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Live Better. Live Healthier.

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It may be time for you to take that important step

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towards a healthier and fuller life. Northside Hospital

Northside Hospital celebrating 30 excellence years of bariatric is celebrating 30isyears of bariatric with the excellence with the commitment to helping people obesity take control their lives. to learn more commitment tobattle helping peopleand battle obesity and of take control ofCall theirus lives. about weight surgery thatand firsttake step to fiarst healthier Call us to learn moreloss about weightand losstake surgery that step to you. a healthier new you.

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on the cover

january / february 2015

16 Business Radio X

Gwinnett Business Radio X gives local businesses opportunity to share their stories

30 9 Ways Suwanee Stays Fit

Suwanee residents and gyms share fitness stories and tips

51 Healthy Eating Guide

Guide to healthy menu options at local restaurants

70 Will You Marry Me?

Heartwarming proposal stories from readers in honor of Valentine’s Day


I Suwanee Magazine I I JAN / FEB 15

empower 13 Suwanee Business

Alliance News SBA weighs in on growing healthy businesses 15 Investment Strategies Aileron Investment Advisors give advice on inflation concerns 18 Business Spotlight: Friendship Complete Automotive Care Tips on winterizing your vehicle

21 Financial Health

Reflecting on and preparing for optimal financial health with Grandview Planning

Managing Editor, Rachel Fasig, shares how she started running on page 8.


Steve Glass 5




january / february 2015




Karl Lamb

80 Jack

66 The Greater

Griffin Peachtree Ridge Senior takes a giant step toward relieving community hunger with website FoodFinder

Atlanta Corporate Games Annandale Village brings the Olympic spirit to local companies

68 Cooper's

Crew Fights On Miles2Give team runs across the country to raise money for Sarcoma cancer research

Dr. Chris Halper of North Georgia Pediatric Dentistry

thrive 26 North Georgia

Pediatric Dentistry Bright colors and smiling faces leave positive first impressions

28 Children's

Healthcare of Atlanta A week's worth of ideas for healthy families


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savor 60 What's Brewing New brews available in Georgia 62 Grapevine Health benefits of wine, beer and spirits


in every issue

o8 Editor's

Letter 10 Share 22 Suwanee Stats

74 City Buzz 79 Life's A Sport 82 People & Places 86 Calendar

Protect your world Auto • Home • Life • Retirement

Call me today to discuss your options. Some people think Allstate only protects your car. Truth is, Allstate can also protect your home or apartment, your boat, motorcycle - even your retirement and your life. And the more of your world you put in Good Hands®, the more you can save.

Adam Blackwell 770-932-5097 669 Main St. Suwanee

Insurance subject to terms, qualifications and availability. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co., Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co., Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Co., Allstate Insurance Co., Allstate Indemnity Co., Northbrook Indemnity Co. Life insurance and annuities issued by Lincoln Benefit Life Company, Lincoln, NE, Allstate Life Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL. In New York, Allstate Life Insurance Company of New York, Hauppauge, NY. Northbrook, IL. © 2010 Allstate Insurance Co.


Call or stop by to see how much you can save.


a note from our managing editor

Happy 2015 everyone! an you believe it's already 2015? I can't! I say that every year…but seriously I can't believe how fast the year went by. Maybe you made resolutions in 2014 that you are carrying over into 2015, like me. This is why, like Chris Singleton (page 79), I have resolved to stop making New Year's resolutions. Don't get me wrong…I'm all about setting goals that will improve your overall physical, spiritual, financial and relational health. But instead Rachel Fasig of making sweeping statements Managing Editor like, "I'm going to lose weight, spend more time with my kids, be more involved in church, save more money, be a better employee, etc." I encourage you to set small actionable items that you can check off. While interviewing people for the "Suwanee Stays Fit" section (page 31) I noticed this was a recurring theme. Lieutenant Bryan Hickey said, "If you want to become a runner then set a specific, measurable goal, like 'I will run my first 5K in 4 months from now.'" I did this exact thing without even realizing it when I became a runner. I guess I was wise beyond my years (sometimes). At age 13, I told my parents I wanted to try and run 'The Turkey Trot 5K' on Thanksgiving Day. Don't ask how or why that idea got in my head. My parents, who both dislike running, thought it was another "phase" of mine that would pass – like Beanie Babies and smiley face T-shirts. But, I was determined. I had no prior experience, so I just said, "Today I'm going to run to that stop sign, next week I'm going to run to the end of the street, the next week I'll run 1 mile nonstop." I remember being so happy

Visit for some great web only articles and frequent updates.


I Suwanee Magazine I I JAN / FEB 15

the first time I ran one nonstop mile! I ran that first 5K in my slowest time ever, but was so proud that I finished. I loved the feeling of finishing a race and have been a runner ever since – competing all through high school and college. Small goals work, broad resolutions often don't. If you want to "lose weight, spend more time with kids, be more involved in church, save more money, be a better employee, etc." then set a small goal like getting to work 10 minutes early every day for a week. As you finish a goal you'll feel great and want to set more goals, then change will naturally start to follow. In 2015, I want to "stop procrastinating" - I type this as my Executive Editor is asking where in the world this "Letter" is. So, instead of just saying, "I'll be better next time and won't procrastinate," I promised myself that I will write two articles immediately following the interview, instead of waiting to do all of them the weekend before they are due. And, since I'm getting married this year (like my coworker Laura whose cute engagement story is on Page 72), I definitely need to deal with the procrastination thing, otherwise its going to be a music-less, flower-less, dress-less, food-less and wine-less wedding. Not good. So, whatever your aspirations are for 2015, I hope the tips, advice and stories within this issue will inspire you to become the best you possibly can be! I know they have definitely inspired me :)

On our cover:

Elena Vlasoff photographed on December 17th by STEVE GLASS. Elena trains at Warrior Wellness & Rejuvenation in Suwanee.



comments about the nov / dec ‘14 issue

“We were recently featured as the Restaurant Spotlight in Suwanee Magazine and the article helped our revenues tremendously. In fact, my manager told me over 300 people came to the restaurant because they saw the story! Being a new small business in Buford, we were so fortunate for the help of everyone at Suwanee Magazine. A special 'thank you' to Rachel for writing such a great article on our new space and vision for our Ale House.” BRIAN CAMPBELL


“I love the front cover photo. The dog is so adorable!” BETH MILLS

“Great magazine and very informative on the events and happenings around Suwanee.”


“We always love getting our Suwanee Magazine!”


“Loved seeing the Lake Lanier holiday news (SnowWorld article in Nov/Dec issue).”

“We love Suwanee Magazine - I love the great articles and coupons and my kids love all the great pictures of events; always looking to see if they can find themselves or friends in the next issue.”


“Loved the Holiday Brews article! And I've been looking for a new place to eat and may check out the Tannery Row Ale House!”


Love an article in this issue - or don’t? Send us your feedback by Feb. 15th and if we publish your comment, we'll send you two tickets to the Georgia Aquarium or SkyZone. Please include your name and address.

“Thanks again! I told the girls after school and they were so excited! We are going to jump over the holiday break.” - Laura Atchley, winner of Skyzone Suwanee gift cards


HOW TO REACH US: Email: Fax: 678-730-0691. Or join the conversation on facebook and twitter. Letters and e-mails should include full contact information. We reserve the right to edit letters for clarity and brevity. All submissions become the property of Veugeler Design Group and will not be returned. Submission constitutes permission to use photos and stories in all media.


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“I just wanted to let the readers know that Angela and Randall Veugeler, who publish this magazine, have, in no small way, created a lot of the success in our city - not only through their magazine, but also by what they invest in our community. Suwanee Magazine has grown from a small local publication of less than 30 pages (Nov/Dec 2010) to a regional media powerhouse that boasted 85 pages in the last edition! That’s a lot of growth, and I believe the magazine you hold in your hands is a great reflection of this community and our health! My personal congratulations and thanks to Angela and Randall for having the foresight to launch this magazine, and for all they do for Suwanee! P.S. - I told them that if they didn't publish this comment I would not write for them again!” ED SZCZESNIAK Editor's Note: Thank you so much for your kind words Ed! We are privileged to live and work in such a supportive community and wouldn't be here without our advertisers and readers. We normally don't respond well to threats :) but we love your articles, so here's your quote and your article is on the next page!

ANGELA VEUGELER President / Editor in Chief RANDALL VEUGELER Vice President and Publisher RACHEL FASIG Managing Editor / LAURA LANE Advertising Director /



PUBLISHED BY VEUGELER DESIGN GROUP 554 W. Main Street, Suite 200, Buford, GA 30518 For SUBSCRIPTION INQUIRES or BACK ISSUE ORDERS, call 678-482-2270. For ADVERTISING INQUIRES, call 678-482-2270, or email

Suwanee Magazine is published bi-monthly by Veugeler Design Group. Opinions expressed by the contributing writers and editors are not necessarily those of the publisher, editor or Suwanee Magazine. The publisher will not accept responsibility for submitted materials that are lost or stolen. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication. However, the publisher cannot assume responsibility for errors or ommissions. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. ©2015 Veugeler Design Group. The editors welcome unsolicited manuscripts and photographs. Please visit us online at for submission guidelines, or email Rachel Fasig at


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suwanee business community news & info.


Suwanee Business Alliance News

GROWING HEALTHY BUSINESSES CITY CONTINUES TO FOSTER NEW BUSINESSES LARGE AND SMALL. { BY: Ed Szczesniak / OWNER, GEORGIAN LANDSCAPE DESIGN } K – SO WHEN SUWANEE MAGAZINE asked me to pen another article for the Jan/Feb issue they told me the focus of this issue would be on Health & Fitness. Now I must admit I had to ponder a bit as to how I was going to tie-in a business article to that topic and still make it fun and interesting. I mean, for an “older” guy I’m not in really, really bad shape (unless you ask me to do push ups or run more than about 30 / 20 / 10 yards) – and I don’t

belong to a health club (too embarrassed to hang with those flat bellies) so you might say I’m not really in-tune with the whole health and fitness thing (although I have taken to mixing my vodka with green tea in an effort to become healthier – and if I’m not healthier I just don’t care as much!) Well, after a couple of the above I came up with that “voila” moment and realized that a big part of the reason that my business, as well as so many of my Suwanee counterpart’s businesses, have been doing so well is that we



are all “healthy” – thanks to where we live and work. Yes – Suwanee is a GREAT place to grow a HEALTHY business. The city continues to foster new businesses large and small, the little companies that start here tend to flourish here, and a LOT of their owners are friends and neighbors who I see regularly at the SBA.


Being part of this wonderful city and the SBA has made an incredible difference in my photography business and in selling advertising for Suwanee Magazine because of all of the great people and businesses that I have come to know!" - Julie Perdue Owner / Photographer Main Street Photography

Pooch N Paws has grown past start-up into a healthy, thriving Pet Boutique in Suwanee after 4 years of support from the community and organizations like Suwanee Business Alliance. Suwanee excels when it comes to family... not only as a great place to raise a family but also raise Starla and Bob Pellegrino and nurture a family owned business. Sounds cliché but the more we give to the community, the more the community gives back. We have found that Suwanee as a community and the Suwanee Business Alliance have similar driving principles when it comes to supporting each other as family." - Starla Pellegrino Pooch N Paws

As an active member for nearly 8 years, I’m amazed at the number of relationships the SBA has helped me create! Over the years I've developed ties that allowed me to help members with their personal insurance, their friends and family, their clients, as well as opportunities to help hundreds of their employees through our employee perks program. I’m very thankful for the direct business I have been given, but the value I am able to offer my clients through introductions to other members and the services they offer make it that much sweeter. Very thankful for my SBA friends!" - Andy Pelphrey, LUTCF Liberty Mutual, Auto | Home | Life | Annuity

Ray Stanjevich and Suzanne Cartwright

The City of Suwanee, along with the SBA, has been very instrumental in the growth of Friends American Grill.

