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Our food writer Frank Mack hits the streets to find the best restaurants around.




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Tripp Liles tripp@thecurrenthub.com

Mark Penstone mark@thecurrenthub.com

Carrie Kutney Art Director carrie@thecurrenthub.com

Tricia Morris (Social Chick) tricia@thecurrenthub.com


Frank Mack Di Chapman Rachael Brice Spalding Negron Fred Mills Geri Laufer Send submissions & questions: events@thecurrenthub.com Main Phone Number (678) 383-0981

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Currentchoices The Month in Preview DECEMBER 2017


On The Way To The Forum

Thru December 16


12th Annual Messiah Sing-Along

December 17 Along with professional vocal soloists, an orchestral ensemble from Georgia Philharmonic, and Organist Tom Alderman, hundreds of singers will perform the Christmas portion and the Hallelujah chorus of George Frederick Handel’s inspired masterpiece. This will take place at Roswell United Methodist Church on Sunday Dec. 17 at 3 p.m. For tickets and info visit mosingers.com.

Broadway’s greatest farce is light, fast-paced, witty, irreverent and one of the funniest musicals ever written. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum takes comedy back to its roots, combining situations from time-tested, 2000-year-old comedies of Roman playwright, Plautus, with the infectious energy of classic vaudeville. The play is a nonstop laugh fest in which Pseudolus, a crafty slave, struggles to win the hand of a beautiful, but slowwitted, courtesan named Philia for his young master, Hero, in exchange for freedom. The plot twists and turns with cases of mistaken identity, slamming doors and a showgirl or two. It is performed by Center Stage North located at The Art Place at Mountain View located at 3330 Sandy Plains Road in Marietta. Visit centerstagenorth.net for details.


Menorah Lighting

Dec. 18 Let us not forget that the season of lights is more than Christmas and on Dec. 18 Congregation Ner Tamid will celebrate Hanukkah with a Menorah Lighting on the Marietta Square starting at 6:30p.m. Led by Rabbi Joseph Prass, the event features free hot chocolate and donuts, plus games for the kids. For more info www.mynertamid.info.





Pajama Party With Santa

Hunter Flanagan concert




December 15

December 16

Need some time alone or to get some shopping done? Drop your children off for a pajama party with Santa while you take the night off. Children may dress in their holiday PJs and will enjoy snacks, a craft and watch Polar Express on the big screen.  Santa will be attending to help entertain and chaperone for part of the evening.  This takes places at East Roswell Park located at 9000 Fouts Road in Roswell and is sponsored by Roswell Parks and Recreation Department. The fee is $38 for residents and $57 for non-residents.

Come out for the debut of Hunter Flanagan, a 2017 Georgia Country Award Finalist for Teen Artist of the Year. He will be playing a great mix of today’s and classic country with more for your entertainment at Fire and Brimstone Tavern in Alpharetta starting at 8 p.m. Beyond his awards, Flanagan has been in several movies, commercials and TV shows. Good chance to catch a rising star early. Fire and Brimstone is located at 10595 Old Alabama Rd. in Alpharetta.


Outdoor Ice Skating

Thru early January


Granted we don’t have much of a winter here but you can get into seasonal activities with outdoor ice-skating available at Avalon in Alpharetta and Ice Skating on the Square in Marietta. Each location has temporary skating available through early January. Inspired by the famous Rockefeller Center experience in New York City these locations are a great way to practice some old tricks or learn some new ones. If you have been to these it’s fun to just people watch as the experience levels are pretty varied. With each location surrounded by great food and plenty of libations you can’t go wrong. For schedules and fees see the respective sites at www.experienceavalon.com or www.winterwonderlandmarietta.com.


Georgia Players Guild

December 31 The Georgia Players Guild celebrates two things: The greatest music of all time and the finest musicians in the Southeast. Musical Director, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Travis Cottle and Production Manager, singer, and guitarist Jacob Deaton carefully curate each concert and on New Year’s Eve you can catch their musical pairing of Tom Petty and Queen live at the Earl Smith

Theater. Their combined decades as leaders or members of countless musical endeavors have afforded them a long list of cohorts to call upon, who happen to be some of the most talented musicians in the Southeast. The result is a reverent exploration of some of the most iconic pop, rock, and country music ever made, tinged with the unique talents and personalities of the musicians chosen to make it. Show starts at 9 p.m. and ends before midnight celebrations. The Earle Strand Theatre is on the Historic Square in Marietta.


Noon Year’s Eve

December 31 The Fernbank Museum has something for those of you early-to-bed folks. Dance among the dinosaur bones as the museum hosts an end-of-the-year bash at high noon. A balloon drop sends those latex balls floating down into Fernbank’s Great Hall. Your ticket gets you into all exhibits, WildWoods, and Fernbank Forest, so when you’re not rocking into 2018, you can explore. For more info visit fernbankmuseum.org. >>LET THEM STAY UP

Kids’ New Year’s Eve Celebrations

Dec. 31 Because kids are just as excited to ring in the New Year as their parents—but need to be in bed before midnight—Stone Mountain Park is set to host an early New Year’s Eve Celebration. During Stone Mountain Christmas on Dec. 31., Stone Mountain Park will operate the Christmas event as usual (2 – 9 p.m.) and ring in the New Year with snowfall and early countdown. Immediately after the Snow Angel Snowfall and Fireworks Finale, the New Year’s Eve activities will begin with costumed characters, music and dance-a-longs. At 8:59p.m. the early countdown will begin and when the clock strikes 9, snow and fireworks will usher in the New Year. For more info visit www.stonemountainpark.com.






SAY GOODBYE TO 2017 IN STYLE By Fred Mills New Year’s Eve in Atlanta means welcoming new possibilities in whatever fashion you may choose. Whether it’s with a top college football matchup, a concert, or an all-out party, Atlanta is the place to be this year. In years past, the Peach Drop was the big event but with a change in ownership at Underground Atlanta there is no more Peach Drop. All is not lost as other venues look to fill the void with some big-ticket events. So the Braves’ first year at Sun Trust Park wasn’t exactly successful, but hey maybe 2018 will be better. And you can start 2018 next to the home of the Braves with NYE Live At the Battery Park. They will be ringing in the New Year in style with exclusive access to four bars and delicious food on both levels of Live At the Battery Atlanta. This New Year’s all-inclusive food and beverage features a wide array of food and music to bring in 2018. It culminates with a huge midnight celebration featuring the Times Square Ball Drop on their 30ft. LED Screen. Conveniently located in the Battery Atlanta next to SunTrust Park, off of I-75 and 285, party-goers won’t have to look far for transportation, parking, restaurants, and hotels. The Georgia Aquarium is a great place to take the kids. It’s even better

without them, and when you throw in a drink or two well, it becomes exceptional. “Sips Under The Sea” is one of the newer events and it doubles as a fundraiser for research and conservation efforts for the African Penguin. They will have an open bar with live music, plenty of food, and of course you will be surrounded by whale sharks, sea otters, jellies, hundreds of fish, and their black and white tuxedoed hosts. This event starts at 8:30 p.m. and runs past midnight. For more info, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org. Also downtown, there is the Atlanta NYElectric 2018 Countdown at the Westin Peachtree Plaza. This mega hotel sits 73 stories up and has two amazing ballrooms that will host the biggest NYE Countdown in the Atlanta area. They feature a wide array of music, open bars, and of course, great views. For tickets and more info visit atlantanightlife.com. Should you venture to Downtown Atlanta and stay the night then you can catch the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Parade on New Year’s day, which begins at 8 a.m. and steps off at the intersection of Peachtree St. and Baker St. No matter how you celebrate, remember to do so safely and let me be the first to say “Happy 2018!” ❍






Security trust fund holds about $2.7 trillion, which is invested in special-issue Treasury securities. As baby boomers start retiring, these assets will gradually be drawn down. Over the next 75 years, costs will begin to exceed income. There are enough reserves that the system will be able to pay 100% of promised benefits until 2034. After that, if nothing is done to reform the system, income will be sufficient to cover just 79% of promised benefits.


