Cobb In Focus March April 2024

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MARCH/APRIL 2024 Chemical Insights Research Institute • Cobb & Douglas Public Health • Local Scholarships • Avery Gallery
The Who, What & Why Behind SafePath
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We are a well-rounded community alive with community spirit, a touch of urban chic and plenty of down-home natural charm.

Nestled among lush trees, you’ll feel at home in our diverse neighborhoods. Residents and visitors enjoy access to indoor and outdoor amenities, from boating on the Chattahoochee, to biking, walking, or running along our trails, watching baseball at the Battery, or catching good vibes in our downtown.

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Vol. XX, No. 2 MARCH/APRIL 2024 Contents
out what’s going on throughout
County with our news updates and calendar of events.
the Chemical Insights Research Institute (CIRI) has become a trusted environmental health resource.
& Douglas Public Health is fighting the e-cigarette epidemic.
with a local leader who strives to make Cobb County a better place.
businesses help students pay for college or vocational school.
story of Avery Gallery’s transition and preservation.
FINAL FOCUS Sifting our way through the massive market for pillows. FEATURE
Advocacy Center
The Who, What, and Why Behind SafePath Children’s
child-focused services to support Cobb’s most vulnerable population. 22 2 MARCH/APRIL 2024

We will never tire of calling your attention to SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center Inc., whose board members and volunteers work tirelessly to help victims of child abuse. This group does incredible, important work for the most vulnerable among us. So, with April being designated as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we want to remind you that SafePath has been serving Cobb County and surrounding areas for nearly 30 years and they could use your support. Please read our cover feature which begins on page 22.

Cobb & Douglas Public Health also is doing crucial work to curtail the use of tobacco products among children and young adults. They are raising awareness about the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke, and the risks of vaping. April 1 is National Take Down Tobacco Day, so read about this agency’s vital efforts beginning on page 10. And if you’re ready to quit smoking yourself, Cobb & Douglas Public Health has ways to help.

Another health resource in our own backyard is the Chemical Insights Research Institute in Marietta. The nonprofit, which is dedicated to scientific research, publication, education, and communication on environmental exposures that could affect a person’s health, stands on the front lines of analyzing emerging environmental health threats. For an inside look at their remarkable work, turn to page 6.

Dare I say it, on the lighter side of the news spectrum, we also share the story of how three locals are preserving the legacy — and art — of Avery Gallery in Marietta. Read about their dedication to our community on page 28. As always, if you have stories to share, please reach out.

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Powder Springs Mayor Thurman and Councilwoman Wisdom Sworn in for Third Terms

In January, Powder Springs Mayor Al Thurman and Councilwoman Patricia Wisdom were sworn into their respective offices, both kicking off third terms. They were joined by new Post 1 – At Large Councilman Dwight McMutry, who succeeds Patrick Bordelon, who did not seek re-election and whose second term ended in December. The three were sworn in by Cobb Superior Court Judge Kellie S. Hill.

March Event to Teach Seniors How to ‘Staying Safe While Aging in Place’

ACAP Cobb & Cherokee will offer its free monthly educational program on Mar. 21, 2024, on “Staying Safe While Aging in Place.” The program is in person at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Marietta. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. For more information, or to register for this and other upcoming free programs, visit

Frank Wigington Named the NCBA’s Businessperson of the Year

The Northeast Cobb Business Association recently named Frank Wigington as the Business Person of the Year. Wigington grew up in Cobb County; he has a business in Cobb County, Frank Wigington Landscape Company, and has served on numerous boards including, SPLOST, Cobb School Foundation, Cobb Sheriff’s Foundation, North Georgia State Fair, and the Salvation Army. Frank also served as the “Voice of the Jackets” at Sprayberry High School where he and his wife Lynn attended school as well as their two children.

KSU Breaks Ground on STEM Building

Kennesaw State University has begun construction on its Interdisciplinary STEM Building at its Marietta Campus to advance collaborative research and teaching in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The building will include several laboratory spaces — including multiple wet labs and dry labs, high bay labs, a cybersecurity research and teaching lab, and chemistry- and biology-based teaching labs — along with classrooms and student study areas. Because of its highly visible location, the “ISTEM” building will serve as a gateway to the Marietta Campus and as a symbol of investment in the future of current and future students.

LGE Named to America’s Best Credit Unions 2024 by Newsweek

LGE Community Credit Union recently was recognized as one of America’s Best Credit Unions 2024 by Newsweek. According to the publication, regional banks and credit unions play a pivotal role in the financial fabric of communities nationwide. Unlike their larger counterparts, these institutions are deeply rooted in local economies, understanding the unique needs of the people they serve. For the full list, visit

Cobb’s Business Leaders Honored at Annual Dinner

The Cobb Chamber celebrated its many accomplishments of 2023 at the 82nd Annual Dinner celebration, presented by Wellstar, on Jan. 27 at the Cobb Galleria Centre. Over 1,100 business and community leaders attended to honor the following honorees:

• 2023 Chairman’s Award: Dan Buyers of McWhirter Realty Partners

• 2024 Len Gilbert Award: Pam Younker of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

• 2024 Mack Henderson Public Service Award: Ray Thomas of the Mableton Improvement Coalition

• 2024 Dr. Robert A. Lipson Award: Kim Gresh of S.A. White Oil Company

• 2024 Senator Johnny H. Isakson Leadership Award: Major General Tom Carden, the Adjutant General of the Georgia Department of Defense

• 2023 Cobb County Citizen of the Year Award, present by the Marietta Daily Journal: Deane Bonner of Cobb County NAACP.

Cobb Breaks Ground on Bob Callan Trail Extension

The Cumberland Community Improvement District has broken ground on the Bob Callan Trail extension. The .3-mile expansion will connect the current trailhead located at Interstate North Parkway and Cumberland Boulevard to the Bentley Road Trail, making the total length of the Bob Callan Trail four miles. The fourth and final mile of the trail will include a trailhead that will feature exterior amenities including a workout area, granite chairs, a bike share, and gateway signage.

Cobb County Mourns Former County Manager David Hankerson

Former County Manager David Hankerson died on Jan. 25, 2024, after a long illness. He was 77. He came to Cobb County Government in 1984 and served as manager of the Community Development Department. He was appointed Cobb County Manager on Feb. 1, 1993 and retired in 2022. Current County Manager Dr. Jackie McMorris says Hankerson brought her to Cobb County in 2013. “But for Mr. Hankerson, I would not be where I am today,” she said. “I believe the core values he has instilled in Cobb still resonate to this day, which include integrity, honesty, work hard, show up, and be ready when you show up. He was a giant in Cobb, and his legacy will live on in all of us.”

S harper Focus
Here’s a snapshot of what’s going on in your community.


Bubbles & Brews


Editor’s note: Due to evolving community needs, these events are subject to change or cancellation.

