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Se eO On ur S Pa ect ge ion 15

March 2016

Conversations start here.

SOUNDS OF SPRING Local music festivals p28

HEALTH p15 presented by WellStar • pages 15–18





NOT ALL RESTAURANTS ARE CREATED EQUAL Florence + The Machine will be performing at the Shaky Knees Music Fest in May

Postal Customer ECRWSS Atlanta,GA Permit #3241 PAID US Postage PRSRT STD


Tripp Liles tripp@thecurrenthub.com

Mark Penstone mark@thecurrenthub.com

Tricia Morris (Social Chick) tricia@thecurrenthub.com


Carrie Kutney Art Director carrie@thecurrentplus.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Frank Mack Di Chapman Jessica Diamond Nancy Wallace Fred Mills Send submissions & questions: events@thecurrentplus.com Main Phone Number 770-810-5943

Our Mission: The CurrentHub aspires to communicate in a way that’s useful, engaging, enjoyable, and unique. We strive to reflect the full range of what the area has to offer, also advocating positions that strengthen unity and continuity. We desire to create and maintain a challenging, enjoyable and caring work environment that encourages creativity and innovation. Our rewards are informed, educated readers, very satisfied advertisers, happy employees and profitable growth. The CurrentHub is published monthly. Presort standard postage paid at Atlanta, GA. Postmaster send changes to Current Communications, 1014 Canton St., Roswell, GA 30075 Publisher has the privilege to reject any advertising. Advertiser is responsible for full content of advertisements provided and are responsible for any claims made therein. thecurrenthub.com

Currentchoices The Month in Preview March 2016


Museum Day Live In Roswell

Mar 12 Roswell’s Southern Trilogy of Historic Homes, made up of Barrington Hall, Bulloch Hall and Smith Plantation, are participating in Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day Live! Admission to each house is free. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Go to Smithsonian Magazine’s website (smithsonianmag.com) to sign up. You can get a ticket for Barrington Hall, Bulloch Hall, or Smith Plantation and it will be good for you to visit all three homes on this day. You’ll need to print the ticket from your printer and bring it with you. You can also show the ticket on your smart phone. Call Barrington Hall at 770-640-3855, Bulloch Hall at 770-992-1731 or Smith Plantation at 770-641-3978 for further information.



ShamRockin’ for a Cure

On Saturday, Mar. 12, an army of dedicated supporters will increase to close to 1,500 as they team up with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) for the 8th Annual ShamRockin’ for a Cure event at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. ShamRockin’ for a Cure is a premier party with a purpose that boasts food from some of the best restaurants in Metro Atlanta, plenty of drink vendors to keep party cups full, live music, a dance floor, an incredible silent auction, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities up for grabs in the live auction. Party-goers can enjoy ShamRockin’ for a Cure. Tickets may be purchased online at www.shamrockinforacure.com or by calling the CF Foundation at 404.325.6973. (See article on pg. 12)

March 12

Water Drop Dash 5K & Festival

March 19 The 4th annual Water Drop Dash 5K and Fun Run encourages metro Atlanta residents to check their plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems during the annual EPA WaterSense Fix a Leak Week held March 14-20. Race registration is limited to 1,000. Each registered runner will receive a performance tech short sleeve t-shirt. All race participants and the first 300 guests will receive free admission to the Chattahoochee Nature Center on race day. Fast and flat along the banks of the beautiful Chattahoochee River, it is an ideal course to qualify for Atlanta’s signature Peachtree Road Race and therefore, has attracted capacity crowds each year.  The race begins and ends at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. For more info visit chattnaturecenter.org.




Modern Bluesman “Semi-Average Joe”


St. Pat’s Day Parade

March 12 (12 to 1:30pm) Atlanta’s St. Patrick’s Day parade dates back to 1858, making it one of the country’s oldest St. Patty parades. It will feature 2,000 dancers, musicians, and Irish enthusiasts, plus giant balloons, floats, and marching bands in Midtown that go south on Peachtree St. from 15th St. NE to 5th St. NE. Participation in the parade is not just an “Irish thing.” The parade attracts individuals and groups from around the city and the South including clowns, floats, bands, Bagpipe & Drum Corps, children, dancers, drill teams, and more. atlantastpats.com.

“Semi-Average” Joe Johnson is a singersongwriter and multi-instrumentalist born and raised in Mississippi. He’s spent much of his life rambling about seeking beauty in life and music, collecting sounds and musical styles from New Orleans to Memphis. His musical range spans from folk to country and back again with no question that he was touched by the graceful hand of the blues. The Velvet Note, 4075 Old Milton Pkwy.


Easter Egg Hunt at Smith Plantation

March 18 (10a.m.)

The historic grounds of Smith Plantation will open at 10 a.m. for their annual Easter Egg Hunt. Open to the public, this Easter egg hunt continues a tradition started by Lizzie Smith, oldest child of Archibald and Anne Smith. Children should bring their own baskets and will enjoy finding candy-filled treasures. Fee is $5 per child. For more information, please call the Smith Plantation office at 770-641-3978. Smith Plantation is located at 935 Alpharetta St. in Roswell. >>A LAUGHING MATTER

Punchline Comedy at Avalon

Throughout the Spring and Summer Throughout the Spring and Summer, join The Punchline for lots of laughs with live comedy acts in Palmer Plaza at Avalon in Alpharetta (located between Oak Steakhouse and Colletta.) The performances last about 90 minutes and are recommended for ages 13 and older. On Mar.7, Mia Jackson will perform. She is a selfproclaimed know it all and has appeared on Oxygen’s Girls Behaving Badly, TLC’s Wild Weddings, NickMom’s Night Out, and has appeared on NBC’S Last Comic Standing.



Free Workshop: Social Security, Medicare and Senior Care



Vintage Computer Festival

April 2 & 3 This annual festival will have over 35,000 sq. ft. of displays, exhibits, and interactive entertainment hosted in what was previously a Comp-USA Super Store located in East Roswell near Holcomb Bridge Road and Old Alabama Road. Exhibitors will be attending from all over the region and country. Attendees can operate many of the computers and devices on display, but a few rare computer exhibits will not be accessible for public interactivity. However, exhibitors are often available for live demonstrations of all working devices. www.vintage.org/2015/southeast/

(at Roswell Hembree Park Rec Center) As a service to the community three local firms invite you to attend a free Consumer Advocacy Workshop titled “Gear up for Your Retirement” that will shed light on the topics of Social Security, Medicare and Senior Care to help you navigate the challenges and myriad of options that exist. Thursday, March 17 at 6:30 pm or Saturday, March 19 at 10:30 am at the Roswell Hembree Park Rec Center. To RSVP please contact Jan Ingersoll at 770-9924444 x1 or jan.ingersoll@odysseypfa.com. The partners in this effort are Affordable Medicare Solutions, Senior Provisions and Odyssey Personal Financial Advisors.


Menopause The Musical

April 1–3 Four women at a lingerie sale have nothing in common but a black lace bra and memory loss, hot flashes, night sweats, not enough sex, too much sex, and more! This hilarious musical parody set to classic tunes from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s will have you cheering and dancing in the aisles. See what millions of women worldwide have been laughing about for 14 years. It’s the hilarious celebration of women and “The Change.” Takes place at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, located at 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy., call 800-745-3000 for tickets.

