on a lifeboat after the ship carrying his family and their zoo animals wrecked at sea en route to North America. Newcomer Suraj Sharma plays the title character while an extremely convincing CGI creation comes to life as his fierce companion. Bradley Cooper (The Hangover, The A-Team) shows his vulnerable side in a character-driven comedic drama set in his hometown of Philadelphia. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK finds Cooper’s character, Pat, released from a mental hospital and living with his parents after dishing out a beating to the man he caught having sex with his wife. Pat’s psyche is fragile as he tries to win back his wife with the help of a beautiful new friend, Tiffany, who has her own extensive list of psychological troubles. Pat and Tiffany (played by Jennifer Lawrence in an adult turn for the Winter’s Bone and The Hunger Games actress) are unfiltered and completely unstable and their quirks bring them together under the guidance of writer-director David O. Russell (The Fighter). Robert DeNiro plays Pat’s equally flawed father and comedian Chris Tucker plays his friend in this adaptation of Matthew Quick’s novel. If anyone can make Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny edgy and frankly even a little frightening, it’s executive producer Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth). Writer William Joyce’s (Meet the Robinsons) take on Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman as guardians of children’s imaginations and innocence gets a big screen boost from DreamWorks Animation. In RISE OF THE GUARDIANS, the four mythical characters enlist the help of Jack Frost to protect children from a threat posed by Pitch, a fearsome boogeyman-like character voiced by Jude Law. Other voice talent includes Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher and Chris Pine. One film to be less thankful for, perhaps, is a remake of RED DAWN featuring Chris Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson and other up-and-comers as teens forced to do battle with North Korean soldiers who invade their town. The iconic 1984 original fronted by Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen focused on an invasion by Soviet forces. Some things – like leg warmers and this movie - are better left in the 80s. A limited opener features Anthony Hopkins as legendary director Alfred Hitchcock in a biographical drama set around the production of Psycho. Helen Mirren plays his wife, Alma Reville, and Scarlett Johansson plays starlet Janet Leigh in HITCHCOCK. November 30 brings horror opener THE COLLECTION and KILLING THEM SOFTLY, a drama featuring Brad Pitt as a professional enforcer who confronts thieves who naïvely robbed a poker game run by the mob. Ray Liotta and James Gandolfini also star. by mariah gardner, movie guru

RED DAWN

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  

   

  

  

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education connection

values

Education brought to you by: partners in achievement & the georgia military college System for the last six years, was nominated for the leadership award by Gene Sullivan, director of the CSRA Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA). Sullivan wrote, “I have known Charlie for over thirty years. I know him to be a man of integrity, compassion and vision. Central to all these qualities is his heartfelt conviction for children and their welfare. He is a strong supporter of public education because he knows every child deserves an opportunity to succeed. His positive, knowledgeable, and supportive nature has made him one of CSRA’s most respected superintendents. He possesses and demonstrates the unique ability to model for others the characteristics that define the spirit and essence of this award.”

LOCAL STUDENTS WIN SUBWAY “FRESH START CHALLENGE”

Johnston Elementary fifth grader Connie Stevens celebrates her Fresh Start Challenge award with Coach Betty Edwards, from left, Bella Patel, owner of local Subway restaurants.

Superintendent Charles Nagle Receives Bill Barr Leadership Award

C

harles Nagle, Superintendent of Columbia County Schools, received the Bill Barr Leadership Award at a luncheon held Wednesday, October 17 in conjunction with the Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA) Fall Bootstrap Conference in Athens. Named for the highly-respected executive director of the GSSA, Dr. Bill Barr, this honor is among the most coveted awards in public education in Georgia. Superintendent Nagle, who has served as the leader of the Columbia County School

Tracking their good food and activity choices paid off for two students in the CSRA, who are grand prize winners in the Fresh Start Challenge sponsored by local Subway restaurants. Elizabethann Obata, a kindergarten student at Heritage Academy, and Connie Stevens, a fifth grader at Johnston Elementary School, won the random drawings from local submissions. Jared Fogle, national spokesperson for Subway restaurants, congratulated the winners via video in award ceremonies held at the schools on October 29. The winners received sub parties for their classes, and their schools were presented $1,000 CATCH Fitness Grants through the Jared Foundation to purchase equipment and education resources.