During the entire month, craft beverage enthusiasts can travel to more than a dozen different breweries, distilleries, and meaderies in Cobb. More info:


Pop-in for Family Fun

Come and explore the Marietta Museum of History on the 3rd Saturday of the month with family fun activities. March theme is Cool Tools (Rockets & Robots in April). More info:


Georgia Food + Wine Festival

The festival in Marietta offers a wide variety of events for all tastebuds and budgets, including “Savor,” the main event on Saturday with over 400 varieties of wine, beer and spirits tastings, cooking demonstrations and more. More info:


Fourth Annual Sheriff’s Golf Classic

The Cobb Sheriff’s Foundation will host its annual golf fundraiser at Marietta Country Club. You can volunteer, donate, or compete! More info:


Taste of Mableton

The Taste of Mableton offers something for everyone in the family! Join the celebration at the Mable House Complex. Free admission. More info:


Military Ball & Gala

Join the Cobb Veterans Memorial Foundation for an evening that celebrates our veterans. More info:

4/25 Spring Tea

Brookwood Christian School’s Spring Tea at The Cedars Weddings & Events in Acworth is scheduled for 11:30 am - 1:30 pm. Proceeds benefit the school’s reading programs. More info:


Spring Book Sale

Reading, listening, or watching — the spring library book sale will have it all at the Cobb Civic Center. More info:


Skilled Trades Fair

Georgia Highlands College will host a Skilled Trades Fair at its Cartersville Campus on March 19. The event is free, but registration is required. More info:


Easter After Dark

This March, hunt for glow-in-thedark eggs in Smyrna’s Village Green Park. Hunts, organized by age group, begin at 6 p.m. More info:



Eclipse Party

A Total Solar Eclipse will be viewable in the US on April 8. Our area will experience 80% occlusion, so more than three-fourths of the sun will be blocked. Bring blankets and snacks, and spread out on the Smyrna’s downtown greenspace to enjoy the celestial show. More info:


Acworth Art Fest

Acworth’s Main Street in downtown becomes the perfect art-buyers destination with booths from over 50 whimsical and talented artisans from around the country. More info:


48th Annual Big Shanty Festival

This annual event features one-of-a-kind and homemade crafts, as well as food vendors and kids’ activities in downtown Kennesaw. More info:


Spring Jonquil Festival

The Smyrna Spring Jonquil Festival features over 150 Arts & Crafts booths, 12 food booths, an entertainment stage, and a variety of children’s activities. More info:

3/15-17 A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The Georgia Ballet presents Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Jennie T. Anderson Theatre. More info:


Acworth Egg Hunt

Come watch the bunny make his exciting arrival at the Acworth Sports Complex. The City of Acworth invites your family to participate in fun Easter activities. More info:

3/23 Noonday Shanty 5&10K

The Town Center Community Improvement District is hosting a fun run on March 23 along the Noonday Creek Trail. The start/finish will be at Town Center Mall. More info: noonday-shanty


Book Worm Book Fest

More than 25 authors will be featured at The Book Worm Book Fest 2024 in downtown Powder Springs on Monday, April 8 through Saturday on April 13. More info:


A Tour Of Italy Gala

The Center for Family Resources’ gala returns on April 20 to Cobb Galleria Centre. The night will be full of fun, food, wine, silent and live auction, wine wall, music and fundraising. More info:


2024 Expo & Marketplace

Cobb County Senior Services’ Expo will be held at Cobb County Civic Center and is sure to be a great way for your organization to connect with adults in the area. More info: senior-services


Taste of Marietta

Get a Taste of Marietta, one of the largest and tastiest events in Georgia, which returns to Historic Marietta Square. More info:


Driving Change

How the Chemical

Insights Research Institute (CIRI) has become a trusted environmental health resource.

B usiness

In June of last year, as wildfires in Quebec sent a thick maze of smoky air across the Midwest and Northeast, team members at Chemical Insights Research Institute (CIRI) of UL Research Institutes (ULRI) in Marietta took special note. The nonprofit, which is dedicated to scientific research, publication, education, and communication on environmental exposures that could affect a person’s health, knew what it meant. The smoke and hazardous fumes, which literally turned New York City into an apocalyptic scenescape for several days, were going to incite fears about the short- and long-term ramifications.

The aftermath in situations like this is where the CIRI team thrives. They examine the sources of pollutants to determine human exposure levels, evaluating the toxicity and human health risks. In the case of wildfires — 53,685 blazes were reported in 2023 that burned nearly 2.61 million acres — there is way more than meets the eye.

“A lot of people think wildfires are West Coast based, but they’re really not,” said Marilyn Black, Ph.D., CIRI’s Vice President and Senior Technical Advisor. “They happen across the U.S. and Canada. Each one of

them generates a lot of hazardous smoke and dust, which can travel. The fact that people believe wildfires that happened thousands of miles away cannot affect them is the reason why education is needed.”

Enter CIRI, which provides actionable data and resources that help manufacturers, educators, healthcare providers, and consumers alike. The CIRI library is filled with resources and articles on its research plans, findings, and applications. Helping to expand its various research platforms, CIRI partners with several renowned research institutions, including Duke University, Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and others.

The CIRI team works within the framework of a five-step process that helps ensure every one of their initiatives delivers meaningful and sound insights. The process includes convening stakeholders to define the public health risks associated with evolving technologies, consumer products, and emerging issues; conducting independent research on the health impact; analyzing data to confirm key findings; sharing discoveries with stakeholders and the general public; and working

The Center for Toxicology and Human Health grand opening

to support the development of standards and best practices for the safer commercialization of evolving technologies and materials.

The latest addition to CIRI’s Marietta based research facility includes three stateof-the-art laboratories (see sidebar, “A Glance Inside What’s New at CIRI”), which includes the Centers for Exposure Science, Toxicology and Human Health and Advanced Measurements. The LEED Gold certified facility incorporates sustainability principles and good indoor air quality. CIRI stands on the front lines of analyzing emerging environmental health threats that people and the planet face every day. Along with wildfires, key research areas include 3D printer emissions, chemical exposure, e-cigarettes and vaping, flame retardants and furniture flammability, global air pollution, toxicology and

PFAS (a group of chemicals used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water) exposure.

CIRI’s work is as fascinating as it is important. Take its research on the dangers posed by 3D printers, which have become a staple in laboratories, shops, and makerspaces in high school and college campuses across the country. 3D printer-related hazards, which initially had gone undetected, include heat, the generation of ultrafine/nano-sized particles, ultraviolet light, and chemical vapors.

“Driven by innovation, and their education and training capabilities, 3D printers have a lot of positives,” Dr. Black said. “But what people don’t see is that they are basically melting plastic to print something. And when they operate, they emit a lot of pollution and particles into the air, which can get inhaled by

“We don’t do the research just for the sake of doing research. We want to make sure we take our findings and use them in a way that they can make a difference in the world.”
– Marilyn Black, Ph.D., CIRI’s Vice President and Senior Technical Advisor

users. That cocktail mixture of chemicals and particles can cross over in the blood system.”