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By Jessica Diamond


Our heavy coats haven’t made it all the way back to the closet yet, but neither are they kept within grasping distance of the door. They’re hanging out on the backs of chairs, playing it cool, keeping an eye out for any lingering cold fronts. I’m cautiously optimistic as we move into March and have transitioned from wearing two pairs of fuzzy socks to just one. Progress has been made. As such, I’d like to spend some time out in the world. You know, where the people are. Despite all of the great options for entertainment we’ve had all winter, I’ve spent much of it hibernating in my hermit hole with insulated blankets and a space heater. But I, like most Georgians, am ready for warm weather and good times. Luckily, March has plenty to choose from, warm or cold and rain or shine. As science continues to make great leaps forward, many of us are still mentally holding our potato clocks and aluminum foil circuits from high school and thinking “Yeah...I’m not really getting this…” The Internet assures me that I may not actually be “bad” at science, as I previously thought. I simply haven’t experienced it the right way yet. Thankfully, 2014 saw the inauguration of an event that promises to make science fun for Atlantans of all ages. The Atlanta Science Festival has become a citywide celebration of local technology and advancement, stretching across a full week with more than 100 individual events provided by more than 100 different community partners. This multisensory collection of presentations, activities, tours and performances is designed to inspire current science lovers as well as an entire new generation and community of “curious thinkers.” In 2015, the ASF was awarded the Technology Association of Georgia STEM Education Award for Post Secondary Outreach, so this is one you won’t want to miss. The festival will take place March 10-26 in venues across the city. Learn more at atlantasciencefestival.org. Looking for a sophisticated night out on the town? It doesn’t get much more Atlanta chic than wine and craft beer tasting in an old train depot. The third annual Uncorked & Untapped event is returning to the Georgia Freight Depot for a night of live entertainment and unlimited tastings of fine wines and specialty



The longest running event in the history of 7 Atlanta, and one of the oldest in the country, is the Atlanta St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This year marks the 134th anniversary of the parade, as well as the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, a critical moment in Irish history that lead to its independence. The parade features a diverse collection of participants, many from Irish organizations such as the Hibernian Benevolent Society, Clan Na NGael and the Fire Emerald Society of Metro Atlanta, and also many non Irish groups and organizations. There are clowns, floats, dancers, bagpipe and drum corps, bands, drill teams, and plenty more. Though the parade celebrates Irish culture, everyone is invited to come participate on the day when “everyone is Irish.” This is a family friendly event that encourages the participation of children. However, if you find yourself childless for the evening, there are more than a few pub-crawls to look into around the city! The parade starts at noon on Saturday, March 12, on Peachtree St. in Midtown. Learn more at www.atlantastpats.com. Whether you’re experimenting with a love of science, dancing it up downtown, throwing down some bacon or sipping on beer that stains your insides green, the madness of March is sure to be memorable this year. Have fun and stay safe! ❍


craft beers. A DJ will play late into the night so guests can dance it out in the depot. It’s a pretty ideal date night, whether you’re with your favorite dance partner, your best friend, or having a “me” date and dance party of one. Tickets are going to go fast for this event on March 11, and they increase in price the longer you wait. So don’t wait! Find out more details and get your tickets at www.atlantasportandsocialclub.com/uncorked. There is one Atlanta tradition that only proves in my mind the fallacy that is “adulthood.” I’ve long suspected that it wasn’t a real thing. Rather, we all just get a bit taller, a bit achier in the joints and we have less supervision. With that in mind, allow me

to introduce to you the genius that is Baconfest. Since 1999, this festival has been a sellout attraction that raises funds for the Dad’s Garage Theatre Company, a non-profit theatre group dedicated to inspiring artists and celebrating all things “undeniably awesome.” The event brings together a collection of crowd favorites, including but not limited to large quantities of cold beer, carnival games with a little improv, hobo wine tasting, inappropriate face painting, a drunken spelling bee, scavenger hunts and of course, plenty of bacon to go around. Tickets sell out every year, so be sure to grab yours asap at www.baconfestatl.com. Clear your calendar for March 26, and if it wasn’t implied already, you may want to leave the kids at home for this one.

JOHNS CREEK 470-388-3159 8465 Holcomb Bridge Johns Creek, GA 30022 EAST COBB 678-920-9455 1401 Johnson Ferry Rd. Marietta, GA 30062 ROSWELL 770-625-6122 625 W. Crossville Rd. Roswell, GA 30075 ALPHARETTA 770-686-5352 3450 Old Milton Pkwy Alpharetta, GA 30005 SUWANEE 770-688-0622 2615 Peachtree Pkwy. Suwanee, GA 30024



than $50 million in new investment by Atlanta United to the area and approximately 80 high-paying jobs by 2017. Already in operation, Cosmopolitan (on Delk Road) will become Cosmopolitan Live on Mar. 5. Johnny Esposito, Jr., saw an opportunity to capitalize on this and is a partner in the new live music venue. Cosmopolitan Live will feature national and local music acts on Friday nights and dancing to the acclaimed DJ Majestic and former radio personality, Frank Ski on Saturday nights. The interior has been revamped with updated décor. The addition of a bar, a state of the art By Tricia Morris sound system and DJ booth, and a capacity of up to 600 people will make With the new Braves stadium under this one of the premier clubs in the construction, Marietta is gearing area. A new chef has been brought in toward the influx of new business and and the menu is being changed for hoping that the stadium will be a windfarm to table cuisine. fall for the surrounding areas. In Baked, on Johnson Ferry Road, has addition to the stadium, Atlanta begun offering their weekly specials United, the city’s Major League again. Most notable is the “Kids Eat Soccer team, has chosen to build a state-of-the-art headquarters and train- Free” every Monday with an adult entrée purchase and a Buy 2 Get 1 Free ing complex in the Franklin Road Corridor. The project represents more entrée on Tuesdays.


Big time sports moving closer to our neighborhoods.

Get your Irish on for St. Patrick’s Day at Keegan’s Pub. The festivities include drink and food specials and live music. Keegan’s, located at 4401 Shallowford Road, is a great place for the whole family to enjoy the special day of green. Also, they have a newly revamped patio, which is sure to rock this spring. Look for a new brunch and lunch menu at Red Sky Tapas and Bar (1255 Johnson Ferry Rd ) by the end of the month. In the meantime, the owner, Terry Kirby, is offering our readers 15% off food for lunch for the month of March. I think I’ll stop in, who wants to join me?

Keegan’s Pub will be rockin’ this St. Patty’s Day

Hancock Fabrics on Roswell Road is closing. I mentioned last month that East Cobber Lesli Schwartz would start her blog soon. She has gone live and you can find healthy ways to cook authentic Asian cuisine at www.asiancaucasian.com. Easter comes early this year on Mar. 27. Common Quarter (1205 Johnson Ferry Rd.) will be hosting the Easter Bunny during a brunch buffet on Sun., Mar. 20 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. They will have a bunny hopping around the restaurant for picture opportunities.

