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Celebrating the Lives of Local Women

Portraits Women of technology unplugged.

Bon Appetit, Y’all

Microwave cuisine.

For the Health of It Fitness — There’s an app for that.


Julie Windler and her pottery are headed for Lincoln Center.


Tricia Steele

Photograph by Tracy Page / Babycake Studios


When Tricia Steele unplugs, she turns to books. She hopes to one day write one — or several — of her own.

Tricia Steele is undoubtedly one of Rome’s most impressive 30 and under professionals as CEO of SAI Digital and the lead organizer of Confluence 2013, the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce’s technology symposium. Perhaps it’s because she does not follow a predictable path, rather she blazes her own. In 2003 after a two-year stint in Chicago, Tricia drove to Rome one day on a whim. “While sitting atop Myrtle Hill Cemetery, I fell in love with the town and decided to make it my home. I finished school as a very nontraditional student at Berry College over the next several years, and officially became a homeowner in historic Oakdene neighborhood January 2007.” She owned a home and started her company before completing her college degree. What may be more surprising is that degree is in physics with a minor in philosophy with no academic training in either business or marketing. Nevertheless she heads up a highvisibility Web development company and marketing agency. “We make websites, custom Web applications, and we grow our clients’ businesses through Web technologies.” Her challenge is to not get complacent in the midst of constantly changing technology. “The knowledge never reaches some final destination. I have to stay curious and always open to discovery. It’s not about what I know about technology today. It’s about my — and my team’s — ability to create room for what we will know tomorrow.” She is working on creating a community of start-ups and tech-based businesses. That project is already under way at “In the next five years, I want to create a school that grows out of a love for ideas, science, history, DIY/Maker movement, technology for the sake of improving life and creativity.” While this young mother is definitely plugged in, she does power down. “I would probably explode if I could not write. While I work on computers all day and do more than my fair share of putting finger to keyboard, there is nothing like holding a pencil against a blank sheet of paper. I feel the same about holding a book between my hands.” Tricia’s life to-do list includes writing a book — or several — and seeing more of the world she’s only known through books or movies. For now though, her son Cooper is the center of her world. “For the last nine months, my most favorite thing to do is hang out with my son and watch him explore and discover. Just about anything I do is better with him around.” Charlotte Atkins, Editor


Blenders’ simple technology makes for fun, icy drinks

1 cup sugar 1 cup water ½ cup fresh lime juice, about 4 to 6 limes ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, firmly packed 2 limes, zested ½ cup light rum 8 cups crushed ice Mint sprigs and lime wedges, for garnish

This past year, I had the chance to venture to one of about a dozen true ice bars in the world. Ice bars are a novelty where the whole of the interior — the bar, the walls, the tables, the stools and the life-size sculptures are all made of ice and the room temperature is kept below 17 degrees. While it’s quite refreshing after a hot day of playing tourist, it’s not practical to don a faux fur parka, warm clothes and thick gloves in order to cool off with a cocktail. So we suggest an easier way to get some icy relief using a long-standing piece of kitchen technology — the blender. It’s been around since 1922 so it’s obviously technology that has lasting appeal. We’re not talking just plain old strawberry daiquiris or quick mix margaritas. With a blender, some ice, your favorite spirits (or not) and a shot or two of creativity, you can whip up something smooth, tasty and cool. Here are some tasty options with a Southern Magnolia twist, of course.

In a saucepan over medium heat, add the sugar and water. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear. Set aside to cool. Put the sugar syrup, lime juice, mint leaves, lime zest and rum into a blender and blend until smooth. Add the ice and blend until slushy. Pour into glasses and top with a sprig of mint and a slice of lime.

Frozen Southern Comfort 2 oz Southern Comfort peach liqueur 1 tsp maraschino liqueur juice of half a lime ½ tsp of sugar Blend briefly with a glassful of ice. Then serve in your favorite cocktail glass.

Frozen Mint Julep

Sanibel Wave

Chee rs !

This is a similar recipe to one touted by Emeril Lagasse several years ago. Just as with a regular Mint Julep, you need to conjure up your own simple syrup first, but it’s worth the effort. So think about about revving up the blender when the thoroughbreds race Churchill Downs in the Kentucky Derby on May 4. This recipe serves 8. 1½ cups sugar, plus a little extra for rims 1 cup water 2 cups fresh mint leaves, chopped 2 cups of your favorite bourbon 8 cups ice Orange slices and mint springs for garnish

For those who prefer rum rather than whiskey, this is another minty concoction that requires a tiny bit of simple syrup prep too, but when you’re finished you might just think you are on a Caribbean island. This makes 4 servings.


3 cups of crushed ice ¾ cup gin ½ cup frozen limeade concentrate, thawed

¼ cup sugar ¼ cup lime juice ¼ cup lemon juice 10 fresh mint leaves (optional)

In your blender combine crushed ice, gin, limeade concentrate, sugar, lime juice, lemon juice and the fresh mint leaves. Blend until slushy. Pour into glasses. If desired, garnish with additional fresh mint and edible flowers. Note: You can make this with or without the mint.

Pina Colada

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and simmer until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the mint leaves. Allow to steep until cooled. Once cooled, strain out the leaves. Combine half of the mint syrup, 4 cups ice, and 1 cup bourbon in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a pitcher. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Rub the rims of julep cups with orange slices and dip the rims in sugar, then fill with the frozen mint juleps. Garnish each with an orange slice and mint sprig and serve immediately. If you don’t have tradition julep cups, then widemouthed, long-stemmed glasses are a tasteful alternative.

Mojito Slushy

Sanibel Island in Florida is one of my favorite places. This drink is like a vacation in a glass! I’ve seen it served in stemware glasses topped with beautiful tropical blooms. This makes 6 servings, so invite some girlfriends over.