Leading the charge

Dr. Black, a public health scientist, is a national leader in the study of environmental pollution and its impact on human health. She also is the founder of Air Quality Sciences Inc. (AQS,) and the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute. AQS is a research company focused on measuring sources of indoor pollution and associated health effects, while the nonprofit GREENGUARD has been instrumental in helping transform products to safer formulations for the betterment of the environment and human health.

With Dr. Black at the helm, CIRI, including the new laboratories, is playing a critical role in what has become a series of landmark moments in environmental history. “We don’t do the research just for the sake of doing research. We want to make sure we take our findings and use them in a way that they can make a difference in the world. There is a lot of education and training that is used by our stakeholders, whether it’s the school system, policy makers, et cetera. We give them information so that they can better understand an issue and find ways to make things better and reduce risk. This can lead to more healthy work environments, schools and homes.”

One of the most recent groundbreaking incidents the CIRI team participated in was the pandemic, which continues to change the way people view the overall health and welfare of everything from their homes, schools,

B usiness
The Center for Advanced Measurements grand opening
The Center for Exposure Science grand opening

workspaces, etc. “We felt like COVID gave people an opportunity to observe what we have been talking about and researching for a long time,” Dr. Black said. “We all know about the things that you can see or smell in the air. But COVID showed that there are things that you cannot see or feel in the air — things that dramatically affected every one of us. It let people see the air in a way they’d never seen before.”

The CIRI team conducted some early research and teamed up with organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and others, to create a resource well that could help provide information people could use. The work is ongoing. “For us, the goal is to make sure we have healthy and safe environments,” Dr. Black said. “The mission is to be proactive and work to spread the messaging that others can follow.” n

A Glance Inside What’s New at CIRI

The latest addition to the Chemical Insights Research Institute (CIRI) of UL Research Institutes (ULRI) in Marietta is new laboratories that will help usher in opportunities for scientific innovation, discovery, collaboration and human health protection. Here’s a look:

The Center for Exposure Science

The Center for Exposure Science features a specialized exposure chamber that allows for precise, accurate and real-time chemical and particle exposure studies resulting from the use of consumer products and materials used in the built environment.

The Center for Toxicology and Human Health

The Center for Toxicology and Human Health features a wide range of instrumentation for measuring health impacts of chemical exposure at the cellular and molecular level.

The Center for Advanced Measurements

The Center for Advanced Measurements’ state-of-the-art analytical technology capabilities includes a specialized exposure chamber for consumer product testing; and microchambers for studying the impact of climate on building materials.

A Unit of the Technical College System of Georgia. Equal Opportunity Institution. Start, Pivot or Accelerate Chatt Tech for Every Stage of Life. We make it easy to get the education and training you need by offering certifications, diplomas and degrees at every point in your career. Apply Now at

Strides Toward A Tobacco-Free Cobb

The E-Cig Epidemic

H ealth

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and Georgia, resulting in 11,700 lives lost annually and imposing nearly $3.2 billion on the state. As part of this epidemic, e-cigarettes, or vaping devices, have gained popularity in the U.S. over the past decade, particularly among youth and young adults. Tobacco use is a modifiable risk factor for numerous chronic diseases and cancers. Preventing use and assisting current users to quit can remarkably improve the health outcomes of our community.

In 2018, the U.S. Surgeon General declared youth vaping an epidemic, with a substantial increase in the number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes. This is largely attributed to the appeal of fruit and candy flavors, and the misconception that vaping is less harmful than traditional smoking. There has been national progress in the banning of menthol and flavored tobacco products in hopes to decrease these appeals. E-Cigarettes typically contain nicotine, an extremely addictive substance present in tobacco products. Nicotine can significantly impact the development of the adolescent brain and impair regions responsible for mood, learning, impulse control, and can increase the risk of other addictions.

Local-level data follows national trends.

The 2021-2022 Community Health Assessment for Cobb County analyzed Cobb County School District and Marietta City School responses from the Georgia Student Health Survey. The data shows Cobb County middle and high school students are using more e-cigarettes than traditional cigarettes. After a hopeful decrease in reporting use from the 2018-2019 to 2020-2021 school year, Cobb County saw an upturn in the number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes on at least one day in the last month in the 2021-2022 school year reporting.

For more child and adolescent health information from the Community Health

Assessment, visit the Cobb County mySidewalk Dashboard at: child-and-adolescent-health

Health Concerns

Growing concerns about the health effects of vaping, especially considering severe lung injuries associated with the use of certain vaping products, has led to increased scrutiny. Health professionals and authorities emphasize the need for research on the long-term health impacts of e-cigarette use. Vaping can lead to respiratory issues such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. The inhalation of harmful substances in e-cigarette aerosol, such as formaldehyde, acrolein, and acetaldehyde, also can contribute to lung irritation and inflammation. Some flavorings used in e-cigarettes may contain diacetyl, a chemical linked to severe respiratory disease known as “popcorn lung.” Cases of severe lung injuries, often referred to as vaping-associated lung injury (VALI) or e-cigarette, or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI), have been reported. These cases are associated with the use of vaping products containing THC (the psychoactive component of canna-

The data shows Cobb County middle and high school students are using more e-cigarettes than traditional cigarettes.

H ealth

bis) or vitamin E acetate. E-cigarette use also can worsen and exacerbate health conditions such as asthma. There is no safe consumption of tobacco and nicotine-containing products, and e-cigarettes pose a health risk to nonusers via secondhand smoke, particularly in enclosed spaces.

Policy and System Changes

E-cigarette marketers are innovative, introducing new devices, flavors, and technologies every year. This assortment of products contributes to the appeal of vaping among different demographic groups, but it also has prompted regulatory responses at both federal and state levels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken various measures to address the issue, including restrictions on flavored e-cigarettes and heightened enforcement against illegal sales to minors.

Local cities and businesses have worked to deter initiation of tobacco use by implementing smoke-free and tobacco-free environments, as well as enhancing barriers to restrict youth access. Recent policy changes in Cobb County include:

“Find a good reason for quitting that affects you personally and hold onto that reason every time you feel like giving in or quitting.” –Kaegen

• The Battery and Truist Park adopted a smoke-free and tobacco-free policy in March 2017.

• The smoking policy for parks and recreation in the City of Marietta was revised in April 2019 to include e-cigarettes.

• In September 2019, the City of Smyrna elevated the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21.

• In December 2019, the City of Smyrna designated its downtown district as smoke-free.

• On Dec. 20, 2019, legislation known as the “Tobacco 21 Law” went into effect, making it illegal for retailers to sell any tobacco product — which includes cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes — to anyone under 21.