By Jessica Diamond

For more than a decade, Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Company, with a location at 352 S Atlanta St. in Roswell, has been serving the needs of the community in innumerable ways, both locally and abroad. Founder Jonathan Golden is a pastor, a professional and personal life coach, a social entrepreneur, a business owner, and a man on a mission to “do good.” Recently, Golden added the title of author to his growing list of accomplishments with the 2016 release of his book Be You. Do Good. Having the Guts to Pursue What Makes You Come Alive. Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Company, or LOTH, began as a passion project driven by Golden’s desire to help the genocide-ravaged communities of Rwanda revitalize their economy and heal the wounds of the past. LOTH was not his first professional endeavor, or even his first “calling.” It will also not be his last. Among the many lessons he has gleaned from his experiences, Golden now advises others to both follow their passions and remain open to the possibility that a person’s calling can shift and change over time. What started as a simple desire to “do good” for a community in need grew into a multimillion dollar coffee empire that provides more than 2,500 Rwandan coffee farmers with living wages. Golden insists that it does not take extraordinary ability to impact the world, but rather extraordinary passion, faith, and trust. Though much of his time is spent nurturing and maintaining the company he built, Golden is constantly on the lookout for opportunities to reach broader audiences and serve greater needs. Be You. Do Good. is a clear and concise collection of Golden’s findings in his personal journey to real-

Jonathan Golden, author of Be You. Do Good.

ize his own true purpose. The twelve adventures included are laced with nuggets of internationally collected wisdom and ancient biblical principals intended to aid countless others in recognizing and realizing their own passions. As a pastor, Golden draws much of his motivation and inspiration from his Christian faith. His message, however, is intended for a universal audience. Golden connects with those who may look to his book for help by first acknowledging some of the bumps along the way and the moments of doubt. “The road has not been easy, safe, certain, or straight,” Golden writes. “I had years when I didn’t know if we were going to make it. Along the way, I’ve kept track of the adventure. This book is the result, and I’m confident it can help you.” Golden’s book is a reflection of the culture he has worked to create within the walls of his coffee houses. His ultimate goal is to create spaces in which people of different backgrounds and beliefs can come together to not only discuss world changing ideas, but to put them into action. His vision is to isolate that motivating ingredient that inspires real, tangible change and encourage his patrons and readers to take that courageous first step toward doing good. For more on LOTH visit www.landofathousandhills.com. ❍



By Jessica Diamond

This St. Patrick’s Day, every pub in America will be packed to the gills with revelers paying homage to their Irish roots, be they real or borrowed, with a few pints of Guinness. Due to the alcohol fueled nature of the evening, most pubs and bars cater to an exclusively adult crowd with Irish beers, specialty holiday drinks and plenty of green food dye. Mac McGee Irish Pub in Roswell, however, saw the need for a different kind of celebration in its suburban neighborhood. On Mar. 12, Mac McGee is holding its first annual MacFestivus, otherwise known as Shamrock in the Park from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. This celebration will cater to every age group in the area, keeping in mind that families like to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as well. “We wanted to do something a bit different from what all of the other pubs typically do,” manager Kenneth Gambill said. “We were thinking we needed an option that was more family friendly, kind of like a mini Alive After 5. A lot of similar events charge to get in and it just becomes a drunk fest. This event is free and earlier in the day so that families can enjoy it together and have more to do.” Shamrock in the Park will take place in the park area directly across from the pub on Canton Street in Roswell and will feature a slightly tongue-incheek “1/2K Road Race” that will span the distance between the entrance of the pub and the park. Entertainment will include live bands, bagpipers and

Irish dancers, as well as face painting for the kids. Of course, there will be plenty of food and a beer truck for the adults in the crowd. “We’ve had great feedback since we made the announcement,” Gambill said. “We were even approached by a few people hoping to volunteer and get involved. We’ve mostly just been advertising through word of mouth and on Facebook, but based on the response, we could see 1000 or 2000 people in the span of six hours. We will most likely end up doing this every year.” Of course, there will still be plenty of party at Mac McGee’s the evening of St. Patrick’s Day on Mar. 17, which will primarily cater to the adult crowd. MacFestivus will supplement the celebration with something for everyone to enjoy. It’ll be a MacFestivus for the Mac McGee staff members: Matt Crowe, Kenneth Gambill, Maddie Whitmer, and chef Larry Powers. rest of us! ❍








PARTY WITH AShamRockin’ PURPOSE for a Cure is a good time for a great cause.

By Tripp Liles

Late last summer, while most of us were getting in last minute vacations and preparing kids for school, Jon and Pam Baker of Roswell celebrated a very unique moment. Their sons, Gavin and Jake Baker, received their first dose of Orkambi, a drug only recently given approval by the Food and Drug Administration as a way to control cystic fibrosis. Arrival to this point has taken many years and a lot of support from friends and family. One big element to that support has come from Shamrockin’ For A Cure. The event, which started from year one at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, has definitely grown into the facility. That first event had only a few hundred attendees in a small backroom but this year on March 12, there will be thousands in attendance as ShamRockin’ For A Cure parties into its 7th year. “At the beginning, the first ShamRockin’ for a Cure, was really just a group of friends who wanted to do something for Pam and Jon Baker,” said Lara Dolin, a prior event co-chair. “They didn’t want a walk, a 5k or a formal. They wanted something they would really enjoy—throwing an awesome party to raise money for

cystic fibrosis research.” “The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation got its start in 1955 by a group parents of children living with CF, just like Pam and Jon Baker, who were tired of being told that their CF children had no hope,” said Amanda Keuler of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “Our families and the ingenuity that they’ve brought to our fundraising remain at the heart of everything we do. Hitting $1 million this year is validation of the tireless hours that these volunteers and supporters put in to make it all possible. The CF Foundation is donor-supported and does not receive funding from government agencies. This means that every fundraising idea counts, as much as every dollar. Funds from ShamRockin’ for a Cure over the years have gone towards our mission: to provide all those living with CF the opportunity to lead full, productive lives by funding research and drug development, promoting individualized treatment, ensuring access to high-quality, specialized care—and ultimately finding a cure.” On the research front there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. In the mid 90s, when the CFF was formed, its main mission was to bring awareness to the public on this little known condition. Through the years much progress has been made not only in making people aware of CF but in finding the ultimate cure. At this year’s event there will be something for the whole family to enjoy. ShamRockin’ for a Cure is a pre-

13 Sponsored by Georgia’s Own Credit Union March 12, 2016 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Tickets $95 per ticket ($34 tax deductible) Purchase online shamrockinforacure.com or by calling the CF Foundation at 404.325.6973. mier party that boasts food from some of the best restaurants in Metro Atlanta, plenty of drink vendors to keep party cups full, live music, a dance floor, an incredible silent auction, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities up for grabs in the live auction. “ShamRockin’ for a Cure is unlike any other fundraiser for the CF Foundation here in Georgia. It is not a gala or a walk. You don’t have to be an athlete or wear a tuxedo. All it takes is a little bit of green and a party attitude to be a part of the ShamRockin’ solution! The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is proud to provide the community with many ways to get involved in the fight, and ShamRockin’ for a Cure is a huge part of it all,” stated Keuler. The evening could help them surpass the $1.5 million milestone in their fundraising efforts to fight CF.

Last year, ShamRockin’ for a Cure brought the movers and shakers of Metro Atlanta to the table and filled the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre with more than 1,500 guests and over 40 corporate sponsors. They raised nearly $500,000. With many sponsors returning once again for the party, including a third year major donor and 2016 presenting sponsor, Georgia’s Own Credit Union, the party is reaching new heights and has set a goal to raise $500,000 this year alone. Tickets may be purchased at www.shamrockinforacure.com or by calling the CF Foundation at 404.325.6973. ❍