We’ve had the opportunity to make business contacts as well as City contacts, and to build relationships in our business thanks to where we chose to plant our roots. Our goal of contributing to the community and growing along with the City of Suwanee fits in nicely with the SBA as this group acts as a perfect avenue to develop our business and prosper." - Ray Stanjevich Friends American Grilll

For more information, please visit our website @ and come be our guest at the next SBA gathering! 14

I Suwanee Magazine I I JAN / FEB 15







Recently many politicians and some members of the media have dismissed concerns about the future possibility of inflation. For quite some time the government has reported that prices have trended only slightly upward. Significant inflationary forces do not kick in unless the US economy is strong and vigorous, which has not been the case for the past seven years. In early November, the Federal Reserve announced that the American economy is still too weak and fragile to consider raising interest rates, thus there is no current threat of major inflation. However, consider this: there is over 2 trillion dollars of cash sitting in banks that is supposed to be in circulation. The government has been rewarding banks not to lend money so the cash remains idle. There is another 2 trillion dollars of cash that is sitting in corporate check books as well. Many companies have been afraid to make long-term plans and investments because of capricious government behavior and uncertain regulations. At some point (hopefully) this 4 to 5 trillion dollars of idle cash will reenter the U.S. economy. When that happens the economy will heat up and all of the pent up inflationary forces will be released. Your investment portfolio needs to be positioned to adjust for that consequence. Some asset classes are hurt by inflation while others may benefit. It would be best to have a conversation with your trusted advisor about SEND YOUR INVESTMENT factoring inflation into your QUESTIONS TO: portfolio planning. â– SUBMISSIONS@ SUWANEE MAGAZINE. COM The views expressed in this article are not necessarily that of Suwanee Magazine.



GWINNETT BUSINESS RADIO Business RadioX show gives local businesses opportunity to share their stories { BY: Rachel Fasig }

From left to right: Vince DeSilva, Sr. VP, Membership Service at Gwinnett Chamber; Jeff Kim, Managing Partner, Tracs Group; Mike Sammond, Producer/Host Gwinnett Business Radio; Trey Odum, Producer/Host Gwinnett Business Radio; Jai Rogers, VP Business & Community Development at Delta Community Credit Union

“Everyone has a

story to tell,” said Mike Sammond, Radio Host and Producer at Gwinnett Business Radio. “I’ll never forget when my Studio Director said, ‘There are 300,000 people in Columbus - so there are 300,000 stories to be told,’” he recalled. That was Sammond’s first radio gig, fresh off a UGA Broadcasting Degree; but the notion stuck with him throughout his career and “now it has come full circle,” he said. Lee Kantor founded Business RadioX in 2007, out of Sandy Springs, Georgia with a simple “pro business” goal: give local businesses the opportunity to share their insights and experiences to an engaged audience, without the commercial interruption of traditional radio. “They started doing podcasts before podcasts were really “a thing” and now it’s the future of radio broadcasting,” Sammond said. By providing local businesses the opportunity to share their work with thousands of potential customers, investors and decision-makers – Business RadioX has quickly become the fastest growing B2B online radio network in the nation.


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Gwinnett Business Radio came to life two years ago when Kantor met with Sammond and recognized the need for such a platform within the thriving business economy of Gwinnett County. The Gwinnett Studio is one of seven Business RadioX network locations and marks the beginning of an aggressive national and international plan for growth. “With thousands of businesses in Gwinnett County, everyone has a story to tell, whether its the CEO of a billion dollar business, a startup entrepreneur or a local nonprofit,” Sammond explained. “What we do at its core and essence is give back to the business community by offering a voice for the businesses, and there's never a charge or cost for them to do so,” he continued. Mike Sammond’s extensive background in radio and television is apparent as he effortlessly guides his guests through a 45-minute Q&A format show. His experience ranges from Television Reporter for the Olympic News Channel, Sports Anchor at CNN Headline News and Talkshow Host on Sports Radio 92.9 The Game. Many guests on Gwinnett Business Radio have minimal on-air experience and are a bit nervous at first, but Sammond’s professional yet easygoing demeanor makes the experience conversational and enjoyable; with many asking to join the show again.


In two years, nearly 800 business leaders have shared their stories on Gwinnett Business Radio, to an audience of thousands of listeners. The shows are saved as podcasts and are available on iTunes and the Business RadioX website. “We are providing a unique and out of the box way for them to market their business,” Sammond said of his guests. “We always try to have variety on our show and not have competing industries on air at the same time,” he continued. For some, being a one-time guest of the show is just the beginning. There are currently five shows at the Gwinnett Studio, each Mike Sammond one hosted by a local business professional looking to utilize a different marketing platform. Having their own show provides an unparalleled opportunity to connect with a local audience and a unique platform to invite clients to similarly share their stories, while reaching thousands.

As of December 2014, ranked Business RadioX as the 98,357 most-visited website in the nation and at 267,131 worldwide. Just two years ago they were ranked in the 300,000s – evidence of their rapid growth and popularity. Already located in Metro Atlanta, Wilmington, Chicago and Metro Raleigh – Business RadioX is set to open studios in major cities across the nation. Sammond summed it up by saying, “Wherever business is being done, we want to have a Business RadioX studio.” If you are a Gwinnett business that is eager to share your story, or are interested in learning more about hosting your own show, please visit gwinnettbusinessradio. for additional information. ■




Business Spotlight


Webster’s dictionary describes winter as: the

coldest season of the year that is after autumn and before spring. If the recent bouts of below average temperatures we have experienced are any indication as to what is coming, then we may be facing a long, cold winter. At the sign of the first frost we rushed to order firewood, grabbed the jackets out of storage, and stocked up on soups and other comfort foods. But, did you remember to take care of your vehicle? Without a properly cared for vehicle, one can find themselves in dire straits. Remember last year’s one-inch snowstorm that brought the general Atlanta area to a grinding halt? One has to wonder, how many of those stranded would have actually made it home if their vehicles were ready for winter? Winterizing your vehicle is such a simple process and after having a conversation with Danny and Susan Radford of Friendship Complete Automotive Care located in Suwanee, we compiled a list of what needs to be done to ensure that your vehicle is road ready for winter.



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Joe Grace

tires & tire pressure. Use the 01. Check penny coin system: take a penny, turn it upside down and insert it into the grooves of your tires. If Lincoln’s head disappears, then your tires are fine. If you can see his entire head, then you seriously need new tires.

all belts and hoses - cold 02. Check weather weakens them. Nothing like seeing all your fluids under your car due to a split hose.

Glen Jackson, Friendship Complete Automotive Care's newest car expert and former owner of Tire Omni Danny and Susan Radford with their dog Casey, aka "The Official Greeter" of Friendship Complete Automotive Care

Being an owner of Mustangs, and having lived the harsh winter climates of Pennsylvania, Missouri and North Carolina, I understand what needs to be done. However, if you have never winterized your vehicle, or don’t know how to winterize a vehicle, then calling Friendship Complete Automotive Care to make an appointment is a must. With the recent cold weather, they have already seen many customers come in with issues related to cold weather. Between battery replacements, new tires and something as simple as refilling windshield washer fluid, they have been busy!

anti-freeze: it protects the 03. Check engine in freezing weather. Check wiper blades and windshield de-icer. Replace your windshield wipers 04. once a year and spend money on good wipers! check or replacement: cranking 05. Battery power is diminished on older batteries. burnt out or weak headlights 06. Replace and taillights. Engine performance check. Is your 07. engine sluggish or just not sounding right? check/replacement. Are the 08. Filter air filters, gas filters and cabin filters clean? Have you had a cabin filter changed since you owned your vehicle?

Heating and A/C check. If not working 09. properly, then you can’t defrost your windows! shocks, struts and brakes. If 10. Check your suspension system and brakes are not in good working order, even the best tires will not help in a panic stop.

And, from many years of personal experience, make sure your cell phone is fully charged, have a phone charger in your car at all times, purchase a good window scraper with brush for those rare snow and ice days, and carry a blanket, flashlight and reflector kit along with some snacks and water.



Some of you may already be familiar with Danny Radford, as he has owned Friendship Paint and Body for the last 11 years, with locations in Suwanee and Stone Mountain. To further enhance the expert car service that you normally would expect at Friendship, the Radfords are proud to welcome a long-time and well-known expert in the car repair business, Glen Jackson, on board. Thus, making the team at Friendship even stronger! When visiting Friendship Complete Automotive Care, I was impressed with the way the shop looks and operates. The staff is knowledgeable and careful to not offer unnecessary repairs. They treat their customers with respect, and that is the best kind of service to offer. Now is the best time for you to get ‘into gear’, and be sure your vehicle is ready for winter. For more information visit ■

FRIENDSHIP COMPLETE AUTOMOTIVE CARE 393 Buford Hwy. Suwanee, GA 30024 770-945-5527


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Now that the holidays are over, for many people, this means reflecting on the prior year, while at the same time, preparing for the coming year, which may include an assessment of your financial situation. Did 2014 turn out for you like you hoped, or anticipated, from

a financial perspective? What could you have done differently, or now know you should have done differently, during the past year? What do you hope to accomplish this year? Did your income or business revenues increase as you planned? Are you in a better financial position today than you were at this time last year? This sort of reflection and planning is an important step in making sure that your financial plan is on track toward your objectives. It also helps to ensure that your financial decisions and actions are a reflection of your current values and goals. Here are some things to consider as you reflect on 2014 and prepare for a financially healthy 2015:

■ Organize your financial records. You will be collecting your 2014 tax documentation over the next month or two, so it is a good time to go ahead and organize that information for your tax preparer. Organization lends itself to easily accessible information, which may lead to better decision making. ■ Review your employer’s benefits. Do you need to make any changes to your tax withholdings with your employer, or are there benefits that need to be reviewed or changed? What about any insurance changes, or new life, disability, or long term

care coverages that you may need? Please be sure to update your beneficiary designation forms as well, if necessary. ■ Maximize your retirement plan contributions. Were you able to maximize your retirement plan contributions in 2014, or can you strive towards that in 2015? The IRA contribution limit for 2014 and 2015 is $5,500 with a $1,000 catch-up provision if you are age 50 or older. IRA contributions for 2014 can still be made until April 15, 2015. The 401(k) contribution limit for 2015 is $18,000 with a $6,000 catch-up provision if you are age 50 or older. If you’re a business owner, you may be able to put even more retirement money aside, given the right type of plan. Some plans have a maximum contribution limit of $53,000, while other plans have a maximum contribution limit of $287,500, depending on salary, age and other factors. Make sure that you are getting accurate information and periodic reviews from your advisors. Your personal and financial situations are always changing, so be sure to communicate this information with your advisors regularly. If there are financial areas of need, and you desire assistance, please contact us, as the GrandView team is always willing and ready to assist you, your family, or your business.













of residents find Suwanee to be an excellent or good place to live. -2012 National Citizen Survey


Number of businesses that have opened within the City in just the past two years.




Number of sculptures SculpTour has brought to downtown Suwanee since 2011. 22

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Number of awards The City of Suwanee won last year.

Suwanee Beer Fest

40 Number of community events hosted by the City of Suwanee each year.





Increase in the City’s property tax rate from fiscal year 2013 to fiscal year 2014. 23

dedicated to keeping you healthy.