• The City of Marietta implemented a

smoke-free downtown district in March 2020.

• In March 2020, the City of Powder Springs established a smoke-free parks and recreation policy.

• The City of Acworth updated its parks and recreation smoking policy in May 2021 to include e-cigarettes, extending the policy to Acworth Beach.

• Since 2021, CDC funding has supported a new tobacco education media campaign which Cobb & Douglas Public Health has been actively disseminating through social media, radio, print, and steaming platforms. The campaigns have surpassed benchmarks for media reach and have seen increases up to four times the average rates of Georgia Tobacco Quit Line assistance during peak ad times.

• Effective July 1, 2005, the Georgia Smokefree Air Act prohibited smoking inside most public areas and outlined specific guidelines for allowing smoking in and around establishments that serve the public. In May 2023, Gov. Kemp amended the Georgia Smokefree Air Act to include prohibiting vaping anywhere smoking is banned.

Addressing the Issue

Various public health campaigns have been launched to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke, and risks of vaping, targeting both youth and adults. These campaigns are aimed to dispel myths about the safety of e-cigarettes and highlight potential health hazards of smoking and vaping.

National Take Down Tobacco Day 4/1/2024

Take Down Tobacco’s day of action is a national tobacco control observance that encourages youth to advocate against Big Tobacco by saying no to tobacco and e-cigarettes to become a tobacco-free generation.

“On April 1, you can join thousands of youth advocates across the country to stand up and speak out against the tobacco industry. Whether you want to plan an event, make your voice heard on social media, or take action to support proposed policy solutions


in your community, there’s lots of ways you can participate. However you decide to get involved, we encourage people of all ages to stand with kids over Big Tobacco to continue pushing toward a healthier, more equitable future.” –Tobacco Free Kids

Everyone Deserves to Breathe Clean Air

According to the CDC, the only way to fully protect non-smokers from the dangers of secondhand smoke is to eliminate smoke from all homes, worksites, and public places. Even brief exposure can increase your risk of cancer, stroke, or heart attack. Cobb & Douglas Public Health has been partnering with Emory’s BreatheEasy Learning Community to help eliminate second-hand smoke exposure in multi-unit housing. To learn more about BreatheEasy Georgia Homes, visit:

More Cobb County students reported using e-cigarettes than cigarettes [4-9]. Student reported use of e-cigarettes and cigarettes were similar to or lower than in the state as a whole [4-9]. Additionally, reported smoking and vaping increased with grade level in Cobb County and Georgia [4-9].

Middle and High School Students Reported E-cigarette Use (Vaping) or Cigarette Use (Smoking) on At Least 1 Day within the Last Month by School Year [4-9]

Cobb County E-Cigarette Use Georgia E-Cigarette Use

Cobb County Cigarette Use Georgia Cigarette Use

*Indicates data from the 2020-2021 school year was from the Student Wellness Survey.

10.0% 9.0% 8.0% 7.0% 6.0% 5.0% 4.0% 3.0% 2.0% 1.0% 0.0% 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020 2020-2021* 2021-2022
“For those who want to quit, I know how hard it is and I know that it’s not an easy task to quit, but it’s not worth your life. For me, it was a really scary feeling to almost die from it — vaping is not worth it.” –Piper

CDPH’s Work in Cobb County

Cobb & Douglas Public Health is currently working with local K-12 schools, colleges, and universities to assess the current implementation of tobacco-free school policies, which include e-cigarette use by students, staff and visitors on all school properties. Cobb & Douglas Public Health also is in touch with local tobacco retailers, such as vape shops and gas stations, to ensure the prohibition of tobacco and e-cigarette sales to persons under 21 years of age. The federal minimum age for purchasing tobacco products was increased from 18 to 21 in December 2019, commonly referred to as the “Tobacco 21 Law.”

Improving Healthy Behaviors in Cobb County

Cobb2020, a coalition of community partners, established the vision that “Cobb County will reach its full potential in health and well-being.” To achieve this vision, every five years, Cobb2020 and Cobb & Douglas Public Health work together to create a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) based on the perspectives and priorities of the community. The CHIP is a long-term, organized effort to address the health challenges identified within the Community Health Assessment. The latest 2023-2027 CHIP strives to educate youth on vaping and reduce the number of youths who initiate tobacco use of any kind. Cobb2020


Tobacco Quit Line

English: 877.270.7867

Spanish: 877.266.3863

Hearing Impaired: 877.777.6534

Cobb & Douglas Public Health encourages people who would like to quit smoking to contact the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line. It is a free service for anyone over the age of 13. The service offers confidential, professional telephone counseling in a five-call program or a special 10-call program for pregnant and postpartum women.

encourages residents and local organizations to share information about smoking cessation resources and support messaging campaigns that inform youth and young adults, ages 13-24, on the harmful effects of vaping. To stay informed of Cobb2020’s efforts, visit: cobb-county-community-health/improvinghealthy-behaviors.

There is no safe consumption of tobacco and nicotine-containing products, and e-cigarettes pose a health risk to non-users via secondhand smoke, particularly in enclosed spaces.

Learn more about National Take Down Tobacco Day and how to get involved by visiting: day-of-action

Ready to Quit?

Resources are available to those interested in quitting tobacco. Georgia residents can call the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line, a free service providing telephone, text and webbased services. Quitlines increase the chance of quitting by receiving tips and support from a Quit Coach. Nicotine Replacement Therapies, such as the nicotine patch or gum, are available for free for those who qualify, and translation services are available.

To improve your chances of quitting, reach out to the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line:

(877) 270.STOP (877.270.7867)

Español (877) 2NO-FUME (877.266.3863)

Hearing Impaired: 1.877.777.6534

Text READY to 34191

Español Text LISTO to 34191

Cobb & Douglas Public Health is dedicated to promoting the health of Cobb and Douglas County residents through their services and healthy living tips.

Visit to learn more about all the services and programs available. n



Community Credit Union recognized with 2023 Gold Level Cigna Healthy Workforce Designation

Cigna Healthcare has selected LGE Community Credit Union as a recipient of their 2023 Gold Level Healthy Workforce Designation for demonstrating a strong commitment to improving the health and vitality of its employees through a workplace well-being program.

“We’re honored to be recognized with the Gold Level Cigna Healthy Workforce Designation” said Ryan Napier, vice president of human resources. “Investing in our employees’ well-being isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s a smart business decision. That’s why I’m incredibly proud of the comprehensive benefits and wellness programs we’ve built here at LGE. From on-site lunch and learns to our personalized wellness rewards

program, we’re committed to supporting our team members in every aspect of their lives.”