ShamRockin’ for a Cure





By David Martin, RN, President and CEO, VeinInnovations

Vacation plans? Check. Wardrobe? Check. Camp reservations for kids? Check. Legs ready for shorts and bathing suits? If you can’t give this last one a thumb’s up, here are some tips for better looking, and feeling, legs by summer time. Exfoliate and hydrate. Exfoliation helps skin receive moisture more readily, and is a lot easier to do than most people think. Fancy scrubs are not necessary. A good natural bristle skin brush (you can even find them at the dollar stores sometimes) helps strip away dry flakes on the top layer of skin, so fresh cells can come to the surface. It also stimulates blood flow, which helps nourish skin. For a homemade exfoliating scrub, just use either a handful of natural baking soda, sea salt, sugar crystals, or oatmeal, mixed with honey or yogurt. Use olive oil or coconut oil at night, and after a morning scrub and shower, to nourish skin and avoid that dry, ashy look. Check on varicose and spider veins. Beyond skin treatments, take a minute to look for varicose and spider veins, and to notice whether or not your legs ever hurt, are swollen at the ankle, or feel restless and or itchy, especially at night. While spider or varicose veins may just be a cosmetic issue, they could also be a symptom of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), or the failure of one-way valves in veins in your legs. These valves keep blood from flowing backward as it is pushed up to the heart and lungs to be re-oxygenated and pumped back out into the body. If these valves have failed, blood may pool, causing pressure that may result in, among other symptoms, varicose and spider veins. The best way to know whether or not varicose or spider veins are caused by CVI is to have a Duplex Doppler Ultrasound scan of your legs. If CVI is present, you have a medically indicated condition and insurance covers treatment (deductibles and copays apply). VeinInnovations offers free cosmetic screenings daily, with an appointment, at all three of our offices. To schedule an appointment, call 678-731-9815, or visit www.veininnovations.com to find out more, and to take another step toward having great-looking, and feeling, legs this summer. ❍

health&wellness presented by

WELLSTAR KENNESTONE HOSPITAL OPENS NEW CANCER CENTER Offers Expanded Cancer Care for the Mind, Body and Spirit


he new WellStar Cancer Center at Kennestone Hospital opened following an $11 million renovation. The new Center offers patients world-class cancer care including a unique approach to help patients get answers faster. In addition to cutting-edge radiation and surgical treatments, patients can learn about and receive integrative healing treatments for the body, mind and spirit. The redeveloped 100,000 square-foot Cancer Center campus was redesigned with the patient in mind. A panel of patients, physicians, nurses and oncology team members provided valuable input to shape the design and function of the facility, creating a nurturing environment that will help patients heal. “The patient is at the center of everything we do,” said Michael Andrews, M.D., WellStar chief cancer officer. “This new center is not just innovative; it is welcoming. We have succeeded in creating an environment that will help the growing number of cancer patients and survivors in our community and their families to get better.” “Being diagnosed with cancer is a pretty shocking experience,” said Paul Balun, a two-time survivor of prostate cancer. “WellStar offers one of the best and most comprehensive treatment programs for patients receiving that diagnosis. With this redesign, WellStar wanted to incorporate a holistic

approach for cancer patients.” In a first-in-the-nation collaboration with the American Cancer Society (ACS), the new resource center offers a serene setting for patients and family members to learn about their diagnosis, treatment options and lowering their cancer risk. WellStar’s specially trained nurse navigators staff the center, assisting patients seeking information from the abundant in-house and online libraries. Kiosks allow patients to chat live with an ACS navigator through an online portal. “When you get a new diagnosis, you’re filled with hundreds of questions,” Balun said. “It’s typical to start doing internet searches and find out everything you can about the disease you have. But it usually raises more questions. WellStar’s approach is to answer those questions up front.” In addition to the resource center, the Cancer Center offers a variety of new services including: • The Manning Wellness Kitchen—a new state-of-the art demonstration kitchen for nutritional education • The Rick Gray Family Chapel—a tranquil chapel where patients and their families can turn to their higher power for spiritual strength • Integrative medicine such as yoga and tai chi complementing the current acupuncture service • A salon offering wig and accessory options for those experiencing hair loss and a new bra and mastectomy prosthesis service in the coming months The Garden of Courage was also Continues on p. 16



GEORGIA TREND MAGAZINE RECOGNIZES WELLSTAR CEO AS ONE OF MOST INFLUENTIAL GEORGIANS WellStar Health System’s President & CEO Candice Saunders landed on Georgia’s list of power players in 2016. Georgia Trend Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Georgians list recognized Saunders for her role in positioning the System for success and positively impacting the health of thousands of Georgians. “Last summer Saunders assumed the roles of president and CEO of WellStar Health System, the largest not-for-profit health system in Georgia,” Georgia Trend reported. “Saunders has more than 30 years of experience in the healthcare field, and her leadership extends across the state as 2015 chair of the Georgia Hospital Association.” According to Georgia Trend, the list of influencers includes those who work behind Candice Saunders, CEO, WellStar Health System the scenes, and others who wield their influence in the limelight. All of the 100 people have an enormous impact on the daily lives of Georgians. The final list represents the realities of leadership, power and influence in Georgia. Saunders’ leadership extends beyond her role at of WellStar. She is a leader nationally in healthcare, currently serving as the chair of the Georgia Hospital Association and being recognized as Healthcare Champion by the National Association of Female Executives during the Woman of Excellence awards ceremony. Saunders is one of 14 women recognized by NAFE in 2015 and the only woman in healthcare. ❍

comfortable and safe.” Services at the Cancer Center also inrenovated for peaceful reflection and clude the largest genetics program in joyous celebration when patients the state; the STAT Clinic—a single settriumphantly ring the new brass bell ting for patients to visit with specialists upon completion of their final from multiple disciplines; and cuttingtreatments. This major expansion encompasses edge treatments including the existing 320 and 340 buildings on TomoTherapy and CyberKnife. the WellStar Kennestone Regional WellStar’s cancer program was Medical Center campus including the recently recognized by Becker’s Outpatient Infusion Center, which Hospital Review as one of the top procompleted its renovation earlier in gram in the country on the magazine’s 2015. The space provides patients “100 Hospitals and Health Systems undergoing chemotherapy with a with Great Oncology Programs” list. higher level of comfort, amenities and “The patients walking through these emotional support during their doors are our neighbors,” Dr. Andrews treatments. The infusion center is pretty impres- said. “This new Center was designed to make a difference in their lives and desive,” Balun said. “The color schemes coupled with excellent care from physi- liver on WellStar’s promise of providing world-class care close to cians and nurses make people feel home.” ❍

Cancer Center, continued from p. 15

Snoring nothing to snooze about HEALTH


That irritating snore that your partner keeps complaining about could actually be a warning sign that could save your life. Snoring is often a symptom of a disorder called sleep apnea, which is caused by repeated interruption in breathing during sleep. “Patients typically realize Life-saving alerts it is time to see a sleep speNightly snoring is not always associated with cialist after they are asked by a spouse or bed sleep apnea but it is important to recognize partner to sleep in another room,” said Hitendra it as a possible symptom as several life Patel, M.D., medical threatening risk factors are associated. director of WellStar’s Discussing this and other symptoms with a Sleep Program. physician and receiving treatment can lead However, 80 percent of to better quality of life. Symptoms of sleep people with sleep apnea apnea include: do not see a physician. If Snoring left untreated, it puts paPauses in breathing while sleeping tients at high risk for Gasps/snorts while sleeping stroke and heart disease. Daytime drowsiness WellStar offers a Daytime fatigue specially trained medical Daytime headaches team and state-of-the-art Hitendra Patel, M.D. sleep centers to help diagnose and treat sleep apnea. Once patients begin treatment, they lower the risk of sleep apnea related complications. In addition, they usually feel more rested, have increased energy and notice their memory and cognitive functioning improve (along with the snoring). Sleep studies have traditionally been done in a sleep lab. Home sleep testing is now becoming more popular. Either way, they are painless, noninvasive and typically conducted over a course of one to two nights. The first night of the study is for diagnosing sleep disorders. The second night of a lab study—if necessary—is to begin treatment. Some patients may have a split night study, which would include both diagnostic testing and treatment in one night. Treatment options There are multiple treatment options to help lower the risk of developing serious diseases associated with sleep apnea. Each is tailored to what is most appropriate for the patient, factoring in severity of the apnea and other considerations. In most cases, weight loss is encouraged for overweight patients. However, sleep apnea affects people of all sizes and weight loss alone does not always correct the condition. For mild cases, oral appliances, also called mandibular repositioning devices, are used for advancing the lower jaw bone to improve breathing. Worn only while asleep, they are custom-fitted by a sleep dental expert for each patient. Many patients are treated using a positive airway pressure (PAP) device, which is a sophisticated portable air compressor. The PAP is connected with tubing to a mask that fits snugly over the nose and mouth and forces air into the back of the throat. This prevents the airways from collaps- Continues on p. 18