The “open bay” hygiene rooms at North Georgia Pediatric Dentistry work to create an atmosphere where children can learn by example


Karl Lamb


From left to right: Dr. Chris Halper, Taylor Smith, Ashley Potts, Mary Catherine Segars, Sarah Brewer, Elizabeth Richardson

North Georgia Pediatric Dentistry:

Bright Colors. Smiling Faces. BY:

Aoife Healy

alking into North Georgia Pediatric Dentistry you are greeted with bright colors and smiling faces. The office feels fun and whimsical with a modern flair. It’s an office that caters to young children as well as teens and their parents: not one wallpaper cartoon character in sight! Those who frequent NGPD will recognize Amber Halper at the front desk greeting patients, chatting with parents, and high-fiving the kids. “Being a mom myself, I love being able to relate personally to the parents as well as put myself on the child’s level making them feel equally important,” said Amber, “Seeing the kids running in the door excited to come to the dentist is my favorite part of each day.” Dr. Chris Halper met his wife, Amber, their freshman year at Georgia Southern University. While she went on to complete her Masters in


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Finance from GSU, Dr. Halper transferred to Penn State University to finish a degree in Sports Medicine and Cardiac Rehabilitation. While completing his cardiac rehabilitation residency at Johns Hopkins, he knew he loved the bond and trust cultivated through patient interaction. After graduation he enjoyed a successful career in pharmaceutical clinical research but soon realized that he missed that bond between doctor and patient. As he was deciding to go back to school for dentistry he took some time to coach high school baseball and basketball. Being able to help kids learn and grow reinforced his choice to study Pediatric Dentistry at Temple University. “Growing up, my parents fostered children in need, I think that’s where my passion for working with children comes from,” Chris stated. After finishing the dental program at Temple University, he went on to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children to

"The sense of family and openness in the community was a driving factor in opening our practice here.”

complete the additional two years in residency required to specialize in Pediatrics. “Working with children is a true calling and something - Dr. Chris Halper that rightfully requires further training” said Dr. Halper. Having worked in the dental industry for some years, he realized that he wanted to bring a new outlook to the business. “I wanted to build an office that was more intimate and personable,” he said, “Opening my own practice was the only way to truly commit to the quality of care I wanted to provide.” North Georgia Pediatric Dentistry opened its flagship location in Braselton and expanded to its second location in Sugar Hill on January 18th, 2013. “Our mission is striving to build lasting relationships with families and children while promoting optimal oral health.” Dr. Halper said. With its “open bay” hygiene rooms NGPD works to create an atmosphere where children can learn by example. “If a child can physically see another child calmly undertaking a similar experience, it works to relieve any apprehension they may have about their visit,” he explained. Children who have had a bad experience in the past or just have a case “Seeing of the nerves are encouraged to come by for a “stop-in visit.” These visits the kids are very informal and allow the child running in the to acclimate to the surroundings door excited and get to know the team before an upcoming appointment. to come to the At NGPD comfort and dentist is my safety are their number one favorite part of priorities. “Whenever a child is each day.” being sedated it needs to be our only focus, which is why we do not - Amber Halper schedule any other procedures on those days,” said Dr. Halper. Living and opening his practice in the Gwinnett area had a lot to do with having children of his own. “My girls love visits to the numerous parks and playing in the fountains on hot days in Suwanee Town Center,” he continued, “the sense of family and openness in the community was a driving factor in opening our practice here.” The community seems to feel the same way about him. With two former patients going on to study dentistry in college, Dr. Halper feels honored to have had the opportunity to inspire young people in our community. “What it really boils down to,” he said “is treating patients the way I would want my daughters to be treated.” ■

At NGPD comfort and safety are their number one priorities

North Georgia Pediatric Dentistry 4530 Nelson Brogdon Blvd., Ste. A Sugar Hill, GA 30518 770-965-2340


A Week's Worth of Ideas for Healthy Families Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta created a list of daily tips just for busy parents who need time-savers, simple solutions and fun ideas to get their kids on a healthy track. Don’t worry—you don’t have to do everything in one week. Instead, find one your family likes and give it a try this week. Wendy Palmer MS, RD, LD, CHES




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Screen-Free Sunday Start your week off with a challenge for everyone

in the family: no tablets, cellphones, computers or TV. This might hurt a little, but only at first. Without their hypnotic screens, families can spend more time together, get outside to play, de-stress and just have fun!

Meatless Monday Start a new tradition at your house and say goodbye

to meat on your menu every Monday. The dietitians at Strong4Life developed healthy, inexpensive meatless recipes your family will love, such as three bean crockpot chili. Go to for more.

Try-Something-New Tuesday Today is a great day to mix it up,

expand your horizons and try something new. Take the kiddos to the grocery store and let them pick out a new fruit or veggie. Or appoint them as your kitchen helpers and cook up a new dish together. The more kids are involved in choosing what’s on the menu, the better!

Walk-it-Out Wednesday Need a mid-week pick-me-up? Walk

it out! Get the family together, leash up Fido and head out the door to explore—yep, even when it’s cold! Whether it’s in your neighborhood, your Gwinnett County park or a nearby greenway, walking the walk will make your Wednesday great!

Thirsty Thursday Replace sugar beverages such as sweet tea and sodas

with water, but not just any water! Jazz up your water without the extra sugar, salt or chemicals, just by adding your favorite fruits, veggies and herbs.

Friday Fun Day Your family has worked (and hopefully played!) hard this

week, so it’s time for some good old-fashioned fun. How about a visit to a Gwinnett County park near you? A scavenger hunt around the yard? Or a funfilled Friday night dance party!

Shake-it-Up Saturday Saturday, at last! Today’s your day to try a new

family activity together. A few ideas to get you started: Grab some friends and play capture the flag or tag football.



©2015 Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Inc. All rights reserved.

As the leader in pediatric sports medicine, we see and treat every type of injury. So if your child gets hurt, count on us to help him get back in the game. Learn more at


City of Suwanee Public Information Officer, Lynne DeWilde runs in Suwanee parks and neighborhoods.




Rachel Fasig

Suwanee resident, Megan Young trains at Stage 3 Fitness.

Suwanee Police Department Training Coordinator, Lieutenant Bryan Hickey bikes Suwanee trails.

Suwanee resident, Christine Maynard practices yoga.

Conner and Mandy Volpe run on the Greenway and swim at Collins Hill Aquatic Center.

Elena Vlasoff kickboxes at Warrior Wellness & Rejuvenation.


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Changing lives through fitness, nutrition, education and support PHOTOS BY:

Karl Lamb

With a Bachelors of Science in Human Nutrition,

Foods and Exercise from Virginia Tech University, Jake Williams explicitly understands how and why food affects our bodies inside and out. And, as the owner of Stage 3 Fitness, he teaches clients that fitness and nutrition must always work in conjunction with one another. It wasn’t until he impressed this upon 30-year-old Megan Young, that she was able to lose 94 pounds! Young joined Stage 3 Fitness four years ago, but she was admittedly inconsistent with working out and certainly not committed to eating well. Young was a vegan and had been for ten years - meaning she did not eat any animal products whatsoever: no meat, no dairy. “But, that didn’t mean I ate well. I was eating a ton of carbs and processed foods – even Stage 3 Fitness' new Oreos, which location on Peachtree are vegan!” she Industrial Boulevard confessed. Like many others, Young associated vegan or vegetarian with being healthy and thin. But, on the verge of turning 30, and tired of losing then gaining the same

Megan Young trains at Stage 3 Fitness


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I I JAN / FEB 15

20 pounds over and over, Young decided it was time to take her health seriously. “I thought about the long-term ramifications [my weight] would have on my body and if I’d even be healthy enough to start a family if we wanted to,” she said. So, Williams pulled her aside for a serious realitycheck about her diet and started counseling her on nutrition. “It took having sound guidance…and Jake gave me that,” Young said. “People will have the best intentions and think they’re eating healthy, but they’re not,” she said of her previous habits. Young preps and plans her meals for the week every Sunday, and works out at Stage 3 five or six times a week. She has since dropped from a size 20 to a size 4 or 6! And, her husband, who is amazed with her results, has recently joined as well. She says consistency is key: consistence with healthy eating and consistence with working out.

Stage 3 Fitness is a group-fitness facility, with classes led by certified trainers

Stage 3 Fitness Owner, Jake Williams

Megan Young dropped from a size 20 to a size 4, thanks to Stage 3 Fitness


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Over time, fitness and nutrition will become part of your lifestyle and something you’re passionate about, she noted. Stage 3 Fitness recently relocated to a larger establishment on Peachtree Industrial with new equipment, more classes and Classes at Stage 3 Fitness are setup in three different stations to target different body parts more offerings. It is a group “These are group classes, but you still get very fitness facility, with classes led by certified trainers. “We personalized attention,” Young explained. And, put a lot of time and effort into training our trainers. They with three different stations, you move through all have a degree in fitness or nutrition, or are working a wide variety of exercises during the class, towards one,” Williams said. which target different body parts. The trainers are careful to explain modifications based on fitness level or injuries. “Jake cares so much about his business and is truly passionate about what he does. Whether you want to lose 10 or 100 pounds, they will help you meet those goals,” she said. The foundation of Stage 3 is built upon Williams’ commitment to changing people’s lives through fitness, nutrition, education and support. The name ‘Stage 3 Fitness’ represents a three-stage mental and physical process that people experience during their health and fitness journey: feel it, see it, be it. By the final stage, described as “Be it” fitness and health are fully integrated into one’s lifestyle and have become an integral part of their core being – just like they have for Megan Young. ■

686 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. I Suwanee, GA 30024 678-430-8054


I Suwanee Magazine I I JAN / FEB 15


Healthy tips from the SPD As Training Coordinator of the Suwanee Police


Steve Glass

Department, Lieutenant Bryan Hickey understands the importance of being fit and healthy, in order to excel at his job. Beyond instructing officers in tactical firearm and defensive training, his healthy lifestyle also serves as a model within the Suwanee Police Department. Hickey is a Certified Bike Officer, but does not bike for work on a regular basis – however, that might change as he is hoping to become an Instructor of Police Cycling later this year. At least once a week, he meets with a cycling group out of Suwanee Creek Bicycle and does a 24-mile loop that weaves through Buford, Lake Lanier and Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. Biking through the City of Suwanee and The Greenway is one of his favorite forms of working out, but between running, swimming, HIIT (high intensity interval training), hiking and weight training at the gym, Hickey often “changes up workouts to keep it interesting,” he said. “I have always been an active person,” Hickey said, “It has been part of my life for so long, but when I turned 40 it really kicked in,” he continued, “I wanted to be in the best shape of my life.” And his goal manifested! The year Hickey turned 40 he competed in two bodybuilding competitions. The most important thing for him was setting specific and measurable goals, “You need to actually put a goal into place, and have a way to measure it,” he advised. He also suggested working out “with a friend that can give you a nudge when you don’t feel like doing it!” Beyond fitness, Hickey stresses the importance of making healthy choices in your diet. “Eating is a huge component that people fail to realize, probably even more important than actual exercise,” he said. For those who are just starting out, Lieutenant Hickey has some advice for you. And, who better to “nudge you” in the right direction than Suwanee Police Department’s very own training coordinator? • Portion control • Omit sugars such as high fructose corn syrup, soda and sweet tea • Be conscious of what you are putting into your body • Be sure you are eating lean proteins (chicken breast, turkey and fish), healthy fats (like avocado), proper carbohydrates and starches (such as sweet potato) and plenty of green vegetables (like asparagus and green beans). • Set SMART Goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Hickey also advised, “easing into it,” even if that means taking the stairs over an elevator or mowing the lawn. It takes time to get out of shape, but much more time and work to get back into it. ■ 35

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There are lots of sidewalks that run to Sims Lake Park, and The Greenway has a lot to offer as well… I love discovering new trails!” - Lynne DeWilde, City of Suwanee Public Information Officer


Steve Glass


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Exercising as part of a daily routine "Seasons of life will affect how you

exercise," said Lynne DeWilde, Public Information Officer at the City of Suwanee, "but, as I get older and am feeling good… that's motivation!" she continued. DeWilde works out almost everyday: “It’s a habit, part of my daily routine.” She switches up her workouts to keep them interesting, and in order to strengthen different parts of her body. Her workout regimen normally includes running, yoga, and group classes at Georgia Fitness such as Power and Zumba. DeWilde loves to run outdoors and is grateful that she and other runners can feel safe running through Suwanee parks and neighborhoods. "There are lots of sidewalks that run to Sims Lake Park, and The Greenway has a lot to offer as well…I love discovering new trails!" she said. Her advice for anyone looking to start a healthy, active lifestyle: “Find something you enjoy doing. There are so many different ways to be active. And find someone who will do it with you. It keeps you accountable and makes it more enjoyable.". ■


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“We lost over 170 pounds” Conner and Mandy Volpe began their weight loss journey in June of 2013 with the goal of creating a healthy lifestyle for their marriage and out of “disgust for what I had allowed my body to become,” Mandy admitted. Mandy jump-started her fitness plan with Conner following two days later. “My competitive nature kicked in and I was determined after stepping on the scale and realizing I had ballooned up to 260 pounds,” he said. Since that time they have lost over 170 pounds combined, and have discovered new interests together in the process. “Fitness is now a hobby, whereas before our hobby was going to the movies,” Mandy said. “Our date nights are more active in the sense that we might try a new fitness class and then hit up the local frozen yogurt shop after our workout,” she explained. They even found new favorite local restaurants with healthy options. “At Friends American Grill we love the turkey sandwich and veggie burger and Gulf Coast Grill is perfect for grilled chicken tenders and fresh fish,” Conner said. The Volpe’s credit much of their weight loss success to living in a community that supports healthy lifestyles. “We have really embraced our surroundings in Suwanee to help us achieve our goals. We love using the Suwanee Greenway to run and walk, as well as the Collins Hill Aquatic Center for swimming during the colder winter months,” Mandy said. And, while health and fitness have become an integral part of their lives, they will tell you it still isn’t always easy. We would “not have lasted this long without the support, encouragement, and commitment to each other,” Mandy said. ■ Conner once

weighed 260 pounds!