“Thanks to all the students who participated in the Fresh Start Challenge,” said Fogle. “I truly hope the healthy habits you showed for the month will continue the rest of the “The faculty and staff have school year and beyond. At the Jared Foundation, we gone above and beyond to really believe healthier kids lead happier lives.” help me finish my educa-

tion. I love the small class sizes and one on one time with professors.” —Brooke Hillis, Sophomore Communications Major

Start Here.

Go Anywhere.

According to long-time CATCH researcher Steven Kelder, M.P.H., Ph. D., codirector of The University of Texas Center for Healthy Living at Austin, a review of the student submissions shows over a four-week period children reported increasing the number of meals and snacks that included fresh fruits and vegetables and decreasing

screen time by 1.5 hours. “Overall, the initial results from 123 pilot test contestants are encouraging,” stated Dr. Steven Kelder. “Students met the challenge of eating healthier and reducing screen time.”

ASU SEES INCREASE IN PHYSICS MAJORS

The number of students majoring in physics has increased at Augusta State, and university officials are contributing this to the institution’s commitment to strengthening science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. According to Tom Crute, chair of ASU’s Department of Chemistry and Physics, there are more than 134 students enrolled in the physics program this semester. This is almost a 100 student increase since 2006, when there were only 39 majors in the physics program. “Our faculty work hard at helping our students succeed in their studies, and I also believe ASU’s undergraduate research opportunities help boost student interest in STEM areas,” said Crute. Crute said the initial rise in the number of physics majors was seen in 2008 when ASU signed an articulation agreement with Georgia Institute of Technology establishing an engineering transfer program between the two institutions. Although the Savannah campus of Georgia Tech closed in 2011, Tom Colbert, assistant chair of ASU’s Department of Chemistry and Physics, said the number of students completing the preengineering program at ASU continues to rise. “We are seeing more of our upper level physics courses doubling in size, and hopefully we do not see this trend slowing down,” said Colbert. “So we are thankful to have the support of our faculty as well as the entire university.” In addition to the physics research efforts, ASU offers several other STEM opportunities including the Program for Recruiting and Educating STEM Teachers with Integrated Graduate Enrollment (PRESTIGE). PRESTIGE provides a streamlined process for becoming a teacher with certification in a STEM area. It creates an Integrated Master of Arts in Teaching (IMAT) program in partnership with four rural county school districts -- Burke, Jefferson, McDuffie and Warren. For more information, contact Danielle Harris, media relations specialist in ASU’s Office of Public Relations and Publications, at 706.737.1876 or visit aug.edu/public_ relations/. Compiled from Press Releases By Jennifer Pruett

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NOVEMBER 21 _ VERGELIVE.com / 33


buzz bits

vittles

WILLCOX INN GETS MORE HONORS!

T

he 114-year-old stately hotel in Aiken was just voted 22nd best hotel in the South by Conde Naste Magazine, a prestigious travel periodical. This follows TOP 50 “small hotel” awards the Willcox received by different magazines in both 2011 and 2012.

SIGN OF THE TIMES AT AUGUSTA REGIONAL

G

ood move by the folks who run our main airport in South Augusta. They’ve found a way to capitalize on the 100 percent growth in passengers in the last five years to go along with an expanded terminal. Airport Directors contracted with one of the large airport ad companies in the U.S. Departure Media is installing eight large-screen monitors in the remodeled terminal and will begin selling advertising to local companies hoping to connect their message to the 500,000 annual passengers who travel in and out of Augusta Regional. by neil gordon

34 / VERGELIVE.com _ NOVEMBER 21


Here’s To Your Health Medical Milestones

/ PG 35

Faith Story

Rumors of Another World

Life Face First

A Wikipedia Anniversary

/ PG 37

/ PG 39

HONORING OUR VETERANS

see below for story

M

orningside of Evans assisted living community honored their eleven World War II veterans and one Korean War veteran on Nov. 12 with a late Veteran’s Day lunch that included a visit from 12 current soldiers enrolled in the Army Leadership Course at Fort Gordon. The service members, both young and old, dined on fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and sweet potatoes served to them by the Morningside staff while they talked about their past and present service and the things they both had seen on duty. “Everyone in our class tries to come out to help the community because it builds a good relationship between the base and the city,” said Sgt. Adam Wood. “It’s also good for us to be around people who are knowledgeable about things they have been through that we haven’t experienced yet.” Though some of the veterans present at the lunch had been drafted into service during the later part of the war, something today’s Soldiers are grateful is no longer necessary, many others volunteered for service because of patriotism or a simple desire to help their country men.