“Higher vitality is linked to a more motivated, connected, and productive workforce,” said Kari Knight Stevens, executive vice president and chief human resources officer, The Cigna Group. “Employers that foster vitality will fuel a healthier workplace and drive business and economic growth. That’s why we’re proud to recognize employers for their efforts to prioritize multiple dimensions of wellness, build a culture of health, and boost employee engagement.”

The Cigna Healthy Workforce Designation evaluates organizations based on the core components of their well-being program, including leadership and culture, program

foundations and execution, policies and accommodations, and additional areas. Organizations recognized with this designation set the standard of excellence for organizational health and vitality. n


Leaders of Cobb

Since its establishment more than 180 years ago, Cobb County has been defined by its people. Some of these individuals have made their mark by becoming pioneers of business, captains of industry and heads of state.

And if you’re reading this, you likely know why Cobb is attractive to so many. It hosts exceptional schools, is within close reach to the world’s busiest airport, has all of the convenience of proximity to the

big city and is fertile ground for entrepreneurship. The list goes on, but it always comes back to the people who have built this county into what it is.

On the following page we have profiled an individual who is among Cobb’s premier leaders. We wanted to find out about her job, delve into her personal life, and gain some words of wisdom. And of course, we asked: Why have you picked Cobb County?

Special Section

THE STORY: I grew up on a cattle farm in Dalton, Georgia, raised by a single mother after my father died when I was 5. I grew up working on our family farm and in my family’s country grocery store, so I quickly learned the importance of resilience and hard work. Dalton is a carpet mill town, and I grew up seeing many people struggle. I wanted to do something that would allow me to help people. At a very young age, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer, and I never shifted my focus. I was the first in my family to pursue higher education, and I proudly graduated from Georgia State University and Emory Law School. With two decades dedicated to public service in the Georgia Attorney General’s office, I am humbled to have been appointed as a Cobb Superior Court judge. My husband, Chad, and our two daughters live in Mableton with our spoiled dog, Winston.


IN COBB: I moved to metro Atlanta to attend college in 1996 and fell in love with the area. After I graduated from law school in 2003 and accepted a position with the Georgia Attorney General’s office, I started looking for a family-friendly community with attractive amenities. I found all those qualities in Cobb County. What I love most about Cobb County is the true sense of community; we enjoy the benefits of living in a metropolitan area with a small-town feel. Watching Cobb thrive has been exciting, and it is gratifying to have the opportunity to work as a superior court judge in my community. Cobb County is a wonderful place to raise a family and call home!

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? As a superior court judge, I meet a large cross-section of the Cobb community — frequently at the most stressful points of their lives. The people involved in these cases look to me to resolve their disputes. I wanted to work in the legal system to help people. My position allows me to help families and protect our community. My overriding goal is to look at cases objectively and render a fair and impartial decision to enable the parties to have closure and move on with their lives. I love these opportunities to interact with our community and to provide a positive experience with our court system.

LEISURE TIME: I’ll be honest, I don’t have a lot of leisure time! I prioritize what’s important to me, and that will always be my family. I am spending time with them when I am not at the courthouse or attending community events. I am also responsible for managing my elderly mother’s care, and that means frequent trips to my hometown. Those trips back home also involve checking on our family cattle farm and renovating

my farmhouse that’s been in my family since 1932. Of course, I always enjoy time with good friends (especially at the Marietta Square!) and attending my daughters’ sporting events.

BEST ADVICE: Dream big, work hard, and make your mark! Life isn’t always easy, and success doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve had plenty of struggles along the way, but my personal experiences have shaped me into a more compassionate and understanding judge. I think that our struggles are what truly make us better individuals.

WHAT’S NEXT? I hope to continue serving Cobb County as a superior court judge for many years. I am up for election on May 21, 2024, to retain my seat on the Court so that I may continue the hard work I’ve started. I am also looking forward to being a part of Cobb’s exciting opportunities for growth and seeing my daughters thrive in our community.

Leaders of Cobb
Photo by LaRuche Photo
Post Office Box 1310
Georgia 30126
Julie Jacobs
Cobb Superior Court Judge

Supporting Cobb’s Scholars

E ducation

Local businesses help students pay for college or vocational school.

Local businesses award thousands of dollars in scholarships every year to Cobb County students. Presented here is a condensed list of what’s available from three, local companies. While some of these awards already have been distributed this year, take note for your students who are graduating next year. Also, be sure to consult with your school counselors for additional scholarship opportunities.

Cobb EMC

As a not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative in Georgia, Cobb EMC is dedicated to providing members reliable service at an affordable price. In addition to providing power, the organization also serves the community through multiple charitable endeavors and scholarship programs. Local nonprofits and schools in Cobb EMC’s five-county service area rely on its support, thus the cooperative invests in the neighborhoods where its employees live and work. Through hands-on volunteering, mentoring, food pantry donations, Foundation grants and more, Cobb EMC puts the cooperative principle of “Concern for the Community” into action.

Cobb EMC is equally dedicated to promoting local communities through civic clubs and chambers of commerce. Employees serve in leadership roles and lend their expertise to help these organizations thrive for the good of the communities in which Cobb EMC members live. Plus, it has a team dedicated to energizing large employers and encouraging investment and job growth in our region.

Each year, Cobb EMC provides multiple scholarship opportunities to students in the county. The Cobb EMC Foundation Scholarship, which awards 14 scholarships in the amount of $5,000 each to eligible students with a primary residence served by Cobb EMC. There are two types of scholarships available: College/University and Vocational/ Technical College. The annual scholarships are funded and administered by the Cobb EMC Foundation board.

Cobb EMC offers the Walter Harrison Scholarship through Georgia EMC. The $1,000 scholarship honors the late Walter Harrison, a rural electrification pioneer and electric cooperative leader, and is awarded to students who excel in the areas of GPA, SAT scores, academic standing and honors, and who demonstrate a financial need. Cobb EMC forwards five entries to the statewide selection committee, which includes EMC directors and managers from across Georgia.

The Cobb EMC Youth Leadership Program gives current high school juniors the opportunity to develop leadership and networking skills, learn about their electric cooperative, and earn scholarships. Youth Leadership Program students also compete to represent Cobb EMC on the Washington Youth Tour, designed to build leadership skills. The contest offers current high school juniors an opportunity to win a $1,500, $1,000, or $500 scholarship, one of four spots for an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. from June 14-21, 2024, and one paid student summer internship.

Finally, Cobb EMC soon will be launching the Line Worker Scholarship. Full details on this program and all of Cobb EMC’s scholarship opportunities are available at cobbemc. com/scholarships.

Credit Union of Georgia

In 1960, Credit Union of Georgia, then MaCo Federal Credit Union, and later MACO Educator’s Federal Credit Union, was established by seven local educators of the Marietta City and Cobb County School Systems who wanted to borrow money from one another in a cooperative. The Credit Union began operations with a whopping $35 in assets and a supply closet for a branch office.