Steve Glass


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I JAN / FEB 15

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Trainer based gym embraces total body wellness approach If you have ever been to Golds Gym in Sugar

Hill (now Georgia Fitness) in the past decade, then chances are high that you know, or have seen, Terence Mills. He spent ten years as an independent trainer there and was constantly seen on the gym floor talking, smiling and helping people – even those who weren’t his clients. On June 3rd, 2014, he and his wife, Christina, opened the doors of Warrior Wellness & Rejuvenation – a trainer-based gym located on the back of Jubilee Shopping Center (by The Fresh Market). After years spent as a trainer, Mills decided to fulfill a career goal and open his own “We work on facility. What makes gym unique is that weaknesses the everyone works out first, strengthen with a personal trainer. them, and then There are no contracts memberships. His move to the next or clients, rather, work muscle group, in individually or in a biomechanical small groups with trainers and intentional professional that Mills hand-selects order.” and interviews. “My - Terence Mills trainers have multiple certifications or degrees in Exercise Science – it is critical that they have a good understanding of the science behind the movement,” Mills explained. In fact, it was this ability to understand the science behind movement that was a literal turning point for one of Mills’ clients, Bernie Schaknowski. A self-proclaimed “gear head” – Schaknowski has always been more interested in cars and technology, than sports or fitness. “Terence gave me a nuts and bolts understanding, and explains the importance of WHY I’m doing particular movements,” he said. And, at age 63, recently-retired Schaknowski made a promise to “make life last longer.” But, when asked what truly motivates him, he suddenly got a clever glint in his eye, and laughed, “I just bought a new boat and I’m going to look good in it this summer!” Whatever the motivation and whatever the end goal, Mills and his expert trainers will meet 40

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you there. For Pat Olson, at age 65, it was less about losing weight and more about “wanting to be able to do things with my grandkids…to get down on the floor with them, to play with them at Sims Lake Park,” she said. Olson started training with Mills three years ago and said others constantly comment on her strength and ability to move and lift things with ease. In fact, during the interview, Olson hit a personal record with 25 leg press reps at 175 pounds. “Change that number to 175!” she excitedly announced as Mills high-fived her. Mills seems to have an innate perception when it comes to individual’s capabilities and limitations, but he also works with his client’s physicians to ensure safety. “Our main focus is wellness! I will personally reach out to my clients’ physicians to obtain their medical background and discuss their goals,” he said. He then works with them directly to formulate a comprehensive fitness and nutrition plan that not only targets weight loss, strengthening and overall health; but aides in the rejuvenation and restoration of injuries as well. “We work on weaknesses first, strengthen them, Terence Mills trains Pat Olson and then move to the next muscle group, in a biomechanical and intentional order,” he said. Pat Olson sang praises to this approach, “I actually had a torn rotator cuff. But, Terence worked closely with my chiropractor at Apex on my treatment so that he knew the things I could and couldn’t do [in workouts].” Mills also has a deep background in martial arts training and a rich appreciation of the culture, traditions and principles that surround it, primarily

PHOTO BY: Karl Lamb

Warrior Wellness and Rejuvenation teaches fitness classes inspired by ancient martial arts

Terence Mills, Owner of Warrior Wellness & Rejuvenation

PHOTO BY: Jon Rogers



Karl Lamb

Elena Vlasoff, 47-year-old mother of two, attends Mills' kickboxing classes a few times each week, in addition to cardio workouts and three weekly personal training sessions

that of the Shaolin Warrior Monks in ancient Chinese history. The Shaolin style of Kung Fu is built on a foundation of discipline, overall health, pain-endurance, strength and flexibility. Mills incorporates this philosophy at the gym, especially in the kickboxing classes he teaches, which are open to everyone who trains there. Elena Vlasoff, 47-year-old mother of two, attends his kickboxing classes a few times each week, in addition to daily cardio workouts and three training sessions with Mills per week. Nearly eight years ago when Mills met Vlasoff, he noticed that she frequently did cardio workouts but never weights. Understanding the importance of incorporating strength training into any fitness routine, he offered her a training session. “And, now I’m addicted, but it’s a good addiction!” she professed. Since then, Vlasoff has lost 15 pounds and has muscle definition she never could see before. And, while confident in her abilities, she continues to stress the importance of working with a professional trainer, “Even after working out all these years, Terence will still correct my form at times. You need a trainer to supervise you, so that you don’t hurt yourself!” she insisted. At Warrior Wellness and Rejuvenation, people of all walks of life are welcome and trainers are 42

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dedicated to meeting their goals: whether they want to gain muscle, play with their grandkids, strengthen and heal an injury, eat a clean and balanced diet, lose weight, be a better athlete, or just look great on Lake Lanier this summer! ■


Steve Glass


1500 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. Suwanee, GA 30024 770-932-6913


Dustin Stepp, Owner of HomeBody Personal Training

Making health a top priority.

Dustin Stepp, owner of HomeBody Personal Training, is one of the hand-selected professional trainers at Warrior Wellness and Rejuvenation and has been NASM Certified since 2006. His mission is to help people achieve the right mindset about fitness - to not look at working out as a chore or something to dread. “This should be a lifestyle change, you should never stop working out once the weight is lost,” he said. Through a variety of options, including oneon-one training sessions, group classes and boot camps, HomeBody Personal Training caters to each client’s personal tastes and preferences while Collum remarked. “He maximizing their rate of has been able to work success. Passionate about with me with whatever properly fueling one’s body, ailment I’ve had and I’m Stepp has studied nutrition not handicapped by what for years and became a could have handicapped Certified Fitness Nutrition me,” she said, attributing Donna Collum, 65, trains with Dustin Stepp at Specialist in 2013. “I want her muscle development Warrior Wellness & Rejuvenation to lead people to the truth and strength to working about nutrition,” he said. out with Stepp. The science and research surrounding health, HomeBody Personal Training is built on the belief that fitness and nutrition is constantly evolving. And, “customers’ needs are of the utmost importance.” Stepp Stepp is committed to ongoing personal growth recognizes that life gets busy and sometimes health gets and education, so that he can serve clients with pushed to the back burner, which is why he tries to make only the most up-to-date knowledge and resources. it as effortless and enjoyable as possible. He invites clients In September of 2014, he became certified in Cardio to call or email him anytime throughout the week if they for Fitness – a helpful tool for athletes or those need advice, motivation or even tips about what groceries looking to lose weight. Stepp has trained clients of to buy. He will travel to clients’ homes for training sessions all fitness levels, from the age of 7 to 75, and will and even invites children to play in a safe environment at adapt his training techniques with each unique his own home gym, while parents work out. Sometimes it circumstance. takes months and sometimes it’s a longer process, but for all Donna Collum, 65, has been training with Stepp clients, Stepp’s end goal is to make health a top priority. ■ for nearly eight years, has lost 30 pounds, and is the strongest she has ever been in her life. This is despite an ongoing struggle with tendonitis in her shoulders that, prior to Stepp, trainers were fearful of working on. “But Dustin found a way…he’s the PERSONAL TRAINING best! I’m all about having a good personal trainer, because you can really hurt yourself on your own,” 770-280-5901 I



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Douglas Kelly has a passion for helping individuals with special needs stay fit Annie Bourke enjoys boxing with him as part of her weekly fitness program

Mark Childress has already noticed muscle gain, decreased stress levels, better sleep and increased energy since training with Douglas


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PHOTOS BY: Jon Rogers


Suwanee trainer caters to a wide variety of clients with several health and fitness programs

“I have cerebral palsy” is not exactly

what you would expect to hear from a very fit, NASAM certified, 25-year old fitness instructor and business owner. Douglas Kelly is the owner of Clean and Press, a personal training company that caters to a wide variety of clients through several health and fitness programs. Kelly also suffers from cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects muscle growth and development, motor skills, body movement, coordination, strength, reflexes, posture and balance. Born in Dundee, Scotland, where knowledge of cerebral palsy was extremely limited or unknown, Kelly did not learn how to walk, brush his teeth or write until the age of 5 when his family moved to Georgia. It was then that he was diagnosed with the disorder and given the resources to manage it. With years of therapy, rehabilitation, and the willpower to exceed doctor’s expectations, Kelly’s physical results have been astounding. Kelly’s story is the foundation of his business – it is a true testament to the fact that anybody is able to achieve the physical results they desire. One of Kelly’s clients, Mark Childress, has been training with him at American Bodyworks for several months and has already noticed muscle gain, decreased stress levels, better sleep and increased energy. “The difference for me, was working with someone like Doug,” Childress explained, “I am 42-years-old and had never done weight training…I didn’t feel like I was doing it right, on my own,” he continued. Despite watching online training videos and attempting to teach himself the ropes of the gym, Childress continued to feel tired, sore and fatigued after every workout. Kelly noticed and offered him a free training session. Childress’ workouts immediately improved, and subsequently so did his results. He trains with Kelly once or twice a week, and is in the gym up to five days a week, feeling confident now that even during solo sessions, he has the foundation of proper form. “I preach form and technique over everything else,” Kelly said. Kelly carefully modifies workouts for each client, depending on their individual goals. Annie Bourke, a 33-year old woman with Down Syndrome, has been training with him for three years now. “In her case, anything with a lot of

movement, like steps, is good for her. Coming here gives her an activity to look forward to, while helping maintain her weight… plus she loves to pick on me the whole time!” Kelly said. Kelly is passionate about working with individuals with special needs because of how much working out has helped him physically, emotionally and psychologically. “Cerebral palsy never goes away and is something I have to work on everyday,” he said, “I think that is what helps me relate to people with special needs, because I know some of the things they are going through.” The gym has given Kelly an outlet that most people with cerebral palsy don’t find, and in turn, he is passionate about giving others the opportunity to live life as fully as possible, no matter what limitations they are facing. ■

CLEAN&PRESS 678-751-0531




Steve Glass


Take one day at a time and breathe! Christine Maynard is a Certified Fitness Trainer and Yoga Instructor, and while she embraces many of the philosophies that accompany yoga, she does not consider herself the ‘cookie-cutter yogi’ that we tend to see glorified in media. In other words, not all people who practice yoga look like Madonna, wear expensive spandex and eat only raw, vegan foods…sometimes they eat cheeseburgers and travel in quest of new craft beers, like Maynard. As a wife and mother of two young boys, Maynard uses yoga and meditation to prepare her mind for the busy day ahead. She incorporates yoga into her fitness regimen, which also includes weight training and cardio. “I love going to White Street Park in Suwanee, there is a nice open field there,” she said, of her favorite places to practice yoga or meditate. Maynard discovered yoga at age 23 when she stumbled across the book: Yoga Mind and Body by Sivanada Vedanta Center. Intrigued by the five main principles of “exercise, breathing, relaxation, diet and meditation,” she purchased the book and began the journey of teaching herself the practice. The discovery could not have come at a better time! “Literally four months after finding yoga, my brother passed away,” Maynard confided. “I really felt meditation was my guide. I learned to just take one day at a time and breathe!” she continued, “It has helped me to live in the present. The past is there for me to enjoy and encourage me to grow, but not to dwell on.” Maynard has undergone professional yoga training and certification, including two months spent at Sivanada Ashram in the Bahamas and Level 1 Baptiste Power Yoga Training in Hawaii; but admits that it is still a continual process of learning, growing and finding balance in life. For those interested in yoga or meditation, but unsure of where to begin, Maynard suggested reading up on all the different styles before choosing the best one for you. “And, do not judge yourself with the person next to you, thinking you are not strong or limber enough,” she advised. “Yoga has changed my life in so many ways and continues to change it every day,” she said. So, as with any new health or fitness routine, the process might not be easy, but the result is definitely worth it.. ■ 47