It depends on how much you earned over your working career and your age when you apply for benefits. Social Security looks at your annual earnings over your entire lifetime, indexed for inflation, Meaningful Conversations about Money by Robert Fezza and Steve Siders and picks the 35 highest years’ earnings to hen your parents retired, they proba- determine your benefit amount. Full retirement age is the age at which you can claim full, bly didn’t think too much about unreduced benefits. For anyone born between 1943 Social Security. They just went to and 1954, full retirement age is 66. For those born their local office as soon as they turned 65, or maybe 62 if they retired early, and in 1960 and later, full retirement age is 67. For applied for benefits. They probably took their bene- those born in 1955 through 1959, full retirement fits for granted and didn’t ask very many questions. age is 66 plus some number of months. For Baby Boomers… times… they are a-changin.’ HOW CAN I MAXIMIZE MY BENEFITS? There are many unknowns and variables when it There are several strategies to maximize your benecomes to Social Security. These are our views on fits. You can improve your earnings record or delay the top 4 questions we hear about Social Security. the start of benefits. You can also take advantage of


WILL SOCIAL SECURITY BE THERE FOR ME? spousal and survivor benefits and coordinate Social Yes, most likely in some form. Right now, the Social Security with your overall retirement plan. There

are additional variables that can come into play such as delaying benefits until age 70, divorces from marriages that last over 10 years, or death of a spouse.

WILL MY SOCIAL SECURITY PAYMENT BE ENOUGH TO LIVE ON IN RETIREMENT? Probably not. Social Security represents about 40 percent of the average retiree’s total income, less for high-income people. It’s important to partner with a trusted advisor to optimize your retirement income needs along with taxes, investments, estate planning, insurance, and the other elements of your financial plan so you can pursue the universal dream of a comfortable, worry-free retirement. Life’s a journey—navigate it wisely!❍ Robert Fezza, CFP® and Steve Siders, CFP® own Odyssey Personal Financial Advisors, 500 Sun Valley Drive, Suite A-6, Roswell, GA. Their firm specializes in working with people who are serious about making progress towards their financial goals. Odyssey manages portfolios greater than $250,000. 770-992-4444, www.odysseypfa.com. Securities offered through Cetera Financial Specialists LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.


For those of you in Fulton County, you have finally received your new tax bills that represent the climb-down rates reverting back to the previous assessments. This is good news for homeowners but eventually the actual prices will be reflected and for some of you it’s a doubleedged sword. A home with increasing value is a good thing but of course the taxes also increase and in some areas there are examples of

homes more than doubling in value. Granted, these homes were valued around 200k, but with some of those homes pushing north of 400k now the tax rates will rise. That is still a great investment for some residents even if they pay more in annual property taxes. The historic districts of both Roswell and Alpharetta are examples of this. They represent many of the aspects that younger buyers want. In a lot of cases the houses in and around our historic districts had been left behind by the more standard subdivision neighborhoods. These historic areas are where some great buys have been had and I anticipate the same growth moving forward. Younger folks who have no problem with redesigns, thanks to our DIY

culture, will buy many of these homes and in some cases homes are being bought strictly for the land. I anticipate that 2018 will be another great year for local homeowners but you must be grounded in reality. If you are in the market to buy, your supply is pretty short depending on price point. There are roughly 1.5 months of inventory available under $500k for reference a balanced market is 5 to 6 months of inventory. If you are in the market to sell, it’s still a great time—but don’t think it’s all that easy. As I stated, homes that are in the more traditional neighborhoods must be turnkey to get maximum value. It’s unrealistic to think a home is going to sell at the top dollar when there are numerous updates to be made. I also want to

bring your attention to the fact that in 2018 the conventional loan limits are going up to $453,100. This will help those buyers moving up, who want to purchase a home above $500k and stay out of jumbo loan territory. Lastly, I want to stress that you need to be aware that the sales cycle is taking longer in the above $500k price points. Our area is stretching ever north geographically speaking and relocation buyers as well as locals are not afraid to move farther out. They are looking at strong schools and homes that check all of the boxes. These are two aspects I will touch on later, but for now, I would just like to wish all of you Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year.



Kirsten Ricci is a Roswell resident and a Berkshire Hathaway Agent who specializes in residential real estate in the north metro Atlanta area. She can be reached at 678-472-3832, kirsten@roswellrealty.net

AN AMAZING JOURNEY TO A NEW YOU So 2018 is almost here and so to are

encouragement has been amazing,” said Tina. Encouragement is a key aspect to what helped Tina succeed. At Orangetheory, you’ll get the energy of a group workout with the attention of an experienced personal coach. Our coaches are knowledgeable, encouraging, and committed to helping you meet your fitness goals. If weight loss is your goal, you can expect to see an estimated loss of three to five pounds per week by attending three to five sessions per week and with proper nutritional planning. If performance is your goal, you can expect to see an increase in power, speed, and strength after your first two weeks of attending two to four sessions per week. So what are you waiting for? Shape Magazine and Men’s Journal have recognized Orangetheory Fitness seem to find the right fit in a fitness program… as one of the nations until she came to Orangetheory Fitness. “I was nerv- best workouts. Now is ous, excited, and curious—would this place work for a great time to start me? I’d tried Weight Watchers, LA Fitness, and spent your journey. thousands on a program through a local hospital and Roswell Suwanee-Brookwood none of them worked. OTF’s group workout is what 625 W Crossville Rd 2615 Peachtree Pkwy really worked for me. The trainers telling me what to #108 #230 do and everyone doing the same workout helps me to Roswell, GA 30075 Suwanee, GA 30024 770-625-6122 770-688-0622 feel not out of place, and I’ve never once felt judged. I Orangetheoryfitness.com have made lifelong friends, and the support and


those pesky New Year’s resolutions. How about this year you break the mold and start early by getting in on the best one-hour workout in the country at Orangetheory Fitness. If you haven’t heard by now, Orangetheory Fitness is a one-of-a-kind, group personal training workout. The result is more energy, visible toning, and extra calorie burn for up to 36 hours. The core aspect is our heart rate based interval training. Backed by the science of Excess PostExercise Oxygen Consumption (or EPOC), Orangetheory’s heart rate monitored training is designed to maintain a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy. We call it the afterburn. Our members burn an estimated 500 to 1,000 calories in 60 minutes. The results can be transformative. But don’t just take our word for it. Here is a real live case: When Tina M.’s endocrinologist said the only way she could lose weight was bariatric surgery, she decided she would prove to him—and herself— that she could lose the weight on her own. It was a bold goal. After battling diabetes and high blood pressure due to obesity for years, Tina could never






By Spalding Negron


usic has always been front and center during my holidays. As a child, my first memories of music were some of the holiday classics performed by jazz legends. That was my introduction to jazz and it is still a passion. This holiday season there are several opportunities to see some wonderful jazz performers. So if you are looking to entertain friends or out of town guests let me suggest a few evenings that will surely provide great entertainment.

Kristina Koller performs at The Velvet Note December 22 and 23.

The biggest Christmas-themed show will be produced by Georgia Ensemble Theatre’s presentation of Winter Wonderland featuring Joe Gransden with Francine Reed. Reed is a Georgia Music Hall of Fame inductee who will take the stage with Joe and the guys to swing you into the holidays. Enjoy your favorite Christmas classics performed by one of today’s top jazz vocalists. Hits like “Let It Snow,” “It’s Beginning to look a lot Like Christmas,” “Silver Bells,” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” will be

part of the set list. This will be a special evening, but don’t just take my word for it. “Joe has an innate ability to connect with an audience. His singing and trumpet playing are world class. Throw in his 16-piece big band and you have something very special!” said Smokey Robinson. Well if Mr. Robinson’s recommendation isn’t good enough, then I don’t know what is. For tickets and info on the show visit get.org. For those of you unaware we have a premiere jazz

club right here in our backyard at The Velvet Note in Alpharetta. It is a room specifically designed for music and it is the closest thing you will get to seeing a show in your living room. In December they have several shows that present a great opportunity for you to gain a new favorite hangout. On Dec. 22 and 23 they feature a special performance by The Kristina Koller Quartet. Koller, who is based in New York City, is touring in support of her soon to be released debut album Perception. Her sound is both timeless and contemporary. As a composer, Kristina melds diverse genres of music into her songs. While she loves singing standards and straight ahead jazz, Kristina also enjoys arranging tunes in unusual ways, knowing that adding to the legacy of jazz is much more important than merely recreating the performances of others. She has performed at many venues and halls throughout New York City including the famous Apollo Theater, and now is your chance to see her up close. For show times and tickets visit www.thevelvetnote.com. This is a special time of year and music only enhances the experience. I hope to see you at one of these shows and I wish you all a happy holiday season. ❍




