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At HOME with


Fallacy of Fairytales : Shedding the Light on the Sad Reality of Human Trafficking in Georgia North Georgia In Bloom: A glimpse of Georgia’s Flora Cutting Ice in North Georgia HOME NGeorgia First Issue 2012.indd 1

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You Uncovered


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Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) is rated Georgia’s #1 heart hospital for the seventh consecutive year (2006 – 2012). In fact, for 2012, NGMC is one of only six hospitals in the nation to rank #1 in all four cardiac categories measured by HealthGrades®: • #1 in Georgia for Overall Cardiac Care • #1 in Georgia for Cardiac Surgery • #1 in Georgia for Coronary Interventional Procedures • #1 in Georgia for Non-Surgical Cardiac Services These awards direct you to the preferred destination in Georgia for exceptional cardiac care. So avoid Atlanta traffic and follow the signs to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, Georgia’s #1 Heart Hospital!

Northeast Georgia Medical Center 770-219-3840 |


24 The Fallacy of Fairytales

32 niekro’s Perfect

What’s Inside


On the Cover Photo by: Elizabeth Ordu | Painting by: Wayland Moore Design by: Anibal Rodriguez


niekro’s Perfect Game There is likely nothing more harmonious for a baseball pitcher to hear than two little words: “perfect game.” It’s a rarity — one achieved by about 20 pitchers in the nearly 170 years since the sport’s birth. Although he may never have achieved the elusive “perfect game” during his 28-year pitching career, Phil Niekro is pitching a “perfect game” every day of his post Major League Baseball life.

Travel 8

Spring Break: Stay and Play in north Georgia

Community 10

hometown hero-Bill Stevens

Home & Garden 12 15

north Georgia in Bloom

Sports and Recreation 20

Cutting the Ice in north Georgia

Business 22

Country Side 15 Europeanin Chateau Elan

Area Chamber of Commerce Initiatives

Charity 40

Edmondson-Telford Center

Community Impact Story



Get to Know




The Fallacy of Fairytales

Dress Up Boutique


March/April Calendar of Events

Jackie Ellett

Taste of Home

Around Town



Taste of hOME north Georgia

Where We’ve Been

European Country Side in Chateau Elan


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HOME Living

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home north georgia

Editor Tracy Youngblood-Wingate ————

Creative Director Aníbal Rodríguez Featured Writer Kasie Bolling Staff Writers Britt Pecht Dr. Allison J. Ainsworth Copy Editor Mary Goodwin Karly Khers

HOMETM: Living in North Georgia reserves the right to refuse advertisements for any reason. Acceptance of advertising does not mean or imply the services or product is endorsed or recommended by HOMETM: Living in North Georgia. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by an information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from Advantage Publishing, Inc. Although every precaution is taken to ensure accuracy of published materials, Advantage Publishing cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied by its authors.

Contributing Photographers Sarina Roth Elizabeth Ordu Bryan Smith Advertising Executive Genevieve Sprabery

Manuscripts, artwork, photography, inquiries and submitted materials are welcome. Visit us online:

Owner/CEO Scott Costello Associate Publisher/COO Megan DeGance Multi Media Specialist Amber Miller

HOME Magazine, a division of Advantage Publishing, Inc. 5900 Spout Springs Road, Suite 3C #197 Flowery Branch, Ga 30542 686-6295

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3/12/12 11:11 AM

home travel

in North Georgia By Dr. Allison Ainsworth


orth Georgia provides the best of everything for those fortunate enough to live here. While others may be planning expensive Spring Break vacations to faraway places, local residents have the luxury to stay and play right in our big backyard. Children of all ages are easily entertained without the hassle of packing suitcases and loading up the minivan. Here are just a few of Home Magazine’s recommendations for family fun within a short drive of home.


Get Wet Without Driving to the Beach – North Georgia plays host to a number of great swimming pools and water parks. Rain or shine, your children can splash and play at the indoor beach, lazy river, and water slides at Bogan Park at 2723 North Bogan Road in Buford, Frances Meadows Aquatic Center at 1545 Community Way NE in Gainesville, or the Cumming Aquatic Center at 201 Aquatic Circle in Cumming. All three feature indoor swimming pools. Just outside, three-story water slides, wave pools, water drops, and interactive play structures provide plenty of wet fun for swimmers. At less than $5 per person, swimming at a local waterpark is the best


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“splash” for your buck (and you saved money on gas, too!) We believe Bogan Park’s indoor splash zone is likely your best solution for a rainy Spring day,


Swing From the Trees or Hike a Mountain Trail – Sawnee Mountain Preserve at 4075 Spot Road in Cumming offers 963 acres of hiking trails and outdoor activities for adventurers with energy to spare. When planning to visit with older children, the Tree House and Canopy Walk are particularly challenging and exhilarating. Children twelve years and older can also go rock climbing or paddle a canoe on the scenic Etowah River. As for the younger ones, be sure to pick up a nature identification pack at the Visitor Center for a fun and educational trek. After your hike, spread out a blanket, break out your iPod for some fun kid-friendly tunes, and have an old-fashioned picnic of homemade sandwiches, chips, apple slices, and juice. Got a couple of monkeys in your midst? Sawnee Mountain Preserve offers tree climbing classes for children eight years and older. Don’t worry parents; children are secured with typical climbing gear for safety. Go to www.sawneemountain. org to sign up! HOME Living

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home travel


Let Them Eat Cake (or at least let them decorate one) – Register your kids for a cupcake decorating class at Michael’s craft store. After the class, spend the day baking at home and let your little pastry chef teach you a thing or two in the kitchen. For younger kids, let them break apart the store bought sugar cookies and sprinkle with different color sugar sprinkles. To find the Michael’s location nearest you, visit


4. View a Live Birth in the Cabbage Patch (at Babyland General, that is) – Babyland General was voted one of the Travel Channel’s Top Ten places to visit with your kids, and we are fortunate that it’s located just a hop, skip and a jump away! Located north of Gainesville in Cleveland, admission to the home of the Cabbage Patch Dolls is free. For an adoption fee, your child can watch as their very own Cabbage Patch baby is pulled from Mother Cabbage. After naming him or her and filling out keepsake adoption papers, your little one can bring their brand new baby home. The website at contains additional information about this one-of-a-kind destination and features free video games for your young child to play.

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Hop on up to Forsyth County – There’s no need to travel to the Australian Outbacks to see a cute little Joey up close and personal! Located at 222 Bailey Waters Road in Dawsonville, the Kangaroo Conservation Center is “dedicated to the preservation of kangaroo species thru captive breeding and public education.” In addition to kangaroos, the Kangaroo Conservation Center features other small animals and a wonderful petting area. We believe seeing the transformation from baby kangaroos in the birthing center to adults in the field is the best part of this family-friendly activity. For more information, visit


Say Bye-Bye to the Phrase “I’m Bored!” – Do you have a difficult time trying to entertain your older children? Lake Lanier Islands offers many amenities and activities, particularly for children ages twelve and older. Go horseback riding, hiking, zip lining, biking, and boating at Lake Lanier Islands in Gwinnett County. LanierWorld – with its bevy of waterslides, sandy white beaches, live entertainment, and cool activities reopens in May for even more lakeside fun. To learn more, visit www. 9

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home community

home town hero BILL STEVENS, FOUNDER OPERATION 1 VOICE Written by Tracy Youngblood-Wingate

Left to Right: SGM Chris Lyons, Sgt Tom Miller (brother to SOF Run honoree Sgt Robbie Miller, MOH / KIA), SFC Joe Kapacziewski (amputee), Bill Stevens and Laird Canby. Running south of Tallahassee


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HOME Living

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home community

e saw the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 and were overcome with many different emotions. There were tears, anger and confusion amidst so much more. Our community was consumed with the question, “What can I do to help?” Some prayed, some donated money and some joined the armed forces. Lt. Bill Stevens designed a coin that changed the course of his life. Despite the service he had given as a law enforcement officer and firefighter, Stevens knew he was called to do more. He designed a 9/11 commemorative coin that was presented to each member of the Duluth Police Department in memory of those that died that day. It was a simple step to help others heal, to ask that we never forget and to show respect for those who lost their lives. ”Operation One Voice was started primarily to give back to some of our finest Americans, to say thank you, you’re appreciated. While at the same time to teach my son, 7 at the time, to respect American Special Operations troops, all soldiers and veterans,” Stevens said. Operation One Voice began because Bill believes that America’s Special Forces are some of the finest in our military.  Their work  is  highly classified and due to their duties’ inherent risks, they suffer casualty rates more than four times higher than those of the conventional forces outside of Iraq. In many cases, these casualties involve young people who are beginning their careers. “In the days following 9/11,  public safety officers from the New York area passed a tattered American flag to our troops,” Stevens said.  “For over ten years, our  Special Operations Forces have been placing their lives in harm’s way to keep our homeland safe.”  Operation One Voice began to help fund college educations to the children of the special forces troops that were lost. Now because of a new federal law which provides college and post secondary education to all children of fallen soldiers Operation One Voice focuses efforts on filling gaps and ensuring the families get to the point where these children can go to college. “My family and I are so humbled to spend time giving back to our Special Forces families.” With Bill at the helm, the organization was designed by fellow police officers, firefighters

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ADM Eric Olson/ USSOCOM commander placing final streamer on guidon at 9/11 Ceremony. 2nd Honor Ride honored Navy LT Michael Murphy, NSW, MOH /KIA and community leaders to raise money and awareness for the cause. The first event, on Sept. 11, 2004, was sponsored by the Duluth Police COPS Division. The “Gunny Mile” 5K road race raised funds for America’s Special Operations Forces. The funds raised from the “Gunny Mile” paid for additional coins for all of Special Operations Forces.  The police, fire and highway safety officials agree that all Special Operations Forces understand the importance of placing boots on the pavement. “I go back to the  moments following Sept. 11,  in the ashes of the towers — a bond was formed between America’s First Responders and  America’s  soldiers, especially those within the Special Operations communities,” Stevens said. Later that year, a board of directors was formed to expand the scope of the program by focusing on the children of the fallen Special Forces soldiers. Today events are planned in numerous locations and include bike rides, golf tournaments, fishing tournaments, Heroes Balls and many more. There is also an online store at, through which people can purchase coins and raffle tickets and make donations to Operation One Voice. Many local and national businesses partner with the organization as well as celebrities and Wounded Warriors. Although Bill founded Operation One Voice, he is very quick to say he is not the only one who deserves credit. Like a true hero, he acknowledges his mission to raise awareness and support for a very important group that protects Americans’ freedom each day, and he has made it his life’s mission to serve those who serve us, through Operation One Voice.