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Showing clients what they are truly capable of is one of personal trainer's greatest joys Scott Andrews, owner and founder of Fit Club Inc.

has been a Certified Trainer for fifteen years and has helped many people, like Ned Jasarevic tackle their personal fitness goals. Jasarevic began working out six months ago, for the first time in his life. “When Scott started the Boot Camp class at the City of Sugar Hill, I got inspired to start working out,” he said. Prior to that, fitness was something he thought about, but like many others, just “never got up to do it because something always sidetracked me,” he admitted. Andrews’ outdoor boot camp classes are designed to be scalable depending on each individual’s age and/or fitness level. The fun, high energy and positive team environment helped Jasarevic lose over 40 pounds within months of joining! “I am so proud of Ned! Most people will never know what they are truly capable of feeling, or looking like. Bridging this gap with clients through knowledge and discipline is one of my greatest joys,” Andrews said. Nationally certified through the International Sports Science Association and the International Fitness Professional Association, Andrews has the knowledge base and expertise that is necessary to

customize each client’s fitness routines and meal plans. He also gives clients the option to train from the comfort of their own homes or at a gym of their choice, like Georgia Fitness in Sugar Hill. For Jasarevic, training with Andrews has done more for his life than he could have imagined. “Losing weight has helped me both physically and emotionally. It has given me more confidence, energy, and strength. It has given me a new perspective on my diet and my health; I am now more conscious and aware of the content and health benefits of the food I eat. It has also strengthened my willpower and dedication; therefore, I can now finish anything I put my mind to much quicker,” he said. Less than a year ago, Jasarevic never set foot in a gym. Now, exercise and health are part of who he is. “I want to start helping train others that have been in my situation and encourage them to do the same,” he said. Andrews’ Boot Camp takes place behind Sugar Hill City Hall; the outdoor classes are on hiatus for the winter, but kick off again on February 26th, 2015. For more information on Fit Club and the services offered, visit ■ Scott Andrews, Owner of Fit Club


Steve Glass

Ned Jasarevic lost over 40 pounds training with Scott Andrews

813-943-3405 48

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local food. craft beer. wine trends.


Restaurant dining is typically associated

with indulgence and high-calorie foods. But, we're here to prove that is not always the case. We scoured local menus and talked to restaurant owners for the inside scoop on their healthiest menu options. Here are several delicious and wholesome meals that won't break the calorie bank and that you can feel good about eating. So go ahead, dine out and indulge! BY:

Rachel Fasig


51 53


Schlotzsky’s is perfect for a healthy and quick bite to eat. Dine in, grab and go, visit their drive-thru, or have them cater & deliver for your next meeting. Their “Pick Two” option lets you mix n’ match any two oven-baked sandwiches, freshly made salads, signature soups or artisan flatbreads.


A Mediterranean diet is often hailed as one of the world’s most heart-healthy eating plans. Greek Island serves healthy, traditional and flavorful dishes such as homemade hummus, freshly baked pitas, chargrilled kebobs and salad.

Grilled Kebobs served

with vegetables: Tender meats and seafood are marinated in herbs, extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, yogurt dressing, pepper paste and other traditional spices before being chargrilled to perfection and served with rice, vegetables, Greek salad and tzatziki sauce.




Turkey & Guacamole Sandwich

At only 350 calories you can enjoy smoked turkey breast and guacamole topped with red onion, lettuce and tomato on a toasted wheat bun.

340 ONLY


Tabouleh Salad

is a heart-healthy traditional and herbaceous salad made with cracked wheat, parsley, cucumber, green onion, tomato, olive oil and lemon juice.


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Veggie Sandwich

Only 340 calories and full of flavor with cheddar cheese, cucumber slices, red onion, tomato, lettuce, black olives and fat-free spicy ranch all on a toasted wheat bun.

I JAN / FEB 15

Famous for eccentric, hearty and delicious pizzas, many are pleased to discover that Mellow Mushroom also has several healthier meal choices, including pizza chocked full of veggies.

Mega-Veggie Pizza Red sauce

base with feta and mozzarella cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, black olives, Roma tomatoes, broccoli, banana peppers, artichoke hearts and tofu.

Cinco and its adjoining tapas lounge, After 5, are dishing up “Mexican food with an attitude.” Opt for one of their fresh and flavorful salads or tacos served on corn tortillas with a side of black beans at dinner and then a specialty skinny margarita when you head over to After 5 to enjoy their live music.

Shrimp Salad

Grilled shrimp served with fresh mandarin oranges, sliced ripe avocado, red radishes and queso fresco over a bed of spring mix tossed in a roasted corn vinaigrette.

Portobello Tacos

Grilled Portobello mushrooms with feta cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce and pasilla salsa

355 ONLY



The Capri

Vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil drizzled with a balsamic glaze. Served with a side of spring mix tossed in an herb vinaigrette dressing.

With an extensive menu ranging from Southern-smoked BBQ to sandwiches, burgers, flatbreads, salads and seafood – Tannery Row Ale House has something for everyone.

Hurricane Joe’s Famous Ceviche

Joe’s original recipe, brought to you from the Florida Keys. Market fresh fish and shrimp are marinated in lime juice and topsecret seasonings, then tossed with diced cilantro, tomatoes, onions and tender loving care. This is served with housemade tortilla chips but is so delicious it can be eaten on its own.



Choces o ou

Adams offers a distinct selection of appetizers, soups and entrees that incorporate fresh, organic and seasonal produce. They pride themselves on making everything from scratch, even growing and using herbs from their own garden.

For the days you don’t feel like cooking or going out, let Choices to You pick up and deliver your restaurant order for you. With a list of over 30 restaurants and growing, you have options ranging from Italian to Mexican, Chinese, classic American, Greek, Moroccan, Thai, Indian and more. They even cater from Luv-a-bowl which makes antioxidant power bowls with acai-based smoothies loaded with fruit, granola and honey.

Country Salad

Mixed greens tossed with granny smith apples, gorgonzola cheese crumbles, cranberries, toasted walnuts and raspberry vinaigrette.

Bringing the taste of the coast to Suwanee, Gulf Coast Grill serves fresh seafood ranging from salmon, mahi, shrimp, oysters, grouper, catfish, crawfish and crab; as well as sirloin, sausage and chicken with a Cajun twist.

Chicken Bayou

Tuna Au Poivre

Seasoned tuna steak seared and served over braised cabbage.


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Two lightly seasoned chicken breasts grilled and served with your choice of salad and two sides, such as steamed veggies, grilled aspargus or a fruit cup.

Emerald Coast Chef Salad

Salad greens tossed with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, cheese and topped with grilled mahi, shrimp, crawfish tails and crabmeat.

A neighborhood staple in Suwanee for two years now, Suwanee Pizza Tavern is dishing up more than pizza and wings. But, for the tried and true pizza lovers looking for healthier options, they do offer gluten free dough as well as a long list of fresh vegetable toppings.

Greek Salad

The Fresh Market’s ready-made and prepared meals, or take-and-bake options, are perfect when out on your lunch break or when you need to grab dinner quickly on your way home. With a full salad bar, soup station, sushi station, gourmet deli, bakery, seafood, meat department, produce and local goods – it’s a one-stop shop. With healthy ready-made salads such as their berry power salad loaded with fresh berries, walnuts and goat cheese and “Fresh Market Signature Collection” soups ready to heat and enjoy, you can find plenty of options for quick, healthy and convenient meals anytime.

Fresh Romaine lettuce topped with tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, black olives, banana peppers and house Greek dressing. Top with grilled chicken for only $1.50 more.

Marla’s Grilled Chicken

Juicy grilled chicken breast drizzled with olive oil & garlic then covered with sautéed artichoke hearts and spinach, served with a side of steamed broccoli.



Traditional Japanese hot pot with a Korean twist. Choose from premium meats, seafood, veggies and noodles and cook them in personal hot pots of broth at your table. A create-yourown sauce station lets you add just the right amount of flavor and spice that you prefer.

Premium Beef and Veggies Thinly sliced premium

beef served with a signature veggie plate, including: cabbage, corn on the cob, bean sprouts, mushrooms, seaweed, tofu, bok choy, broccoli and yam, to name a few.

Seafood and Veggies

Choose from fresh seafood options such as calamari, oysters, mussels and shrimp; all served with Gom Shabu Shabu’s signature vegetable plate.

The Hippie Pizza

Suwanee’s newest pizza shop offers a large variety of fresh sauces and ingredients, including gluten free dough and vegan cheese so that everyone can enjoy and customize their own pizza. Or, you can choose from their signature list of customer favorite pizzas, paninis and salads.


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Sun-dried tomato basil sauce with low fat mozzarella cheese, tofu, spinach, artichokes, baby bellas, banana peppers and roasted garlic.


Choose your lettuce, cheese, any of the fresh veggies and dressing (such as the House secret balsamic vinaigrette).

So, your friends want to go watch the game and grab some wings and beer, but you are sticking to your healthy-eating plan? Well, Friends has healthier options that don’t make you compromise on taste… or your social life! Look for the heart symbol next to their lower-calorie heart-healthy options on the menu.

A juice bar and vitamin shop serving fresh, all-organic juices and smoothies. Create custom smoothies with a wide range of ingredients or choose from their signature recipes.

Detox #1

Blackened Chicken with Broccoli

Two well-trimmed chicken breasts seasoned with homemade blackening seasoning, grilled and served with steamed broccoli.

Veggie Black Bean Burger

Cloud 9

A simple, yet bold juice blend made of apples and carrots, with the spice of ginger. Ginger is an antioxidant that helps lower the amount of free radicals in the human body. Benefits include: decreasing postexercise muscle soreness and relief from nausea.

A powerful protein smoothie made to give you steady energy levels throughout the day. chocolate almond milk base with whey or hemp chocolate protein, organic banana, coconut oil, peanut butter and steel-cut oats, and boosted with maca, blue green algae and cacao powder.

A zesty black bean patty with homemade red cabbage, slaw and lime wedges (yes you must squeeze the lime!). Substitute fries for a small house salad.




Several additional breweries began distributing here in Georgia in 2014. Here are some of the best: As the craft beer movement continues to heat up (well, cool down this time of year), Georgia has become an attractive market for breweries. We have amassed quite the selection to date and in 2014 several additional breweries began distributing here in Georgia. Hopefully, after reading this article you will be inclined to try something new. Blackberry Farm is one addition to the list of craft beers now available locally.   Located in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, they are home to a luxury hotel and resort offering high-end cuisine, fly fishing, spa services and more. Lucky for us they have their own brewery as well! Their initial lineup up is comprised of “Classic Saison”, “Farm Spencer Trappist is America’s Ale” (Pale Ale), first and only brewery to be and “Screaming recognized by the International Cock” (Dubbel). Trappist Association These beers are very limited in production, so do not miss your opportunity to taste them. You never know when they might be back around!   Coming to us from Tulsa, Oklahoma, we have Prairie Artisan Ales. Their opening lineup includes “Birra”, a farmhouse ale, “Prairie Ale” 


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a Belgian-style Saison, and finally “Bomb!”, an Imperial Stout aged in espresso beans, vanilla beans, and ancho chile peppers. I have to admit, I am most excited about “Bomb!” It received a 100 on, a pretty solid indication of the caliber of beers produced by the guys at Prairie Artisan Ales.   Spencer Trappist is America’s first and only brewery to be recognized by the International Prairie Artisan Trappist Association. Ales “Bomb!” is This very special seal an Imperial stout has been earned by only 8 other breweries aged on espresso in the world. It joins beans, vanilla the likes of Chimay, Rochfort, and beans, and ancho Westmalle to name chile peppers that a few. The brewery received a 100 on is a part of the Saint Joseph Abbey in Massachusetts which

"St. Bretta Autumn” is a Brett-fermented Witbier with Citrus.

is an important requirement for earning this coveted seal. The monastic community determines the policies and provides the means of production. The whole process of production must provide clear evidence of the indisputable bond of subsidiarity, with the monastery benefiting from the production, and must be in accordance with the business practices proper to a monastic way of life. Finally, the profits are primarily intended to provide for the needs of the community or for social services. Spencer Trappist Ale, a Belgian-style Pale Ale, is their only offering at this time. To round off the list of newly distributed craft beers in Georgia we have the Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project coming to us all the way from Denver, Colorado.  Colorado is home to some great breweries so we are excited to have these beers within our grasp. The “Vieille” is a Barrel-Aged Brett Saison. “Surette” is a BarrelAged Saison brewed with harvest grains. The “Surette Autumn” is a Brett-fermented BarrelAged Amber Saison with squash, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and anise.  Lastly “St. Bretta Autumn” is a Brett-fermented Witbier with Citrus. I bet  you’re wondering what is this “Brett”. Well, Brett or Brettanomyces, is a style of yeast that brings a funky tartness to its beers. Crooked Stave’s opening lineup brings along some very interesting and complex beers that I cannot wait to get my hands on. Keep your eyes peeled! I will end the same way I usually do by urging you to get yourself out of your comfort zone and try some new beers. And hopefully you will be inclined to give one of these guys a whirl and see what the craft beer buzz in Georgia has attracted from around the country. Who knows what 2015 will bring, but I am sure it will be tasty. Cheers!