A Theatre Legend Has Passed Bob Farley, leader of Georgia Ensemble Theatre has died; his legacy will serve as inspiration for future generations. “As a 21-year-old, I was stage managing Helen Hayes and working closely with John Cullum as well as distinguished composers including theatre training institutions during his By Rachael Brice Oscar Brand,” he said. “It was really the senior year. Ultimately, he chose to best first job anyone could ever hope No one would have ever guessed when attend the official state theatre of for.” Bob Farley was in ninth grade that he California, the Pasadena Playhouse. About the same time he started would end up as a theater professional. “It was like going through boot working on Broadway, the musical He was a shy and awkward kid who camp,” Farley said. “Unbeknownst to Hair opened a few blocks down the never had any interest in theatre or actme when those three years were over, I street. He admits he was a Hair ing. But after attending a youth theatre had been trained to know how to run a “groupie” and would sneak into the variety show at a local church in St. theatre and had substantial experience show quite often. This ultimately led Louis, things changed. in just about everything imaginable— him to his next gig—stage managing “I was charged with running the from interning to producing to the show in Hollywood and eventually light board,” Farley said, “and it was managing a box office to budgeting for directing all Hair productions in the here I learned you can paint with light a production.” U.S., Canada, and Mexico, which he did and color, shadow and darkness, and After the incredibly valuable experiout of San Francisco for the next two tell stories with it. It elevated my life to ence with the Pasadena Playhouse, and a half years. a whole new level and I became Farley landed his first job with the During his stint in San Francisco, addicted.” APA-Phoenix Repertory Company, Farley had a growing interest in To further fuel his newfound love for which was one of three major rotating nonprofit regional theatre. He believed theatre, he traveled across the state of repertory companies in the country. he was born to serve and gained great Missouri throughout the next few years Working out of the Lyceum Theatre on pleasure from serving others. to see anything and everything he Broadway in New York was the greatest “I want to make life as happy and could. Much to his surprise, he was acexposure he could have possibly ever good as I can for others,” he said, “and cepted into some of the country’s best received, Farley said. that’s been my true motive in life.” After finishing Hair, working in network television, and co-founding the Alaska Repertory Theatre, Farley decided it was time for a change and to pursue his passion for nonprofit theatre. Farley had been the Resident Director at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta from 1971 to 1974 and returned in 1987 as the Artistic Director to increase attendance. During his threeyear tenure, the theatre grew from 12,000 subscribers to 20,000, the highest subscription rate in the country at the time. “It was my goal to break down the borders of where the people were,” he said. “I needed to convince those that lived in Buckhead, Morningside, and Ansley Park that there was a world outTopher Payne and Bob Farley on the set of “Morningside” Photo: GET side of that, and I believe I Editors note: Robert J. Farley passed away suddenly on Nov. 30. This interview was conducted shortly before his passing. Bob was a true leader in the arts and his passion for theatre will leave a lasting legacy for future generations.

Bob Farley Photo: GET

accomplished what I set out to do.” But even after great success, Farley knew he wanted more. In November of 1991, Farley and his wife Anita stumbled upon the Roswell Municipal Auditorium (now known as the Roswell Cultural Arts Center). No one was around, so they walked in and stood downstage center, and somehow knew it would be the perfect home for their next big project. “We didn’t know how and we didn’t know when, but we knew it would be the future home of the Georgia Ensemble Theatre,” he said, “and about a year and half later, it was.” Georgia Ensemble Theatre (GET) first opened in 1992, 25 years ago, with Kaufman and Hart’s, You Can’t Take It with You, putting the theatre in an immediate financial deficit, which took 19 years to overcome. “It’s not been easy,” Farley said, “but it’s been worth it and I don’t have any regrets.” At the conclusion of the theatre’s current 25th Silver Anniversary season, he had been part of 175 productions with GET. He was proud of everything the theatre, staff and performers accomplished, but there were a few things that stood out above the rest. The first is the show, And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank. This is the 21st consecutive year GET will perform the show, Farley, continued on p.16



major role in developing American playwright, Topher Payne, who just completed his fifth show with GET in November. “None of us had the chance to say a proper goodbye to Bob Farley. As news of his passing is shared, many who loved him will feel robbed of that opportunity,” Payne stated. “But I want you to remember what Bob knew about endings: If you did the work, if you paid attention, then the smallest deed, a nod of the head, a handshake, a few words in passing—was informed by everything that came before it.” Alan Kilpatrick, GET’s associate Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash from “Million Dollar Quartet” Photo: Cayce Callaway Once on this Island” Photo: DanCarmody/Studio7 artistic director will be Farley’s which has been seen by over half a mil- have the biggest impact on the commu- take theatre to the schools and perform successor and will continue to provide nity and its students. Earlier this year, literature through drama is one of the lion students and teachers since GET the theatre and its patrons with great the theatre launched the program with only outlets left for people to began performing it in 1997. shows and memories that are sure to experience non-linear thinking and to last a lifetime. “It’s one of the most amazing theatre seven actors and four understudies, who learn each play concurrently, tour- generally create and learn how to comshows I’ve ever been a part of,” Farley “We have an intensely loyal audience municate in public, confidently and ing the shows around the country for said, “and I am extremely grateful for in Atlanta,” Farley said. “They are just flawlessly. It changes your mind about wonderful and I love working with the show and the impact it’s had on our the next nine months. Each show is the world.” curriculum driven so students can audiences.” them; I’m going to miss them terribly.” Farley also proudly stated that in the associate what they are learning in the Farley believed his lasting legacy It is in fact all of us who will miss last 25 years, the theatre has been classroom with the performance. wouldn’t be from the main stage, but Bob, but let the Georgia Ensemble “I believe theatre education is more home to nine newly created works, and Theatre stand as a living testament to rather from the theatre’s new education that he collaborated with and played a his dedication to the craft of theatre. ❍ important than ever,” Farley said. “To program, which he considered would Farley, continued from p.14

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health&wellness presented by WellStar North Fulton Hospital


WellStar North Fulton Hospital Community Calendar December 2017 through February 2018 Maternity Tours

SUPPORT GROUPS Ostomy Support Group

By Jon-Paul Croom, president, WellStar North Fulton Hospital

Last year, more than 33,000 Americans died of an opioid drug overdose. These came from both heroin and prescription opioid overdoses. In fact, overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in this country. To put things in perspective, in 2012, more than 259 million opioid prescriptions were written. With the U.S. population at 329 million, that’s nearly enough opioids for every adult to have their own bottle of pills. If you think this is a problem somewhere else, think again. This is happening in our backyard. Georgia has seen huge increases in overdose deaths. Fulton County rates are more than double the national average. In 2010, four people died of heroin overdoses in our community. Five years later, that number has risen to 82, many of which occurred in North Fulton County. This is a problem we have to address together. We know there is a correlation between prescription opioids and heroin use. Research shows that four out of five new heroin users get their start as legitimate opioid users, often following a surgery or other medical procedure. Once their prescriptions expire, they find it easier and cheaper to obtain heroin. At WellStar North Fulton Hospital, we see many overdoses in our Emergency Department each year. Even one death is too many. We need to join together as a community to stop opioid abuse. WellStar is developing programs to combat this epidemic. We are also partnering with Fulton County and state leaders to develop solutions. If you would like more information or be a part of the solution, please visit www.fultoncountyga.gov/soa-home.

Third Tuesday of every month, 6:30 p.m. Classroom C This group is open to anyone who has or will have an ostomy and any friends, family or supporters. Call John Dorso at 678-694-8726 to register or to obtain more information.

Stroke Support Group Last Wednesday of each month from 6:30 -7:30 p.m. ACE Dayroom. Please join Stroke survivors, caregivers, and families to share and support one another. The group is facilitated by the Stoke Program Coordinator and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. RSVP to Keisha C. Brown at 404-229-9639 or keishac@thriveworks.com.

Look Good, Feel Better Wednesday, 1/10/18; 10 a.m.–Noon A cosmetologist will discuss how to care for skin and hair to combat the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment. Free make-up and skin care products are provided. Call 1-800227-2345 for location and to register.

Epilepsy Support Group Third Wednesday of every month; 7–9 p.m. Classrooms A/B. People with epilepsy as well as their family and care-providers are invited to attend this support group. The meetings will provide time for attendees to share helpful information and resources from their own experiences. Please contact Tim for more information at 770-667-9363.