Family: Bill and his lovely wife, Jaime have two children. Daughter Bidgett, son Cody. Occupation: Duluth Police Department Community Oriented Policing Services Division Division Commander – Lieutenant Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services Fire Rescue Division – Operations Station Officer – Lieutenant Experience: Fire Service: Retired March 30, 2006. Fire Service Specialty Teams: Underwater Rescue Team Team/ shift Lieutenant (5 yrs.), Hazardous Materials Team/shift Lieutenant (3 yrs), Swiftwater Rescue Team/shift Lieutenant-plank owner (6 yrs.). Battalion Command Specialist – Lieutenant (3 yrs.). Law Enforcement: 18 plus years experience Fulton County Sheriff’s Reserve: (1989-1993). Lieutenant – Command Division, SERT Team and Dive Team. Duluth Police Department: Reserve Division: (1993-1996) Reserve Officer of the Year 1995. Duluth Police COPS Division (1997 – Present: full-time) Director of Community Policing (1997- 2003) Division Commander-Lieutenant (2004-Present). Mountain Bike Team, Unified Command Response Team, Gwinnett County Gang Task Forces, GEAR / Youth Alcohol Reduction, Team GA, Gwinnett County Injury Prevention, TEAM GA member Gwinnett Bar Association –Police Officer of the Year. Gwinnett Chamber 2006: Public Saftey Officer of the Year, American Legion 2006: Georgia Police Officer of the Year, American Legion 2005: Runner Up National Police Officer of the Year, Gwinnett Chamber 2007: Medal of Merit. Community Involvement: Operation Drive Smart: teen safe driving program: 2000 (Designed and developed statewide program) Georgia Teen Safe Driving Program: 2000 (Designed and developed statewide program: Partnership with Chick fil-A) Operation One Voice: 2002 Duluth Kiwanis Club Grace Fellowship Church: Snellville, GA Duluth Rotary Club


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home home & garden

North Georgia



A GLIMPSE OF GEORGIA’S FLORA Story and photos by Sarina roth

Azaleas are a favorite in Georgia. Although many newer cultivars claim to be hearty in full sun, the azalea’s native place is as an understory shrub and it does better in part shade. A variety of colors and sizes provide many options for landscapers.


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arly spring reminds us of why we live in Georgia. As many other states are slowly emerging from a long cold and harsh winter, Georgia seems eager to burst into a thriving spring with waves of color and fresh scents from its blooms. Many of the colors can be seen along the country roadsides, and much more are displayed in the landscaped yards of neighborhoods and shopping centers. Some colors are splashed from petals of flowers while we also are blessed with many plants showcasing vibrant leaves, changing throughout the seasons. Georgia is a wonderful place to study ornamental horticulture, with the University of Georgia’s Trial

Gardens close by, and several local Master Gardener clubs from which to choose. The county extension offices also offers classes and provide information to anyone interested in studying this fascinating and evocative science. But even if you choose to just enjoy our Georgia flora from a simple stroll in the evening, without the use of technical books and learning botanical names, you will be offered a delightful variety that makes living in Georgia a real treat.

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home home & garden

Purple Lupines create an amazing spectacle in late spring and summer. They can be combined with later-blooming perennials for an extended season of color in natural landscapes.

The blooming Daffodil is one of the first signs of spring in Georgia. Although bulbs are available to plant in gardens, many of these perky flowers are found naturally along roadsides and in pastures.

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This Yellow Monarch Butterfly sits proudly on a wild Boneset, or Flat-top Aster. By June, the plant will be covered with these elegant, fluttering butterflies.


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home home & garden

The Rhododendron is a shade-lover and thrives best when planted by natural water sources such as a creek or river. It prefers the moist, cool and humid climates of the north Georgia mountains.

Camellias are gorgeous flowering evergreen shrubs which are usually categorized into 2 popular species, the Japonica and Sasanqua. Although these flowers bloom in winter, there are still a few signs of them in spring in Georgia.

The delicate Star Magnolia is a special treat in Georgia. Originally from Japan, this young tree blooms for us in the late winter and early spring, featuring lovely fragrant blossoms. 14

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This unique Anthurium flower is a beautiful tropical ornamental found often in indoor arrangements of botanical displays. This photo was taken at the Inn at Chateau Elan.

Pansies are wonderful little garden flowers used in landscapes in the wintertime to give pools of color. From bright yellows and oranges to deep purples and soft pinks, they offer a cheerfulness to even the drabbest winterscapes. This hearty little annual usually stays healthy even through late spring, as long as you keep the deer away from them.

The Nandina is a rather ubiquitous shrub found in many landscapes and wild wooded areas. There are several varieties but you can easily identify this “heavenly bamboo” by the fiery-red pointed leaves and berries.



Award-winning photographer SARINA ROTH has had a passion for nature since she was a child. Inspired by her grandfather and exposed to his travel photography from an early age, she has had the opportunity to develop her skills and creativity over many years. As the owner of Never the Rock Photography, Sarina enjoys serving her community and providing professional photography services and products nationwide. Her work is featured at The Birdhouse Studio and Gallery in Braselton, and products featuring her photography can be found in several retail stores in the Braselton and Hoschton area. For more information about Sarina Roth and her work, please visit her website at and her facebook page, Never the Rock Photography.

Several varieties of grasses are used in landscapes and streetscapes in Georgia for their ability to screen winds and sound, thicken flat or sloped areas vulnerable to erosion, and fill in large areas in need of contrasting texture. These soft plumes against the clear blue Georgia sky make a sparkling image. HOME Living

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home home & garden

A Piece of European Country Side in

Chateau Élan By Tracy youngblood-Wingate | Photos by Sarina roth

There are many true beauties within the gates of Chateau Élan. Each home bestows grand uniqueness about it and that is not lost in this remarkable property reminiscent of the European countryside. From the moment you hit the pavered drive the old world style emerges. The property looks unassuming from the street, with the guest house tucked away to one side. Only after you step through the doors does the depth of the property discern. The home sits on a double lot within the Legends at Chateau, one of the premier residential locations in North Georgia. The Chateau Élan property, which includes the Legends, provides its residents the finest

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golf, sports, recreational, fitness, dining and social activities—all within the 3,500-acre gated community. This 16,750-square-foot home features six bedrooms, six full bathrooms and two half baths, with an elevator providing easy accessibility. Atlanta artist and designer Bobby Sikes impeccably designed the property with a comfortable elegance in mind. The homeowner insisted everything was custom to the house and that no detail was overlooked.

Tucked away on approximately 3 acres in the Legends at Chateau Élan, this beautiful home was built and designed with elegance and comfort in mind. The drive is highlighted by one of the many cars in the homeowner’s collection. Pictured is an impeccably restored and updated 1988 Bentley Convertible.


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home home & garden

The fountain is surrounded by a custom wall painting by the artist in the garden room, which is located in the back of the home overlooking the expansive outdoor area. The front room has two, as seen here, of the 11 total custom paintings on canvas commissioned by artist and designer Bobby Sikes. This property also showcases historical treasures as well. The piece under the painting comes from the Versace estate in Miami, Fla. The two love seats positioned to allow guests to enjoy the piano are Victorian era (1837-1901) from General Patton’s estate.


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HOME Living

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home home & garden

As you look into the formal dining room from the foyer, you see the beautifully detailed Bobby Sikes wall mural; the hue of red he used to finish off the ceiling makes for a dramatic entry into the home. The lower level of the home includes a separate dining room with a handmade chandelier replicating one seen on a trip to Europe. The original accommodated real candles, while this one was carefully crafted to give the same look using electricity. The end result is a magnificent piece, weighing approximately 275 pounds and requiring a special blocking system to support the weight. The ceiling is tongue and groove made from random cherry wood, and the solid wood beams that stretch from the ceiling to the floor were custom made on site.

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home home & garden

The custom wine cellar is a true show piece to the craftsmanship of the entire property. Stepping into the front room, the neverending feel of the ceiling, highlighted with light faux-painted beams, helps create warmth, while grounded by the darker trim throughout the rest of the room. The layout of the space allows for comfortable conversation, while providing a beautifully balanced design.