“I volunteered for the Navy right out of high school,” said former Yeoman Gerard Bongiovanni. “I didn’t want to go into the Army because they were putting everyone in the infantry, and I had an older brother who had joined before me, a captain who flew 67 missions for the 12th Army Air Corps in Corsica, Italy. Since I was a clerk, I was here when the troops were returning home and I stayed here until everyone else was processed, and then I went to Florida to be out-processed. Serving my country was the greatest thing that ever happened to me because I got the G.I. Bill of rights and without that money I never would have been able to go to college.” “My father’s great great, great, great-grandfather was a Lt. Col. In the Revolutionary War, so I think it’s fair to say that within our family is a defensiveness about our nation’s principles, and it may be part of the reason why I chose to work for the department of defense,” said Bill Daugherty, a DoD civilian currently working at Fort Gordon who was visiting his father, Staff Sgt. (ret.) Albert Daugherty. “I brought a book with a list of all the places he had been to, and a picture of him with some of his medals, to help him remember. He’s been living with me for the last ten months but he’s only been at Morningside for about a month, and I’m happy to see he’s fitting in well because he’s a very personable individual and he likes talking to people.” ... continued on page 36

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ALL MINOR AND MAJOR PLUMBING. 24\7 SERVICE.

Center For Primary Care Your Prevention SPecialiStS

veterans day

... continued from page 35

Many of the older veterans asked active soldiers about their service in Iraq and Afghanistan, while the younger soldiers were curious about their elder’s places of duty during World War II, which varied from the Philippians to Key West Florida. “I was in Europe for two and a half years, and got the grand tour of Ireland, England, Scotland, France and Germany, “ said Army Air Corps Capt. (ret) Bob Greenberg. “I was part of the ground crew and we handled every type of airplane that was made in the United States, which were mostly D-17s and B-24s. I enlisted because I would have been drafted otherwise, and I didn’t want to walk so I joined the air corps.” Veterans recalled varied levels of involvement in actual combat operations, but while many had served as clerks or drivers only Ellen Keener, the only female veteran at the luncheon, recalled what it was like to be in France during the Battle of the Bulge. “Women back then were not allowed to get into the army, but I felt bad for the men because they were being drafted left and right and I wanted to do what I could to help so I became a stenographer and was sent over to England,” she said. “Much to my surprise, once we got there they told us we either had to

36 / VERGELIVE.com _ NOVEMBER 21

go home or join the army, so I became a WAC. We were the first separate battalion of women that went overseas.” “During the Battle of the Bulge they put all of us women in a room and locked the door, because they heard the German’s were dressing up like Americans and parachuting in, but fortunately that didn’t happen,” she said. “It was one of the largest and bloodiest battles of the war, and we lost a lot of good men during that fight.” Visiting service members said they appreciated the opportunity to learn about former wars from those who could give them firsthand accounts. “They supported us in the past so it’s our time to support them,” said Staff Sgt. Scott Dayton. “We still have the same overall goal, although the specifics of our missions are quite different, but we can still learn a lot from talking to them.” “After having been deployed several times I would like other people to think about me and treat me respectfully when I retire,” said Staff Sgt. Pierre Farbar. “These veterans have already been through war and need us to remember what they’ve been through, and they deserve the honor and respect we give to them today.”

values

Some of the veterans had difficulty recalling their experiences. Others lamented those who had been at previous Veteran’s Day luncheons but were no longer present. “They’ve had a luncheon every year for the last three years that I’ve been here,” said Paul Dyer, a former Navy fireman 1st class, now 90 years old. “The first year there were a bunch of us, but a lot of them are gone. There’s fewer than a million World War II veterans left nationwide, and soon there won’t be any.” “We’re very appreciative to have hosted the Fort Gordon soldiers, and they’re going to come back and help us build a garden and continue to honor our veterans,” said Kelley Wills, the Morningside activity director responsible for inviting the ALC soldiers. “These men are so special, and as a young 25-year-old there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t sit down with one of them and learn something from them that I didn’t know before. We need to remember the men and women who served and who are still serving, not just on Veterans Day, but every day, and we need to be thankful.” by Christopher Selmek


here’s to your health

values

medical roundup

HERE’S TO YOUR HEALTH IS PRESENTED BY WALKER CHIROPRACTIC AND RIGHT AT HOME. PLEASE REVIEW THEIR ADS BELOW AND UTILIZE THEIR SERVICES

(GA Power) Pictured are (left to right): Ricardo Azziz, Georgia Health Sciences University President; and J. Truitt Eavenson, Vice President for Georgia Power’s East Region.