WELLSTAR WINS METRO ATLANTA CHAMBER’S HEALTH IT AWARD WellStar Health System was awarded the inaugural Phoenix Hospital of the Year Award by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce during its annual Health IT Leadership Summit on Nov. 3. WellStar was honored for its use of electronic health records aimed at patient safety when administering medications. “WellStar provides world-class healthcare to our patients, and improving patient safety is one of our greatest priorities,” said Jon Morris, M.D., WellStar chief information officer. “WellStar’s Information Technology deJon Morris, M.D. partment joined forces with our clinicians to successfully deploy a technology solution that supports the Institute of Healthcare Improvement’s “Five Rights,” preventing medication errors and patient harm by ensuring we treat the right patient with the right drug and the right dose, via the right route at the right time. The result is an added layer of safety for our patients.” Hosted at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel & Convention Center, the Health IT Leadership Summit added a new category to the Phoenix Awards this year; The Hospital of the Year award was created to recognize outstanding efforts by a Georgia hospital that has made an outstanding contribution or impact on the Georgia health IT industry. “We are proud to have WellStar as the recipient of the inaugural Hospital of the Year Phoenix Award,” said David Hartnett, vice president of economic development for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “Atlanta has one of the finest healthcare systems in the country and Wellstar is an exemplary example.” About the Health IT Leadership Summit Created in 2010 by the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society, the Health IT Leadership Summit brings together leaders from across the healthcare continuum to discuss how the industry can drive innovation to enable better healthcare delivery at lower costs to more people. For more information, visit healthitleadshipsummit.com. ❍ Wake up call, continued from p.17 ing during breathing efforts. PAP devices are effective for all levels of sleep apnea and should be worn nightly, or the irregular breathing and snoring will recur. Physicians may recommend surgery for some cases, depending on severity. Most surgical treatments correct or improve sleep apnea by opening the space in the back of the throat. This is accomplished by either moving the tongue forward, and/or by removing excess tissue that is crowding the upper airway. “Patients should keep in mind that one-third of their life is spent sleeping, “said Dr. Patel. “This important part of their daily routine is often ignored. A lot happens during normal sleep to keep us healthy. If our sleep is compromised, then other areas of our health may also suffer.” At WellStar sleep centers in Marietta, Acworth, Douglasville and Paulding, specialized sleep study rooms offer pediatric and adult patients the best level of comfort during appointments. WellStar Sleep Medicine holds accreditation with the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and is made up of a team of certified sleep medicine physicians and registered sleep technologists who are committed to providing world-class care. Appointments are available seven days a week with the option of both day and nighttime appointments. WellStar’s East Cobb Sleep Center is located at East Cobb Health Park at 3747 Roswell Road NE, Suite 217 in Marietta. For more information, call 770-420-2535 or visit www.wellstar.org. ❍



It’s ye olde time of year when the pubs cash in not for a special holiday, or a celebration of our country, but for mostly, well, let’s face it, green beer, shamrocks, and funny hats. It’s St. Patrick’s Day, the acknowledged day of the year to pay tribute to the man called the “Patron Saint of Ireland.” In the celebrations, there are shamrocks, leprechauns, and Blarney Stones. Though these celebrations are in full swing everywhere, and kids in school are wearing green to avoid being pinched, darned if anyone can tell you why. Now, I normally refer to the Scandinavian side of my family in my columns. My mother’s side of the family is the Skjerven/Thorstiensdottir side (try saying that one quickly ten times), and there is good

Kissing the Blarney Stone is not for everyone.

reason for the constant reference. It isn’t because the Scandinavian side of my family was the most raucous. It isn’t because they were the most animated. (I hope my cousins stay friends with me

on Facebook!) As in so many homes around the world, traditions tend to revolve around those of the upbringing of the woman of the house. Generally, men are happy to read the paper while the women prepare the family events. However, on St. Patrick’s Day, I cop to being part Irish on my dad’s side. Perhaps you’ve noticed my last name, which is my maiden name. Although it’s not necessarily Irish, it is English, which makes it pretty close in “nomenclature proximity.” Apparently there was Irish blood in my grandfather Chapman’s lineage. This side of my family was indeed colorful, animated, bold, talkative, and highly opinionated. There was never a dull moment in their households, nor during their visits to ours. From the standpoint of a crowd who could keep you laughing and on your toes, dad’s family could bring it. But, even though my mother-in-law is happy that I refer to some Irish blood once a year Continues on p. 20




Home—It’s All in the Details



ate contractors to install them, our consultant supervises the entire process to make the transition seamless. More important, we strive to preserve the feeling of home. If you or a loved one is considering downsizing from a house to a retirement community, take a look around and think about which things make it feel most like home, such as that beautiful antique chair, At St. George Village, we understand how crucial your comfortable bed, the coffee maker that brews those details are in making home feel like, well… just the right cup every morning, a special family porhome! We also understand the importance of trait, photo albums or even that cozy throw blanket preserving those details in making the transition that you snuggle under with a cup of tea and a good from residential living to a retirement community. book. Keep in mind that it’s those details that define To help our residents with all of the necessary and give meaning to a home. You’ll want to bring elements to ensure that their new home reflects their them with you! website, www.stgeorgevillage.com, or by liking our personalities and preferences, we offer expert Come see why so many people are choosing our Facebook page and following us on Pinterest. ❍ assistance. Our Resident Design Consultant visits community as their new home. It’s because moving with new residents in their current homes to get a to St. George Village is not like moving into a home. St. George Village St. George Village sense of their personal style and needs, and then It’s like moving into your home. Let us help you 11350 Woodstock Rd Free Technology Workshops helps find ways to reproduce that style in their St. create a design plan for a new residence that is not George Village residence. From measuring furniture just a place to live, but your sanctuary. Roswell, GA 30075 iPhone & iPad and mapping out where each treasured piece will be 678-987-0402 Cathy Parker Call us at 678-987-0402 for more information or placed in the new home to assisting in the selection to schedule a tour. We’re online, too! See more details stgeorgevillage.com 678-987-0406 of interior design options and lining up the appropri- about our community, lifestyle and residents on our

ome. It’s where the heart is. It’s also where all of the treasured mementos of the past and the special details designed for present comfort come together to create a warm and welcoming sanctuary.