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As you step into the home, you immediately feel the warmth and attention to detail. The walls are finished with a faux stone appearance, radiating a French, country feel. Soaring ceilings hover the entry, which is highlighted by an oversized wall hanging displaying an Irish prayer inscription. The front room is completely custom, from the faux-painted beams that reach into the ceiling to the traditional cabinetry, which is painted a shade of black suitable for

the space. The chairs flanking the fireplace are covered in a Turkish rug, allowing the perfect pop of color and texture. The wine cellar has a custom and unique parachute panel ceiling made with real brick. The planning and framing were carefully designed to achieve the arched look and to support the weight of the heavy materials. The hand-carved wine racks are made of walnut, displaying a beautiful grape vine that matches the custom design cellar door. The HOME Living

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home home & garden

Bobby Sikes

Above: With the double steel doors to the lower level open, you can see how the home owner accommodates a drive-in with any of the vehicles in his collection. Shown here is a 1935 Buick from Memphis, Tenn.

cellar is climate-controlled by a refrigeration system, as opposed to a regular air conditioning system, which allows for the best storage of any wine. The home is filled with custom touches that allow each space its own unique flair. Most of the chandeliers in the home were selected and shipped directly from Europe. Many of the doors are custom made and designed by the homeowner. This includes the door to the wine cellar, as well as the 600-pound steel door in the lower level, which is on special hinges to allow for easy swing. The functional design behind the double doors allows cars to be driven into the room when the homeowner, an avid car collector, sees fit. Listed by:

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Bobby Sikes Design began in 1992 because Bobby realized his passion for art and design early. It’s one thing to be a designer, but it is another to have a passion for art as and the ability to fully execute a space. “I consider this house a signature project for me,” Sikes said. The client allowed him to pour his knowledge and imagination into the entire home. It was extremely exhilarating for Sikes to design a showpiece with such little restrictions or parameters. The selections and attention to detail combine to ensure that the property feels like a home and not a hotel. There were some design challenges along the way. “The Chateau Élan house was a challenge because it was huge and flat,” Sikes said. “I knew it was going to need special attention, especially when it came to scale in order to achieve the look I wanted.” The scale of the interior is a perfect reflection of the expertise Bobby brought to the space. Without his design knowledge, the flow and dramatic moments would have been forfeited.

Many of the moments are created with original art pieces that Sikes created himself. From the walls to the ceilings to the beautiful one-of-a-kind paintings, Sikes has touched every inch of the property, either with his magical paintbrush or his talented fingertips. “I think being an artist has always given me the ability to create at a different level,” he said. “It’s not just about furniture placement in a room. Understanding the relationships between the architecture, furniture selections and art is important. Original art and wall finishes always take it to a new level of design.” While this property is Sikes’ own showstopper, he feels fortunate to also engage in collaborative design projects with other notable designers. “To be able to work with your peers on projects is exhilarating because, in a creative environment where you can combine talents, each of you bring something special and unique to the table.” This home proves that design and comfort come together for anyone who walks through the door to feel the elegance and attention to detail. As they leave the home, they have experienced the comfort and warmth Sikes thoughtfully secured through his flawless design plan. Bobby truly believes that “A good designer will exceed your expectations. The clients’ most important job is to hire the right designer that they feel comfortable allowing to expand and intensify what they could not create on their own.”


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home sports & recreation


By Britt Pecht | Photos by Amanda hertel


o many of us in the South, “ice hockey” is foreign or known as the “Canadian sport”. Even the idea of playing hockey seems a little crazy to families down here. It is popular in northern parts of the United States, in areas that are sufficiently colder. But surprise: the sport is gradually making its way down South and becoming another option for our youth to play as they grow up. More and more families are getting involved in this sport around the North Georgia area.

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How to get involved: The best way to get involved in a new sport is to try it! There are several ice rinks in the North Georgia area. These rinks offer public skate sessions, private and public hockey lessons with instructors, recreational and developmental leagues and other fun activities to get children and adults engaged in the sport. When to get involved: “The younger the better,” says Steve Picano, private instructor and director of a house league at the IceForum. Picano says that a child can begin learning how to skate as early as 3 years old and start playing hockey at age 4. There are generally six levels that hockey

players can participate in depending on their ages. Where to get involved: In the North Georgia area, there are three rinks available to the public. The IceForum is the oldest and most well known skating complex in Gwinnett County, located in Duluth. In Cumming, THE ICE is a brand-new facility that houses one rink. The third center in the North Georgia area, The Cooler, is just south of Cumming in Alpharetta and has

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home sports & recreation

evolved into one of the finest recreational facilities in the United States. What are the essentials? Because hockey is a contact sport, it is imperative for young hockey players to have all safety equipment. Depending on the level of play, the essential equipment varies. Each player must have ice skates, a helmet, a stick, gloves, and a mouthpeiece. As children progress to more experienced levels, additional equipment is needed. Players can purchase equipment at pro shops inside the complexes. In Duluth, players can purchase equipment at Inside Edge Hockey, across from the IceForum. Get the parents involved: It is important to have support not only from coaches or instructors, but also from parents. “Parents can be very involved, on or off the ice,” Picano said. “Just by cheering for your player and his or her team is good.” Picano said that if parents want to be more involved with his or her child’s team, they can talk to the coach or the director of the league. It’s not just for boys: The women’s division is the fastest-growing segment in USA Hockey, Picano said. Girls also have an opportunity to join coed teams around Georgia. This year, the Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship will be hosted in Burlington, Vt. How to learn about ice hockey: What better way to learn about ice hockey than to watch a game or two? Families in North Georgia have the chance to find a professional game at a low price, and tons of family fun just around the corner. The Gwinnett Gladiators are a professional ice hockey team in Duluth, and are members of the East Coast Hockey League, the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League. All home games are hosted at The Arena at Gwinnett Center. For more information about the Gwinnett Gladiators and gameday promotions, check out their website at Gladiators in the community: Another opportunity for young hockey players to learn and enjoy the sport is to practice with a Gwinnett Gladiator. This year, the Gladiators have made it a goal to be involved in developing youth hockey programs in the Atlanta and North Georgia area. Each team in the House League, and all travel teams, will have a Gladiators player as a guest instructor at a minimum of one practice to answer questions from the kids. The IceForum is the Gwinnett Gladiators official training facility and practice rink. The Ice Forum served as the training facility for the Atlanta Thrashers of the National Hockey League for 11 seasons before they relocated to Winnipeg, Manitoba in May of 2011.

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CONTACT INFORMATION: The IceForum: 2300 Satellite Blvd Duluth, Ga 30097 (770) 813-1010 The ICE: 1345 Atlanta Hwy Cumming, GA 30040 (678) 845-0103 The Cooler: 10800 Davis Drive Alpharetta, GA 30004 (770) 649-6600 Inside Edge: 2148 Duluth Hwy Suite 115 Duluth, Ga. 30097 (678) 974-3122 Gwinnett Gladiators: PO Box 957238 Duluth, GA 30095 (770) 497-5100

Left: Gladiator players line up for the National Anthem with the IceForum’s Atlanta Phoenix .Top Right: Gladiators Dallas Jackson, Alternate Captain Andy Brandt, Joey Haddad and Pat Galivan celebrate after a goal. Bottom Right: Forward Tyler Murovich sends a centering feed to teammate


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home business

Finding Success in Gainesville-Hall County By Kit Dunlap, President & CEO, Greater hall Chamber of Commerce


elping businesses succeed and fostering a thriving and vigorous business environment are the primary goals of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce. We’re proud of our community and what it offers, and the Chamber is dedicated to making a positive contribution and serving as a voice for business. Founded in 1908, the Greater Hall Chamber serves the Gainesville-Hall County area, including the cities of Gainesville, Flowery Branch, Oakwood, Clermont, Gillsville, Lula, Braselton and Buford. With over 2300 members, our professional staff of 12 strives to fill members’ needs through a

full range of programs and services. What activities take place at the Greater Hall Chamber in a typical month? While no two months are the same, dozens of seminars, meetings, special events and networking opportunities are offered throughout the year. Also, economic development recruitment and retention and education and leadership initiatives are continuous efforts. With over 300 manufacturers, processors and distributors, we are fortunate to have a diverse and active industrial community. Tourism is big in our community with Lake Lanier, Road Atlanta, North Georgia Canopy Tours and other unique venues for visitors. As the regional hub for business and medical care, Gainesville-Hall County continues to provide the highest quality in healthcare with the Northeast Georgia Medical Center ranking # 1 in cardiac care in Georgia and a new hospital planned for South Hall County. Networking events such as Business After Hours provide a great opportunity for employees of small and large businesses

to meet each other and learn more about other businesses in the community. Other events include the Job Fair & Career Expo (March 28), Annual Chamber Chase 5K Run-Walk (April 19) and Hackers Holiday Golf Tournament (April 27) at Lake Lanier Islands Resort. With small businesses making up over 85% of our membership, we strive hard to provide resources for success. Monthly Small Business Success Seminars cover a variety of topics, and the South Hall Business Coalition brings together professionals in the South Hall community to discuss local government and education updates and a variety of other topics. The Annual GDOT Transportation Forum (March 14) at Gainesville State College provides valuable information on current and upcoming transportation projects. To learn more about Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, call us at 770-532-6206 or visit us online at

Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce


uy Local is the focus of the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce newest initiative. When the economy started to decline a few years ago, many area merchants and local governments started feeling financial strain. Some business, large and small closed their doors after years of serving the community. It was also during this difficult time that the Jackson Chamber supported and spearheaded the renewal of the Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). That’s when it became even more apparent to the Chamber just how important buying local means to the community. As such, the Jackson Chamber created its own Buy Local program. “Our Buy Local initiative has been well received throughout the area, especially our Chamber members,” said Shane Short, president/CEO of the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce. “The Buy Local


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campaign consist of radio spots, print ads, online advertising, posters, bumper stickers, and window decals,” added Short. The new full-color print ads will run weekly featuring a different business owner/manager. They will all have the same design featuring a different business each week. According to Short, “it’s not cheap running a campaign like this but we feel strongly that it’s an investment in our membership and the community as a whole.” The goal of the chamber is to reach as many people as possible to encourage them to think more locally when purchasing their goods and services. There have been numerous economic studies on the impact of buying local. Estimates are that for each dollar spent locally it can change hands up to 14 times. Studies also show that spending just 10% more in a community can generate millions

of dollars annually and hundreds of new jobs. That’s why the Jackson Chamber put on its Buy Local logo the tagline, “Save time. Save jobs.”