Since that time, Credit Union of Georgia has continued to grow and proudly provides financial solutions with value, convenience and exceptional service to the Community of Northwest Georgia. With a long history of partnering with local school systems and



serving educators, Credit Union of Georgia has a passion for education and giving back to their local schools.

Credit Union of Georgia encourages members with their hashtag #DoYouCU. Applicants of the Credit Union of Georgia Scholarship should complete an essay of 300 words or less sharing How #DoYouCU making a difference? This can apply to your family life, school life, or any other aspect of your life where you see yourself making a difference. For complete application instructions, visit credit-union-of-georgia-scholarship/.

Additionally, Credit Union of Georgia will be offering another scholarship this year (April) in collaboration with the West Cobb Business Association. Learn more at

LGE Community Credit Union

Since 2010, LGE has invested more than $2 million in the lives of those in the community including children, homeless, abuse victims, and those that fall on hard times. Not only is there a monetary contribution but LGE staff members volunteer over 2,600 hours in the community annually. Additionally, LGE partners with schools through its Partners in

SCBA Honors Educators

Education platform. Continued efforts show why LGE Community Credit Union continues to be a fabric of the community.

LGE’s annual scholarship program helps exceptional high school seniors from our communities attend the college, university, or technical school of their dreams by providing them with a $2,500 scholarship. Scholarships will be awarded in each of the following counties: Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Douglas, Floyd, Fulton, Gordon and Paulding County. Applications are open February 26 through March 29, 2024. Complete details and eligibility requirements can be found at n

At its February luncheon, the South Cobb Business Association (SCBA) honored local educators for their commitment to Cobb’s youth. Guest speakers included Austell Mayor Ollie Clemons, Jr.; Powder Springs Mayor Al Thurman; Cobb County School District Post 3 Board Member Leroy Tre´ Hutchins; and Smyrna City Council Member Tim Gould. Learn more


City of Austell Education Award

Dr. Marvin Bynes, Austell Elementary School

Literacy Leader School to retired Principal

City of Mableton Education Award

Cynthia Winters, Riverside Elementary School

Literacy Leader School to retired Principal

City of Powder Springs Award

Regina Montgomery, McEachern High School

STEM Certification

City of Powder Springs Award

Dr. Alvin Thomas, Tapp Middle School

STEM Certification

Innovation Award

Dr. Iris Denise Mcgee, Betty Gray Middle School

Communities in Schools Partnership Award

Troy Jones, Osborne High School

Principal of the Year Award

Dr. Dana Giles, Pebblebrook High School

Education Champion

Nate Smith – Mableton Improvement Coalition

Education Champion

Natalie Rutledge – Communities In Schools of Georgia in Marietta/Cobb County

Education Champion

Henry Lust – The City of Powder Springs Mayor Pro Tem & Council Member

Pictured L-R from the top: Claire Kirkland, LCSW, Director of Intervention Services; SafePath CEO Jinger Robins; Pam Martin, Director of Finance; Tiffany Webb, Director of Services; and Gail Garland, Director of Advocacy. The child is not a client.

The Who, What, and Why Behind SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center

Creating child-focused services to support Cobb’s most vulnerable population


It’s some of the most grueling yet rewarding work imaginable — helping children who have been sexually abused, neglected, or trafficked. But the team at SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center in Marietta is up for the challenge and has yet to back down after more than 29 years of serving Cobb County and the surrounding areas.

Every step of the way, a child supported by SafePath is served by a team of individuals who have been specially trained to work with children. Their techniques, from simply welcoming them into the center to how they ask questions during forensic interviews, medical

exams, and what clinical services they provide, are child focused.

Law enforcement handles the investigation of the case, doing everything from gathering evidence (including photos) on the scene to interviewing the alleged offender. “But here at SafePath,” says Jinger Robins, SafePath CEO, “we are focused on the children — the alleged victims.”

The Who

Children’s advocacy centers help ensure children who are alleged victims of abuse have a safe, child-focused, professional approach

where they can tell their story to a trained interviewer who knows the right, evidencebased questions to ask in a way that does not retraumatize the child.

SafePath is accredited by the National Children’s Alliance (NCA), meeting their National Standards of Accreditation which is comprised of 10 individual standards and represents more than 130 child abuse intervention professionals and experts working from the latest research.

“Here at SafePath, we are focused on the children — the alleged victims.”
–Jinger Robins, CEO, SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center

To date, there is a network of 961 children’s advocacy centers across the country in which the NCA provides support, advocacy, quality assurance, and national leadership. Approximately 1.5 million people trained in child abuse intervention and prevention by the NCA served an estimated 380,494 children in advocacy centers like SafePath last year.

In the State of Georgia, the accrediting organization is Children’s Advocacy Centers of Georgia (CACGA), which believes that access to strong, local children’s advocacy centers will provide child victims and their nonoffending family members with the unique services they need to begin their journey toward hope, justice, and healing. There are 49 centers throughout Georgia in the CACGA network that adhere to 11 standards. SafePath is also fully accredited by CACGA

The SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center team outside their Marietta headquarters. The child is not a client.

and meets all the standards established by the statewide organization.

The What

Recognized as one of the top five children’s advocacy centers in the country by the NCA, SafePath’s mission is to reduce the trauma to children and their families by offering a comprehensive, professional, and child-friendly approach to the allegations of child abuse. They do this by ensuring a less traumatic, professional, and child-focused approach to child abuse cases by bringing together professionals from law enforcement, the Cobb District Attorney’s office, therapists, interviewers, healthcare professions, the Cobb Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) and other agencies — to work together as a collaborative team.


Claire Kirkland, LCSW, Director of Intervention Services at SafePath, works with unincorporated Cobb County’s police department, the surrounding six city police departments, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security, and DFCS to schedule appointments and conduct forensic interviews with children once identified by the investigative agencies (law enforcement and/or DFCS).

“Either DFCS, law enforcement or both will call SafePath and say they have a case and we need to schedule an interview,” Kirkland says. “If it’s law enforcement, for example, I always help make sure DFCS is involved, and vice versa, because we want as many partners here as possible who are working the case during an interview. My job is to link those agencies and make sure they are here together working collaboratively and coordinating necessary services.”

Kirkland also works with the SafePath team to determine who will be the most

appropriate professional to interview the child. They have Spanish-speaking male and female interviewers, and some who have specific training in interviewing children who are victims of trafficking or trauma.

There are six interview rooms at SafePath. Three are designed to suit children ages 10 and younger (they include child-sized tables and chairs) and three interview rooms are designed to suit children older than 10 (they include a couch, chair, and table). All rooms also include easels, which may help the interviewer and child illustrate anything during an interview.

“Everything we are trained in is evidencebased,” Kirkland says. “The field of child maltreatment is constantly conducting research to make sure we are asking questions the best way we can and that the information we are collecting is appropriate for this. We are honest and open with the children we interview.