Music Festivals, continued from page 19


and my father’s sister calls me every year on St. Patrick’s Day to remind me of my Irish heritage, I’d be hard-pressed to tell you what it’s all about. So, I researched this infamous day of rubbing the Blarney Stone and toasting with beer steins to find out when and how in the heck it originated. All I know is it’s an Irish time of feasting and merry-making that our melting pot culture happily adopted. Here goes. In Ireland, when St. Patrick’s Day officially began in the early 17th century, it was to commemorate the first man to officially bring Christianity to Ireland—St. Patrick. Thank goodness Irish immigrants brought the “Day of the Festival of Patrick” to us so we could have another nationwide party. Interestingly enough, St. Patrick was not Irish. He was born into a British blueblood family, which was not religious. His father managed to become a deacon of the church in order to dodge taxes. One day, Patrick was kidnapped and taken to Gailic Ireland, where he was held captive, working as a shepherd, a lonely man who turned to Christianity. He fled his captors and, as the story goes, began to convert thousands of pagan Irish. This is where the “He drove snakes out of Ireland” myth comes in, even though there are no snakes in Ireland. He drove out pagans, particularly the Celts, who would not convert. Those snakes! And what about the shamrocks we wear? They speculate that the three-leaved shamrocks were gathered by St. Patrick as symbols of the Holy Trinity. That’s all well and good, but what about the green hats, attire, and beer? The green thing goes back to Ireland in the 1640s when a green “harp” flag was used by the Irish Catholic Confederation and the Irish Confederate Army. By 1680, green ribbons and shamrocks were worn to commemorate St. Patrick’s Day, and for the next century, green would go in and out of style depending upon the political environment. Finally throughout the 1800s and 1900s green became the official color of the day. Although St. Patrick’s Day has been around for what seems like forever in Ireland, it finally became an official public holiday in 1903. It’s a long event. A law was introduced later that required pubs to be closed on March 17th after the country’s drinking ran amok. That law was repealed in the 1970s. No kidding. Finally, ladies and gentleman, what in the heck is a Blarney Stone about? I began to dig underneath, so to speak. The Blarney Stone is a block of limestone built into Blarney Castle in Ireland, at a great height. Kissing the stone, at a perilous risk I might add, in addition to being disgusting, is supposed to give one the gift of “gab,” defined as great eloquence. Right. Gentlemen, would you like your wives kissing that thing? Supposedly, millions of people have kissed this stone for the thrill of it, making it doubly disgusting. At its serious height above the castle grounds, one must be held tight to bend to kiss it without falling to one’s death. So, what’s under the stone? Maybe ten stories of open air? You won’t find me trying to kiss it. As they say on Shark Tank, “I’m out.” Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! ❍


American Craft Show


By Frank Mills

The American Craft Show is slated for Mar. 11–13 at the Cobb Galleria Centre. This show is a three-day celebration of all things finely handmade, bringing together over 225 of the country’s most talented contemporary craft makers. The 2016 show will have several special exhibits. The Style Slam features Atlanta’s most savvy stylists paired up with wearable, accessory, and jewelry artists to showcase cutting-edge fashion ensembles throughout the show floor. The “Make Room, Modern Design Meets Craft” is where top designers create spectacular room vignettes themed “4 Directions” using fine craft that visually demonstrates the essence of style in the North, South, East or West. Additionally, there will be “Hip Pop” highlighting the creative works of the best and brightest emerging craft artists, and “Let’s Make,” in which show-goers are allowed to touch and experience the creative process. A local artist is featured in this year’s show. Selected through an extensive juried process is master artisan Robert

Patterson, who works and resides in Milton. Patterson comes from a family of craftsmen, as both his father and grandfather were woodworkers. His Robert Patterson university training was focused mostly on drawing and painting, and he received his BFA from U. of North Carolina, and his MFA from U. of Georgia. Since then his work has moved toward greater variety and a mastery of hand crafted wood forms. His current work involves the defining and redefining of simple forms—his elliptical and circular containers suggest the inevitability of completion. This style has opened up a wider range of design in which he blends traditional craft practices with a mingling of drawing and painting. His wood forms are the result. You can meet Robert Patterson and his distinguished peers at the show. For tickets and information visit www.craftcouncil.org/atlanta. ❍









The dwarf crested iris is a groundcover variety for the shade garden. By Nancy Wallace

March: the month when we begin to see the spring garden emerging from a winter slumber. Buds on trees and shrubs are starting to swell, daffodils and tulips are bursting through the dormant terrain, and it won’t be long before the dead of winter is replaced by the inevitable glory of spring in the south. I’ve been making wish-lists of perennials to include in upcoming installations. What’s on your list this year? Once again, irises are on the top of my list. Their brief but spectacular appearance in the garden is nothing short of show-stopping. Irises are easy to grow, they are deer resistant, and there are several varieties that can be incorporated into just about any perennial garden. Named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, it should be no surprise that irises come in an array of extraordinary colors and combinations. Use them in mass plantings for the biggest impact and ease of maintenance. For shade gardens try Iris cistata, the dwarf crested iris which is suitable as a ground cover, or Iris pallida ‘Variegata’ (variegated iris) which is not only shade tolerant, but thrives in moist soils along stream banks and pond gardens. The Siberian iris (Iris siberica) is especially versatile because it tolerates wet or dry soils and boasts elegant grass-like foliage, adding texture to the garden long after the flowers pass. My personal favorite are the bearded irises (Iris germanica), with their frilly falls and subtle fragrance. Bearded irises can produce several branches, each bearing multiple buds, but because of the profuse bud

rosemary (adding it to almost everything I cook these days). My favorite rosemary to grow here in Georgia is Chef ’s Choice® Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Roman Beauty’) because it is cold-hardy and deer-proof, stays compact, and its high oil content and spicy flavor make it the perfect rosemary to include in meal preparations. This rosemary works particularly well in a perennial garden when maintained as a low hedge. Irises, peonies, black-eyed susans, salvia, day lilies, and daisies, can all be planted on the backside of a rosemary hedge. Group perennials together that bloom at the same time, and repeat the groups across the border. (For example, irises and peonies bloom at the same time in spring. Daisies and The variegated iris is suitable for shade gardens and black-eyed susans bloom on and off all summer long.) Another good selection tolerates moist soil. for low-growing hedges in front of topple behind the hedge, creating a perennial borders is the boxwood. cottage-garden look without appearing overgrown and unkempt. I Consider ‘Green Velvet’ or ‘Baby Gem’ have a couple of favorite hedge plants for this purpose. My final favorite lowfor just such a purpose. First of all, I’m growing hedge is an herb: germander (Teucrium chamaedrys) which has having a renewed romance with

Our Our Atherton Atherton P Place lace F Family amily

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Of our 92 team members, the average tenure at Atherton Place is an amazing 12 years. We are particularly proud that 25% of the team has been here for more than 20 years!

When Atherton Place opened in 1988, the concept of Senior Living was brand new. Over time, our commitment to providing a high-quality community with a personal touch has grown and touched many lives. Our residents regularly share that our team members are a key reason in making this a comfortable home. We invite you to join us for lunch, a complimentary tour and an opportunity to meet some of our team members. Call 770-421-7300 for more information.

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pretty pink flowers midsummer through fall. Its creeping roots allow it to spread uniformly into a shrub-like evergreen border, suitable to hedge trimming. Germander, like the other hedge choices mentioned, is also deer resistant. Make use of the early days in spring to collect your thoughts, do a little homework, and plan that new border garden. It’s one of the best investments you can make in the landscape. ❍ Photos by Nancy Wallace. Nancy provides garden design & renovation services. Follow her blog: wallacegardens.tumblr.com.