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3rd Annual Boulder Dash - April 28, 2012


lans are already in place for the Third Annual Boulder Dash 5K for April 28, 2012. The Healthcare Association of Forsyth County established this annual event as an opportunity for business and community organizations to challenge one another to shed a few pounds and get active. The course will start at Northside HospitalForsyth, travel up Ronald Reagan Boulevard and into the Lafarge Quarry. Those planning the event have some great plans for the party at the finish line. The Boulder Dash is one of only two races run in a working hard-rock quarry in the nation and is one of the most unique courses anywhere in the region. Last year, there were more than 1,500 participants that showed up to this event. We are expecting to exceed well over 1,500 participants this year and hope that you’ll join us for this fun community event. Not a runner? That’s okay! Many participants walk the course and have a great time. If you’d rather just come enjoy the festivities, the Spring Fling, held at the finish line, will offer up a fun morning. The Spring

Fling in 2011 hosted over 25 business and community vendors from Forsyth County. We also enjoyed music, food, prizes and an awards ceremony. A big thanks to our primary sponsors Lafarge Aggregates and Northside HospitalForsyth. Other sponsors include Northeast Georgia Heart Center, Hansgrohe, JTECH Networks, Swim Kids of Atlanta, and Derucki Construction, with many sponsorship opportunities still available. Mark your calendars for April 28, 2012, and join us for the third annual Boulder Dash 5K! Go to www. boulderdash5K.

Do You “Shop in Gwinnett”?


f you haven’t been asked this question yet, you will very soon! In today’s economic climate, every business is watching its bottom line more closely than ever. Every business is asking, where can I get the most bang for the buck? And what every business should know is that their 2012 solution lies with the Gwinnett Chamber. The Gwinnett Chamber is excited to offer our local businesses the opportunity to minimize marketing costs, support local charities and maximize their bottom line all with a single solution – the new SHOP IN GWINNETT program. Vince DeSilva, Sr. Vice President of Membership Services for the Gwinnett Chamber said, “This is an excellent program to benefit the thriving retail business community in Gwinnett and afford consumers an economic recess of discounts on all their favorite shops, restaurants

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and services – all while supporting local charities. It’s a win-win for all.” “Shop In Gwinnett” is a discount card program developed to connect the Consumers, Commerce and Charities in an effort to help grow and strengthen our community. Consumers that obtain and present this card are entitled to discounts at their favorite local participating merchant’s for a full year. Cardholders have access to a searchable site, enabling them to look for great discounts amongst what will be hundreds of participating merchants countywide, in an array of industries; retail, service, entertainment and dining Three primary groups benefit from this program. Commerce – or the Gwinnett Chamber members - benefit from the increase in exposure that drives new customers to their door. Local Charities are given an opportunity to raise much

needed funds, which funnel back in the form of ongoing assistance to our very own community; and lastly, cardholding Consumers reap the reward of exclusive discounts and promotions. Discount Cards are distributed primarily through partnership fundraising programs specifically developed for working with local non-profits. Consumers can order their card online at for $20 - good for one year from the date of issue. For more information on The Shop In Gwinnett program visit www., or call the Gwinnett Chamber at (770) 232-3000 and ask to speak with one of the Shop In Gwinnett account representatives.


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Fairytales Shedding Light on the Sad Reality of Human Trafficking in Georgia

By Kasie Bolling She said her name was Sara. Dark green eyes that appeared far too old peered out from under a long matted curtain of straight black hair. She wore the classic teenage garb – jeans, tennis shoes, and a zippered hoodie – and appeared no older than 16, though she claimed to be 18. She should have been in a high school classroom learning about Shakespeare or Trigonometry, but instead she sat in an examination room, refusing to let the nurses touch her – no matter how much they urged her over the course of two or more hours. With every attempt, Sara cried out in pain or fear. The external injuries the nurses could see were horrifying. Clearly frail and weary, the only thing she would share was that “they” had hurt her. She ultimately decided to leave, claiming she would be missed and “they” would be looking for her. The following day, she returned. Sara was now as pale as a ghost and as weak as a kitten. This time she was more willing to surrender to sedation and an examination. It was evident she was frightened and the staff at the clinic was eager to help her. Over the course of her career as a family nurse practitioner, a veteran sexual assault nurse examiner with the Edmondson-Telford Center for Children, and a forensic examiner for pediatric rapes and assaults for Hall County, Heather Hayes figured she had seen pretty much everything. She was wrong. While Sara was still in too much pain to endure a full examination – even while under heavy sedation, when Hayes witnessed the wounds inflicted on this young girl, she was speechless. She convinced Sara that they would need to go to the local hospital across the street from the clinic for surgery immediately, and promised she would stay with her. As she placed Sara in a wheelchair, the sedation served another purpose aside from what was originally intended: Sara began to share her tragic tale.

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At the hospital, the young girl shared that she’d always dreamed of becoming a ballerina. After years of being sexually abused by her father, at 13 years old she ran away from her Alabama home in hopes of getting to a big city with a great dance school. What she found instead was the frightening and desperate life of a young girl living on the streets. She was taken in by men for room, board, and occasional meals in exchange for sexual acts. She was quickly introduced to drugs, alcohol, and “clients.” She continued to run away throughout the next two years, eventually making her way to Gainesville, Georgia. She found a small local church that provided her with food. An older couple who were members of the church agreed to take in Sara. They gave the girl her own room, with her very own chest of drawers. Hayes found it hard to listen as Sara told her that the man and his friends did “things” with her sometimes– but it was okay because she understood that’s how things work, and it really wasn’t all that bad because she had her own chest of drawers. “I’ve never had that before and it is so nice. It’s like a real home,” Sara said. “I don’t mind the things he does to me sometimes. My room is nice.” When Hayes asked if the man or one of his friends had inflicted these injuries on her, Sara quickly closed herself off again. It was apparent that as the sedation wore off, Sara was growing increasingly anxious. Despite Hayes’ pleas, Sara said she had to go. She disappeared through the sliding glass doors of the emergency room. The next day, Sara was found passed out and bleeding in a bathroom stall just off the lobby of the clinic. When she came to, she could barely walk. As they waited for Emergency Medical Services to arrive, Sara began to fight Hayes and two other nurses off. She wanted to run, and in the face of the nurses’ appeals – telling her that if she left, she would die – Sara stumbled back out the doors. Hayes watched miserably as Sara vanished into the streets, never to return. All that this child ever wanted was to dance and to have a room of her own, with a chest of drawers. To this day, Hayes doesn’t

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know what happened to Sara. Deep down, she does know one thing: Sara was the victim of a growing epidemic in North Georgia’s backyard, human trafficking. There are those fairy tales we tell our children that begin “Once upon a time” and end “…happily ever after”. They are filled with beautiful princesses and handsome princes who must wage battles against an evil witch or fearsome dragon to achieve that happy ending before the last page is turned. Then there are those fairy tales of old: dark stories like those penned by the Grimm Brothers, in which children are stolen or sold into servitude. Those stories rarely feature a happy ending. Human trafficking is a tale of woe that oddly reflects a Grimm Brothers’ storyline – happy endings are few and far between. However, an ever expanding network of law enforcement personnel, government officials, and child advocacy agencies in Georgia are working hard to change that.

The Fight Begins… On May 3, 2011, Governor Nathan Deal signed into law HB 200, a bill focused directly at the heart of human trafficking in Georgia. HB 200 not only strengthens the punishment against traffickers by increasing the minimum imprisonment for those found guilty of trafficking a person for labor or sexual servitude – particularly those under the age of 18, but also protects those who fall victim to predators who act upon their state of desperation through coercion or deception. “Human trafficking is a repugnant crime that is growing like a cancer in our society,” Deal said during the May 2011 signing at My Sister’s House in Atlanta. “Signing this bill into law, I join my fellow Georgians in declaring moral outrage and vowing to fight human trafficking here in our state. These criminals rob their victims of freedom and human dignity, and they destroy lives. With this bill now a law, we will find these criminals and we will punish them harshly.” In conjunction with Governor

Deal’s declaration, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) launched its Human Trafficking Unit as part of the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. The unit began operating last summer, with a mission to deal with the growing problem of human trafficking in Georgia. The Human Trafficking Unit is headed by Special Agent-In-Charge John Whitaker, employs five fulltime sworn agents, and collaborates with 140 partner agencies including the FBI’s Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation Task Force (MATCH) and Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), among others. In February 2012, a new resolution, HR 1151 passed both the House and Senate of the Georgia General Assembly, paving the way to create a 13-member Joint Human Trafficking Study Commission made up of Senate and House members, as well as a local police chief, district attorney, juvenile court judge, superior court judge, public defender, child advocacy expert and adult victim advocate. The Commission will undertake a study of the conditions, needs, and problems related to human trafficking before recommending future actions and/or legislation. They will examine current programs, laws and policies in Georgia, as well as elicit views from child welfare, juvenile justice, social work, and mental/public health experts. The Commission will also seek input from child victims and adult survivors of commercial sexual exploitation. “It’s a positive step in the right direction,” insists Whitaker. “The question is: Has this problem always been here and we’re just now taking a long hard look at it, or is the problem getting worse? Whatever the answer, there’s more of it going on than anyone can get to.” Since the GBI’s Human Trafficking Unit launch, Whitaker’s team has been involved in 145 cases, with approximately 40 arrests. One of the sad statistic’s the agent has learned is that on average it takes 869 days for a human trafficking case to go from being opened to being taken before the court. If HR 1151 is signed into law, he hopes the Joint Human


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National Organizations for Runaway and Homeless Youth The National Runaway Switchboard 1-800-RUNAWAY A confidential and anonymous crisis hotline for runaway and homeless youth available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Services include crisis intervention, referrals to local resources (i.e. alternative housing, basic center/shelter services, counseling, alcohol/drug treatment, and child protective services), and education and prevention services to youth, families and community members. Through a partnership with Greyhound Lines, Inc., NRS runs the Home Free program, a youth-initiated program for family reunification that provides a free bus ticket home. SafePlace A national youth outreach program that educates thousands of young people every year about the dangers of running away or trying to resolve difficult and threatening situations on their own. This easily-replicated initiative calls on the whole community to provide safe havens and resources for youth in crisis. Safe Place creates a network of Safe Place locations — schools, fire stations, libraries, grocery and convenience stores, public transit,YMCAs and other appropriate public buildings – that display the yellow and black diamondshaped Safe Place sign. These locations extend the doors of the youth service agency or emergency shelter throughout the community.Youth can easily access immediate help wherever they are. SafePlaces in Georgia include Gwinnett Children’s Shelter and Advocates for Children in Cartersville, as well as many QuikTrips, Publix Supermarkets,YMCAs, Boys & Girls Clubs, Krogers, Health Centers, and Community Centers.