Breast Cancer Support Group First Thursday of every month, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Cope and connect with others who are facing the same struggles. Please call Sarah Bentley, RN, Oncology Services Manager, at 770-751-2556 for location and to register.

Alzheimer’s Association Caregiver Support Group Every Fourth Saturday, 10–11 a.m. Classroom C. Please join our monthly support group for caregivers and family members of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or related disorders. The support group offers a place to share information, support each other and learn about resources in your community. Call Christine at 404-786-3433 for more information.

COMMUNITY EDUCATION American Heart Association Heartsaver, Friends and Family, BLS for Healthcare Provider CPR and Heartsaver First Aid. Look for new class dates in 2018.

Diabetes Self-Management Workshop Saturday,12/9/17, 1/13 and 2/10/18 The Diabetes Association of Atlanta (DAA) offers classes at WellStar North Fulton Hospital to teach diabetes selfmanagement skills. Call Anna at 404-527-7180 for more information and to register.

Please join one of our Women’s Health nurses in the hospital atrium on alternating Tuesdays at 4 p.m. and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. for a guided tour of the Labor & Delivery suites, Mother/ Baby Unit and the Neonatal ICU.

Water Birth Thursdays 12/14/17 and 12/28/17, 1/11/18, 1/25/18, 2/8/18, and 2/22/18 at 7 p.m. Registration required. For couples desiring to learn about the option of a water birth delivery. Completion of the class is required to be considered for water birth at WNFH. $30.00 per couple. WellStar North Fulton Hospital

SPECIAL EVENTS Pain & Spine Center Expansion Grand Opening Tuesday 1/16/18 The Pain & Spine Center is expanding and will now offer a new patient waiting area and a space for drivers with a work area. New patient exam rooms will also be added as well as treatment rooms to improve patient wait time.

Request WellStar to be at Your Event If you are interested in submitting a request for a sponsorship, speaker, worksite wellness or community event, please visit wellstar.org. Click on the “Contact Us” at the top of the page and then Sponsorship & Event Requests on the right side of the webpage. Create an account and submit. You will be contacted by someone in Community Education and Outreach at WellStar. For more information, call 770-793-7373.





EAT LIKE AN ITALIAN Healthier lifestyle tips from overseas By Dr. Nathan Kaller, WellStar Medical Group

You don’t see the same rates of hypertension, diabetes and obesity in Italy—or overseas in general—like you do in America. More than a third of Americans are obese and in 20 years, our population is projected to hit a startling obesity level of 50 percent. That leads to more disease, more time in the hospital, and a lower quality of life. I don’t want to see our country go that way. My lifework is helping patients improve their health through lifestyle changes, not just with prescriptions. We’re all about preventative medicine: stopping disease before it happens. When patients buy into a lifestyle-change mindset, they feel better physically and mentally. And their health reflects it. We start by eating like Italians. I know that may sound strange. But I’m not talking about pizza. My time overseas revealed that portion sizes set us apart from our friends overseas. A “large” serving size in Europe is equal to a “small” in the same fast-food franchise in the U.S. Another lesson from Italy: eat bigger lunches and smaller dinners. Heavier portions earlier in the day provide energy when we need it. We spend the day burning off the calories. Our traditionally heavier dinner doesn’t always get burned off because we’re about to go to bed. When it comes to what we eat, if it’s a plant, eat it! If a box claims it comes from a plant, better to leave it on the shelf. Things in boxes are usually pretty highly processed and don’t help us reach our health goals. Getting back to that inspirational region of the world, I like to recommend the Mediterranean diet. It consists of heavy vegetables, fruits, nuts, moderate protein—like seafood—and

“good” fats. Eating this way lowers our chances of heart attack, diabetes and more. Then we exercise. Easier said than done; life gets in the way. Trust me, I know. I’m a dad. But I tell my patients that not everyone needs to run a marathon. Just 30 to 60 minutes of activity—a walk around the neighborhood a few times a week—can change your future. A recent patient of mine is a great example. He came in for a routine physical and discovered he had high cholesterol. He took the ‘Italian Challenge’ and was able to bring his cholesterol down to healthy levels, and without medication. Small changes in diet, huge results. Lifestyle choices clearly mean better health. But it’s important to remember it’s not just for ourselves. It’s for our children, who have more obesity problems now than ever. Exercise has been eliminated from school programs. Electronics are luring our kids to spend hours on the couch. Fit parents are the best hope for our kids. Just imagine. We can change the obesity epidemic. We can stop diabetes and lower cholesterol. We can reduce heart attack risk. We can make life better for ourselves and serve as incredible role models for our children. Doesn’t that make eating like an Italian worth it? To find a primary care physician at a WellStar Medical Group near you, call 770-956-STAR (7827) or visit wellstar.org.



ellStar North Fulton Hospital welcomes Scott Miller, M.D. as new Medical Director of Robotic Surgery. Dr. Miller will also be seeing patients in his practice office, WellStar Urology in Roswell. “We are very happy to have Dr. Miller on board. Our community will benefit greatly from having such Scott Miller, M.D. an accomplished and caring surgeon in the area,” said Jon-Paul Croom, president of WellStar North Fulton Hospital. “It is a great honor to have Dr. Miller join our staff, and a testament to our commitment to provide world-class healthcare in North Fulton.”

Dr. Miller brings more than 20 years of experience and expertise in laparoscopic and robotic surgery to WellStar Medical Group. He served as medical director of Northside Hospital’s Advanced Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery Program and performs more than 250 various robotic surgery and laparoscopic procedures every year. “It has been a privilege to provide urologic and robotic surgical care to our community over the last 22 years. I look forward to continuing the same high level of care in the greater Atlanta area at WellStar North Fulton Hospital,” said Dr. Miller. Board-certified by the American Board of Urology since 1997, Dr. Miller is an active member of many professional societies including the American Urological Association, the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons,

and the Endourological Society. He graduated from the Medical College of Georgia and completed his urologic residency at the University of Kentucky Medical Center. Dr. Miller provides education to other physicians through peer-reviewed journal and book chapter publications, hands-on teaching and scientific presentations. He is also an accomplished musician and composer who has written a variety of songs, including a new piece about the emotional impact of a cancer diagnosis. Dr. Miller will be joining WellStar Medical Group Urology in Roswell in January 2018. For appointments, please call 470-956-4230. ❍

PATIENTS WILL HAVE ACCESS TO THE LATEST MEDICAL INFORMATION WellStar Health System is expanding its collaboration with Mayo Clinic, a global leader in medical research and education. Physicians at WellStar North Fulton Hospital now have access to the resources of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, a national network of like-minded organizations who share a commitment to better serving patients and their families. “At WellStar, we are focused on finding innovative ways to improve patient care,” said John A. Brennan, M.D., executive vice president & chief clinical integration officer. “WellStar is home to some of the most accomplished and preeminent physicians in the Southeast. By collaborating with Mayo Clinic, we are giving our physicians and patients another resource that can improve the health of our community.” WellStar joined the Mayo Clinic Care Network in 2014. Now all 11 hospitals and WellStar Clinical Partners are included in the Mayo Clinic Care Network. Through digital technology, physicians in the network can collaborate and share the latest medical information. Experts from WellStar and Mayo Clinic work together to further enhance the

delivery of healthcare, allowing many patients to receive answers to complex medical questions, close to home. “WellStar’s membership in the Mayo Clinic Care Network is a great example of their dedication to providing the best care, close to home,” says Ryan Uitti, M.D., Mayo Clinic Care Network SE Medical Director. “Sharing Mayo Clinic’s knowledge, resources, and expertise with WellStar Health System physicians provides great peace of mind for their patients. Now with the expansion of WellStar in the care network, even more patients will benefit from our collaboration.” Specialists across WellStar can now have access to Mayo Clinic’s knowledge and expertise using a variety of electronic tools and services and can consult directly with Mayo Clinic experts on complex diagnosis and treatment plans. Since launching in 2011, the Mayo Clinic Care Network has grown to include more than 40 healthcare organizations across the country including China, Mexico, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. ❍

Some of the tools and services available through this partnership include: eConsults: WellStar Clinical Partner physicians use electronic consulting to connect directly with Mayo Clinic specialists on complex patient cases, which is included at no cost to the patient. AskMayoExpert: All members of WellStar’s medical staff have 24/7 access to Mayo-vetted medical information and guidelines through AskMayoExpert, which is a web-based resource created for physicians and other healthcare providers. Healthcare Consulting: Related to clinical and business processes, this relationship allows WellStar providers to accelerate patient care innovations.