Bearded irises produce numerous buds on a single stalk, and some are even fragrant.


production, some irises may require staking to keep them from toppling over in spring rains. That may sound like a lot of work, but with the right supplies, this is a super simple task. Use bamboo stakes and pick up a bag of “claw clips” (or “jaw clips”) from the girls’ hair-styling section of the grocery store. (Don’t select the mini clips which work well for orchids. Choose something larger that can accommodate a bamboo stake and a 1/2” iris stalk.) Staking irises this way is a quick and efficient way to keep them upright through their bloom season. When choosing irises for your own garden, The American Iris Society can provide you with a wealth of information, including resources and planting tips, regional award-winners, and re-blooming varieties. Border gardens are an easy and effective way to showcase some of your favorite perennials, but it’s nice to have an “anchor hedge” to keep everything uniform across the front of the border. With a low, evergreen hedge, perennials can frolic and






Development in Roswell, or in any community, is a touchy subject. People are generally resistant to change of any kind and well, that is exactly what development is—change. Last fall the local elections were particularly focused on development in Roswell, and like any election, “facts” are scarce and hyperbole is rampant. Unfortunately, due to the very negative tone of the campaigns, business in the historic area is in a state of flux. Canton Street’s success was kickstarted by an investment from the city in the mid ’90s to add sidewalks and lighting prior to the Olympics. That small but successful initiative led to private investment in the area and through a lot of hard work by local business owners, Canton Street has been the envy of the North Metro Atlanta area. Unfortunately that progress is grinding to a halt because of the aforementioned election. The current Roswell City Council is in need of a unifying issue and the City Green project should be that issue. Many people in Roswell are not even aware of much that goes on in the city hall complex. Beyond government offices there is the Smith Plantation, the beautiful Roswell Cultural Arts Center, and lets not forget there is a war memorial tucked in there as well. Additionally, there is ample parking that can be utilized for events like Alive After Five or just as a place to park for free and walk right over to Canton Street. The idea of the City Green project is simple—open the space up so that people can actually see it and enjoy it. At present the city complex is hidden and in all honesty, enjoyed by only a few people. The Roswell City Green will be an active park and outdoor event space in the heart of the city, hosting activities year round with programming that will complement and extend the already vi-

Sam Chontos at the entrance of Smith Plantation.


brant Canton Street scene. It was initially conceptualized in 2012 and has been through several years of revisions, planning and designing. It is a project that is ready to go. It will encourage responsible redevelopment, provide easy access to 400 free parking spots, and foster an even more connected and united Roswell. The impact will better serve our veterans who now have a memorial that is essentially hidden from public view. The City Green will be an affordable keystone project to reenergize investment in the area. All of which should be of importance to city leaders, being that the city recently spent $5 million of your money to purchase the old Southern Skillet location, directly across the street from city hall. Downtown is the one part of every city that belongs to everyone. Roswell is no different. We all cherish Canton Street and the historic homes. People from all over the city are passionate about what type of development happens in downtown. Let your elected officials know they need to actually stand for something and be a part of keeping Roswell great. Also, be sure to stay on top of local development issues by visiting thecurrenthub.com. For more specific info on the city green project, visit roswellcitygreen.org. We will be posting info on this and other initiatives in an effort to keep you informed of what’s happening in our neighborhoods. ❍


SAFE FUN, SAFE CAMPS Kids & Kay By Kay Paschal

If you can believe it, it’s time to start thinking about and yes, start signing up for, summer camp! The Atlanta summer scene has so many wonderful camps and venues to satisfy the desires and interests of Atlanta families, so that’s not an issue. What is an issue is the continuing lack of oversight of many camps that are operating with not even a minimum Kay Paschal, Owner of health, safety, and administrative standards for the children Peachtree Park Prep they are serving. Some of these programs are in the very best communities and in our own back yards. This situation is continuing to get attention from state government agencies and some press from various articles printed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution warning of these types of camps and reported as such on local news channels. When an accident or incident happens at a camp with safeguards, oversight, and adults in charge it’s bad enough, but when an accident or incident happens at a camp with none of these safeguards in place, with primarily a teen-age/young adult staff, it’s a tragedy. Most parents are only then aware that they have chosen an unlicensed, unregulated camp. Remember, summer camps can only be officially licensed and regulated by the State of Georgia. Many, if not all, of the temporary summer camps will be able to show some type of credentials or accreditation from someone. There are various agencies that camps can join to show “accreditation” that may mean very little, basically they submit a summer camp plan and pay an accreditation fee. There is little on-going oversight or standards. These camps are then free to hire

teens/young adults for an all day camp experience, most often intensively physical 25 and held primarily outdoors, compounding the issue of safety. Also, these young people are charged with planning and implementing a full day of appropriate care for a group of children by themselves primarily or totally... really? When an incident/accident does occur, no one is required to report it because it is unregulated…hmmmm? All parents care about the quality and safety of their child’s experience, not just during the school year but all year. It is beneficial for parents to share the information they discover in the process of formulating summer plans so that all children can have a fun-filled, energetic, engaging, and safe summer. ❍ Kay Paschal, is owner of Peachtree Park Prep in Alpharetta. MARCH 2016 THECURRENTHUB.COM







Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar at The Avenue in East Cobb as construction is completed. By Frank Mack

It is a sensitive thing talking about a local business. It’s even harder when your voice reaches way beyond your own back fence. I have never made any bones about it. I am a cheerleader who is forever looking for a positive story to tell. I strive to be more than a traditional “critic” with a bone to

The trouble is, that is downright boring, to say the least. I get emails all the time asking me if I ever eat anything bad? Yes. Yes I do. So this month I’m branching out. Why? Because, in all honesty, the past few years it’s been hard not to find a great new place. This is a vibrant area for restaurants. At the top end are extraordinary chefs doing amazing things. We’ve got amazing dives, great music venues, and our entire downtown areas are devoted to the industry of feeding us. Every single place, good, bad or indifferent, began in the same way. Someone, or some group perhaps, forms a concept. This is then followed by a lot of work, culminating in a grand opening day event! People get fed, business life begins, and people, like it or not, begin to judge.

Here are a few places I visited this month in and around Roswell. I hope we aren’t seeing a regression here. For years I was familiar with Houck’s Grille in East Cobb. Recently they relocated to Roswell at 10930 Crabapple Road next to Bistro VG. Talk about a disaster! The room is a hollow mess. The food is a senseless horror. The staff is overburdened while they are trying to apologize for everything. I took offense. Are they just playing on the old name? I give it about as much time as the place it replaced. I question the location, the design, and as for execution... I recommend it. Sadly everyone who loved the old place by name expected more. Sitting at the end of Canton Street is a charming little house that is home to Tafa’s Restaurant featuring a Mediterranean kitchen. Cute house with cute rooms and charming people but definitely overpriced. As cute as the family can be, I just don’t know. At these prices ($100 for 2 person dinner with no drinks), you’d better knock my socks off and they didn’t. The over all quality was substandard, not good enough, period. The one save. They serve up one heck of a great soup. The last place to disappoint me was The Big Ketch on Canton Street. Not big at all! I was totally

27 nonplussed. Nice enough interior, but not great. The seafood was, at best, average and nothing special. This might fly on a good corner in Atlanta, but out here on Canton Street? I hope not. It seems to me with each of these new places, that they located here because of the great places we already have. The problem is they bring nothing new to the table—I hope this is not a trend. There is, however, hope on the horizon. I am very excited about a new place run by Doug Torbush of Seed over in East Cobb. I’ll lay ten to one East Cobb is about to pick up another excellent restaurant. It’s called Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar, located in The Avenue. The design is spot on and the kitchen layout is world class. When Torbush and his team make a move into seafood, everyone else within 10 miles had better take note, as they do not aim for good enough or second place. If anyone local will be selling eels, it’ll be these guys! I’m sneaking in early to witness the art of training. You can bet this one will stay in the conversation for the months ahead. Spring approaches, patios open, and a dinner bell rings. Ask not for whom, as it rings for yours truly. See you around ;) ❍ MARCH 2016 THECURRENTHUB.COM

pick. A monthly column affords me the luxury of sticking to the positive stories. I am unencumbered by the bad stories as I just let the market at large take care of that. I believe that telling you about the “good spots” is the best use of this space.