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Trafficking Study Commission will take a closer look at that issue.

Not in my Backyard… Human trafficking is an issue that doesn’t pay mind to age, socioeconomic status, sex, race, religion, or culture. It can happen anywhere, to anyone. While some victims are shipped in from overseas or from just beyond our borders with the promise of a better life and a good job, a growing number of victims are from right here in the United States. Many are thought to come from north of the 285 Perimeter – right in our own backyard. “We have several main trafficking corridors running right through the state of Georgia,” explains Whitaker. “I-85, I-75, and I-20 are popular with both drug runners and human traffickers. On top of that,

Atlanta has the busiest airport in the world. Unfortunately, we are a major hub for deviant activity.” Last July, the Hall County Sheriff ’s Office prosecuted a suspected human trafficking case where, during a routine suspicious vehicle traffic stop, officers found six young women hidden in the back of a van. Eight more women were found upon a search of the vehicle owner’s Gainesville home. If convicted, the alleged human traffickers could serve prison sentences from five to 30 years. Human traffickers advertise on the internet, build their clientele through word-ofmouth, and may be as brazen as to hand out business cards on the street. Their victims are often kidnapped. Some are “throwaways” and runaways. All are coerced by beatings, plied with drugs, threatened, or a combination of all of the above. Their captors often take away all the victim’s identification, money, and means of communication. They sometimes extend

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their threats beyond the victims themselves, threatening to bring harm to the victim’s family. With their younger victims, they will frequently set up shop in a house or apartment so the clients can come to them, and the victims are less likely to make an escape. “I’ve been working with ICAC since 2002,” says Whitaker. “Those are horrible crimes, dealing mainly in child pornography. More often than not, we’re dealing primarily in images. With the Human Trafficking Unit, we see live victims. The sad truth is many of them don’t always know they’re victims – they’ve been so psychologically damaged. The average age of these victims is 12 years old, but we’re seeing an age of entry as young as 10 or 11.”

Bringing the Battle Home The dangers our children face don’t end when we trust them to look both ways and cross the street without holding their hand. While some children are kidnapped and forced into the sex trade, many are runaways who fall backward into the industry for the promise of food and lodging. “A lot of times, the reason these kids are on the street is issues at home,” explains Whitaker. “My best advice is to really listen to your kids. They may be sexually abused by someone – a family member, family friend, classmate – and want and need to talk about it.” “Education is key,” insists Christy Van Scoten, criminal investigator at the Hall County Sheriff’s Office. “Tell your kids about this industry. Think ‘stranger danger’ magnified. Let them know that they can always talk to you and that running away is not an option. If they feel the need to get out of the house and cool off after an argument, have a safe house with a friend or family member set up ahead of time.”

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Georgia Organizations for Runaway and Homeless Youth Covenant House Georgia For millions of homeless children, basic needs like a hearty meal, warm bed, and safe shelter are true luxuries. Instead of knowing the joys of childhood, every day these children face the life-or-death dangers of living on the streets. Covenant House was founded 40 years ago with the mission to help these homeless children. Today, Covenant House is the largest privately-funded agency in the Americas providing food, shelter, immediate crisis care, and essential services to homeless, throwaway, and runaway kids. 2488 Lakewood Ave., S.W., Atlanta Phone: (404) 589-0163 Gwinnett Children’s Shelter Their North Georgia facilities enable runaway and homeless children to get off the street and have a safe place to stay where they can stabilize and get the care they need. Runaway and homeless youth are most-often served through the Project Safe Place Program. These teens typically stay in GCS’s care for about 60 days, until the Shelter can help them determine their best next step. Gwinnett Children’s Shelter serves females ages 12 to 18 and males ages 12 to 21. Physical location not published for the general public 678-546-8770

Advocates for Children/Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter The “shining star” in Advocates’ family of services is our residential program for abused, neglected and runaway youth. Flowering Branch provides a safe and loving place with individual bedrooms for six boys and six girls at any one time. Professional staff is on duty 24/7.Youth receive case management services, individual and family counseling, development of social and independent living skills, and assistance with achieving a high school diploma or GED. 49 Monroe Crossing, Cartersville 770-382-6180 CHRIS (Creativity, Honor, Respect, Integrity and Safety) Kids Established by the Atlanta Junior League in collaboration with the Menninger Foundation in 1981, CHRIS Kids recently built and opened an EarthCraft Certified apartment complex, Summit Trail, to provide supportive housing to single and parenting youth, ages 17 to 24, who are aging out of foster care or who are homeless. 2045 Graham Circle Atlanta, Georgia 30316 Phone: 404-244-4618 Source: (1) Sabella, Donna PhD, RN. “The Role of the Nurse in Combating Human Trafficking.” American Journal of Nursing. Pgs. 27-37. February 2011.


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The Trafficking Protection Act of 2000 defines trafficking of persons as: a) Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or b) The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery (8 U.S.C. § 1101). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Human Trafficking By the Numbers… • Federally funded task forces opened 2,515 suspected incidents of human trafficking for investigation in the United States between January 2008 and June 2010. • Among the 389 incidents confirmed to be human trafficking by high data quality task forces – There were 488 suspects and 527 victims. – 62% of the confirmed labor trafficking victims were age 25 or older, compared to 13% of confirmed sex trafficking victims.That means more than 80% were under the age of 25. – Confirmed sex trafficking victims were more likely to be black (40%) or white (26%), compared to labor trafficking victims, who were more likely to be Hispanic (63%) or Asian (17%). – 83% of victims in confirmed sex trafficking incidents were identified as U.S. citizens, while most confirmed labor trafficking victims were identified as undocumented aliens (67%) or qualified aliens (28%). United States Department of Justice – Bureau of Justice Statistics


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The battle isn’t for law enforcement and parents to fight alone. Van Scoten and Hayes also recommend citizens report any suspicious activity to the local authorities – with the promise of anonymity. “Some signs to look for in your own neighborhood include windows blacked out, lots of cars coming in and out – especially at night – and general signs that the house is not being taken care of,” suggests Van Scoten. “These could all be signals that something suspicious is going on. Call local law enforcement, but be prepared to clearly articulate what you see.” Edmondson-Telford Center for Children’s Heather Hayes feels passionate about the role of pediatricians and healthcare providers in the battle against human trafficking. Signs to look for beyond black eyes, bruises and bald spots where hair may have been torn out include obvious malnutrition, STDs, unwanted pregnancies, urinary tract infections and genital-rectal trauma. A major cause of underreporting may rest in the fear and uncertainty of medical professionals with regard to violating confidentiality by reporting suspected abuse. “Suspected victims of child abuse do not fall under the health information privacy and security rules of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996),” says Hayes. “If the patient is under the age of 18, it is mandated that we report suspected child abuse. It’s actually a misdemeanor if you don’t. The main problem with responding to the issue of child and human trafficking is that these victims are incredibly difficult to identify and even harder to elicit details or information from when you do suspect it – for that very reason it is critical that we understand the issue, know the ‘red flags’ and are diligent in reporting any suspected cases.” Other ways for healthcare providers to recognize potential victims of trafficking include1: • • • • • • •

They don’t have any identification; They have no money; They appear to be supervised by another person who never leaves their sides; They show signs of drug use, poor general health, and poor hygiene; They appear anxious, frightened or distressed; They don’t give an address; They keep changing their stories

Van Scoten also issues a plea to hotel managers to report suspicious activity such as men checking in with boys or girls who are underage and appear unrelated to that individual, and to teachers and coaches to follow up on rumors they hear in the halls of their schools relating to girls and boys being traded for sexual favors. “We are judged not only as agencies, but as individuals by how we treat the most vulnerable members of our society. And we can’t do it alone,” says Van Scoten. “This is a community issue, and it will take the whole community to address it.” We at HOME Magazine urge our readers to do their part to help bring a happy ending to this story in the hopes that one day there are no more stories like Sara’s.

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Fashion Corner

By Farrah Leigh

Sarah Adams, Jordan Turner, Morgan Dale and Paige Williamson

Sarah, Jordan, Morgan and Paige prove that no matter what you choose-solids, prints, color blocking, belts or other fun accessories if you pair what makes you comfortable with a smile you can’t go wrong.

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FC Written by: Megan Carr


his spring, fashion is more up and coming than ever. Dress Up Boutique will be featuring pastel hues, color blocking, lace, bare legs, and our women have never looked as appealing. A women’s silhouette can only be enhanced with chunky jewelry, sheer garments and skillfully balanced neutrals. Whether a tribal goddess with royal blues, dark olives, and saddle wedges or a feminine intellectual pairing neutrals, baby pink, and lace Dress Up Boutique can flaunt any style. Balance is the key to achieving the right look. As for spring colors, welcome to the season of mint greens, tangerine orange, and neutrals. Have fun with these colors and try out the color-blocking effect by pairing a tangerine top with a royal blue high waisted skirt. Lighter hues such as vanilla, grey and sand stone can give a crisp look to any sophisticated women. As for patterns, playful floral prints and tribal patterns will be seen like never before. Bohemian style is a hit this spring so flirt it up in a long maxi skirt. With colors like mint green and tangerine layering and mixing patterns is crucial. And as always, when going for a relaxed look on the bottom balance it with narrow, fitted tops.

Sarah Adams

As the weather turns to warmer Dress Up proves again why it’s a favorite of the North Georgia area. With 5 locations and an ever changing inventory there is something for everyone who loves following the trends at affordable price points.