WellStar North Fulton Hospital joins Mayo Clinic Care Network





CELEBRATING LIFE WellStar North Fulton Hospital now offers inpatient hospice care Patients and families who face a life-limiting illness now have the opportunity to receive compassionate care and celebrate life at WellStar North Fulton Hospital. The inpatient hospice program launched earlier this year in response to the need that many families had as they discussed end-oflife care options for family members who were already patients at North Fulton. “People fear pain and suffering in the end of life. We have an obligation to make sure they’re comfortable and surrounded by their friends and family. For families it’s equally important to know that their loved one is at peace and receiving excellent care,” said Mandy Harrison, hospice liaison for WellStar Community Hospice. “We wanted these patients to continue to get great care while being able to celebrate that person’s life to the best,” explained Karim Godamunne, M.D. chief medical officer of WellStar North Fulton. In-patient hospice is often Karim Godamunne, M.D. compared to an Intensive Care Unit level of care for patients who are experiencing symptoms that are unmanaged and cannot be controlled outside of the hospital setting. Some examples of symptoms that

would require this level of care are uncontrolled pain, extreme anxiety, respiratory distress, and continuous or uncontrolled seizure activity. When hospital staff determines that a patient may be eligible for this highly specialized care, they contact the hospice liaison and start working with families and other team members on transitioning the patient into this level of care. Patients and their families receive continuous support from the hospice team that includes hospital nurses, chaplains and case managers, according to Harrison. “This is a collaboration between hospital staff and hospice staff. There are many involved in the process: hospitalists, charge nurses, IT, patient access, house supervisor and pharmacy. Everyone works together


to make sure the patient has what they need to be comfortable and peaceful at the end of life,” said Harrison. In 2016 WellStar launched the home hospice care program in North Fulton for patients living in their own homes, at a relative’s home or at a skilled nursing or assisted living facility. Team members provide medical services and comfort care and support the family caregivers. A key piece to the program is the work the hospice team does with the families, according to Dr. Godamunne. “Families are very appreciative. We are offering now a level of support that we couldn’t give them before,” said Dr. Godamunne. Families receive bereavement support for 13 months after the


patient’s death, including support groups and grief groups. “We follow up with them during that first year and make sure they have support during the holidays, birthdays, etc.,” explained Harrison. “Hospice care is more for the patient when they’re alive, and more for the family after they pass,” said Harrison. For more information about WellStar Community Hospice in North Fulton, call 470-732-6710 or visit www.wellstar.org. ❍

“People fear pain and suffering in the end of life. We have an obligation to make sure they’re comfortable and surrounded by their friends and family.”

Twitter handle: @NFultonHospital

LIFE… 50+ (




I love the holiday season. ’Tis the time to slow down a little, no matter who you are. It’s the time to treat your loved ones with the gift of your presence and to treat yourself with time to enjoy them. It’s time to talk with your family, extensions and all. It’s also understandably the time for doting on children, and there’s something else. Are you, by chance, a pet parent? If you are then you probably adore your pets as well. Chances are the humans in your life are doing the same. You’ll be giving them gifts along with everyone else and loving their sleepy presence when you’re staying up late watching holiday classics on TV.

We pet lovers have been fawning over our fur kids for years and in recent history we have the stores and products to indulge our affection for them. Yes, we’re nutty as fruitcakes, but who cares? We love these guys with four legs and fur, big or small, canine or feline, and anything in between. During the holidays we demonstrate just how much. I’ve had a hypothesis since my young adulthood, that at least half of American households had pets, regardless of what anyone said. To be truthful, I was always told by folks who wouldn’t even consider having a pet that the norm was far fewer. Well, dudes, I grew up with multiple pets wandering throughout the house, as did every kid in my neighborhood. That made our enclave composed of 100% pet families. I knew at some point there’d be a tally. Mind you, I’ve done my homework now. Sixtyeight percent of us in America have pets in our homes, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA). That’s 85 million homes. The APPA also found that 81% of us say we have unconditional love for our pets. Ah ha! The organization also found that Gen Y and Millennials have surpassed us baby boomers in pet

Welcome to the Family!



and their dog, Willy, says the community just feels like home. In fact, it feels so homelike that the couple’s 14year-old granddaughter, Aleni, loves coming for visits. “Aleni likes walking Willy around the lake here and stopping to feed the fish. She enjoys meeting our neighbors and going along with us on some of St. George’s planned day trips, like touring the Marietta Trolley and visiting the Waffle House Museum and Mayfield Dairy,” said Mary Beth. “Also, she loves our Wednesday Happy Hour, although, At St. George Village, we have of course, she has a soft drink!” created a warm and welcoming atmosIt’s not unusual to see family phere that encourages engagement members of all ages spending time at with families, friends and neighbors. St. George Village every day of the Mary Beth Devers, who recently moved week. In fact, it’s intentional. Our to St. George with her husband, Jim, mission statement, “Be active, be

or most of us, our connections with friends and family play a vital role in keeping us physically and mentally healthy, particularly as we grow older. In fact, these social relationships are one of the most important keys to successful aging and can add years to our lives.

Aleni Poulos (left) enjoys visiting with her grandmother, Mary Beth Devers, and family dog, Willy, at St. George Village.

engaged, be at home,” certainly includes a big welcome to our residents’ family and friends! Come see all the ways in which we say, “Welcome to the Family!” at St. George Village. Take a tour, stay for

lunch. Call Stacy at 678-987-0402 for a confidential appointment. Find more details about our community, lifestyle and residents at www.stgeorgevillage.org. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest, too! ❍

St. George Village | 11350 Woodstock Road | Roswell, GA 30075 | 678-987-0402 | stgeorgevillage.com | www.pinterest.com/stgeorgevillage


Di and Kitty getting ready for Christmas.

households by 3%, and they’re going strong. Studies show they are also trending an “allow pets at work” initiative. Pet love will go on! The reality is, there have been pet lovers throughout history who have indulged their four legged family members year ’round. Watch movies made in the 1930s and 40s and you will notice a family dog in every one. Our founding fathers had plenty of dogs in their households, too. The story is that George and Martha Washington shared their estate with at least five dogs. They wandered in and out of the house as they pleased, and one even stole a just-cooked turkey off the counter as Martha sat guests at the table for a state meal. Thomas Jefferson adored dogs and rescued many. On one trip to France, he rescued a pooch, and lo and behold, on the boat sailing back to America with him, she had puppies. Ladies and gentlemen, we pet parents love to spend money on our little darlings. If you haven’t been into a pet store lately, you’ve missed the burgeoning variety of pet foods, toys, grooming products, and apparel items. To top it off, high-end spending is happening with an explosion of luxury products and services for pets, like manicures, facials, and glutenfree snacks. Wait… facials? Yes you read that right. To put perspective on

this, in 2017, pet retail sales were $19.29 billion. Yes, indeed, at the pet store last weekend, I laughed when I saw the proliferation of gluten-free foods on the shelves. There are now non-GMO, organic, holistic, grainfree, and other specialty foods. Really? We humans are a predictable lot. The premium pet food market for cats and dogs is so totally designed to attract us so we’ll give it to them. Consider the cute non-GMO Organic “dog bone” cookies I saw at the market last week. The cookie “bones” are dyed red, tied with a Christmas bow and packaged in a gift box of two. The doggies I know are busy sniffing out and ripping open any wrapped food substances, from chew bones to candy that happen to be under the tree. They’re truly uninterested in any pedigrees the foods might claim. You can imagine how the high-end pet food producers are raking it in, not to mention the retailers who are selling these gourmet concoctions at two to three times the price of the run-of-the-mill oldies. Perhaps we pet lovers have lost our minds. But, it sure is fun during the holidays, and all year ’round. Happy holidays to you, dear readers! Thank you for making my writing a part of your lives in 2017! ❍



REPURPOSED CHRISTMAS TREES Recycling and upcycling options for fresh GARDEN (

Christmas trees—after the holiday!