YES, WILLY’S IS REAL, GOOD MEXICAN FOOD phy is that if you are taking the time to come to his restaurant, then his team should take the time to serve the best food. Willy’s uses only fresh meats, cheeses and produce, preparing each ingredient daily at every location. In addition to the burritos, the menu at Willy’s offers nachos, tacos, salads, quesadillas, and even breakfast (at select locations only) with multiple salsas and additional toppings available that allow customers to personalize their orders. With more than two decades under its belt and 27 restaurants in the metro Atlanta, Athens and Peachtree City areas, Willy’s continues to grow responsibly and steadily, attracting a new generation of loyal “BurritoHeads.” “My whole family got involved right from the start,” said Willy. “The good news is that people started eating my burritos and many more over the years and they are still eating them. Thanks for making Willy’s such a success because I honestly have no idea what else I’d be doing now.” Willy’s is also happy to feed a crowd, offering a variety of catering options: taco bar, fajita bar, burrito

Willy Bitter, founder of Willy’s Mexicana Grill, fell in love with Californiastyle burritos while living in San Francisco in the 1990s.

platter, quesadilla platter, nacho bar, burrito bar, breakfast burrito and breakfast taco bar. Plus, the #WillysFoodTruck crew is always on the move making regular trips to local events and gatherings. Willy’s Mexicana Grill has a Willy’s new location in Roswell in the Mexicana Grill Stonebridge Station shopping Roswell center (660 W. Crossville Road) Stonebridge Station next to Starbucks and a location 660 W. Crossville in East Cobb in the Pine Straw Road Place shopping center (4250 East Cobb Roswell Road). For more info on Pine Straw Place locations and menu options visit 4250 Roswell Road www.willys.com. ❍ www.willys.com


Many of you have probably noticed the new Willy’s Mexicana Grill locations in our area. Willy’s is actually a “local” brand that has been around for 20 years and yes Willy is in fact real. “I’m not a gimmick that some marketing guy came up with. I’ve personally rolled over a hundred thousand burritos and even got tendonitis in my wrist,” said Willy Bitter, founder of Willy’s Mexicana Grill. Willy is an entrepreneur who fell in love with California-style burritos while living in San Francisco in the 1990s. The burritos, made to order with fresh ingredients, were addicting, so Willy headed back home and opened the first Willy’s Mexicana Grill in Atlanta in 1995. “When I set out to open my first restaurant, I seriously had nothing except an honest passion for making and eating great Mexican food… especially burritos,” Willy stated. Creating a new style of fast and fresh casual Mexican restaurant that offers the best possible food was always the ultimate target for Willy. His philoso-



THE MANY SOUNDS OF SPRING Local music festivals offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and hear great music. By Jessica Diamond

There are many things we do well here in the South. However, one thing we do exceptionally well is throwing big outdoor parties the moment winter turns its back. Come spring, us sun-starved suburbanites bust out of our homes looking for parties and festivals to celebrate the return of warm southern air and everything that comes with it, heedless of the yellow blanket of pollen. In recent years, we’ve gotten increasingly good at drawing national and international crowds to our door with a truly diverse collection Hometown girl Gwen Hughes of Divas of Swing. of original music festivals. Atlanta has long been a cultural hub for the music scene, and it only continues to grow and diversify to those of us here in the suburbs. Whatever your musical tastes, you’re sure to find a show that fits your mood, be it an intimate community pavilion or a raging international festival. Atlanta and its surrounding communities truly have it all. Come May, we will see the return of Roswell Riverside Sounds Concert Series at Riverside Park. This is a favorite for many reasons, not the least of which is that attendance is free of charge. On the first Saturday of each month, May through Oct., a different live band will perform for a crowd that has typically been gathering all day. Guests can bring their own food and drinks or enjoy the food trucks that usually set up shop nearby. It’s a cozy, community driven event that is produced by the Roswell Recreation, Parks, Historic and Cultural Affairs Department. This is a great opportunity to enjoy a summer night by the river and hear a variety of bands, both new and renowned. Learn more at www.roswellgov.com. If you’re in need of Friday night entertainment this summer, look no further than the Chukkar Farm T.G.I.F. Concert Series by the musically inclined nonprofit, Atlanta Plays it Forward. Guests can enjoy a different musical experience every third Friday of the month, April through Oct. at the Chukkar Farm pavilion in Alpharetta. The lineup has already been set for the 2016 season and


A high energy big band with a modern twist, Capitol City Xpress will perform at Chukkar Farm T.G.I.F., June 17.

includes music from every era, with dancing heavily encouraged. Whether it’s the toe tapping 1920’s sounds of the T-Tones, the big band energy of Capitol City Xpress, classic rock with the Jeff Pike Band or flying high with the Divas of Swing, there is something for everyone at T.G.I.F. Proceeds go to local charity organizations such as Camp Sunshine, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and The Drake House. Best of all, Atlanta Plays it Forward has partnered with Uber to give guests one free ride! Uber has agreed to “play it forward” by donating to the supported charities as well. Learn more about Atlanta Plays it Forward and upcoming events at www.atlantaplaysitforward.org.

Get Out And Explore While it is a drive, the Slingshot Festival in Athens is an immersive experience that connects local and international musical acts with other innovative performances and mediums such as electronic art, technology, documentary style and experimental film screenings and a comedy night that sells out every year. This year marks the fourth consecutive year of the festival that completely overtakes downtown Athens for three days and draws international crowds looking for “nextwave” culture. The festival will begin March 31 and carry through April 2. Tickets and information can be found at www.slingshotathens.com. Ryan Hemsworth performs at the Back by ever-popular demand, the Slingshot Festival in Athens this spring. Shaky Knees Music Fest is returning May 13 –15 to Centennial Olympic Park in the heart of Atlanta. This festival is a rock lover’s paradise with more than 75 bands from around the world, a slew of food trucks from around the southeast and plenty of entertainment to satisfy any taste. The lineup features some well known and loved names such as Wolf Alice, Huey Lewis and the News, Florence + The Machine, and Deftones as well as a diverse collection of up-and-comers. www.shakykneesfestival.com. The Atlanta Jewish Music Fest is the only Jewish music festival of its kind. Founded and operated by Atlanta native Russell Gottschalk in 2009, it is truly a labor of love. After witnessing the success of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, Gottschalk became inspired to create a music festival for the south that could celebrate Jewish artists and connect the surrounding community. Over the years, it has grown leaps and bounds and draws crowds and performers from Continues on p. 30 around the world. This year’s festival will include 18 different

Music Festivals, continued from page 29



Take a look at that face: Huey Lewis and the News will perform May 14 at Shaky Knees.

events spanning 16 days all over the Atlanta area. The festivities, open to all, kick off March 10 and continue on through March 27. Scout out the lineup and get your tickets at www.atlantajmf.org. Looking for something a little more unorthodox? You’ll find it at this next festival, which doubles as a benefit for a treasured Atlanta landmark, the Historic Oakland Cemetery. Tunes from the Tombs is the annual fundraiser for the Historic Oakland Foundation. Proceeds from the festival go towards preserving, restoring and enhancing the Historic Oakland Cemetery. From the earliest builders and Civil War soldiers, through the Civil Rights era to the present, Oakland has watched Atlanta grow from birth. Translation: this cemetery is really, really old. It needs attention, it needs careful maintenance and it needs to be seen. What better place for a music festival and celebration of life? Between the ornate mausoleums and the grand old trees, you can’t ask for a more unique atmosphere. The lineup is yet to be announced, but reviews from previous years suggest that it is a must-do annual tradition. Mark this on your calendars for June 18 and get your tickets at www.oaklandcemetery.com.

With every style of music, dancing, food trucks, and drinks imaginable, there will be no excuse for boredom this spring and summer. Don’t see anything that looks like you? No problem, you’ve been given the gift of opportunity. Get out there and find a few new favorite bands. Beyond the festivals covered here there are many others we didn’t get to such as the Glover Park Concerts in Marietta, the Woodstock Summer Concert Series and similar events in Johns Creek. Keep up with these festivals and more by regularly visiting our site thecurrenthub.com. ❍

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March 2016 Current Hub

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