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Michelle WIley and Priscilla Bartlett

Michelle Wiley and Priscilla Barlett look trendy in their neutral colored tops and leggings. The flower detail on Michelle adds just enough fun to spice up the neutral tone while Priscilla’s top has the extremely feminine lace overlay that is soft and sexy.

Morgan Dale

Locations: Dahlonega Square 120 S Chestatee St. Suite A Dahlonega, GA 30533 706.864.2252 Gainesville Square 108 Washington St. NW Gainesville, GA 30501 770.287.3864 Suwanee Town Center 320 Town Center Avenue Suite C4 Suwanee, GA 30024 678.482.4539 Downtown Woodstock 425 Chambers St. Building J Woodstock, GA 30188 678.445.6300 *New location Alpharetta 5530 Windward Pkwy. Alpharetta, GA 30004

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home cover story


Phil and Nancy Niekro ia g r o e G , h c n a r B y r e w Flo By Kasie Bolling Photo by Elizabeth Ordu


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here is likely nothing more harmonious for a baseball pitcher to hear than two little words: “perfect game.” It’s a rarity — one achieved by about 20 pitchers in the nearly 170 years since the sport’s birth. Although he may never have achieved the elusive “perfect game” during his 28-year pitching career, Phil Niekro is pitching a “perfect game” every day of his post Major League Baseball life.

The Pitcher Takes the Mound On April 1, 1939, Philip and Ivy Niekro never would have guessed that their newborn son would one day trade the dust of the small Ohio coal mining town where they lived for the dirt of a pitcher’s mound in Major League ball fields across the nation. A coal miner by trade, the senior Philip Niekro played baseball on sandlots with the Mine Workers League. He would later take an 8-year-old Phil and his younger brother, Joe, to the backyard of their Lansing, Ohio home to practice a new pitch he’d learned: the knuckleball. It became a favorite family tradition — older sister Phyllis played catcher, while mother Ivy sat on the stoop, spectating. As it turns out, the Niekro boys got pretty good at the art of this hard-tomaster and wholly unpredictable pitch. Phil set his sights on the Pittsburgh Pirates and, at 19 years old, tried out to be a pitcher. Though he didn’t make the team, he needed to decide whether to pursue college with a baseball scholarship or to sign with the Milwaukee Braves in their farm league. Phil spent five years in the Minor Leagues as a relief pitcher and one more at Fort Knox, before the Milwaukee Braves brought him to the “big show” on April 15, 1964. When the team moved to Atlanta in 1966, Phil moved south with them. A year later he was their starting pitcher, quickly becoming well-known throughout

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the majors by his nickname “Knucksie,” for his unbelievable knuckleball. Phil pitched 20 seasons with the Braves. After his 200th win, he handed his father a ball that read “Dad, my 200th win, they are as much yours as they are mine.” He racked up 318 career wins, threw 3,342 strikeouts and pitched 5,404 1/3 innings before retiring from Major League Baseball. He also made five All-Star appearances, won the Golden Glove an impressive five times and received numerous honors including the Roberto Clemente Award and the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. Phil and his fellow knuckleballer sibling, Joe, hold the record for brothers with the most wins in baseball history with a combined 539 wins. As a matter of fact, on May 29, 1976, Joe, who played for the Houston Astros, hit the only big-league home run of his career off a pitch his big brother, Phil, threw. A baseball field in Bridgeport, Ohio where the brothers attended high school is named Niekro Diamond in honor of Phil and Joe. After a painful release from the Atlanta Braves following the 1983 season, Phil went on to play for the New York Yankees for two seasons, the Cleveland Indians for a 1 1/2 seasons, and the Toronto Blue Jays for 1 month. On September 27, 1987 Phil Niekro took the pitcher’s mound for the Atlanta Braves for his final game in Major League Baseball. Phil was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997. In 1984, the Atlanta Braves retired his number. A jersey brandishing “35” hangs at Turner Field flanked by Hank Aaron’s 44, Eddie Mathew’s 41, Warren Spahn’s 21, Dale Murphy’s 3, Greg Maddux’s 31, Tom Glavine’s 47, Bobby Cox’s 6 and Jackie Robinson’s 42. A statue featuring Phil Niekro’s undeniably recognizable pitching stance, knuckleball

at the ready, stands in Turner Field’s Monument Grove alongside statues of Ty Cobb and Hank Aaron. Coolray Field, Home of the Gwinnett Braves, has a restaurant named after the Hall-of-Famer. Niekro’s features a signature sandwich called the “Knucksie” — pulled pork topped with three kinds of barbecue sauce, caramelized onions and coleslaw served on a corn muffin.

Sliding into Home Naturally, Phil’s life wasn’t all baseball. On a momentous flight from Milwaukee in 1965, he boarded a jet bound for San Francisco and saw his future. He turned to his friend and fellow Braves player Gene Oliver and said, “I’m going to marry that girl.” That girl was a pretty blond United Airlines stewardess named Nancy. In a twist of fate, there were more stewardesses onboard than were required. Nancy was told she could take a seat. It just so happened that the seat next to a tall young ballplayer named Phil Niekro was available. The two sat together, talked and played gin rummy all the way to California. Stepping off the plane, Phil feared he might never see Nancy again and wasn’t sure how to get in touch with her. Nancy rushed home to tell her roommates about the wonderful man she’d met, and she called her mother, unsure what to do about it. Her mother suggested she write him a letter. It worked! Phil and Nancy corresponded for the following 11 months. They only saw each other a handful of times — Phil would take her on a date if his stewardess sweetheart was laid over somewhere close by. When the airlines went on strike, Phil suggested Nancy buy a one-way train ticket. They were married in Richmond, Va. in 1966. A few days before the ceremony was set to take place, the Braves announced they


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were moving to Atlanta and they wanted Phil to come with them. Although the wedding went on, it was Nancy’s first insight into the exciting tumultuousness of her new life. During the early years of their marriage, the couple welcomed three sons: Philip, John and Michael. The baseball player’s wife had a happy, but difficult life, with Phil often gone for two weeks at a time. “Phil had a job to do, and he felt as though that was where the majority of his focus should be,” Nancy said. “I spent a lot of time raising the kids by myself. It was not easy, but we got through it. When he was in town, the kids and I went to all of the games. When he travelled, it was frowned upon that wives travel with their husbands at that time, unless they were visiting a hometown.” The Niekro’s had winters together, the time before things amped up again for spring training and another baseball season. When Phil moved to the New York Yankees, Nancy decided to stay in Georgia because their sons were in high school and involved in sports. So, the couple endured a time period that was likely reminiscent of their courtship. The family joined Phil for one summer in New York and one summer in Cleveland. Like his father, Phil played catch with his sons and tried to teach them the knuckleball that had brought him so much success. None of them ever quite got the hang of it. While son Philip chose not to follow in his father’s baseball-playing footsteps, John played in both high school and college at Oklahoma State and Troy State. Youngest son, Michael also played on his high school team, but decided not to pursue it further.

Did you know…


In 1969, Phil Niekro opened a short-lived nightclub on Ellis Street in Downtown Atlanta called The Knuckler Lounge. A promotional poster for the club touted it as “a sporty in-spot” featuring Ladies Night every night, Happy Hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and dancing nightly from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., showcasing a new dance called “The Knuckler”.

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After retiring from Major League Baseball, Phil managed Atlanta’s AAA farm club in Richmond, Va. and an all-women’s baseball team called the Colorado Silver Bullets, with his brother and son John as pitching coaches. “I’m really proud of that time with the Colorado Silver Bullets,” Phil said. “We were barn-storming — travelling all the time with two dozen women who could really hold their own against amateur, minor league and semiprofessional men’s teams. It was a great time.” Unable to find a sponsor for the 1998 season, the Colorado Silver Bullets became one for the history books, ending on a winning season of 23-22.

Seventh Inning Stretch While the field of play may have changed, there are still a lot of great innings left in the game of life for this Hall-ofFamer. He and Nancy get to share the time together that they’ve always dreamed of in their beautiful home on the shores of Lake Sidney Lanier in Flowery Branch, Ga. Deeply involved in their local community, the couple have garnered the title of Better HomeTown Heroes. Phil fired the starting shot at local fun runs, judged chili cook-offs, signed autographs at city events, and was instrumental in the development of the Field of Dreams baseball complex created for children with special needs.Nancy was a volunteer docent at Flowery Branch’s

historic Depot, and played a large role in a community yard sale that raised $10,000 for the Flowery Branch Police Department’s K9 program. They have also been involved with organizations like the Edmondson-Telford Center for Children (see page xx) and Operation One Voice. It seems Phil has traded the swing of the bat for the swing of the golf club for outstanding results. For the past 15 years, the annual Phil Niekro Golf Classic has raised thousands of dollars to help the Edmondson-Telford Center care for child victims of abuse and neglect in the North Georgia community. Debuting last year at Lake Lanier Islands Resort, the Phil Niekro Fins & Skins Celebrity Pro-Am featured two days of celebrities, wounded warriors and the generosity of the public as they took part in a mixed bag of golf and bass fishing tournaments. This year, Fins & Skins will return to Lake Lanier Islands aiming to again raise thousands of dollars for Operation One Voice — a nonprofit organization that helps meet immediate needs of wounded or fallen Special Operations Forces troops and their families. “When I was growing up, we didn’t have a television, so I didn’t have sports heroes that I looked up to, other than my dad. My dad will always be my hero,” Phil said. “And now that I’m older, I believe that any man or woman who puts on an Armed Forces uniform and places their life on the line for this country — that’s a hero in my book.” Despite a life devoted to his family and others, Niekro’s “perfect game” has not been without its hardships. Phil’s first hero,

“Trying to hit [Niekro] is like trying to eat Jell-O with chopsticks.” ~ Famed New York Yankees Outfielder and sportscaster Bobby Murcer