There are lots of Pina Colada mixes out there. I must admit that for a long time I wasn’t a fan even though I love coconut and pineapple. But then I tasted one made with fresh fruit and two kinds of rum and suddenly I was on a beach somewhere in my mind ... 1½ cup ice ½ cup diced pineapple, frozen 2 ounces pineapple juice 2 ounces cream of coconut 1½ ounces white rum 1 ounce dark rum Pineapple slices

By Charlott e Atkins, Editor

Put the ice, frozen pineapple, juice, coconut cream and both rums into a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a pair of glasses and garnish the rims with pineapple slices.


Photograph by Tracy Page / Babycake Studios

Dana Lynn Thompson

Dana Thompson loves to create websites, but she also enjoys spending time with her husband, their horses and dogs, including Baxter who is pictured her with her.

“I used to hate computers,” says Dana Thompson. “I could never get them to work, and they would always crash on me.” Now at 41, she’s the director of Web and electronic communications at Shorter University. In that role she’s responsible for Shorter’s website, social media and email communications. For the past eight years she’s also operated a small Web design and online marketing business helping entrepreneurs and small businesses create an online presence. “I love how my job is a crossroads where creativity in design, marketing strategy, strong writing and technology all meet for a common purpose,” she said. “I love learning new technology. It’s a rush when you finally figure out how a new system works and how it can be implemented to make your life easier or strengthen your online marketing efforts.” Even though she loves technology, she admits is can limit personal interaction. “We talk less to each other. We’d rather text or email. Instead of calling a friend or family member on the phone to see what is new in their lives, we look at their Facebook status. I’d like to get back to the days when we sat on a neighbor’s front porch and talked over a glass of sweet tea and a plate of cookies.” While computers may limit personal contact with other people sometimes, she does not let it limit her connecting with her animals. That’s how she unplugs with husband Scott. They ride and tend to their five horses and shower love onto their four rescued dogs. Horses have been Dana’s obsession since she was 5. “I have been riding and showing horses almost my entire life. I have been blessed with a husband who shares that passion and understands the insanity that goes with being a horse owner! Part of the reason we bought a farm is so we’d have a place for my show horse to retire. This May he’ll be 30, and I have had him for 28 years.” Her other passion when she was a kid was figure roller skating, and Dana was a three-time Canadian National Champion. She’s since hung up her skates. In addition to horseback riding, her leisure time these days includes tennis, reading, scrapbooking and writing. Dana is known for her positive, upbeat personality, but she says at one point in her life “I was downright negative almost all the time. I consider myself a ‘born-again optimist,’ and I am on a mission to show others the benefits of thinking positively.” One of her favorite sayings is “Change your thoughts and you change your world.” Charlotte Atkins, Editor


Can Stock Photo Inc./ssuaphoto

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Microwaves are not just a warm-up act By Lauren Jones Staff Writer

When Carol Murchland was stationed in Korea and found her American cookware was too big for Korean ovens, she got to know her microwave very well. Murchland, who served in the Army for 15 years, was in Korea from 1992 to 1994 for her final duty post. Her son, Daniel, was 2 years old at the time, and Murchland was working very long hours. She needed to make tasty and healthy meals for her son and herself, but in half the time it would take using an oven or stove. So, Murchland discovered how miraculous microwaves can be. “I got my first microwave in Germany,” Murchland said. “It was one of the very fist microwaves that came out; it was huge. It was a microwave/convection oven. I used that all the time. I started using it way before (Korea) because it’s just easy.” As the stoves in Korea were too small, she said, she was very glad she had brought her microwave to Korea. “I cooked Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners in it,” she said, adding that the microwave-convection combo was incredible. “It was like a real oven. That was really cool. I started making all my meals in it. First of all, it was fast.” A lot of women will say that food just doesn’t taste as good when it’s prepared via microwave. But Murchland stressed that as long as you have the right utensils, you can pull anything off … sometimes in less than 30 minutes. “I’m not much of a gourmet cook or anything. It’s just simple stuff that you can do, but it really tastes good if you have the right cookware,” she explained. “I discovered that you have to have a browning grill because meat will not brown in the microwave. So I


bought a browning grill, which you preheat and you put your meat in there and it gets really nice and crispy and brown.”

Done in half the time Not every woman out there feels as if her own microwave is as useful as Murchland does. Mary Pierce said she uses her microwave for simpler meals. Originally from Armuchee, Pierce described herself as a busy bee for Keller Williams as an office administrator in Euharlee. She and her husband, Allen, work from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. almost every day. Though they don’t have children, she said she does whip up some pasta meals every once in a while, but one of her favorites is her ham and chicken casserole. “It takes a few bowls, but it does work,” she said. “One thing I have noticed is the pasta meals are much easier to work with and quicker. Simple things like pasta salad can be done in minutes. Spaghetti, breakfast foods and many other things, too.” Her two labradors, Duke and Duchess, get a cooked breakfast twice a week. She scrambles two eggs and cooks them in the microwave for 30 seconds. A piece of bacon takes one minute and she cooks oatmeal for a minute as well. Joy Peterson, who works at the Berry College Elementary School, is a graduate student at Berry working on getting her Master’s Degree in Education. A wife and mother of two, she uses her microwave for quick meals and side dishes. “My children are picky eaters,” Peterson said. “My go-to meal when I am in a hurry is chicken nuggets and Easy Mac and Cheese. Add in some raw veggies with those and I’ve got a quick meal that’s healthy. Oatmeal for breakfast is also a favorite.” Peterson said she and her husband Jason are adamant about