Use the tree as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Prop it up in the garden and hang it with suet feeders, popcorn garlands, and fresh fruit such as orange slices. Photo: Dan Hughes/Flicker/Creative Commons by Geri Laufer

After the holidays, evergreen Christmas trees are often put on the curb for trash collection. This year, show some imagination! Don’t just throw your cut evergreen Christmas tree; recycle it! Here are some tips on what to do with your tree after the holidays. Win one for the “Chipper.” Mulching programs are a fastgrowing trend in communities across the nation. Large chipper/shredders are used to grind up the trees, and afterward the mulch is made available for use in residents’ gardens.  Big Box Stores also garner goodwill by contributing to this effort. Make sure all ornaments, tinsel and non-organic decorations are removed. Drop off the tree at a county recycling center. Most municipalities publish free drop-off locations throughout their jurisdictions. Usually, a tree or two may be dropped off at no charge. Use mulch to pave Hiking Trails or

Woodland Walkways. Parks and nature walks use shredded evergreen trees as a free, renewable path material that fits both the environment and the cushions the steps of hikers! Ask a buddy. Long ago my husband bought me a shiny red chipper/shredder for a Valentine’s present (!), and I was willing to DIY chip our tree and those of a couple of neighbors each year. Call in the Cavalry. Telephone for an appointment to have the Boy Scouts or an environmental nonprofit group in the area pickup your tree in return for a small donation (around $5 or $10).


Barriers to Soil Erosion. Ask Riverkeepers if they wish to turn old trees into soil erosion barriers on river banks and lake shorelines. They are great to use as beach stabilization to protect sand dunes and preserve beaches. Use dead trees as filters to manage delta sedimentation. Fish Feeders. Our Roswell property had a half-acre earthbottom pond, so I submerged our old Christmas tree in the deep end to make a fishy refuge and egg-laying habitat and feeding areas for the bream, catfish and bass living there. Bullfrog eggs too. Bird Feeders. After removing all ornaments, hooks and tinsel, prop the dead Christmas tree in a corner of the garden and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Hang with suet feeders, fresh fruit such as orange slices, or popcorn garlands. Bottle Trees. Using sharp bypass loppers, clip branches off at about 6-8 inches out from the trunk, eliminating those that are not spaced evenly around the trunk. Anchor the tree in the ground. Impale longnecked bottles of different colors of glass on the branch-stubs for a downhome style garden ornament that looks well as the sunlight sifts down through the glass. Add a little protective cover. Cut off the green branches and lay them over Hydrangeas to protect next spring’s flower buds. Last resort: put the tree out on the curb. (Fingers crossed) the solid waste removal guys might take the tree away. Many areas collect trees during regular pickup schedules during the two weeks following Christmas, although there are often requirements for size, removing tinsel, ornaments, limitations on flocked trees, and so forth. Chop the tree into 3- or 4- foot sections for easier removal and put it into the green yard waste container. Living, rooted trees: Of course, next year, you might choose a rooted (container-grown or ball and burlapped) Christmas tree, and then plant it in your yard after Christmas to grow and thrive. Pre-dig the hole now, while the soil is still soft before

Use sharp bypass loppers to clip branches off 6–8 inches out from the trunk to make the base for a bottle tree. Photo: Takomabibelot/Flickr/Creative Commons

ground frost and plant the tree immediately after Christmas. Important: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Pines, firs and other evergreens have a high content of flammable turpentine oils.  Burning the tree may contribute to creosote buildup and risk a chimney fire. ❍ Geri Laufer lives in Atlanta, where she, graphic designer husband David, and English Coonhound Lily are working on designing and installing a new landscape for their new old house.




Yellowtail collar and simple broth


A great Asian noodle shop is a thing of remarkable beauty to a man as hungry as me. Circle Noodle located in the Connexion Plaza (1570 Holcomb Bridge Rd. in Roswell), is run by really cool people doing great work just killing it over hot stoves totally old school. I love it and them. There are two great noodle cultures. Italians with their pasta and Asians have their noodles. If I had to choose one or death I couldn’t. I want you to understand that everything from the noodle up in Japanese culinary arts is just as complicated and wonderful as their Italian counterparts. It’s totally driven by vision and purpose. Simple things are worth doing really well. At Circle Noodle, they have an incredible little kitchen with barely a dozen tables that fill up fast. And I have to say Roswell has scored an honest Udon noodle shop. You can’t imagine how happy that makes me. I been five times now and tried it all from the simplest noodles and broth, to the carbonara and yellowtail collar. The quality of every dish speaks for itself. This is what excellent looks like and it is, in my opinion, a value at twice the price they charge. You can eat for under ten bucks or feed a bear for

Racheal, Lea, Sayuri, Moisas, Silvia of Circle Noodle.

about fifteen. Nearly everything is handmade. The broth isn’t mixed and boiled. It’s a long reduction, that requires hours of cooking. It is as real as it gets. It’s both home cooking and high cheffing in one tiny place behind darked out glass in the middle of a suburban stripmall albeit a pretty cool one. This is one ray from the prism of beauty that is Japanese food culture. It’s right here within a few miles of you. It’s simply an exquisite noodle soup.


Now who doesn’t like that? Get over there. Even if you have to cross GA 400 to do it. That same strip is becoming a culinary oasis with Foundation Social Eatery, Taqueria Tsunami, From the Earth Brewery and even a Kale Me Krazy.

Tacos With Moxie There is almost no reason on earth for me to talk about La Novia Taqueria, except it’s the most fantastic little place. Located in the Paper Mill Village in East Cobb this taqueria is by the guy who gave us Moxie Burger. This is a local success story that just keeps getting better. The food, delicious tapas style tacos, comes out of an exhibition kitchen at a blistering pace. Plates skate across counters and tables featuring hot tacos done in an Urban upscale vibe. La Novia Taqueria has a full bar, that’s right margaritas for mom n’ dad, and a dining area that is kid-friendly. Are you seeing this? It is run by Chas D’Huyvetter who headlines a group of locals investing in this concept with a stated goal to open a good local family-friendly restaurant. They broke the mold with Moxie Burger and how they serve. I kinda saw it then but I see it a lot clearer now.

At right, Chas D’Huyvetter of La Novia Taqueria.


We are right in the middle of the holidays and in all honesty I’m done with turkey. I mean if it were so great we would have turkey restaurants! As I complained to my butcher Mitch, he shot me a devilish look that said he had an answer. This is why I absolutely love Mitch’s Meats & Fish, it’s one of those rare places where you always know that whatever you get will be amazing. In this case “amazing” came in the form of a perfectly dry-aged piece of prime rib. Mitch is a genius, the man plays chess while I play checkers. Who would have thought of prime rib for the holidays? Well it takes a butcher to come up with this one and it is my family’s new tradition… Prime Rib Christmas. So here is my gift to you—go to Mitch’s and start a new holiday tradition in your house with a prime rib celebration. Mitch’s Meats & Fish features the best hand cut prime steaks to the freshest fish available. They also have a variety of prepared chicken and fish options. Not to mention some of the best advice you’ll ever get! Visit Mitch online at mitchsmeats.com and the brick and mortar location is at 30 E. Crossville Road in Roswell.


Noodles with a vegetable tempura

This is more than a burger or taco thing. There is a genius to it. Their core of strong principles from burger to taco goes like this: They serve really good food. Provide a comfortable setting to families. Have food that’s actually affordable. All of those are easier said than done… ask anyone in business… anywhere. Put together the way Chas does it it works crazy good and people love it. The business in every single Moxie Burger and now here at La Novia, by my casual observations, attests to it. It can look crazy. But it works because of the feel and community of it all. La Novia Taqueria features a wide variety of tacos with the normal proteins plus duck, and even a brisket version. They have a wide variety of soups, and salads; and even entrees featuring snapper, duck, or steak, and a traditional Oaxacan Pizza. The service and staff are also well prepared. These are local kids heading to college. That’s the other side of why it works. They hire our kids at midteens and put them in a fun place with attainable goals. It’s not the usual reason to remark on a restaurant but still a darn good one. Get over there if you like. Trust me, East Cobb is packing the place just like they did at Moxie Burger. Unless I miss my guess you can look for another La Novia, maybe in Roswell, within a year or two at the outside. La Novia Taqueria is located at 255 Village Pkwy. in East Cobb. That’s all for now. For more food, checkout our cover story on page 32 and I’ll see you in 2018!❍