“I work for three weeks to get my swing down pat, and Phil (Niekro) messes it up in one night.” ~ Legendary MLB switch hitter Pete Rose

“The best way to catch Niekro’s knuckler is to follow it until it stops rolling, and then pick it up.” ~ Fellow former Brave and MLB catcher Bob Uecker

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his father, passed away in 1988, his brother Joe died unexpectedly at 61 from a brain aneurism in 2006, and his mother passed away in 2008. Phil remains close with his sister, Phyllis of Evans, Ga. “She is a very important part of my life,” Phil said.“We’re all that’s left of our original family. We try to see each other as often as possible, and have a big family gathering at her home every Fourth of July. She has five kids and 11 grandkids, then you add our bunch to that and it’s a lot of fun.” Phil maintains strong ties with many of his baseball buddies, as well. He always makes time for his fans, happy to sign autographs and to have his picture taken (although we at HOME Magazine wouldn’t recommend disturbing him while he’s out dining with friends and family). He jokes about sometimes being asked “Hey! Has anyone ever told you that you look like Phil Niekro?” and the one time he was mistaken for Kirk Douglas by a disappointed fan in a New York airport. The fans are among the things he misses the most about his career in baseball. He dearly loved hearing the crowd cheer. To this day, Phil attends spring training with the Atlanta Braves, where he dons a uniform, hears the crack of the bat, smells the mixture of dirt and freshly mown grass and talks to up-and-coming ballplayers. When asked what he misses most of all, he doesn’t hesitate: “Getting the sign from the catcher.” Surrounded by photos of their two grandchildren, Chase and Emma, it’s clear that Phil and Nancy Niekro are shoo-ins for MVP doting grandparents. “I can’t go more than two or three days without seeing them,” Phil said. “I love the word ‘Papa’ and have to get those hugs and kisses. My favorite day is Sunday, when we all go to church together and then enjoy brunch afterward. Family is truly the most important thing in my life.” Though his sons didn’t choose a career in professional baseball, grandson Chase shows real promise. Phil and his sons John and Michael coach Chase’s team, appropriately named “The Braves.” As Chase dons his jersey emblazoned with “35,” Niekro fans have to wonder: Could this be baseball’s next great knuckleballer? We’ll have to wait and see…

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Mark Your Calendars, Bait Those Hooks, and Practice That Swing! 2nd Annual Fins & Skins Celebrity Pro-Am to Benefit Operation One Voice Two Day Golf and Bass Fishing Tournament September 7, 2012 Lake Lanier Islands Resort 16th Annual Phil Niekro Classic to Benefit the Edmondson-Telford Center for Children November XX, 2012 Chateau Élan Winery and Resort

Field of Dreams

Alberta Banks Park

5575 Jim Crow Road Flowery Branch, Georgia Hall County Parks & Leisure Services has joined forces with Hall of Famer Phil Niekro, community leaders Butch Miller and Kit Dunlap, and The North Georgia Community Foundation to create a very special sports complex designed to meet the needs of children with physical and developmental disabilities, featuring a rubberized ADA accessible baseball field and an ADA accessible playground. For more information about accessing the complex and scheduling games, please call Hall County Parks & Leisure at 770-535-8280.


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Spring Panzanella Salad Some of our most memorable moments involve sitting around a table enjoying a meal. We experience so much through dining. From romantic evenings to business lunches to family events, north Georgia’s restaurants have something perfect for everyone. The Taste of hOME section gives local establishments a chance to feature a menu item, while revealing what makes them unique. We hope to introduce our readers to a new dining option, or remind those familiar with the business why they enjoy visiting the establishment. The main objective is to let north Georgia know we have the perfect meal for any occasion in our own back yard. The dining options are never ending, and our local restaurants keep our area thriving.

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• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

2 bunches each red and golden baby beets, top removed 4 shallots, peeled Extra virgin olive oil 2 springs thyme and oregano 4 slices apple wood smoked bacon, cut into small lardoons 1 cup local goat cheese, refrigerated 1 loaf ciabatta bread or Italian, cut into croutons ½ lemon 1tablespoon honey 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar ½ orange 1 cup frisee 1 cup baby arugula 1 cup living watercress Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the washed beets, the shallots on a long sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle the herbs on top and season with salt and pepper. Fold the foil and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes or until tender. Let them cool until able to handle and peel, cut in quarter. Cut the shallots in julienne and set both aside. In a sauté pan cook the bacon and take out. In a bowl toss the bread croutons with some olive oil. In the same sauté pan as the bacon was cooked over medium-low heat, brown the croutons until golden brown about 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile make the dressing. In a large bowl add the honey, lemon juice, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, 4 tablesoops oil, salt, pepper and stir together. Add all remaining ingredients except arugula and watercress and toss gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add arugula and watercress, crumble goat cheese on top, serve immediately.

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Deep South Dogs By Genevieve Sprabery Photo by Bryan Smith


eep South Dogs has been serving one-of- a- kind hot dogs since May 2011. This hot dog joint, located at 118 Main Street SW, serves fresh hot dogs with catchy names. The most popular dog the “Swamp Dog” comes topped with chili, baked beans, and Cheese Wiz. The names for these dogs range from the “Trailer Trash Dog” and “Kudzu Dog” to “The Streaker” and “Crazy Cousin”. These hot dogs are sure to satisfy any customer that walks in the door. Customers can get their dogs on a toasted baguette bun or on a regular splittopped hot dog bun. During a trip to Scotland in 2007 Scott Dixon came across a street vendor outside Edinburgh Castle who was selling hot dogs in a French baguette instead of a traditional hot dog bun. “I had never seen anything like it and thought that it would be great to bring this back home with me,” said Scott Dixon. The ¼ pound toasted baguette bun offers a delicious experience that customers will never forget. Deep South Dogs does not just serve only hot dogs. They serve colossal loaded baked potatoes. These giant baked potatoes are stuffed with bacon, cheese, butter, and sour cream and customers can add chili, baked beans and all other hot dog toppings offered. Deep South Dogs is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and offers a tasty twist on the normal hot dog. Visit Deep South Dogs and you will soon be saying “I love the South.”

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Scott’s on the Square

Key West Bar and Grill



By Tracy Youngblood-Wingate Photo by Bryan Smith

ne of Gainesville’s true treasures, Scott’s on the Square offers casual fine dining with a comfortable, charismatic atmosphere. Nestled in the historic downtown square in Gainesville, the historic building is one of the best dining experiences in North Georgia. Owner Scott Dixon credits the success to the attention to detail, an exceptional wine list and wonderful customer service. Scott has been in the restaurant business since he was 13, which has proven to be an important part of his success. “Scotts on the square has been open since December of 2007. I have seen the industry change over the years, and as the demands change I adjust,” said Dixon. “But one thing stays consistent: If you provide customers with quality and comfort, they will be very loyal to what you have built.” The most popular dish is the Chilean sea bass served over a medley of fresh leeks, corn, spinach and tomatoes and is garnished with an orange ale sauce. They have customers from all across the area join them for dinner for this dish, and all the other delicious options on the menu. Scott’s on the Square is proof that you do not have to drive to Atlanta to have an uptown dining experience. awarded Scott’s for the forth year in a row with the “Diner’s Choice” award. It is open Tuesday through Thursday, 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Friday through Saturday 4:30 11 p.m. Scott’s is located at 110 Main St. SW in Gainesville. For reservations, catering or special events call 770-536-1111.

By Tracy Youngblood-Wingate Photo by Sarina Roth

f you are looking for a taste of the islands with no boat required look no further than your own backyard. Key West Bar and Grill serves some of the best island cuisine in the area and provides a carefree, family-friendly atmosphere where adults can unwind and relax. While you’re there, do not miss out on the great menu items like the fontina chop (pictured), panko-crusted scallops or the pecan crusted red snapper. “I opened Key West because I had been in the business for so long and the only thing making one survive was good quality food, reasonable prices and impeccable customer service,” said Larry Parker, owner of the grill. “And I knew I could provide both.” Whether you go to Key West for the well-stocked game room, all you can eat crab legs, drink specials, 16-foot big screen, great food or any other specials, you will have an experience that will have you returning for more. Larry, his wife, Callie, and their staff are always concerned with service for which they have high standards “It’s important to me that anyone who comes here has a great experience,” Parker said. “I want to create an atmosphere, not just a meal. I want my customers to feel comfortable being here and look forward to coming back.” Conveniently located at 6750 Highway 53 in Braselton, (go west off I-85 Exit 129) Key West Bar and Grill is opens every day at 11 a.m. and closes at 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday and midnight on Sunday.


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Wild Wing Cafe

By Genevieve Sprabery Photo by Bryan Smith


f you enjoy casual dining, 35 flavors of wings and ice-cold beer then Wild Wing Cafe is the place to go. Located at 311 Jesse Jewell Parkway SW in Gainesville this restaurant has been pleasing customers since 2007. Wing-lover or not, you will find something on the menu to please your palate. Whether you want to design your own sampler platter, enjoy a rib and shrimp combo, or create your own burger, the food at Wild Wing Cafe will be sure to satisfy any appetite. Along with chicken fingers hand dipped in homemade batter, customers can enjoy hand cut onion rings dipped in a spicy batter, the popular Fajita Fiesta Wrap or Shrimply Delicious Dip. Wild Wing Cafe also has weekly trivia nights, karaoke, and live music on weekends. “2-Fer Tuesday” is one of the most popular nights. Customers can order eight wings or nuggets and get an additional order for the price of one. The deal is available from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesdays and is for dine-in only. On “Wild Wild Wednesday” customers can also enjoy half price salads all day, dine-in only. Wednesday is also song writers and open mic night. Open Monday through Sunday at 11 a.m. Wild Wing Cafe is the place to go to relax and enjoy good food and good times with friends and family.