providing healthy meals for her children, who thankfully both eat a decent amount of fruits and vegetables. “We generally use turkey meat instead of beef and use reduced fat cheese and milk products,”she said. “We also buy frozen vegetables and steam those in the microwave. The biggest pro to using the microwave is the time. It is a staple in the house because we are constantly heating leftovers up. A con would be that you are limited as to what you can cook.” Murchland, however, said she made everything using her microwave and still does since she works 12-hour shifts as a nurse at Floyd Medical Center. She has some delicious, fast meals that would be perfect for feeding the whole family. “My favorite thing to cook in it is meatloaf,” she said. “I just developed my own little recipe from my mom’s.” Murchland takes ground beef and browns it using her browning grill and adds onions, green peppers, egg and some bread crumbs and makes the loaf. Then she sprinkles onions on top of the loaf and drizzles on some ketchup mixed with brown sugar so it caramelizes. “It takes maybe 20 minutes,” she said. “You just have to kind of watch it because every microwave is different. I have a really powerful microwave. It’s like a 1,000 watt microwave. So it takes 20 minutes to cook something that would otherwise take an hour. It’s really good.” There are so many other things you can make in the microwave as well, she said. “I discovered that vegetables are also really good in the microwave,” said Murchland. “I like grilled vegetables, but had no place to grill, so you just take your browning grill, preheat it, then put in your squash, onions, zucchini or whatever and they get nice CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

Angie McWhorter

Photograph by Tracy Page / Babycake Studios


Angie McWhorter relaxes and recharges through travel. “I keep a list of my Top Places to Visit Before I Die on the Trip Advisor app on my iPad.”

As the chief information officer for Harbin Clinic, Angie McWhorter stays plugged into technology more than most. Her connection with Harbin began in the late 1980s. “My first full-time job was at Harbin Clinic as the switchboard operator. I was 19,” says Angie, a native Roman. Having returned from Savannah about a decade ago after running several medical practices there, Angie, 45, enjoys her role of ensuring that technology allows Harbin doctors to better serve patients. “Harbin first gave our providers hand-held devices to support their work flow in 2002, and now mobile technology is used throughout our practices.” Technology pervades her personal life as well. “I enjoy having the latest toys, but the most important thing that technology does for me personally is to keep me close to my family, despite their being far away physically. It makes the miles seem like nothing. Of course, I do love a useful app, and during football season you can regularly find me using my Fantasy Football app. And I remember not too long ago sitting on the beach, under an umbrella, following a webcast.” Anything that keeps Angie connected to her beloved Atlanta Falcons is cheered. “I’m the only girl in my fantasy football league.” But she does know the value of unplugging. “While the mobile lifestyle has many positives, we have to remember the very real benefits that come from untethering and relaxing. It is important to have time that isn’t divided between email, the Internet and phone calls — space to relax and recharge.” Travel recharges Angie. “Most of my bucket list revolves around places I would like to visit, and in fact I keep a list of my “Top Places to Visit Before I Die” on the Trip Advisor app on my iPad. I have been to France, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Mexico and Belize internationally, and domestically have enjoyed New Orleans, Las Vegas, Maine and much of California. I still have many more places to go!” Time with family and friends is what she treasures most. “I have two siblings, and we are all close to one another and to our parents and the younger generation of the family. We keep in contact via our weekly ‘Skype Fests!’ I also have wonderful friends I enjoy spending time with; whether traveling to exotic places or sitting on the porch.” Technology also cannot compete with woman’s best friend. “My love for animals has opened my heart and my home to my rescue dog, Jelly.” Charlotte Atkins, Editor


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Whether at Lincoln Center or your home,

Windler’s pottery is made for daily life While many artists would love to see their work displayed prominently in a collector’s home, local potter Julie Windler would like nothing better than to see someone eating cereal or soup out of a bowl she has spent hours creating. “I make functional pieces,” said Julie, who splits her time between Rome and Hilton Head, S.C. “I love it when people can use the things I create. That’s what pottery is all about — someone using it. I can’t think of a better compliment. There’s something about the fact that pottery goes back so many centuries and we’re doing our version of it, but it’s still basically the same thing. It feels real good.” Julie began throwing in Mississippi in the 1970s and said she was hooked. She continues her pottery, exhibiting and selling at galleries and arts and craft shows across the country as well as taking private commissions. When she’s in Rome she works out of her home studio, and she said that when she’s in town, she’s in the studio almost every day. Depending on an upcoming show or a special order she might stay in the studio anywhere from two to 10 hours. With a passion for molding clay and experimenting with colors, Julie creates a variety of items. Her bowls are perennially popular as are her colorful soup tureens with ladles. Around New Year, her wine goblets become popular. In summer she loves making sangria pitchers, and in the winter, she creates specialized pottery in which to bake bread or serve soup. “I like to say I’m an old-fashioned


functional potter with a little bit of a modern take on it,” Julie said. “Everything I make is to use. I’m enamored with color. I like to see what the different colors will do on different clays or in different shapes.” Julie and her husband Frank travel across the country to different shows and exhibits. Because flying with all her pottery is impractical, they’ve developed a system of packing up all the delicate pottery in lots of plastic containers and bubble wrap. Julie said a patient spouse is also a must-have on these trips. She has an upcoming reception at the Plum Gallery in Knoxville, Tenn., followed by an event that has her extremely excited. “In June I’ll be at the Lincoln Center American Crafts Festival at Lincoln Center in New York,” she said. “Luciano Pavarotti is my favorite singer, and I like to tell people that we both have appeared at Lincoln Center. Sure, he was inside performing and I’ll be exhibiting outside, but that’s beside the point.” Even though she travels to exhibits and shows in places such as the Sedona Arts Festival in Arizona and the Wells Street Art Festival in Chicago, Julie still holds a special place for her hometown arts and craft fair. “I try to do Chiaha every single year,” she said. “I love the event, the people and the other artists. It’s such a wonderful festival and a celebration of local artists and craftpersons. I don’t care what else comes up. I wouldn’t miss Chiaha for the world.”