(Costco) Pictured are (left to right): Waymon Bell, General Manger of the Augusta Costco store; GHS Children’s Medical Center patient Jemia Lewis, 9, of Augusta; Brandon Laughlin, Costco Asst. General Manager; and Teri Perry, V.P. of Adult Patient Care Services at Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center.

TRINITY HOSPITAL CELEBRATES

Georgia Power’s East Region presented a $100 thousand check on behalf of Georgia Power Foundation, Inc. to Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz on November 7. The gift will help fund the construction of the J. Harold Harrison, M.D. Education Commons building.

Under the direction of community, medical and religious leaders, Trinity Hospital of Augusta opened as St. Joseph Hospital in 1952 with only 110 beds. The Catholic hospital quickly grew to more than 231 beds and became known for pioneering many medical firsts, including cochlear hearing implants, stereotactic mammography and a unique treatment program for hip and knee replacements. As the area’s only faith-based hospital, Trinity is an acute-care hospital that offers progressive healthcare through cutting-edge technology. For more than 60 years, the hospital has provided surgical, and inpatient and outpatient services to meet the community’s needs.

Construction of the commons is central to the university’s efforts to address the statewide shortage of physicians and dentists, allowing the Medical College of Georgia to increase its class size from 230 to 300 by 2020; and the College of Dental Medicine to expand its class size from 63 to 100 by 2016.

On November 16, Trinity hosted a 60th Anniversary celebration where the public came together to reflect on and celebrate the hospital’s accomplishments and contributions to the community throughout the past 60 years. Under a big tent on the hospital’s beautiful front lawn, many gathered to enjoy live music and refreshments.

The commons is slated to be a three-story, 172,000-square-foot building with classroom space for the College of Dental Medicine and the Medical College of Georgia and an inter-professional state-of-the-art simulation center.

Another event, Trinity Hospice and Trinity Foundation, Inc.’s sixteenth annual A NIGHT OF REMEMBRANCE, was held on the grounds of Trinity Hospital of Augusta on November 1. This healing tradition is a way to help mourners in our community usher in the holiday season in a life-affirming atmosphere with a short musical service followed by the touching luminary lighting.

AREA BUSINESSES DONATE TO GHSU

In addition, Costco presented a check for more than $12 thousand to the Georgia Health Sciences Children’s Medical Center on October 26. The funds were raised through a six-week Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals campaign. Costco generated the funds by asking members for donations at the registers and by hosting cookouts and other fundraising activities. Costco Wholesale, headquartered in Seattle, has been a national CMN partner since 1988, generating more than $137 million for CMN hospitals. However, since the Augusta store only recently opened, this is the first year the Children’s Medical Center has directly benefitted. The 154-bed Children’s Medical Center is the second largest children’s hospital in the state, providing the highest level of pediatric critical care and neonatal intensive care, as well as a wide range of general and complex health care for children.

The annual A NIGHT OF REMEMBRANCE is a way for Trinity Hospice and Trinity Foundation, Inc. to say “thank you” to the community for allowing them to care for over 12,000 families since the hospice program began in 1978. Last year more than 1,000 people responded to the free luminary lighting which embraces the needs of families across the CSRA.

LOCAL PRACTICES MAKE MOVES

Dr. Tanya Shores DMD has purchased the dental practice of Dr. Martin Comella, Augusta Smiles Dental Center, located at 1210 George C. Wilson Drive Augusta, GA. The center’s new name is Shores Dental Center. This dental practice has been at this location for 15 years, and Dr. Comella is now retiring. Shores Dental Center opened its doors in October, and will serve patients of all ages. In addition to this change of ownership, a longstanding Obstetrics and Gynecology Practice, Summerville Women’s Medical Group, is moving to a new location. Dr. J. Henry Oliver and Dr. Evan C. Bahr are proud to unveil their new office at 2300 Wrightsboro Road, Augusta, GA (at the corner of Wrightsboro Road and Johns Road) on November 26. They have served their patients at their current location, in the Summerville Professional Center Building beside Trinity Hospital for more than 15 years. Summerville Women’s Medical Group was established in 1991. compiled from area press releases by Jennifer Pruett

12/15/12

Summerville Women’s Medical Group’s new location at 2300 Wrightsboro Road

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your faith

values sprawling complexes that make up the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the Johnson Space Center (we know better as Mission Control) in Houston. I am intrigued that the very first words in the Bible are: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Many years later these words were recorded, “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6).