You’ve heard by now that a glass of wine a day is actually quite good for you. Recently, loads of research has been committed to the topic of wine, beer and spirits and their beneficial qualities to our health. From resveratrol being the next fountain of youth to alcohol improving memory, it’s enough to inspire one into being a lush! But, before you go down gallons of the good stuff, here’s how to get the most out of your next glass. All things in moderation A RECENT STUDY BY THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF they say and this ALZHEIMER’S AND OTHER is no exception. DEMENTIAS FOUND THAT Doctors suggest one glass of wine a day for women, and no more than two glasses for men. Red wine has a whole host of potentially . healthy benefits. The grape’s skins and seeds, which remain in process when making red wine, leach out their beneficial phenolic compounds. These are natural antioxidants that have shown to be quite promising in cardiovascular health. It has recently been found that the Tannat grape has the highest level of beneficial phenolic compounds. Look for wines from Madiran AOC, a wine appellation in South West France or wines from Uruguay where it is now deemed the national grape. Resveratrol, as it turns out, is more hype than help. But there are so many healthful benefits in wine that we’ll let that one fade out like the 1990’s.



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Wine is not your thing you say? Well you are in luck! It turns out our fellows at the Harvard School of Public Health have found that any alcoholic beverage can reduce your risk of heart disease by 40%! Say what? Yes indeed it is true. Alcohol has the ability of reducing the bad cholesterol in your body (LDL) and lifting up the good cholesterol (HDL) which helps reduce some of the blood problems that typically lead to disastrous results. It’s not just the heart that benefits from a few hot toddies. A recent study by the American Journal of Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias found that alcohol has the potential to improve memory in seniors above the age of 60. It was discovered that alcohol provided better episodic memory, or the ability to remember specific events. Another reason to imbibe…all in the name of your health of course! Therefore, one glass of spirits would be considered a healthy daily dose, or a couple of crafty beers. Yes you craft beer lovers are not left out! Craft beers have a lovely dose of soluble silica, which provides essential bone health. Additionally, craft beers are handy in replacing much-needed electrolytes after physical exertion. So grabbing a cold beer after a long run makes perfect sense! Responsible consumption is paramount. After all, alcohol can bring with it its own health concerns and diseases. So please enjoy your favorite beverage in moderation, but enjoy it even more knowing it’s all in the name of good health! ■

making a difference in our community.



Rachel Fasig

Tammy Howland, Michelle Hackett, Vicki Thomas and Keith Fenton of Annandale Village

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Keith Fenton with Annandale Villagers: Frances, Mihai, Mandy, Thor and Diane



ATLANTA Corporate Games

The Greater Atlanta Corporate Games Honorary Chairman, Vince Dooley

Annandale Village brings Olympic spirit to local companies with The Greater Atlanta Corporate Games or individuals that may have never realized their dreams of hoisting a trophy in celebration or having a gold medal draped around his or her neck, it isn’t too late. This spring, organizations representing small businesses, large corporations, government entities, and educational institutions will take to the playing surfaces of athletic fields and event venues throughout metro Atlanta as they participate in The Greater Atlanta Corporate Games.    Presented in partnership with Athletes For A Better World and sponsored by Kaiser Permanente of Georgia and Synergy Benefits, The Greater Atlanta Corporate Games is an Olympics-style experience that brings together companies and their employees to compete in various sporting events and bonus activities ranging from cornhole to bowling, coed flag football and softball.



ATLANTA Corporate Games


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The Honorary Chairman of the event is Vince Dooley, former Head Football Coach and Athletic Director at UGA. Although the overall goal is to win the coveted Corporate Cup, it is the journey through participation that will bring teamwork, health promotion, company pride and purpose to the forefront.   Aside from the fun, competition and camaraderie among the participants, the philanthropic purpose of the Corporate Games is to raise awareness and funds to support Annandale Village and individuals with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, other intellectual disabilities and those that have experienced a traumatic brain injury.  Proceeds from the Corporate Games will enable Annandale Village to provide a comprehensive range of programs that reflect an innovative approach to providing a full continuum of service and care, expand access to quality services, and address underlying conditions affecting the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities.

The Greater Atlanta Corporate Games is an Olympics-style experience that brings together companies and their employees to compete in various sporting events “It is no secret that workplaces that encourage regular physical activity report increased productivity, reduced injury rates, better employee relations, and improved job satisfaction,” said Keith Fenton, Chief Development & Marketing Officer of Annandale Village. “Some of today’s most successful companies understand the real business benefits of being involved in corporate activities like The Greater Atlanta Corporate Games.  Well-structured events are an excellent way to encourage initiative, reward the commitment of staff, inspire cooperation and team spirit, and develop stronger relationships with clients and customers.”   “The Corporate Games will provide opportunities for everyone within a company, despite skill level or athletic ability, to participate and contribute to the team's overall success,” says Event Manager, Michelle Hackett.  “In other words...there is something for everyone!”   The roster of events include: basketball, billiards, bocce ball, bowling, cornhole, 3-D dodge ball, flag football, golf, tennis, go-kart racing, softball, table tennis, Texas hold’em poker, track and field, tugo-war, indoor volleyball, and the amazing race scavenger hunt.  Individual medals will be awarded to each team member for first (Gold), second (Silver), and third (Bronze) place at the conclusion of each competition.  In addition, the Corporate Games have several ceremonies patterned after the Olympics, including an opening ceremony, parade of banners, and a torch relay that will be used to light the cauldron to declare the opening of the games.   The champions of the Corporate Games will be determined by a point system based on participation level, the results of each competition, and the total fundraising dollars raised by each team. There are no fees for companies or their employees to participate.  Yet, the Corporate Games is a fundraising special event, therefore participating organizations and individual participants are encouraged to put forth fundraising efforts to help reach the overall goal of $100,000 for Annandale Village.    “I am a big believer that participating in organized athletics, especially team sports, can teach values and life lessons that are readily transferrable to the workplace environment,” added Fenton.   To learn more about The Greater Atlanta Corporate Games or to register your team today, please call 770-932-4887. ■



COOPER’S CREW INSPIRES MILES 2 GIVE National non-profit, dedicated to finding cure for Sarcoma cancer, visits O'Brien family home in Suwanee BY:

Rachel Fasig

The legacy of Cooper O’Brien, one of Suwanee’s bravest young men, is powerful. He inspired our community and many others across the nation. When he was diagnosed with Clear Cell Sarcoma in May of 2013, Cooper made the decision to live his life to the fullest: to not let cancer deter him from experiencing the things he wanted to. And, for the final year of his life, that is exactly what he did! Immediately following chemotherapy, the doctors told Cooper that he needed to stay out of the sun, so guess what he did…he headed straight to the beach with his family! “He was living his life! And that perspective was key for the people who got to meet him,” said Landon Cooper, Founder of Miles 2 Give (M2G), a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding a cure for Sarcoma cancer. Sarcoma is a cancer that takes place within the body’s connective tissues, such as bone, muscle, fat, blood vessels and tendons. Traveling across the US in a 1994 Winnebago called ‘Life Elevated’ the M2G team raises much-needed funds and awareness for Sarcoma, by running races or walking in honor of patients, and spending quality time with thousands of families affected by the disease. Inside ‘Life Elevated’ nearly every inch of wall and ceiling space is covered in colorful messages. There are at least 4,000 signatures from people they have met, including Sarcoma warriors, survivors, angels, their friends and family. “We wanted to create a canvas for everybody to leave their mark in the world,” Landon said. And, Cooper O’Brien’s signature, complete with a telltale smiley face, was the very first to kickoff the 2014 Miles2Give Tour. The basis of Miles2Give is straightforward, yet profound. “I haven’t met one family tree where at least one branch wasn’t affected by cancer. Miles 2 Give is the simplistic approach of nurturing relationships with love, and the process of eliminating that which should not exist: cancer,” Landon explains on the Miles 2 Give website. Miles


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2 Give has dedicated countless hours meeting with top doctors and scientists in Sarcoma research and treatment to develop a complete and transparent understanding of what is being done and where funds are needed most. The Huntsman Cancer Institute has pledged to match Miles 2 Give’s fundraising dollars up to $120,000 for “The 2014 Miles 2 Give Sally P. McCrorie Sarcoma Research Grant” which is providing funds for a hand-selected group of “brilliant, hand-picked scientists at Huntsman,” said Landon. This group includes: Dr. Lor Randall, Dr. Stephen Lessnick, Dr. Jones and their highly respected Sarcoma research teams. After learning of Cooper’s passing in July of 2014, the Miles 2 Give team knew that they had to place Suwanee on their 10,000 mile 2014 tour. And when they pulled into the O’Brien’s driveway on December 1st, 2014, they were awestruck by the sheer number of people there to embrace the O’Brien family, learn more about the organization, and join in fellowship over dinner. “Cooper’s community here is the perfect example of inspiration,” Mary said. For Suwanee residents, Eric and Deborah Butcher, the experience hit home in an even bigger way. Eric Butcher has been battling a very rare form of soft-cell Sarcoma cancer called Hemangiopericytoma or HPC for eighteen long years. When he was diagnosed eighteen years ago,

Traveling across the US in a 1994 Winnebago called ‘Life Elevated’, the Miles 2 Give team raises much-needed funds and awareness for Sarcoma, by running races or walking in honor of patients like Cooper O'Brien

Mary Flinders and Landon Cooper of M2G show the 4,000+ signatures inside the 'Life Elevated' RV walls

"Cooper's Crew" gave a warm Suwanee welcome to M2G at the O'Brien's home

doctors were literally searching for treatment options online, right in front of him and still don’t have answers today. “It has been very disheartening and scary,” said Deborah. As Landon handed Eric a marker and asked if he would leave his signature as a Warrior, tears started flowing. For so long, Eric Butcher and his wife and kids have felt alone in this battle. But meeting Landon and Mary, learning about the fundraising efforts of Miles2Give, and seeing the outpour of support for the O’Briens, has shown them a sliver of light in an otherwise dim world of fighting Sarcoma. But, there is still a long way to go. Although Sarcoma cancer incidence rates have increased over the past several years, sadly the overall awareness, funding or survival rates have not. The M2G Team is striving to change that and this is just the beginning. Our neighbor, Eric Butcher, our angel Cooper O’Brien, and Sarcoma cancer patients worldwide need Cooper’s Crew to continue to fight for them. For information on how to support M2G and Sarcoma fundraising efforts, please visit ■


In honor of Valentine’s day this year we wanted to spread the

love and share some of our readers’ most treasured memories. Personal accounts of their proposal stories are sure to warm your hearts and put a smile on your face! Congratulations and best wishes to each of our contributing couples whether recently engaged or married for decades. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Laura and Jesse

Submitted by: Laura Lane


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My future husband and I met in college at The University of North Georgia, in Dahlonega, a little over 4 years ago. Shortly after we met, he graduated and commissioned into the United States Army, which took him to Missouri for training. Our relationship continued to hold strong through the years of longdistance and a 9 month deployment to Afghanistan. Through all of the obstacles we have overcome, I know we can get through anything! Finally, this past summer, he planned a week-long trip to Georgia. I thought something was up but was excited he was coming to visit for that long! He and my dad said they were going to "play golf " one morning. Usually after a day of golf, I hear every detail but when he returned he was very quiet. I assumed he hadn’t played well and left it at that. He then asked if I wanted to go to Dahlonega to visit what we like to think of as our “hometown.” We went to dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant. Afterwards, we walked around the square and he took me to the very center where we first met back in 2010. We sat on the bench, which I thought was definitely out of the ordinary, but still had no clue! As I was looking at the mountains, I could see him out of the corner of my eye, trying to say something but unable to get the words out! He started to laugh, as did I. At that point, I knew something was happening! He started to speak while reaching into his back pocket. I had no idea what he was saying, I was too focused on what he was taking out of his back pocket! He then pulled out the box, got on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. Someone happened to be walking by and took our picture with sheer joy on our faces! We didn't want to leave Dahlonega right away so we went to the drill field, the center of campus, and enjoyed the moment! Later in the car, I found out that he and my dad had gone together to choose the beautiful ring! No golf had been played that day - they just had to trick me! We're getting married at the end of March, and will begin our new journey with a move to Fort Leonard Wood, MO!