We explain that there are cameras in the room and that we are recording the interview so that everything is exactly how they say it and that there is a copy of it.

“We also explain that partners from law enforcement are observing the interview and they will assist us if we need help. We want a child to know we are genuine and transparent. We build a lot of rapport with the child. We want to learn about the child. It’s not just a case. We ask them about what they like to do, their favorite thing at school; get them comfortable and understand how they communicate, then that’s when we start asking evidence-based questions.”

Kirkland’s team wants to make sure all the information they are gathering is coming out in a child’s own words. “We learn about their family dynamics and eventually transition into what’s going on and why they are here,

“We are sensitive to how we are asking questions and how the child is feeling.”
–Claire Kirkland, LCSW, Director of Intervention Services, SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center
Chelsea Johnson, LPC, SafePath Therapist. The child is not a client.
Santiago Coloma, MS, Intervention Support Associate. The child is not a client.

child victims of abuse. SafePath ensures they are following those protocols.


From the moment a child enters SafePath, they are greeted by a friendly and comforting face.

“When a child comes in with the caregiver, our navigator at the front desk will greet them and they will call the advocate up front as soon as possible so that we can be the person who is helping them make sure they know things like where the bathroom is and whether they need a snack,” says Gail Garland, Director of Advocacy at SafePath. “The advocate’s role during the whole appointment is to help make sure the child is OK, as well as checking in with the caregiver. We will also meet individually with the caregiver to help them fill out paperwork

and talk them through how the appointment is going to go.

“We want the caregiver to understand that someone is going to talk to the child, what the room setup is like, that a detective and DFCS will meet with them to let them know next steps, et cetera. We will answer as many questions as we can. Many of the caregivers who

bring their children here may have been victims of abuse as children themselves, so this can be very triggering for some of them and this is the last place they ever thought they’d be. There is a lot of emotion working with the caregiver.”

Tiffany Webb, Director of Services at SafePath, and Garland and Kirkland’s supervisor, adds that advocates are taking care of people who are coming to SafePath, oftentimes, on the worst day of their lives and trying to help get them to a place where they can tell their story so they can get help.

“And sometimes a caregiver can’t be there with a child, so advocates are filling in to be that person who can sit there with this child who may have no idea what’s happening and provide them support,” says Webb.

During the appointment, Garland and her team may also learn that the alleged abuser may be the only person employed in the home, or they may be the only one who drives. “If that’s the case and the abuser is then arrested and no longer in the home after the case is brought to us, the caregiver will now be responsible for getting a child to and from appointments without a means of

Then and now: SafePath’s leadership with the childhood photos that hang in their offices.
Jennifer Puckett, PhD, APRN, CPNP-PC, SANE-P Nurse Practitioner. The child is not a client.
“Advocates not only guide them through their time here at the center but throughout the entire process.”
–Gail Garland, Director of Advocacy, SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center

transportation, for example, or need a way to help cover living expenses,” Garland says.

And SafePath is very intentional in helping families. They will work with partner organizations throughout the community to help serve the families in whatever ways they can. “Advocates not only guide them through their time here at the center but throughout the entire process,” Garland says.


In addition to forensic interviews and advocacy, SafePath provides clinical care to children and their families, anything from trauma-focused and family therapy to medical evaluations and crisis intervention — and all on-site.

Having the clinical staff at the center is incredibly beneficial, Webb says, because it’s oftentimes hard to find clinical professionals in the community who want to take on these types of cases. “You’re asking for someone who will see children, which is hard when you’re talking about trauma, sexual abuse; and dealing with a court case with charges,” she says. “A professional in private practice doesn’t have to take on a case that we know will be a lot of long-term work and involve a lot of information about how the court system works, specifically about trauma and sexual abuse. SafePath has a team on-site and that is all we do. We know how hard it’s going to be for those children to find services outside of here.”

And all of SafePath’s services are free of charge to the children they serve.

“We do evidence-based treatment, primarily trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. We also have play therapy components for our younger children and we are trained

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Mark your calendars for Wear Blue Day on Friday, April 5. Digital Advocacy Day is Tuesday, April 16.

to help the family from that point going forward, usually all the way up until if the case goes to trial and beyond.”


And when a case does go to trial, SafePath has the services of Charles “Chuck” P. Boring, an Attorney with Robbins, Alloy, Belifante, Littlefield LLC, as well as a former, longtime prosecutor in Cobb.

“Anytime they have an issue, be it a civil or criminal matter, and SafePath’s staff is getting subpoenaed for records, it gets sent to me,” Boring says. “A lot of times, [defense attorneys] are asking for information that is protected by statute. …I’ll file motions to quash those subpoenas.”

Boring also helps make sure SafePath is better prepared to protect a child’s integrity and the statements they make by offering professional services before a trial, as well as training to help law enforcement, district attorney’s office staff, and interviewers get a better understanding of what it’s like in a courtroom.

“Justice for a child can happen when you have a confident, well-educated, and welltrained system where an alleged offender, if found guilty, can then go through the justice system for prosecution and be removed from our community so that our community knows it is safer,” Robins says. “The children themselves know they are safer when their abuser is removed from the community.”

The Why

Robins says the “why” behind her commitment to SafePath and advocating for children was realized at a young age.

“After serving as a staff psychologist in Des Moines, Iowa, and moving to Georgia, the shift to systemic change with how children are served when considered alleged victims was a professional game changer for me,” she says. “The old system was organization-focused, and the new system created by children’s advocacy centers is child-focused, ensuring collaboration and coordination across systems.”

Robins understands that children who may be trapped in a situation and don’t feel safe

need a community — a system — that can help them out. “It becomes the responsibility of the community to say something if they see something, and to those children who do say something themselves, they are brought into a safe, child-focused, yet very professional system, to gather what, if anything, did happen to them and walk them through that and come out on the other side safer, better protected and much more able to live a childhood that every child deserves.”

This mission, reducing the trauma for children, is what has driven Robins and her team for nearly 29 years to serve children in Cobb County. “We are all about protecting and serving the youngest and most vulnerable citizens of Cobb County — the children,” says Garland.

And Kirkland, a Cobb native, agrees. “We are serving the community here, and that’s important to me. We are invested in the work and the people we serve here,” she adds.

“Cobb County is committed to protecting children, or we wouldn’t have SafePath. And as cliche as it may sound, the children are our future. They deserve the protection of the system, especially when they are brave enough to disclose abuse,” Robins concludes. n

2024 Support SafePath Events

Georgia Food + Wine Festival Charity Partner

March 22-26

2024 AtkinsRealis Golf Classic benefiting SafePath

April 17

Cobblestone Golf Course

Hearing Children’s Voices Gala Aug. 10 (tentative date)

Learn more:


Continuing A Legacy

A rts & Recreation
Gallery is located at 390 Roswell Street NE in Marietta.