Rumors of Another World R

ecently I started reading a special magazine published by TIME called “New Space Discoveries”. Within its pages were many vividly colorful photos of our universe, planets, and galaxies “far, far, away.” The titles of the articles also grabbed my attention. Here are a few: “Answers in the Asteroids,” “New Eyes on the Universe,” “The Urge to Explore” and “E.T., Are You Calling Us?” Space continues to fascinate me! Yes, I am old enough to remember the day in February 1962 when we marched in to the gym at Hamilton Grade School and sat on the floor while watching a black and white television image of John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth. I’ve since followed the Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle missions throughout the decades. All of these efforts have been designed to explore a very small part of the vastness of creation beyond the third rock from the sun we call home. I’ve owned telescopes, have visited observatories and planetariums and have wandered the

Looking up at the stars on a clear night, especially away from city lights, always does two things to me. 1) It makes me feel very small, and 2) It reminds me of these words: “Heaven is declaring God’s glory; the sky is proclaiming his handiwork. One day gushes the news to the next, and one night informs another what needs to be known. Of course, there’s no speech, no word their voices can’t be heard but their sound extends throughout the world; their words reach the ends of the earth”. I’m astonished some choose to believe that this incredible celestial beauty and complexity (that spans millions of miles and distances of hundreds of light years) “just happened”. It begs the questions: Is my life here really all there is? Am I here just by chance? Are we just to live for a few decades, only to die and quickly be forgotten? In his book “Rumors of another World” author Phillip Yancey talks about three things that helped bring him answers to some of these questions. Approaching the big questions of life from a detached but observant place, these three things particularly got his attention. He found himself thinking deeply about music, in particular classical music. It moved him -- undeniably intricate, layered, and with amazing harmony that touches listeners on an emotional

ab’s sports lessons

Alisha Gray (Washington Co. HS) - Signed to play basketball for the University of North Carolina This summer, while playing for the U.S. National Team, Gray suffered a devastating knee injury that will force her to miss her senior campaign. Even with the injury, she had

38 / VERGELIVE.com _ NOVEMBER 21

STEVE swanson serves as the Station Manager of Family Friendly 88.3 WAFJ. He’s invested 30+ Years in the world of radio and was named the Christian Music Broadcasters Program Director of the year 2009 and 2011. He and his wife Susie make their home in North Augusta.

also an All-State performer last season for the Musketeers. Georgia is annually ranked among the Top 5 golf programs in America.

S

Girls: Kahdijiah Cave (Laney HS) – Signed to play basketball at Baylor University Caves’ signing with Baylor probably turned the most heads of any news on Tuesday. Don’t get me wrong, Cave can play and had plenty of college interest, but Baylor is the premier women’s team in America. They went 40-0 in route to last season’s National title and are currently ranked No. 1. The 6-4 Cave averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds per game last year for Laney.

As you see the wonder of the skies -- the changing colors of the season -- and observe the amazing beauty that surrounds us, what do you see? Could it be that there really is an Almighty, All-powerful God who created everything? The Bible tells His story. It also tells us that this same God knows you and loves you with a matchless, unchanging love. My prayer is that you would join me in marveling at the wonder of creation and also choose to grow in an eternal relationship with the one who made it all!

values

November Signing Period Shows Strength of Area

ince the late 80’s the area has consistently churned out Division I talent in a wide range of sports. From shot putting Olympian Reese Hoffa, to Westside Basketball star Ricky Moore, the CSRA has a list of college standouts that rival any area its size in the entire country. What took place around the area on November 13, was the early signing period for basketball, golf, baseball and just about every sport with the exception of football. Dozens of CSRA athletes signed on the dotted line with the schools of their choice. While we had a large number of kids sign to play at the Division II, Division III, NAIA and Junior College Level (and we will have plenty more that will sign later), it was astounding to see such a large number of area standouts sign scholarships with major programs. In some cases the elite programs in their respective sport. Here are a few signings that stood out to me:

level. Phillip loves to spend time outdoors and found himself pondering the cycle of seasons and the amazing color, variety and beauty of nature. He didn’t believe that it could all design and build itself and operate at such a symbiotic and complex level on its own. The design of nature led him to conclude that there must be a designer! He then observed the wonder of sacrificial and romantic love. He wondered, “Why would people choose to unselfishly elevate another above themselves?” He reasoned that these things couldn’t be ignored or be easily dismissed. After careful personal examination and investigation, Phillip concluded the Bible truly spoke truth – not only about creation but also the personal, relational God behind it.