Kevi n Kelly & Subm itte Piera d by: Kel ly nnun zi

Kevin and I started dating when we were 14 and 15-years-old: high school sweethearts. The longer we dated, we knew we were going to end up getting married and spending the rest of our lives together. A little background information on me, Kelly. I love surprises but Kevin… not so much. We joked many times that when that special proposal day would come that it would need to be a surprise, but nothing extravagant and never at a restaurant, because I just think that’s cheesy. We dated for 8 1/2 years before we got married, and the day he proposed, on July 26th, I hit the ground running in planning my perfect wedding. At the time, I had just finished taking my boards for officially becoming a Registered Nurse, and we wanted to celebrate almost every weekend. One weekend when I wasn't working at the hospital, we decided to go out to dinner. I thought nothing special was going to happen that night because we were just going out to dinner and he knew a dinner proposal was off limits. Little did I know, when I pulled up to his driveway and opened his garage door my SURPRISE dream proposal was about to unfold. There in front of me was a path of rose petals with candles guiding me into the house. Every few steps there were signs he had made that built up to the final big question. They read. "You are my past. You are my present. You are my future.” As I turned the corner to walk into the living room I was surrounded by countless candles and rose petals with "our song" playing in the background (soon to be our first dance song). The last sign read, "Will you..." and there he was on one knee, holding his rose and the ring for me with a sign below him that read "Marry me?" I had been waiting so long for this moment… 8 1/2 years to be exact and I could not have planned it better myself. Our wedding day was January 11, 2014. We got married at Perimeter Church Chapel, the church I grew up going to, many times accompanied by Kevin. We had our reception at Sugarloaf Country Club, the neighborhood I grew up in for 15 years of my life. It was very special to me to have the reception there, for Kevin and I spent countless dates attending their Sunday brunches, and basically grew up within this community. The entire evening was a night to remember with friends and family celebrating our marriage. Today we are coming up on our one year anniversary, and I couldn't be more excited for what the future has in store for us. 71

My husband William and I had been dating for almost

five years before he proposed. It happened on our annual trip to visit my family in Kentucky for Christmas. (I had always told William that I wanted my family to be around to witness the big question.) My grandparents mean the world to me, and that's what makes our story so special. With my sister, brother-in-law and both of my parents, William and I traveled the seven hours to Lexington to celebrate Christmas with my family. We stay at my grandparents house every year and have a fun family gathering. This particular year, we were rushing to get ready to go to a Christmas brunch and I was running behind, as usual. My sister and mother were yelling at me to hurry up - we needed to leave ASAP. With my hair still wet, makeup half applied, I grabbed my makeup bag and purse and flew into my grandmother's living room. It was one of those "less than perfect" appearance days... Oh well. I walked into the living room to my entire family waiting on me to be ready to go. I was already frustrated when my grandmother turned to me and asked me to "put an ornament back on the tree that had fallen off." I huffed and puffed and insisted she hand it to me quickly so that we could leave. She handed me the crystal heart ornament and I promptly dropped it on the hardwood. Thank God it didn't break! As I bent down to pick it up, I read the "Will you marry me?" engraving on Submitted by: Megan the heart. I stood up and looked at everyone and asked, "Who the Shipplett heck is getting engaged?!" Blonde moment. As I turned to the tree, my Prince Charming was on one knee! With the entire family watching with tears in their eyes, I said yes! We were then able to announce our engagement to the extended family at brunch. Being able to share that moment with my parents and grandparents made his proposal perfect. The champagne and wedding planning started flowing immediately and we were married nine months later in October of 2013. This past fall, we celebrated our first anniversary, and this Christmas (and every future Christmas), I have a keepsake proposal ornament to hang on our tree! That is, if I don't break it.

Megan & William

Shay and Adam

Submitted by: Shay Harbaugh

On July 3, 2009 (Adam’s Birthday),

we went to visit my parents. Well, I am very competitive and the show “Are you Smarter Than a Fifth Grader” came on. For fun, we all decided to play along (me, my mom, my dad and Adam). We each got a sheet of paper and pen and as the questions were asked we would each write down our answers to see who was right. Well one question was a math problem and Adam said he couldn’t figure it out and asked me to help him. I’m thinking, “How could he not get this?” so I’m showing him stepby-step how to solve the problem and wasn’t even paying attention to what was written at the bottom of the page. My mom had to say “Shay look at the bottom!” Written on the paper was “Shay, will you Marry Me?” As I turned around, he was on one knee with the ring. I started crying and of course I said yes! Adam said that me saying I would spend the rest of my life with him was the best birthday gift he could have hoped for!


News and notes from in and around Suwanee...

Suwanee Student wins second prize in National Photo Competition Suwanee student, Taylor Wilmot, received Second prize

in the summer 2014 Cricket League photography competition. Each participant in the contest was asked to submit an original photo of animals enjoying summer. Taylor’s submission was of an “eye-clicked” beetle. The winning photo shows the two distinctly large faux eyespots on the head of the beetle. In each issue, awardwinning CRICKET sponsors a different and unique writing or art competition, with hundreds of entries pouring in each time from enthusiastic CRICKET readers all over the world. Winners receive recognition and a certificate, and the best entries are published in the magazine and on the website for children to enjoy at

Atlanta Flooring Design Centers expands in Gwinnett County Headquartered in Suwanee, Atlanta Flooring Design Centers has been a leading name in the flooring industry since 1985. The new facility is located directly across from their 36,000 square foot Suwanee showroom at 3665 Swiftwater Park Drive. AFDC provides a variety of products and services, including: professional design, expert flooring installation, as well as kitchen and bath remodeling, such as cabinetry and countertops. The new 22,000 square foot building boasts an additional warehouse and office space, as well as a new concept showroom that caters to “DIY” homeowners looking to undertake home improvement projects. The company’s expansion has been a product of the 30 new hires that have come on board since July of this year. AFDC currently employs approximately 110 people at their Suwanee location and an additional 30 at their Charlotte and Birmingham locations combined. Atlanta Flooring Designs Centers’ success stems from a strong belief in supporting the local community. The company enjoys being involved in many charitable endeavors, including Annandale Village, Atlanta Mission, Operation OneVoice, Relay for Life and a variety of local church ministry projects.

Ted’s Montana Grill raises over $200,000 for No Kid Hungry Campaign Ted’s Montana grill collaborated with Share our

Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign to help end childhood hunger in America, one meal at a time. Through the generosity and giving spirit of guests and local restaurant teams, the company exceeded its $200,000 goal to help provide two million meals to children in need. Throughout the month, guests who donated $5 or more received a $5 "thank you certificate" to use at affiliated restaurants. Over $57,000 was collected in


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Ted’s Atlanta locations alone. The director of Restaurant Partnerships, Sheila Bennett Perea, accepted the check from Ted’s president and Co-Founder, on behalf of Share Our Strength at the grand opening of Ted’s Montana Grill Avalon in Alpharetta.

Georgia Fitness to host Inaugural Suwanee Gateway Half Marathon Georgia Fitness

has partnered with the City of Suwanee to hold the city’s very first Half Marathon event on January 31st. The course begins at City Hall and takes you through the scenic Suwanee Greenway. Performance Race Services will be offering its services to chip time the event. The race is recognized as a Peachtree Road Race qualifying race. The race begins at 7:30 am Saturday morning and will take place rain or shine. Each participant will receive a finisher medal and a 2015 Suwanee Gateway Half Marathon T-Shirt. For more information or to register for the race please visit

Johnny Washington, Jr., M.D. joins Georgia Sports Medicine Georgia Sports Medicine’s board certified orthopaedic surgeons and physicians assistants are committed to assisting athletes at all levels and ages compete to the best of their ability. They are the chosen team of doctors for numerous high schools in the area, including: North Gwinnett, Lanier, and Dacula, as well as Lanier Soccer Association and the Georgia Force.

newest addition to Georgia Sports Medicine and The Longstreet Clinic, P.C. He joins Amy E. Borrow, M.D., and Stephen R. Fisher, M.D., in treating athletes of all ages.

Partnership Gwinnett recognized six Gwinnett companies for excellence in multiple categories The 2014 Partnership Gwinnett Economic Outlook

awards ceremony took place at Gwinnett Technical College on December 10th. The event was attended by more than 175 community and business leaders. The purpose was to award those who have contributed to the Partnership Gwinnett mission; “To attract and retain jobs, cultivate capital investment, support educational institutions, foster workforce development, and contribute to the exceptional quality of life found in Gwinnett.” Six Gwinnett companies were rewarded for excellence in imagination, innovation, and influence. Congratulations to those recognized: Jose Hevia of DraftServ Technologies in the innovation category, Eric Van Otteren and Dan King for their facilitation of startup initiatives, Sam Tesh for Loudfund in the innovation category. Eagle Rock Studio Atlanta and Gwinnett County Public Schools rounded out the list of 2014 award winners.

Johnny Washington, Jr., M.D. is the

Washington began his educational

journey at Florida State University where he earned both his Bachelors and Medical Degree. He completed his surgical residency at the Atlanta Medical Center Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and completed a fellowship in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Washington is treating patients at

offices in Suwanee, Buford and Dacula! For more information, please call (770)814-2222 or visit


city buzz

Lanier Education Foundation shows outstanding support for The Bert Show’s Big Thank You Campaign The Lanier Foundation

wrote a personal record-setting 3,085 letters for the Bert Show’s Big Thank You Campaign. The six schools under the foundation's umbrella: T. Carl Buice School, Sugar Hill Elementary, Sycamore Elementary, White Oak Elementary, Lanier Middle and High School, participated in the initiative. The campaign provides a handwritten letter of gratitude to each service member stationed outside of the U.S. on Thanksgiving Day. This is the third consecutive year that the foundation has participated in the campaign and they have seen a thirty percent increase in the number of letters written from the previous year. “While we’ve always had great participation, the response from our students this year was overwhelming,” Lanier Foundation President Allen Smith said in a press release. “Our Executive Board read well over half of the letters, and the innocence and the sincerity of what the children write never ceases to amaze me. I take great pride in being part of an organization that prioritizes the importance of showing gratitude, particularly during the holiday season.”