Photograph by Tracy Page / Babycake Studios

By Severo Avila Staff Writer


Magnolia Moms Photograph by Lauren Jones

The Exchange Club Family Resource Center of Rome offers a variety of services to help parents and children develop support systems and a brighter future. While clients are meeting with Parent Aides, kids can play in a safe environment. Here, Bethany Crawley (left), 11, and Drew Worthington, 9, occupy themselves with games and puzzles. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Exchange Club Family Resource Center kicked off a month full of events April 1 with an open house at its offices at 5 Professional Court. Here are other activities on tap: Blue Mondays April 8, 15, 22 and 29 The Exchange Club Family Resource Center encourages everyone to wear blue to promote awareness of Child Abuse Prevention. Submit your “blue” picture each week via their Facebook page for a chance to win a prize. Gallery 318 Family Resource Center Fundraiser April 14 and 21 at 2:30 p.m. at 318 Broad St. Join the FRC for a fun afternoon of painting and refreshments while supporting their cause. Call 706-290-0764 to find out the painting and details for each week or to register. Cost is $40/person with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Family Resource Center. Gallery 318 Family Resource Center Fundraiser — kids workshop April 27 at 9:45 a.m. at 318 Broad St. Bring the kids out for a morning of fun and refreshments while supporting the cause and helping raise awareness. Call 706-290-0764 to register. Gallery 318 Family Resource Center Gallery Showing and Silent Auction April 29 at 6 pm, 318 Broad St. Join the FRC as they wrap up Child Abuse Prevention Month and see the art that’s been created throughout the month and enjoy a silent auction. For more information on the Exchange Club’s Family Resource Center and events visit


Paving the pathway to good parenting By Lauren Jones Staff Writer

Child abuse can occur in several different forms. It’s not always physically hurting a child or neglecting them. In many cases, abuse stems from harsh verbal communication and abrasive confrontations resulting in defiant, unruly teens and young adults. April is Child Abuse Awareness month, and the Exchange Club Family Resource Center of Rome has been helping families learn healthy ways of reaching children since 1991. Ann Logan learned the hard way that not knowing ways in which to effectively communicate with children can harm them, as well as how it can impact a parent. “Being able to build a rapport with your children starting at a younger age to where you can communicate with them and not be a forceful parent puts into play that non-abusive relationship, because it’s not just physical, it’s also mental and verbal abuse,” she said. Logan didn’t have those communicative skills instilled in her throughout her own childhood, she said. “I’m from a military family, so there were a lot of verbal commands, and unfortunately, when you’re from a military family,

that verbal command can also turn into verbal abuse along with mental abuse if you’re not doing it right,” Logan explained. It was through the Family Resource Center, at 5 Professional Court in Rome, that she started taking steps to better reach out to her children.

It’s about communication Logan stumbled upon their services through an unusual source. “I was referred to there by my son’s probation officer with the state Department of Juvenile Justice for somebody who could sit down and talk with me and give me a little advice about how to handle situations with my son,” she said. “At the time, when he was 16, now he’s 17, I was having a lot of defiance with him. He was using drugs, staying in trouble all the time, that kind of thing.” Amy Knitig, who provides parent aide through the the FRC, has allowed Logan to develop a foundation of stability for her family. Logan, an assistant at a local pediatric office has four children, the oldest of which is 22, the middle children 19 and 17, and her youngest is 14. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE


Knitig would visit Logan twice a month and give guidance and information, provide feedback and help Logan work through the heavy issues when it came to her family. “She knew where I was coming from when I needed somebody to sit there and just listen,� Logan said. “Then, the more my family as a collective could sit and talk with each other, it kind of shortened her time there to where she only comes once a month.� Knitig is able to help Logan and others because she’s dealt with similar issues in her own history as a parent. Knitig is a single mother times two. She was making $4.35 an hour at 21 when she had her first child and vowed to not allow her daughter to get herself into the same predicament. “After she was born I went back to school full time and worked part time and got my (Associate’s Degree) which helped open some doors,� Knitig said. “I also found an inner strength I never saw before — I wanted to help others in the same struggles.� Having to deal with two fathers of her children made it all the more difficult, Knitig said, and as she and Logan have similar personalities, she felt she could assist her well. “My son went to live with his father just before 16 and got into quite a bit of trouble including legal issues, but did not have drug/ alcohol-related challenges that I know of,� Knitig said. “But I was able to take my own experiences and learning how to parent children differently and share those with Ann and help her to own her part while loving her children during decisions she didn’t agree with. It isn’t always the ‘normal’ nuclear model that we’d like to believe, and each child is so very different.� During the hour Knitig would come to Logan’s house, she would offer parenting research she’d found or copied out of resource books available at the center for parent aid. She would also give input from her background or history with her children. When the level of stress absolutely consumes Logan, Knitig provides that calm, logical foundation. “Last July I got hospitalized for three days because they thought I was having a heart attack when it was actually stress-related chest pain,� Logan said. “That’s how bad things got. She was there to coach me through it.�

Making progress Logan said the FRC also helps out with planning out finances and preparing for rainy days. “I’m a single mom. I struggle with my budget every month,� Logan said. “She brought me information on how to set a budget so, every pay period, I was able to put money back for the just-incase kind of moments.� Her 17-year-old, she said, is making progress but shuts Knitig out when she comes to visit his mom. “When Amy comes, he puts his earphones in and leaves the room because he just doesn’t want to be involved,� she said. “He feels like her being there is not for him, it’s more so for me. Which,