Alisha Gray, Washington County HS standout

her choice of any college in America. She led WACO to the State title as a sophomore and to the State championship Game last year. Before the injury she was regarded as one of the top 10 players in the nation. She has averaged 29 points per game during the last two seasons for the Golden Hawks. MacKenzie Talbert (Strom Thurmond) – Signed to play golf at Clemson University Talbert has been a star on the Junior Circuit for several years. She won the South Carolina State High School Individual title as a freshman, sophomore and a junior. She has been ranked the No. 1 Junior girls player in the Palmetto State for two years. Other notable Girls Signings Jessica Hoang (North Augusta) Clemson Golf Eunice Yi (Lakeside) Augusta State Golf Greyson Sigg (Richmond Academy) Signed to play Golf at UGA Sigg really burst onto the scene with a win in the 2011 Ga. State Junior Amateur. To prove that win was not a fluke, he finished 2nd in the same event this summer. He was

Taylor Widener (South Aiken) Signed to play baseball at South Carolina The 6’2”, 190 lb. Widener used his right arm and bat to lead South Aiken deep in the AAAA Playoffs and was named the Area’s South Carolina Player of the Year. He has also garnered National recognition from Perfect Game and several other baseball websites. He reaches 92-93 mph on the mound and has a smooth hitting stroke from the left side of the plate. He will play for a recent baseball dynasty in Columbia, SC. Other Notable Boys Signings: Emmanuel Kountakis (Lakeside) Mercer Golf Clint Hardy (Greenbrier) Western Kentucky Baseball And this does not even count all the talented late signees or the incredible sophomore and junior class of athletes in the area. Yes, I think it is safe to say, college scouts will be camped out in the area for years to come.

ashley brown known to listeners as AB, is the Sports Director for Beasley Broadcasting in Augusta. He’s producer of the Austin Rhodes Show and host of CSRA Sports Hour. AB’s quick wit and encyclopedic sports knowledge have made him the leader in sports broadcasting in the CSRA. ab@urdwam.com