The story of Avery Gallery’s Transition and Preservation

Preserving a legacy is an endeavor that requires not only reverence for the past but also a vision for the future. In the heart of Cobb County, Shae and Gwenda Avery nurtured a legacy spanning over four decades through their dedication to fine art and restoration services. With the passing of the torch to their long-term employees, a new chapter unfolds at Avery Gallery, where tradition meets innovation in the pursuit of excellence.

Preservation through transition: For more than 40 years, Shae and Gwenda Avery were synonymous with the art scene in Cobb County. Their establishment of downtown Marietta’s sole fine art gallery and restoration service in 1982 laid the foundation for a storied legacy. However, with Gwenda’s passing in 2020 and Shae’s in 2022, the question of preserving their life’s work loomed large. The gallery was entrusted to three dedicated employees, ensuring continuity and honoring the Avery tradition.

Embracing the future: Under the stewardship of Shanna Holt-Edwards, Jason Cochrane, and Monica Glenn, Avery Gallery stands poised to carry forward its legacy into the future. Situated in a 9,000-square-foot space just off the historic Marietta Square, the gallery continues to showcase an impressive collection of fine art, spanning centuries and continents. From renowned masters like Marsden Hartley and Vladimir Tretchikoff to contemporary talents such as Ellen DeLoach, the gallery remains a bastion of artistic excellence. They encourage local designers to visit the gallery, which offers commissions to the trade. The recently renovated space is also available for events.

Craftsmanship and expertise: Central to Avery Gallery’s ethos is a commitment to craftsmanship and expertise. Cochrane, a graduate of the Atlanta College of Art, oversees the framing and sculpture restoration departments, ensuring meticulous attention to detail. Glenn, with decades of experience in art restoration, preserves the integrity of priceless works through her mastery of painting restoration and paper preservation techniques. Their dedication ensures that every piece entrusted to Avery Gallery receives the utmost care and skill.

Beyond preservation: Avery Gallery’s dedication extends beyond traditional art restoration to encompass a broader spectrum of preservation efforts. From antique frames to sculptures, the gallery’s restoration services breathe new life into cherished artifacts. Notably, Avery Gallery’s expertise in complex framing projects, exemplified by their handling of oversized pieces like Chuck Close’s monumental self-portrait, underscores their versatility and innovation.


Welcome Home , Where Opportunity Meets Community

Marietta is a city people have loved calling home for nearly 200 years. Rich in diverse culture and historic charm, Marietta offers a thriving scene with an abundance of parks, safe and welcoming neighborhoods, a vibrant town square, and an award-winning school district. Come see us; you will find out why Marietta just feels like home. | (770) 794-5668


Looking ahead: As Avery Gallery embarks on its next chapter, the new owners are poised to embrace the future while honoring the past. Plans for upcoming exhibitions and events signal a commitment to fostering community engagement and artistic expression. Through strategic initiatives and a dedication to quality, Avery Gallery stands ready to write the next chapter in its storied legacy.

In the annals of Cobb County’s art history, Avery Gallery occupies a singular place — a testament to the vision and dedication of its founders, and now, the passion and ingenuity of its new custodians. By passing the torch to those who have been with them through it all, the Averys have ensured that their legacy will endure, inspiring future generations to embrace the transformative power of art. n

Quilts on Display in Cobb

East Cobb Quilters’ Guild has partnered with Cobb County Public Library and Cultural Affairs Division of Cobb PARKS’ arts centers to create quilt exhibits throughout the county. The “Quilts On Display” exhibit will be shown from March 4-29 at five libraries and two arts centers. Sewell Mill Cultural Center will exhibit all the challenge quilts, which were created in this yearly competition among guild members.

The theme for 2023 was “Musical Madness” that challenged members to choose a favorite musical selection or type of music and create a quilt inspired by their choice. This year’s winner is Canyon Melody (pictured) by Janice Chiaffredo inspired by Native American flute songs. Complete details are located at

Avery Gallery

390 Roswell Street NE

Marietta, GA 30060

Ph: 770.427.2459

Later this spring (April 13 through May 29), the Mable House Arts Center will present an exhibit as part of “Quilts on Display.” The exhibit will feature award-winning quilts from prior “Georgia Celebrates Quilts” shows.

East Cobb Quilters’ Guild president Devon Pfeif commented, “This is such an exciting year for the Guild. We are so appreciative of our strong relationships with both Cobb Libraries and Arts Centers and to have the opportunity to share our talents with the community through these exhibits. Especially this year when we host our 19th biennial “Georgia Celebrates Quilts” show in June. I am proud to be part of this amazing and talented group of women and men quilters.”

A rts & Recreation
Canyon Melody by Janice Chiaffredo
Avery Gallery offers decades of experience in art restoration.

Pillow Talk

Surfing in Cobb County... We Make It Easy!

No matter where you are, you can now access up-to-date information about what’s going on around the county. With local news, events calendars and the latest issue of Cobb In Focus, you can be instantly connected to your community.

Cobb In Focus magazine is now a partner with

On this page in the March/April issue from last year, I wrote about March being designated as National Sleep Awareness Month, and I talked about the concept behind sleep hygiene as well as my struggles with sleeping well on a regular basis. While those battles continue, my current focus is on shopping for new pillows.

I know that a new pillow won’t cure my sleep issues, but I’m hoping it will at least help. I’ve accumulated several pillows over the years while trying to find that perfect combination of firmness (without feeling like I’m sleeping on a log), plushness (without sinking into my mattress), neck support (without awkward positioning and waking up in pain), and breathability. I’m sure many of you know this struggle, so if you’ve found a solution that works for you, please let me know!

Currently, I rotate between two foam-based pillows designed for different types of sleepers (back sleepers, side sleepers, etc.). Speaking of, have you looked at the pillow market lately? It can be quite overwhelming trying to decide what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s just marketing hype. These days, there are multiple material options (for cases and filling), from cooling pillows to neck support variations, multiple hypoallergenic choices, “smart pillows,” and much more. Heck, there are now publications which have writers whose job is to test mattresses and pillows – that’s how saturated the market has become. A recent Yahoo! Finance report stated the U.S. pillow market is nearing $1 billion in valuation. We are making and selling a lot of pillows!

It may take me a while to find a new pillow or two. It wouldn’t exactly be easy (or free) to test out numerous pillows at home. I’ll have to rely on published research and reviews, which is fine I suppose. I typically investigate to death most of my purchases, particularly if they’re costly or something I intend to use for a long time. Additionally, I’m mentally preparing myself to buy a new mattress. The mere thought of launching that consumer investigation is nerve-wracking. I’m sure I’ll lose some sleep over it. n

F inal Focus
For advertising opportunities in Cobb In Focus magazine and these Cobb County websites, contact Jamie Ryan at 770-650-1102, ext. 142 or


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