Photograph by Lauren Jones

The Exchange Club Family Resource Center is an educational haven for kids and their families. it is the way it’s turned; he does see a therapist of his own. That’s his outlet, whereas Amy is now my outlet.� She said the FRC still gives her that fundamental outlet for herself when family and friends are not enough and she needs a third party to say, “Well, have you tried it this way or that way?� Logan said her son recently got discharged from the Youth Detention Center after being there a month for getting into trouble. Logan herself turned him in. “Amy had been there to tell me, ‘Don’t feel bad; you did what was necessary ...’ I had struggled for so long with him, and it was constantly an argument, and I had finally drawn a line in the sand, and he crossed it,� she said. “I did what I was supposed to do, not only as his mother, but the legal system for the DJJ laid it out for me.� Logan said she can sense there has been a positive modification in her son’s behavior, but she can’t yet tell to what extent. She admitted that her military upbringing saturated with verbal and mental abuse contributed to the problems she’s had raising her children. “I had noticed, thanks to the Family Resource Center, that I actually carried a lot of that over into my children,� she said. “With raising my children, the demands I put on them without stepping back and saying ‘thank you for doing that,’ or approaching that in a different manner, it was always a command.� Now, she said, she’s more aware of how she speaks to and disciplines them. “Unfortunately, I think some of the damage has already been done for my three older children,� she said. “But I still have my 14-

year-old at home, and I tend to put more thought in how I speak.� Logan has referred the FRC to her older children who have budding families of their own, and she emphasized that the center can help all generations in families, whether they’re older, middleaged, young parents or children. “I think honestly, they are a good resource, even if you’re not a personal client of theirs,� she said. “Everyone’s lives are touched by the service they do for the community. There aren’t a lot of those types of resources available to people, and it has a higher impact on communities than I thought it did, which I absolutely admire about it. Those who need help really should seek it.� She said it takes strong people to look deep into themselves and recognize their own weaknesses and ask for help. “You really have to look into yourself to know where you’re lacking, so to speak, so you know what you’re asking of them when you ask for their help,� she said. “I would recommend their resources to anybody.� For Knitig, her past struggles have allowed her to do something she’s passionate about, as she loves helping families and single parents find their own ways of coping. “Many years later and many, many decisions — good and bad — led me to this point where I can finally do what I am passionate about,� she said. “I truly believe it was about me finding the right spot to do what I had wanted to for so long — helping others find solutions for their situations or struggles. “I don’t have the answers, but I can walk beside them and encourage them and pray for them to find what they are so desperately seeking.�

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Minding Her Own Business

Photograph by Brittany Hannah

Tracy Page takes a turn on the other side of the camera in her Babycake Studios photo studio located on Broad Street.

Page’s trained eye makes for compelling photos, while digital technology makes process more efficient By Mike Colombo Staff Writer

Tracy Page remembers shooting her aunt and uncle’s wedding when she was 12 or 13 years old, standing beside the paid photographer with a Pentax her father bought her. As luck would have it — although attributing it to skill might be more appropriate — Page’s pictures were the only ones that turned out, salvaging that important moment in family history. That experience turned out to be telling for Page, who has turned her talent behind the lens into a profitable business that sometimes keeps her busier than she would like. Page owns and operates Babycake Studios, which specializes in portraits and head shots. She estimated 90 percent of her clients are actors who require her services for promotional photos. The job may sound easy to someone who thinks taking portraits is as easy as clicking a button and pressing print. It’s not.


Page said she often finds herself working 60 hours a week, if not more. And she travels to accommodate clients, recently spending a weekend in Charlotte, N.C., to get some shooting done. Page said when she started her business, she thought of it as a way to have a flexible work schedule while also juggling roles as a wife and mother. She and her husband, Rob Page, the dean of Social Sciences, Business and Education at Georgia Highlands College, have two daughters, Emma, 14, and Kate, 12. “My family is awesome,” Page said. “I do miss some family time, but I know that when I am not here, Rob is with the girls.” She said the interaction with her clients is one of the most satisfying aspects of her job. Taking shots of actors, she said, is normally far easer than photographing regular people. “I think actors are just more comfortable posing,” Page said. “They are usually far more comfortable in front of the camera.” She said the most famous actor she has photographed is probably Carl Grimes, who plays Chandler Riggs in “The Walking Dead,” AMC’s hit zombie series.

Page has a studio on Broad Street that she opened this past winter. She also travels to Marietta several days a week to shoot clients in the city’s square. That allows her to do more business with Atlanta customers and gives her a location where she can easily determine lighting needs. “I’m a creature of habit,” she quipped. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Page studied advertising and graphic design. Babycake Studios began 15 years ago when Page lived in Metro Atlanta as a graphic design company. After focusing heavily on photography the past seven years, she said she now has only one graphic design client left. Page has tried out a series of occupations since she moved to Rome 14 years ago. She was at one time the public information officer for the city of Rome and did marketing for Barnsley Gardens. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

t s a P e h t f o a i l o n Mag

Margaret Harris Blair was a founder of Delta Kappa Gamma By Kim Sloan Staff Writer

Margaret Harris Blair was an educator, wife, mother and leader. She is most known as one of the 13 founders of Delta Kappa Gamma, PSI Georgia, in 1936. Delta Kappa Gamma is a professional honorary society of women educators. Born Margaret Harris on July 3, 1883, to James C. Harris and Ellen Simmons Harris in Marietta, her family soon moved to Cedartown. Her father was the principal for the Georgia School for the Deaf. Blair followed in his footsteps and entered the education field. She received her B.S.H.E. degree at Alabama Polytechnic Institute in