EAST COBB/ROSWELL The annual Lights of LIFE holiday display at Life University takes place every night through New Year’s Eve. Where else can you go in less than an hour from home to view more than a million lights that span over a mile of campus. The displays include a nativity scene, a menorah, a 60-foot-tall Christmas tree, and numerous stationary and animated holiday displays. The cost is a minimal: $5 per car during the week and $10 per car on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The City of Roswell and its CVB (Convention & Visitors Bureau) have a ton of stuff going on this holiday season. If you want to learn more of the unique history of Roswell, they have the Southern Trilogy of Historic Homes, which features Barrington Hall, Smith Plantation, and Bulloch Hall. Each of these historic homes have seasonal activities throughout the month with most having historical themes. A highlight is the Cookies with Mrs. Claus at Barrington Hall on Dec. 18. There is so much more such as the Holiday Open House Exhibition at the Visual Arts Center and an appearance by Mr. and Mrs. Claus on the historic square on Dec. 17. For a full list of activities see www.visitroswellga.com. We’ve had several articles about the Children’s Development Academy in Roswell, highlighting all the great work they do, and it keeps getting better. For

the first time their 50-year history, the CDA kicked off its Annual Campaign with unprecedented matching gift opportunities from the Hagan Family of Roswell and Grants to Green, an initiative of the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta. Last year the Hagan Family made one of the largest pledges ever to the CDA; $150,000 over five years with a challenge to raise at least $30,000 in matching money yearly. The Hagan Challenge enabled the CDA to raise over $100,000 from individuals and families last year. In year two, the Hagan Challenge will match all donations $250 and above. In addition, the CDA was awarded a Grant to Green Implementation award of $161,000. The CDA is the only highquality center in the north MetroAtlanta arc offering needbased tuition scholarships and subsidies in a NAEYC accredited, Georgia 3-star quality rated preschool center. To learn more or to make a contribution visit their website at www.cdakids.org. Another great local institution is the Chattahoochee Nature Center; it recently made some upgrades to protect our flying friends. Did you know that over the past two years, more than 800 birds of 87 different species have been collected in the Atlanta area due to collisions? With hundreds of little dots adorning the Chattahoochee Nature Center, birds will no longer run into the windows and kill themselves. The project is thanks to a partnership between the CNC and the Atlanta Audubon Society, with a grant from the Disney Conservation Fund. Using the sun, stars and earth’s magnetism as a guide, birds migrate primarily at night to avoid predators and take advantage of the cooler temperatures. Sadly, many never arrive at their destination due to a man-made problem—building collisions. To remedy the problem they have installed a special


CollideEscape is a film used on windows to prevent birds from flying into the window.

“CollideEscape” film that reduces the transparency of the glass, prevent birdwindow strikes. The CollideEscape film is applied to a building’s windows and act as a way of breaking up any reflection, allowing birds to avoid a collision, saving them. Our kids will have a break from school soon so we’ll be needing to occupy some time, so perhaps this is a great time to introduce the little ones to some theater. The Roswell Youth Theater invites you to celebrate the holiday season with Elf The Musical Jr. at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center, Dec. 15 to 17. Based on the 2003 hit movie, Elf The Musical JR. is an uplifting musical about a young orphan raised by elves in the North Pole. Attention local accountants. Odyssey Personal Financial Advisors is having a special Social Security Planning event at Ippolito’s Restaurant in Roswell on Dec. 13 at 11:30am. This one-hour CPE-eligible workshop over lunch will acquaint CPAs and attorneys with rules and strategies for claiming Social Security benefits. This workshop is complimentary though preregistration is required. Please email Janeen Blecker to register: janeen.blecker@odysseypfa.com or call 770.992.4444 ext. 2.

temporary home is located at 10700 Abbotts Bridge Road. City Hall will remain at this location temporarily, while renovations are made to the new, permanent City Hall building at 11360 Lakefield Drive. Please note, some City meetings will be held at Municipal Court/Police Department, 11445 Johns Creek Parkway. For more info see www.johnscreekga.gov. The Georgia Brass Band, the Southeast’s premier British-style brass

band, once again brings its inspiring sound to Johns Creek United Methodist Church for a festive Christmas concert on Sunday, Dec. 17 at 3 p.m. The performance, titled ALHARETTA/JOHNS CREEK “Joyful and Triumphant,” is free and In case you haven’t heard, the City of Johns Creek is homeless. Literally. open to the public. The church is The Johns Creek City Hall is being ren- located at 11180 Medlock Bridge Road in Johns Creek. ❍ ovated and while that takes place the





he holidays are always an exciting time of the year. It is the chance to spend time with family and friends, and enjoy some hopefully cooler weather. The Chattahoochee Nature Center has always been a place to bring people together, and with that spirit, they have created holiday events that are sure to delight all ages. This year, many will recognize the Back to Nature Holiday Market, but new this year is a very special event sure to bring out the holiday magic for the whole family.

Local craft vendors will converge at the Chattahoochee Nature Center Dec. 2 for the annual Back to Nature Holiday Market. This event is free and open to the public.

Can you find all the fairy houses and gnome homes in the woods? Find out Dec. 10 at the Enchanted Woodland Wonder Family Fun Day.

Do you have your holiday shopping done? Why not get it done easily, while supporting your local community? Join CNC for the Holiday Market Dec. 2 from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. At this “pop up” market you will discover a variety of locally-made products, everything from soaps, to candles, to jewelry, there is something for everyone. It’s also a great way to connect with vendors you may not otherwise know about who live and work in your community. There will even be food from Chef Cary’s Cuisine of Marietta. So get your girlfriends out and make a day of it, and take some time to venture around the grounds of CNC while you are here. If you have been a fan of Reindeer Day in the past, we have the perfect event for you—Enchanted Woodland Wonders. As you explore the wooded trails of CNC, you might just come across a fairy house or gnome home. After you’re done exploring the trails, relax and hear a story from Miss Julia, a favorite among young visitors. Then be sure to get your face painted and create some winter crafts. Of course, no winter afternoon is complete without a campfire and some hot chocolate. If you need a little food to keep you going, there will be food trucks too. Now, if you are wondering what about the reindeer, where are they? They will be able to make a quick visit to CNC, but only briefly at the beginning; after all, they have a busy holiday season ahead of them. Enchanted Woodland Wonders is Dec. 10 from 3 –7 p.m. and is included with general admission and is free for CNC members. ❍

By Fred Mills

New Year’s eve at my house always presents an interesting choice of family time or an adult night out. For those of you with kids who want to celebrate together there are several events that offer good family entertainment to celebrate the arrival of 2018. Medieval Times, located in Lawrenceville, offers a trip back in time with a special New Year’s Eve performance called “The Celebration of Centuries.” They offer several show times on Dec. 31 with the earliest at 3:30 p.m. and the last at 9:30 p.m. Tickets include the show, hors d’oeuvres, party favors, dancing, admission to the museum, and a fourcourse medieval feast. For the last show there will be a champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight plus continental breakfast after the show. The Medieval Times show mixes pageantry, weaponry, horsemanship, drama and knights in shining armor.  I have been a few times and I can say that the food is good, not great, but my kids have always had a great time. It is really more about the show and pageantry, which is enjoyable for the whole family. For more information or to buy tickets, go to MedievalTimes.com. In Atlanta there are several opportunities for family events that go throughout the day. There are Noon Year’s Eve celebrations at LegoLand Discovery Center, the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, and The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. Each of these are geared toward the younger children with special programs oriented to the early to bed crowd. For those of you with older kids, Stone Mountain Park has an early celebration. They will operate the Christmas event as usual (2 to 9 p.m.) and ring in the New Year with additional fireworks, snowfall and early countdown. Immediately after the Snow Angel Snowfall and

Fireworks Finale, the New Year’s Eve activities will begin with costumed characters, music, and dance-a-longs. At 8:59 p.m., the early countdown will begin and when the clock strikes 9 p.m., snow and fireworks will usher in the New Year. Over on Marietta Square, New Year’s Eve will kick off with family activities at 6 p.m. with a drop at 7 p.m. At 8 p.m., the evening celebration begins to welcome in the New Year together at the stroke of midnight and runs through 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Now for those of you who are truly adventurous, let me present the Possum Drop in Tallapoosa, GA. Tallapoosa is about an hour drive west on I-20 and is well worth the trip, though it would require an overnight stay. The Possum Drop festivities include food vendors, T-shirts and souvenirs, live music, and fireworks after midnight. The Master of Ceremonies for the 2018 celebration is George Franco of Fox 5 News in Atlanta. Attendance in recent years has been in excess of 7000 with continued growth expected this year. For more events and activities be sure to visit our site at www.thecurrenthub.com. ❍





Let’ L s

Bill Greenwood of Swallow at the Hollow and Greenwood’s on Green Street.