love letters

from fran and jack

values

life face first

values

GIRL OUT OF WATER B

y the time Fran and Jack met up at the creek, Fran’s cheeks were flushed pink and Jack’s shirt was tacky against his chest. “What are you doin’?” Jack asked as Fran pulled her lavender dress over her head. “You know Syl will tan your hide if she sees the little princess swimming naked with one of the natives. “I don’t want to play princess today. I want to be a mermaid and mermaids never wear clothes.” The sun was high and the cherry trees provided little shade. It was hard not to jump right in but, Fran daintily slipped one foot, then the other in the cool water. Wading out to her waist, her regal focus was broken by Jack’s cannonball. “Come on girl, mermaids like water!” He swam up behind her, grabbed her long braid and pulled her down. Fran took a deep breath before her face hit the water, then turned around and goosed Jack’s thigh. “Ow!” Jack jumped, and tried swimming backwards to avoid her pinching. Fran burst out above the water, laughing and choking. “Ha! That’s what mermaids do when men fall overboard.” She giggled and dove under again. Fran swam gracefully under the water and felt herself becoming a mermaid. She swam with her legs pressed together and imagined her glistening scales catching the rays that fell into the stream. She pinched him three more times before she came up for air. “Cut it out. I didn’t fall overboard! I’m Captain of the Hispaniola and my ship was purloined by pirates.” Jack scrambled out of the water, and began ascending one of the cherry trees. “Mermaids are supposed to help captains find their lost ships.” Still playing mermaid, she shouted, “Captain, you must be careful. You are a burly sailor and those branches are weak.” “Nonsense, girl! This mighty palm tree will support me all the way to the top. I’ll be able to see which way those damn pirates went.” She heard the first crack before she turned toward the Captain. The mighty palm had deceived Jack and was giving way beneath him. “Captain, hold on. I’ll use my mermaid magic to grow legs and save you.” Fran felt her fin separate into two slender legs as she pushed for the boulder. She marveled for a moment at the feel of the stone beneath her new feet, then dashed toward the palm. “Captain, do not be alarmed. I am going to turn this mighty palm into a harmless cherry tree and you will be able to fall safely.” Fran raised her arms and walked around the palm, chanting. “Mighty palm, strong and tall, become a cherry tree for the Captain’s fall.” After the third revolution, Jack let go, bringing down a shower of cherry blossoms. “Now Captain, you must pay me for the kindness I have shown you,” Fran demanded. Jack replied, “I am thankful mermaid but the dastardly pirates took all of my riches when they sailed off with my ship.” “Then you must kiss me, so I can turn back into a mermaid and help you track the pirates.” Fran, the magical mermaid, watched Jack wade into the water. She swam over to meet him. She made her hands into fists under the water and waited anxiously for the Captain’s kiss to return her to her true form. The Captain touched her cheek and quickly kissed her lips. A second later she slipped under water, felt her legs become one fin and swam away. The mermaid climbed atop the rock and lay back, enjoying the sun’s warmth all around her. “Mermaid! We’re not finished playing. We have to find those dreadful pirates and rescue my ship and crew!” Jack shouted. “Silly Captain, the sun is too high. We’ll have to wait for sundown to catch your pirates unaware.” She lie back against the rock and spread her hair out behind her to dry. Without getting up again, she continued, “Besides, I know where your ship is. All pirates stop at Dead Man’s Cove to drink rum and brag about the captains they’ve outsmarted.” Captain Jack joined her on the rock and lay down. “I’ll gather my strength then get my revenge at sundown,” he said. Before she closed her eyes to nap, Fran, the girl, wondered if Jack would be dreaming of the same thing.

A Wikipedia Anniversary

O

ur anniversary is coming up,” I said in a sing-song voice to my husband Brian. “Yes, I remember.” Brian destroys Hollywood stereotypes by remembering birthdays and anniversaries. I’m sure the reminders on Facebook don’t hurt either. “I’ve been researching our anniversary date online.” I told him. “Can you believe that our wedding isn’t listed as a notable historical event on Wikipedia?” “Shocking.” “I know. You’d think we’d at least get a mention. November 23rd was a slow day, historically speaking. If they tossed our anniversary in it would help round things out.” “What does it list instead?” Brian asked. “St. Clement’s Day.” I said. “Who?” “It says he was the patron saint of blacksmiths.” “They’re those guys who make shoes for horses’ right?” He asked. “Amongst other things like swords and armor.” I told him. I returned to my reading. “It says here that he was martyred.” “Typical,” Brian replied. “Kill a guy for his beliefs then honor him with a title. How did they do it?” “I think the Pope makes people saints.” I answered. “No, I mean how was he martyred.” “Oh,” I replied. “It says here that they tied an anvil to his neck and tossed him into the sea.” We both paused to ponder the symbolism. Brian sniggered. “What?” I snapped. “Nothing,” Brian said with false meekness. He was smirking and his eyes twinkled. He shrugged helplessly. “It’s just that I know how the guys feels is all.” “Very funny.” I replied. “Maybe St. Clement’s Day is the perfect day to be married on.” He continued. “And why is that?” I asked even though I knew where this was going. “Because getting married is a bit like having an anvil tied around your neck.” He erupted in laughter. “Perhaps we should go to the beach for our anniversary. Then I could complete the symbolism and throw you in the ocean.” I retorted. “You’d miss me too much.” He grinned. “True and getting you sainted really would be a notable event. Wikipedia would have to list it.” I mused. We fell silent for a moment, each lost in our own thoughts, considering our upcoming anniversary trip and what it might mean if I really did toss Brian into the ocean. “Want to go to the mountains for our anniversary?” Brian asked. “Yep.” I said and I closed my lap top with a snap.

the love letters of fran and jack

by Doug Holley and Jennifer Craig is an ongoing, serialized story cycle. Look for further adventures of Fran and Jack in the second issue of Verge each month.

nora blithe is the author of Door In Face, a humor blog about all things that lay you flat. Read more at DOORINFACE.COM.

NOVEMBER 21 _ VERGELIVE.com / 39


40 / VERGELIVE.com _ NOVEMBER 21


November Issue B 2012  

people | places | events | art | culture

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