1926. She received her degree from Teachers College in 1928. She also studied at the University of Chicago and Syracuse University. Blair taught high school in Rome and at the Georgia School for the Deaf. She made her mark in this world as a professor of Clothing and Textiles at the University of Georgia. An article in the St. Petersburg, Fla., Times dated April 11, 1948, stated that Blair was at a press conference hosted at the New York offices of Dan River Mills. She told reporters that women between the ages of 48 and 65 had a hard time finding clothes that were “fit and becoming.” Her mission was to do something about it. She gathered statistics to determine what women of a certain age needed. She

began that project when she was about to turn 65. On April 28, 2011, the Iota Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma held a memorial service at Blair’s gravesite on Myrtle Hill, where she is buried near her parents and sister. A plaque at her grave reads, “One of thirteen key women educators who founded Delta Kappa Gamma in Georgia.” Blair moved to Savannah from Rome and lived there for 18 years until she died on Oct. 20, 1973. She was survived by her daughter, Ellen Blair of Savannah. PICTURED ABOVE: Virginia McChesney is dressed as Margaret Harris Blair, one of the founders of the Georgia chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma. McChesney served as president of the Iota Chapter of the organization. (Photo by Kim Sloan)


Photograph by Tracy Page / Babycake Studios

LaRose Wilson

“I enjoy working in my vegetable and flower gardens, inside and outside,” says IT technician LaRose Wilson. It’s one of the ways she unplugs and relaxes.

LaRose Wilson will admit that it used to be hard for her to unplug. After all that’s why she went to Southern Polytechnic State University so that she could master computers. But that was before she was married and had kids to raise. Of course, she’s plugged in all day long as the IT technician for the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority, overseeing more than 100 computers, software installations and troubleshooting technical issues for a huge staff. But when she arrives home in Rockmart, her husband Larry makes it easy. “At home my husband does all the tech stuff. I have an old computer, and I don’t even bother to fix mine.” And that is such a relief and allows her to focus her attention on her family. “I am a bit of an introvert so I like to be in my comfort zone with family and friends,” she said. Though when her photo shoot started and she began talking about her son and niece and their family outings, the shyness seemed to fade away. “On weekends we always do something as a family like going to the park, playing baseball or going to the skating rink.” A Brooklyn native, LaRose, 36, has lived and worked in the Greater Rome area most of her life after her mother brought her to Rome as an infant. She says she loves working in technology and dealing with software and hardware challenges that crop up. And she loves that technology is constantly evolving. “I love ‘the new’ ... Learning the many changes.” But on her own time she likes to trade in the keyboards and computers for gardening tools. “I enjoy working in my vegetable and flower gardens, inside and outside.” She also likes to be entertained. “I love comedy.” And when it comes to music she loves listening to soul and pop, especially the enduring ballads of Whitney Houston. But family and children are the source of her main joy. “I love teaching and spending time with children.” LaRose’s main goal in life is to simply “make a difference.” And she believes technology can make a difference in people’s lives. “More cures and preventive measures. You can do more with less time.” But like all of our showcase women, she cautions that technology is no substitute for human interaction. “You lose true humanity. It is really hard to attach emotions to technology.” So she saves up her emotions for her family and friends and uses time with them to reboot. Charlotte Atkins, Editor



Photograph by Tracy Page / Babycake Studios

Antoinette Brahm

Antoinette Brahm became intrigued with Japanese culture after she and her husband moved to Rome in 1996. She’s shown with a sushi platter from Sumo Japanese Steakhouse.

Antoinette Brahm is a woman of the world. Born in Ireland where she lived and worked until one St. Valentine’s Day in Southern Ireland she met a Swedish gent destined to be her husband. Since then she and Bertil have lived in Ireland, England, the Isle of Man and Kentucky. Then they found their way to Georgia. “We moved to Rome in 1996 because we really liked the people, the quality of life, and we considered it to be a good business-friendly location for our company,” she said, noting that coming to America with her husband and starting their business was the best decision of their lives. Antoinette is vice president of Clean Air America, which designs and manufactures industrial air filtration systems that keep the air in factories clean and free of smoke, dust and oil mist. “One of the most exciting things about our technology is that we can monitor equipment we put in factories whether they’re in Mexico, Canada or anywhere in the U.S.” The Brahms travel a good bit and split their time between offices here and in Mexico. That suits Antoinette since she loves learning about other cultures. Even so, it might surprise some to learn that she studied Japanese after moving to Rome. “I became interested in the Japanese culture and language when my husband and I made friends with Yuichi and Mami Fukuda of F&P Georgia. At that time Neaton and Suzuki also opened factories in Rome. I was on the Chamber board and president of the Greater Rome Existing Industries Association and thought it would be nice to be able to say a few words in Japanese to them.” She also studied French in school and can speak a bit of Spanish as well. Antoinette finds the emerging technology in her industry exciting, especially “to see the systems go from conceptual ideas on the drawing board to 3D images and prototypes and from there into production.” She’s not convinced there’s too much technology but stresses that it cannot be all things to all people. “We are free to choose the amount we allow into our lives so that we don’t become overwhelmed by all of the information available to us.” Antoinette is mindful to unplug when she needs to by enjoying yoga, swimming, walking and reading. Zip-lining is on her bucket list as is more travel. “I would love to visit Australia, New Zealand and Japan.” Until then she will indulge in what she truly cherishes — time with family and friends ... and perhaps a little sushi. Charlotte Atkins, Editor


T R A SM ^

Home Sweet Home

Photograph by Jeremy Stewart

Shannon Scott changes the music playing throughout her house by using an iPad while it sits in its in-wall dock that also charges it.