This Holiday Season By Frank Mack

We are lucky to be alive. Every single day I’m grateful to be alive right here right now. No matter how screwed up things may seem at times, let us remember we have it far better than previous generations. So I challenge you to go out and celebrate this fact over the holidays… even if you disagree with me—get out anyway. Here in our little OTP paradise we have developed a culinary scene that, in my opinion, is right up there with any spots Katie and Micah Pfister of around. Certainly in the region and on a The Butcher The Baker. good day I’ll say in the whole country. So to prove it I’m going to give you a sort of “Best Of ” covering our restaurant world. As we go through the holidays there will

Above at right, Doug Torbush of Seed Kitchen and Bar and Drift Fish House and Oyster Bar.

Marc Taft of Chicken and the Egg Brian So of Spring


Spring, on Church Street in Marietta be plenty of chances to entertain friends and family so think of this as a guide to the best restaurants around and to whom many we owe a lot to as they work tirelessly to be the backbone of our local economy. This is by no means every restaurant, as I’m sure to leave a spot or two out, but I can personally attest to the fact that these places produce some of the best culinary experiences to be had.

Marietta/East Cobb As a former resident of East Cobb, I can say the eating has gotten much better in the past few years and it shows no sign of stopping. I’m going to start with the Historic Marietta Square and one of my favorites, The Butcher and the Baker. Led by husband and wife team Katie and Micah Pfister, this place is truly farm to table and hand made all day long. Chef Micah is a renaissance man and anything he puts on the menu is authentic, true, and mind boggling creative. They keep a fresh seasonal menu that is best described as creative American. The Marietta Square, much like Canton Street in Roswell, or Downtown Alpharetta, has seen an explosion of economic growth fueled by restaurants. So don’t stop at The Butcher and the Baker because hidden in the back is an absolute gem that is gaining a regional reputation and it’s called Spring. They feature a menu that is in constant evolution featuring ingredients from local farms all prepared with simple elegance. The genius behind it is a man named Brian So and he’s a born and bred local who keeps it that way.

Moving off of the square (800 Whitlock Avenue) I have to mention another local guy Marc Taft and his southern inspired place called Chicken and the Egg, located at 800 Whitlock Ave. in Marietta. Chef Taft does a highend southern inspired menu all very much farm to table. In East Cobb the culinary scene is provided shade by the large figure of Doug Torbush and his places Seed Kitchen and Bar and Drift Fish House and Oyster Bar. While this area is minus a historic square, they are not minus talent. Both of these restaurants are what fine urban dining should be. They serve beautiful, fresh food and Torbush is the type of guy who would never own a freezer… ever. Couple that with always impeccable service and these two restaurants are a great opportunity to impress your out of town guests this season. I also have to note both of these establishments have top-notch bars. These guys do cocktails so well that they are the only people who make me wish I still drank. Don’t forget cocktails were once an art form and they are bringing it back.

Alpharetta/Roswell We are all well aware of the success of Canton Street in Roswell but I have to say Alpharetta is writing its own chapter in the book of culinary greatness. I’m going to start with Made Kitchen & Cocktails, which hides behind the downtown area at 45 Roswell Street. This place was made from the vision of Chris Sedgwick and it is forged from century old mill beams, steel, and concrete. The menu is Spanish inspired continued on next page

The Current Hub DINING GUIDE According to Frank Mack The Butcher The Baker

23 N Park Square, Marietta, GA 30060 thebutcherthebakermarietta.com Spring

83 Church St, Marietta, GA 30060 springmarietta.com Chicken and the Egg

800 Whitlock Ave NW #124, Marietta, GA 30064 www.chickandtheegg.com

Monkey 68 in Roswell

Seed Kitchen and Bar

1311 Johnson Ferry Rd #504, Marietta, GA 30068 www.eatatseed.com Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar

The Avenue East Cobb 4475 Roswell Rd #1410, Marietta, GA 30062 www.driftoysterbar.com Made Kitchen & Cocktails

45 Roswell St, Alpharetta, GA 30009 www.madekc.com South Main Kitchen

9 S Main St, Alpharetta, GA 30009 southmainkitchen.com Flatlands Bourbon and Bayou

52B N. Main Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009 www.flatlands52.com Brine Seafood Shack

6165 1st St, Alpharetta, GA 30009 brineseafoodshack.com S a l t Fa c t o r y Pu b

952 Canton St, Roswell, GA 30075 www.saltfactorypub.com Ta b l e & M a i n

1028 Canton St, Roswell, GA 30075 tableandmain.com Osteria Mattone

1095 Canton St, Roswell, GA 30075 osteriamattone.com Sw a l l ow a t t h e H o l l ow

1072 Green St, Roswell, GA 30075 swallowatthehollow.com Greenwood’s on Green Street

1087 Green St, Roswell, GA 30075 greenwoodsongreenstreet.com Monkey 68

1073 Green St, Roswell, GA 30076 www.monkey68atl.com Foundation Social Eater y

1570 Holcomb Bridge Rd #810, Roswell, GA 30076 foundationatl.com

Feast, continued from p33 tapas style done in complete elegance. This is also another example of folks doing cocktails right. Out in front of Made, the whole downtown strip of Alpharetta is bursting at the seams right now and 2018 promises to be even better. But before the new guys even open I have to say the foundation is really solid and South Main Kitchen anchors it. This is a chef-driven modern pub type place with great execution. I also have to mention Flatlands Bourbon and Bayou. This is for you Cajun fans and they do Louisiana proud with a host of traditional classics. It is located at 52b North Main Street in a fantastic house that makes you feel at home. Also, let me not forget Avalon. While it is a corporate behemoth it still has a place from Chef Marc Taft called Brine Seafood Shack. It is well worth your time and hey, at least the corporate guys are getting in on the whole historic square thing right? I mean that’s all Avalon is when you really think about it. Now I’m going to build the bridge between Alpharetta and Roswell by mentioning Salt Factory Pub, which has locations in both places. The original started on Canton Street and it literally dragged that street into the 21st century. They do gastro pub right. And of course when it comes to Canton Street, that is just the start. Little Alley Steak was voted by Forbes as “One of the 100 Best Steakhouses in America” and they ain’t lying. You cannot go wrong with any of their cuts. Think Peter Luger in your backyard. Other spots on Canton to mention are two places started by local boy done

Ryan Pernice of Table & Main and Osteria Mattone. culinary locale. It is anchored by Foundation Social Eatery and its owner/chef Mel Toledo. FSE is the epitome of a chef-driven concept and Mel is Mel Toledo of Foundation Social Eatery. one of the best around. The menu is rustic American with fresh seasonal ingredients. Also in this same strip is a good Ryan Pernice. He started Table Taqueria Tsunami offering great and Main about 5 years ago and he reset my thinking on southern food. Yes Asian/Latin fusion, and a Kale Me Krazy for you healthy types. There is it is high- end but the results are still also a new spot I’ll cover in detail later solid southern. And his other place, Osteria Mattone, does Italian in an in- but it’s a new brewery called From the credibly authentic manner. Speaking of Earth Brewing Company. Now there Southern, you have to go just one street are several local brewers but these guys are also doing a chef-driven menu to go over from Canton and visit Green with their beers. It holds a lot of Street, which is home to Bill Greenwood’s legendary spots Swallow promise. Now as I stated, there is no way to hit at the Hollow and Greenwood’s on all of the great places around. These are Green Street. Between them they can just a few of my favorites. From the old scratch that fried chicken or barbeque itch. Last but certainly not least, I have repurposed houses to the new fancy mixed-use concepts, we are surrounded to mention the new guys on the block by culinary greatness. No matter the ocMonkey 68. They do wicked good casion, get out and enjoy what is around Asian fusion. Located in a newly us. There is a new south out here and it’s renovated house that is next to Greenwoods, it is a beautiful spot run by well reflected in our restaurants. It’s an industry that celebrates diversity, talent even more beautiful people. Now I’m going to take you to the east and bloody hard work. All while feeding us the best stuff on earth. Now how cool side of Roswell and a strip mall of all is that? places called Connexion Plaza. It’s Happy Holidays with peace and love located on Holcomb Bridge Road and it to you all. ❍ contains what is becoming a great

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The Current Hub for Dec. 2017

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The Current Hub for Dec. 2017