The Royal Dance Academy Presents The Classical Ballet of “Peter And The Wolf” The award-winning dance program The Royal Dance Academy is

presenting the classic ballet “Peter and the Wolf” on Saturday, February 14th at the North Gwinnett High School theatre. “Peter and the Wolf ” was originally composed and written by Sergei Prokofiev in 1936. The story is the classic tale of a boy, a wolf, a duck, a bird and a cat and their day in the forest. It is a The Royal Dance Academy unique ballet as there is a narrator and each Ballet Company main character has a specific instrument Peter and the Wolf associated with their movements. This is the first ballet production by The Royal Dance Academy that is open to the general public and is sponsored by the Royal Dance Academy Foundation nonprofit organization. Tickets start at just $10 with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. There are three show times including: 3pm, 5pm and 7pm. For more information please contact The Royal Dance Academy at 770-232-2997 DANCE (email: or visit their website at presents a children’s classic

at the North Gwinnett High School Theater February 14, 2015


770.232.2997 |


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North Gwinnett Arts Association announces Annual Members Show winners

Best in Show:

John Duke – “Splash of Color,” watercolor

Best Painting:

Vickie Johnson – “The Back Path,” acrylic

Best 3D:

Adam Newman – “Orange & Brown Fish”

Best Photography:

Ileana McCaigue – “The Lone Waiter of Peniscola, Spain”

It’s a picture perfect exhibit at the Suwanee Public Library! A display of some of North Georgia’s most talented artists’ works is now in place through February 28, 2015, thanks to a creative collaboration between the North Gwinnett Arts Association and the Suwanee branch of the Gwinnett Public Library. On November 21st, artists from the NGAA submitted their works for the annual Members Show ranging from oils, watercolors, mixed media, 2D, 3D, photography and pottery for judging in four categories. The winners received prizes and recognition at the reception following the opening of the exhibit. This is the NGAA’s 2nd Annual Members Show and the partnership with the Suwanee library created the perfect opportunity for the type of placemaking that continues to place Suwanee at the forefront of cultural communities. All artwork displayed at the library is available for purchase from the artist. Additional works from the NGAA are on exhibit and available for purchase at Brown Bag Deli in Suwanee Town Center, as well as the NGAA Open Studio at Charleston-Market Place, Unit B-7 in Suwanee Town Center, on Saturdays from 10am – 5 pm. The Arts Show arrived on the heels of another annual event for the NGAA. On November 9th, the NGAA held their annual Suwanee Classic Car Show in Town Center Park. Featured guest host and radio personality, Clark Howard, honored Georgia Veterans and members of Georgia’s State Defense Force. The show doubled last year’s attendance and will provide art scholarships for at least four graduating high school students. With the Classic Car Show and Arts Show in the rear view mirror, the NGAA President Vicki Johnson and "Best NGAA is now gearing up for Peace, Love and Arts in the Park, May 16. Photography" Winner, Ileana McCaigue


city buzz

Suwanee company awarded 2014 Game of the Year

Award-winning children's game is available for purchase at Pooch N Paws Pet Boutique in Suwanee

Zazzy Pals is the newest company to make a splash in the children’s game industry. The award-winning game is called Canine Cardz, an 8-in-1 children’s dog-themed-card game. Each card is based on a real-life dog (most of them rescue dogs) and features their true story. Suwanee resident, Randy Bieniek is the Creator and Founder of Zazzy Pals. Bieniek worked with children as a school psychologist for more than 20 years and wanted to create a unique line of fun games and products for children based on her pet art. “After my elderly dog, Chelsea, passed away, I painted her portrait and experienced an eureka moment. I realized I could commemorate her and many of the wonderful pets I have met by sharing them and their true stories,” said Bieniek. Canine Cardz was awarded with the notable 2014 Game of the Year award, by Creative Child Magazine. Each game will now display the 2014 Creative Child Game of the Year logo, which designates Canine Cardz as a premier educational game for kids that reinforces reading, fine motor skills, memory, color, recognition, matching, and visual discrimination. The game is currently available for purchase online or at Pooch N Paws in Suwanee Town Center Park. To find out more information on Zazzy Pals or Canine Cardz please visit

Area welcomes two new business


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Piece of Cake, Duluth

Owners opened Piece of Cake bakery at 9775 Medlock Bridge Road, Duluth

I JAN / FEB 15

Your Pie, Suwanee

Owners, Todd and Melanie Walter, opened Your Pie at 3370 LawrencevilleSuwanee Road, Suwanee

Life’s a



Chris Singleton

Chris Singleton is a former Major League Outfielder and is currently a baseball analyst for ESPN. He is also a communication consultant for Game On and does team building sessions for corporate, sports, and nonprofit organizations.

Chris Singleton


et me begin by saying “Happy New Year” to you, the reader! I hope that you will experience an extremely productive 2015 and that you continue to move toward things in life that will benefit you and those around you. I would venture to bet that you have some specific goals you would like to accomplish this year. Did you know that 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions? What would you guess the number one resolution is? Well, if you guessed weight loss, you are right! That seems to be a no-brainer after all the holiday treats. But, what about resolution numbers 2 and 3? Well, the next two are “getting organized” and “spend less, save more” respectively. Let me give you another interesting statistic that may not surprise you...only 8% of people who make New Year's resolutions are successful. If you are like me, then at one time or another you have helped comprise the 92% of people that failed. That’s why I quit with New Year’s resolutions a long time ago. They suck. Let me introduce you to the Chris Singleton “One Day at a Time” resolution program that can begin whenever you’re ready. It’s fun and carries far less guilt and shame if you screw up. If you happen to stop, you don’t have to wait until next January to begin again. The first thing it takes is a willing mind to understand why you’re trying to achieve a particular goal, because there are crazy people out there (not us) who oftentimes set goals for the wrong reasons. For example, a person wants to lose weight so they will be found more attractive. That’s not a bad motivation but it’s not the best either. If we’re doing something just to please people, then we are not doing it for the right reason. We should do things because they are the right thing to do and the best thing for

our lives and well-being. So, better reasons for losing weight could be that you want to have a healthier body, have more energy, and lead a more active lifestyle. Once you have the right attitude for your goal, it’s time to develop a sustainable plan of action. I remember when a couple of friends decided they wanted to get in shape. They went from doing next to nothing to jumping into an intense workout that left them sore for over a week. They complained that they felt better before working out and quickly became part of the 92% of failed resolutions.

Here are some keys for putting together a winning game plan for the #1 New Year’s resolution that people make – Losing Weight: 1) Determine what type of exercise you don’t despise (walking, tennis, biking, etc.) and start doing it regularly. Commit to 2 times/week for around 30 minutes to start out and make it fun. 2) Start at the level of intensity that challenges you but doesn’t destroy you. If you crush yourself in the beginning, your mind and body will go on strike. 3) Find a friend who has similar goals and wants to exercise together for motivation. Good accountability is a wonderful thing. 4) Start making healthier eating choices one meal at a time. (I’ll have grilled instead of fried, please). 5) Don’t quit. If you fall down, get back up quickly and mute that voice that says you’re a failure. - Cheers and Happy New Year!


learn news from the suwanee schools universe.

FoodFinder Peachtree Ridge Senior wins prestigious TAG Award for website aimed at ending hunger in our community BY: Aoife


eachtree Ridge Senior, Jack Griffin has created a website called FoodFinder for food insecure kids in the Gwinnett area. FoodFinder is a nonprofit that leverages a mobile-native website that aggregates food resources. The website is designed to help children in need find their closest free food resource. The concept was a product of his Community Legacy Project he had started at the Duke TIP Summer Leadership Institute he attended in 2013. The true inspiration for the project emerged after he saw two young children forced to live out of a truck. “I wanted to do something that would help to end this cycle of food insecurity for children,” said Jack, “But I wanted to contribute greater change than I could by volunteering at a food bank.”


I Suwanee Magazine I

I JAN / FEB 15

Peachtree Ridge Senior, Jack Griffin

The concept originally started as an app for smartphones but after consulting with industry experts the product direction shifted to a website. Raising funds to launch the site was his next priority. He created a campaign on Indiegogo and successfully raised $6,000. Collaborating with Innopl in Atlanta, website design began immediately and FoodFinder went live on May 15, 2013 covering over 90 food resources in Gwinnett County. Jack has recently been recognized with the 2014 TAG Excalibur Award for Most Creative Solution to a Problem using Technology. The prestigious TAG Awards recognize Georgia companies that demonstrate the best use of technology, typically provided by a third party, to solve complex business problems. Following his Excalibur Award win, Jack made an appearance to speak at the Georgia State Board of Education on December 13th and will be a guest speaker at the Georgia Tech Student Day at the Capitol on January 13th. While Jack is grateful for the recognition, he is more grateful that the award has brought attention to the resource he has provided. “It’s not about my accomplishments,” he said, “It’s about getting the word out there to those whom FoodFinder can help.” Spread the word and check out the FoodFinder website at ■

people&places on the scene...

Annandale Village Inaugural Extra Mile 5K Walk/Run



Suwanee Jubilee Tree Lighting

Saturday, December 6th




I Suwanee Magazine I

I JAN / FEB 15

Suwanee's Jolly Holly-Day Celebration



The Ice Rink at Sugar Hill Grand Opening

Friday, November 21st SUGAR HILL CITY PARK

The Ice Rink at Sugar Hill will remain open through Sunday, February 22nd. Tickets and information are available at 83

SBA Meeting


Wednesday, December 10th PHOTOS:



I Suwanee Magazine I

I JAN / FEB 15

Gingerbread Festival

Saturday, December 13th

Suwanee Classic Car Show, hosted by the North Gwinnett Arts Association





Sunday, November 9th PHOTOS:


Suwanee Pizza Tavern 2nd Anniversary Celebration Saturday, November 8th PHOTOS:




upcoming suwanee area events

January 2015 1 Snow World thru



Open weekends & school holidays January 1st through March 1st LAKE LANIER ISLANDS RESORT



Visit for more information


Student Holiday January 5th GWINNETT COUNTY SCHOOLS North Gwinnett Soccer Sprint January 10th @ 9am SUWANEE TOWN CENTER PARK Nutrition Class January 10th 9am – 10am HEALTHSOURCE OF SUWANEE

$5 per person, includes healthy snacks and beverages


thru Feb.


City of Sugar Hill Ice Rink January 1 through February 22nd


Visit for hours and pricing

Stepping Stone Montessori Open House, both campuses (Suwanee and Cumming) January 10th STEPPING STONE MONTESSORI Open house, both campuses. RSVP online at


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New Year’s Day January 1st Hairllucinations 8th Anniversary January 4th

I JAN / FEB 15


Suwanee Business Alliance Meeting January 14th 6-8pm ATLANTA FLOORING

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Student Holiday January 19th GWINNETT COUNTY SCHOOLS

February 2015 20

Inaugural Cooper O’Brien Sportsmanship and Courage Award January 20th @ 7:30pm NORTH GWINNETT HIGH SCHOOL for more information and list of the Finalists


Suwanee Gateway Half Marathon January 31st @ 7:30am SUWANEE TOWN CENTER PARK



Super Bowl Party February 1st TANNERY ROW ALE HOUSE The 4th Annual Fusion ArtWorks Gwinnett Awards February 2nd @ 7:00pm AURORA THEATRE



Suwanee Business Alliance Meeting February 11th @ 6-8pm VEUGELER DESIGN GROUP


Valentines Day February 14th


The Royal Dance Academy presents "Peter and the Wolf " February 14th 3 shows: 3pm, 5pm, and 7pm THE ROYAL DANCE ACADEMY


Suwanee Sweetheart Sprint February 14th @ 9am SUWANEE TOWN CENTER PARK


President’s Day February 16th


Student Holiday February 16th GWINNETT COUNTY SCHOOLS


Taste of Collins Hill February 20th @ 6-9pm COLLINS HILL HIGH SCHOOL COMMONS AREA Visit for more information and to purchase tickets


I Suwanee Magazine I

I JAN / FEB 15

Savannah Plantation



• • • • • •

Loving, Family Oriented Environment Home Cooked Meals Staff to patient ratio exceeds state regulations Specializing in Memory Care Medication Management Services State Licensed

102 Level Creek Rd. Buford, GA Admissions: 404-680-6896 • Office: 770-271-8723 The official Savannah Plantation website

TH E 2014 G WI N N E T T D A I LY P OS T R E A D E R ' S C H O I C E




Th 1 -5 PM








get YOUR

• family fun • arts • parks • eats


• tre ats • trai ls

• ev ent s•

330 Town Center Ave. • 770-945-8996 • • Suwanee is 30 minutes northeast of Atlanta. Take Exit 111 off I-85 and you’re here.

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Suwanee Magazine Jan Feb 2015  

The magazine for Suwanee Georgia and beyond.

Suwanee Magazine Jan Feb 2015  

The magazine for Suwanee Georgia and beyond.