Wired to connect and automate everything electronic and to control it all with the touch of a smart device By Jeremy Stewart Staff Writer

The exterior light that was left on shone through the night and right into the bedroom, causing Shannon Scott to be concerned for just a second. Instead of walking outside and flipping a switch, she stayed in the comfort of her bedroom. A few simple actions on a touch screen and the light was out. It was soon after that Shannon and her husband, Derin, had an automated electrical system installed to control a number of devices in and around their home. From the energy savings and peace of mind that comes with lighting controls and security monitoring, to the convenience of house-wide remote access to media, smart home technology takes the term “connected” to a whole other level. “We love having everything at the push of a button,” Shannon said. “It really provides the ability for us to do so much that we couldn’t do otherwise. The possibilities are tremendous.” The Scotts’ home in rural Gordon County is one of the sites where Calhoun-based Langston Creative Systems — — has designed and installed an automated electrical system. “Having one remote to do everything is the big thing now,” owner Shawn Langston said. “In a smart home world, anything is possible. You can lay in bed and dream, ‘wouldn’t it be nice if we could do this or that?’ Well, we can do it.” The Scotts’ home is a prime example of just how interconnected automated systems can be. In-wall touch panels are actually iPads linked to the system and programmed with a special interface and capable of being removed from the docks.


Through the devices you can control exterior lighting, heating and air, the security system, televisions and media, and the music playing throughout the house. And with iPhones programmed to control a number of functions, the ability to turn off a light or check a security camera is no longer limited to being at home. “It’s wonderful, and we feel the house is very safe,” Shannon said. “We were in Colorado and were able to go on Derin’s phone and see a view of the yard. To me, that’s safer than having the house monitored by a company because we’re the ones watching it.” All of the televisions are part of the system, with each one connected to satellite, DVD and Apple TV — allowing movies and television shows purchased on an iTunes account to be pulled up and streamed anywhere in the house, including on one of the iPad control devices. “It makes it nice that it is something anybody can jump into quick,” said Kip Crumb, a programmer for Langston Creative Systems. “The companies that develop these systems make it so there is not a big learning curve.” Separate slim line remotes are also placed around the house to control some of the same systems as the iPads and make what could be complicated actions simple. For example, the push of one button can turn on a television, choose the correct input, turn on the satellite receiver and select the correct audio. “That’s what having a ‘central brain’ controlling all of this does though,” Crumb said. “You see a lot of stuff that would normally cause a headache for people and put it into one little button.” “I know we’re just beginning to explore all of the things that we can do with it,” Shannon said. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

Photograph by Jeremy Stewart

Shannon Scott uses an iPad to control the television in her kitchen.


Langston said that a lot of what they do and change in a person’s home isn’t seen all of the time or even thought of by homeowners. When installing lights and lighting controls, Langston and his crews will put in LED lights and can program settings for interior lights based on when the sun hits it.

Photograph by Jeremy Stewart

The Scotts have replaced all of these remotes with programmable iPad interfaces and universal remotes.

If it is a time of day when a lot of sunlight is coming through the windows, the lights will only go up to 60 percent. Later on, as the sun sets, the power increases to 80 percent. “All of this funnels into going green, something that everybody wants to do, but a lot of them don’t necessarily think they can afford it,� Langston said. Langston said he has seen the business of smart home technology change over the years. He said in the past his main client base had been large houses, but the economy has changed that. “In the next five years, we’re looking at going in and designing work for 3,000-5,000-square-foot houses,� Langston said. “We want the bigger houses when they come along, but we understand that may not be the case in the near future.� Langston said that the core systems that are in the large houses could be very easily adapted to any size home or budget. “Electronics have come a long way, and it changes every month,� he said. “We want everybody, in some way, to enjoy the technology that is out there.�

Photograph by Jeremy Stewart

Part of the central station for the Scotts’ automated system includes a shelf dedicated to numerous satellite receivers.



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Aimee Griffin

Photograph by Tracy Page / Babycake Studios


Aimee Griffin calls herself a “voracious reader and pajama wearer,” which means she owns lots of books and a wardrobe of cute pajamas.

Technology is about more than websites and smart devices. It’s sometimes about saving lives. Just ask Aimee Griffin, director of The Breast Center at Floyd and assistant director of Floyd Imaging Services. She prides herself on being a lifetime learner, and radiologic science and medical technology require that. “It is always changing and getting better. It supports my love of learning and constantly growing, particularly the imaging field. Almost every technique I learned in school 20 years ago has changed completely or significantly evolved, which means I have to as well. Additionally, there is an amazing amount of research and development in both the imaging arena and the breast cancer screening and diagnosis arena, so it is a wonderful fit for me.” But the “unplugged” Aimee has so many other facets. For instance, she’s a closet, semi-pro cake decorator. “After my daughter was diagnosed with a life threatening tree nut allergy, which meant she could never again have baked goods from a commercial bakery, I didn’t want her to be doomed to a lifetime of bad birthday cakes. So I went and took cake decorating classes and now reserve two vacation days each year specifically to design and bake elaborate birthday cakes for my two kids. I also bake/decorate for several friends’ children each year.” Books are another passion. “I’m a voracious reader and pajama wearer. I often read books in a single weekend. My guilty pleasure is Southern chick lit novels,” she said. “My typical day ends with me being in pajamas by 6 p.m. and reading by 8 p.m. after my kids are in bed.” Even though Aimee is a director, there are titles she treasures more. “I’m a bit oldfashioned and a bit super Southern when it comes to marriage and family. Most people know my Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. persona, but my true love and preferred identity is largely wrapped up in being Mrs. William Griffin and Sydney’s (8) and Parker’s (6) mommy.” As a mom she sees the benefits and risks of technology. She’s fascinated by her kids’ school experiences. “From smart boards to iPads to my son’s ability to ‘assess and figure out’ just about any electronic device in 30 seconds flat, I think the tools that are available to teachers are truly amazing in today’s classroom. It also means that I have to explain to my 8-year-old daughter on a somewhat regular basis why she can’t have a smartphone.” Charlotte Atkins, Editor


50-Plus & Fabulous

Photograph by Doug Walker

When Barbara Briley isn’t on the iPad with her great-grandchildren, she loves to paint in a studio at her home.

Briley unfazed by advancing technology 82-year-old uses Facebook and iPad to stay in touch with family By Doug Walker Associate Editor

Barbara Briley has seen a lot of changes in her 82 years. She was born around the time television broadcast technology was emerging, has watched advances in everything from microwaves to computers and cell phones and has borne witness to an analog world turned digital over the decades. She isn’t sure how much more things can change, but one thing is very clear, she isn’t letting technology pass her by. Briley will try to tell you that she’s not all that technologically savvy, but at some point virtually every day she’ll pick up an iPad to stay in touch with her family that stretches from Virginia to Florida. Her son, Rome attorney Ed Hine, gave her the iPad, and she’s discovered that she uses it every day. “It’s so easy to pull up the email on it, and you know there are things that I read and I want to look up like an encyclopedia,” Briley said. Briley said she couldn’t have ever imagined the changes in technology during her lifetime that have seen the world of communications change from an old manual typewriter and party-line phone to the iPad that transmits letters and pictures around the country in the blink of an eye. She’s one of the millions of Facebook users, though Briley makes it pretty clear that she only uses Facebook to keep up with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “I don’t spend maybe an hour a day on it,” Briley said. “But I check it every day. I have one in Virginia and another one down in Miami, but most of them are Georgia-based.”


Photograph by Doug Walker

Barbara Briley sends an email to one of her great-grandchildren on an iPad given to her by son Ed Hine Jr. She uses Facebook a lot to communicate with her family from Virginia to Florida. Aside from taking advantage of the changing technology, Briley spends much of her free time painting in a studio at the rear of her home. Many of her works adorn the walls of the home she shares with husband Al Briley.

She believes that in their own way Facebook and her iPad have brought her closer to her grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. “They are great about sending pictures to keep up with them so I enjoy doing that. They know that I want to know what they are doing so I certainly think that’s an advantage.” Briley said her grandchildren and great-grandchildren don’t give her too hard a time about being on Facebook. “It’s not that hard; it really isn’t,” Briley said. But don’t expect to see Briley out in a local restaurant checking to see if Wi-Fi service is available, and don’t expect to see her pulling out her cell phone to check to compare prices while she’s shopping somewhere. “I think it’s just so much technology to have to re-learn, but I guess I should,” Briley said. Aside from Facebook, Briley does use the iPad when something she’s seen on television or read in a book piques her interest. “I saw an old movie the other night, and they were talking about Dunkirk so I pulled up Dunkirk, you know some information like that. I just use it as a good reference tool,” Briley said. “If there are things that I want to look up, of course at our age I try to keep up with medications, so I do look those up.” Briley also belongs to an investment club and uses the iPad to check her stocks. Those have been pretty enjoyable research projects in recent weeks with the stock market soaring to alltime highs. “It does looks pretty good doesn’t it,” Briley said “I don’t have a smartphone,” Briley said. “Me and the computer, I can pull up everything I need.”


Photograph by Tracy Page / Babycake Studios

Penny Evans-Plants

Penny Evans-Plants says there are three pairs of snow skis and five pairs of ski boots in her family’s home, but none of them are hers. Her family wants to change that.

When most women go on vacation, they look forward to a week off from cooking. Not Penny Evans-Plants. Her husband generally cooks at home, but then when the family heads off on one of their regular ski trips, Penny spends the week in the kitchen. “I cook just about every meal, and I love it,” says the chief information officer of Berry College. There’s another reason she’s the designated chef on ski trips. She doesn’t ski. “I go on at two least ski trips a year, and I hate cold weather and don’t ski!” But it is on her bucket list. “My family would love for me to learn how to snow ski (and to enjoy doing it). We’ll see!” But those family trips are how she unplugs from her high tech job. They’ve traveled to places like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Europe. That love of travel was sparked years ago. “My husband and I home exchanged with a family from Angers, France, during the 1996 Olympics. We spent a month in Europe and had a wonderful time.” Penny did not always plan on a tech career. She attended Cave Spring High until it closed after her sophomore year. She attended Coosa High and became friends with Angie McWhorter. Little did they realize then that they would both become CIOs for two of Rome’s largest institutions. “I’ve worked in IT since 2000 but did not get a related degree until 2007. Pretty powerful statement about a liberal arts degree though.” She loves her job. “The role of the CIO is a relatively new one, particularly in higher education. Technology should facilitate teaching and learning, so we are always looking for ways to incorporate technology both in and out of the classroom at Berry.” “I love being able to make a difference in our college community whether it’s making business processes more efficient, adding technology to a classroom or something as simple as helping someone get connected to wireless.” She says advances in technology have changed our landscape dramatically. “Think about the enormous access to information that we have at our fingertips! It’s important for us to be able to distinguish between legitimate, ‘good’ information and that which is ‘bad.’ I think it’s phenomenal that we can learn about anything that interests us with only a few strokes on the keyboard and a search engine. “The obvious downside is that we are ‘always on’ now. We seldom put down our devices and just relax.” Of course, she might be worried that if she puts down her devices she might have to pick up ski poles and barrel down a mountain ... Charlotte Atkins, Editor


Magnolia Spring 2013  

Magnolia Spring 2013

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