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Brad’s Grill

Arena Tavern



By Genevieve Sprabery Photo by Bryan Smith

rad’s Grill opened in 2000 and is the epitome of a casual community restaurant that caters to all types of palates. Located at 528 Bradford St. SW in Gainesville, the owners, Brad and Connie Bryson, dish out everything from the signature “Messy Burgers” and chicken sandwiches to strawberry cake and hand-spun milkshakes. Brad came up with the name for his signature item, the “Messy Burger”, years ago in his home when the neighborhood children headed his way to ruin their dinner appetites with one of his massive, juicy burgers. The quarter pound burger is served on a bun piled high with ketchup, mustard, mayo, onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles, coleslaw, bacon, and cheese. With her homemade biscuits that start reeling in customers at 6:30 a.m., the most popular breakfast item is the bacon, egg and cheese biscuit. Connie also prides herself on her amazing desserts which include a variety of homemade cookies, cakes and cupcakes. Brad and Connie Bryson are extremely dedicated to showing their love and appreciation to veterans, soldiers and recruiters, offering them a free meal with every visit. “We always ask them to sign the wall in the restaurant when they come in”, said Brad. Open Monday through Friday 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 7:30 am to 4 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Brad’s Grill offers all customers quality, fresh cure to their cravings.

ByTracy youngblood-Wingate

he Arena Tavern is in the perfect location to stop for a quick lunch, plan a fun evening or grab a bite to eat before or after an event at Gwinnett Arena. The impressive menu items range from bacon-wrapped filets and lobster tails to a Philly Cheesesteak made using bread flown in from Philadelphia three times a week. Its Kansas City barbecue ribs are made using a family barbecue sauce recipe, and its most popular item is the shrimp and grits, made with a recipe from Daniel Island, SC. The Arena Tavern is the culmination of successful Atlanta restaurateur Tony Shaw and local businessman Michael Miller. “Arena Tavern was designed to have something for everyone,” Shaw said, “With high-end food and great drink options, in an environment you can bring your family, have a girls night out or bring the guys to watch a game and relax.” The Arena Tavern hosts nightly drink specials, with a titled draft and wine of the month. Tuesday is open call for musicians, and Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights feature live entertainment. It is also hosting Arena Idol, a 10-week signing competition beginning in April. Shaw is proud to announce the second location in Kennesaw, Georgia. “Due to the wonderful community support, we are happy to add a second location of Arena Tavern in Kennesaw in April.” For more information, visit

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Edmondson-Telford Center for Children by heather hayes and Tracy youngblood-Wingate


oung child dies while being investigated for suspected abuse by family.” — it’s a story we read all too often in news around the world. It was 1996 in Gainesville, Ga. Austin Sparks was a known victim of child abuse by the hand of his mother’s boyfriend. Although Austin’s case had been reported several times by concerned friends and family members, the folder remained on someone’s, for someone to investigate or assigned to do something, some time. Tragically, this attention didn’t come until after he suffered the severe injuries that resulted in his death. Shortly after the Sparks’ case, Lydia Sartain, the District Attorney for the Northeast Judicial Circuit who was heavily involved in the Gainesville-Hall County Junior League, led a movement to create a local children’s advocacy center that would centralize services for suspected child abuse victims. It would coordinate cases so that none would be forgotten on someone’s desk again. Sartain’s motivation and leadership coupled with the funds raised by the Junior League’s Olympic athlete housing project for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, made the Edmondson-Telford Center for Children a dream turned reality.

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In May 1997, the Edmondson-Telford Center for Children opened its doors to provide services to suspected child abuse victims and their caregivers. Since that time, ETCC has provided forensic interview and medical examinations services to more than 1,200 children, while coordinating hundreds of child abuse cases with local law enforcement, social services, prosecutors and other agencies involved in the process of investigating and prosecuting child abuse cases. In addition, the ETCC has trained and educated professionals and the community at-large to identify and respond to child maltreatment. ETCC is a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides highly specialized forensic services to child victims at no price. It works with agencies involved in the investigation and prosecution of child maltreatment cases. The Center has many resources on site to lessen the victim’s stress, as well as to not re-traumatize the child. It has two forensic interview rooms where licensed clinical psychologists use a variety of specialized techniques to elicit accurate and detailed information from child victims. A medical examination room provides victims on-site examinations by a certified sexual assault forensic examiner trained in pediatric assaults. This ensures that forensic evidence and more accurate information is obtained and preserved for the health of the child and the prosecution of the child’s offender or pedophile. “The ETCC has been, and will continue to be, an invaluable resource in the evaluation and effective prosecution of child molestation and abuse cases, all for the protection of our children,” said district attorney Lee Darragh. “It is difficult to imagine returning to a time before the Center’s inception. We are blessed in our community to have such a facility and the expertise connected with it in dealing with these most important issues.”

The Center also has family visitation rooms and bright, cheerful playroom. The Edmondson-Telford Center was strategically built near the square in downtown Gainesville. It is less than a mile from the Hall County courthouse, sheriff’s office, police department and Deptartment of Families & Children Services agencies, enabling professionals involved with child abuse cases and the victims to better access its services and allowing for their interactions in a more child-friendly setting. Hall County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Kevin Head has worked with the ETCC since its inception while working as an investigator in the Criminal Investigations Unit. “The Hall County Sheriff’s Office has been a core partner with ETCC since its inception and continues to be impressed with the positive impact the center has on the children of our community,” Head said. “The ETCC has consistently provided a safe and child friendly location for effectively investigating child abuse and child neglect cases. The ETCC is the pillar for the communities fight against child abuse and neglect.

If you think a child is being hurt or neglected whom do you call? Please call The Department of Family and Children’s Services in your county. They will need the name and the location of the possible child victim. Your report is confidential. If you believe a child is in immediate danger call the police.

How you can help the Edmondson-Telford Center: The Edmondson-Telford Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that gladly accepts tax deductible donations. Nearly one-third of its budget comes from compassionate citizens committed to fighting child abuse in their community. Their involvement is vitally important to our children. When you become an Edmondson-Telford Center supporter, you receive semi-annual updates to show how your investment is improving the lives of victimized children in your area. You may contact them at 770-534-5151 or visit its website for more information at: If you would like to join the generous donors who help care for the victims of child abuse, please make your tax deductible donation to The EdmondsonTelford Center for Children. Visa and MasterCard are accepted. An additional way to support The EdmondsonTelford Center is by participating in our annual Phil Niekro Golf Tournament. This event helps to raise nearly one-third of our yearly budget, and it is an excellent opportunity to have fun while helping a great cause. Other Ways to Help: Donate to the Angel Tree at Lake Lanier Islands Magical Nights of Lights — Gifts can be made throughout the year. Give a gift of love. Make a financial donation with an employer matched gift or leave a legacy gift in your estate planning. Donate supplies. Check out our website to view an updated ” Center Needs List.” Donate exam supplies (New CD discs, paper, printer ink cartridges, DVD-R discs, snacks, etc.). Participate as a sponsor in the Annual Phil Niekro Golf Classic, this year it will be held November 8th at Chateau Elan Purchase Niekro 9 raffle tickets or sell them to friends. Invite us to speak at civic groups and events and present Edmondson-Telford Center Information. Stay informed about other events we host such as Celebrity Server nights.

April 12

Edmondson-Telford Center Celebrity Server Night at Mellow Mushroom Gainesville

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March/April 2012

March 17 Foster Children’s Foundation Wild Bills March 17 Fallen Heroes of Georgia 10k.5k.1k Lake Lanier Islands and Resort March 21 Win for Wyn Wednesdays at Ippolitos 3523 Braselton Hwy

K eep H all B eautiful ’ s

Spring Chicken Festival April 28, 2012 9am-4pm

March 23 Jackson County Humane Society Spaghetti Dinner Funopolis Family Fun Center March 24 Hilton Atlanta NE Live Your Legacy Summit March 24 Chateau Elan Food and Wine Series March 24 Bark in the Park Rock Creek Park March 24 26th Annual John Hunter Regatta Lake Lanier Olympic Venue March 28 Win for Wyn Wednesdays at Ippolitos 3523 Braselton Hwy March 28 2012 Hall County Chamber Job Fair & Career Expo Georgia Mountains Center April 4 Win for Wyn Wednesdays April 10 Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours MRI and Imaging of Cumming April 11 Win for Wyn Wednesdays April 13 Jackson County Humane Society Fur Ball Braselton-Stover House April 14 No Excuse for Child Abuse 5K Run and 1 Mile Fun Run


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The Spring Chicken Festival in Gainesville, Georgia is home to the official “Chicken Cook-off” for the state of Georgia. Going into its’ 8th year, the festival draws visitors from all over the state to sample some of the best chicken Georgia has to offer. In addition to consuming 4300 pounds of chicken in 2011, visitors played with children in the Kids Zone, ran a 5K race, watched the inaugural Chicken City Parade, listened to live music and wandered amongst a quarter mile of award winning quilts. The festival will be held April 28, 2012 9am-4pm and is a fundraiser for Keep Hall Beautiful. The funds raised to date have been used to plant 278 trees in Hall County and bring the Magic of Recycling

into area elementary schools to 3500 students. For more information visit our website at

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home calendar April 18 Win for Wyn Wednesdays April 19 hll County Chamber Get Fit Stay Fit 5K Chamber Chase riverside Military Academy April 25 Win for Wyn Wednesdays April 26 hall County Chamber Business After hours Wilson Orthodontics-Braselton April 27 hall County Chamber hackers holiday Golf Tournament Legacy on Lanier Golf Club at Lake Lanier Islands resort April 28 Spring Chicken Festival Downtown Gainesville April 28-29 Braselton Antique & Gardening Festival Braselton Park

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Barefoot in the Park A RT S F E S T I VA L Celebrates its 8th year May 4-6, 2012 in Duluth Town Green

Barefoot in the Park Arts Festival announces its 8th year of bringing arts, food, and fun for all ages to the Duluth Town Green on May 4, 5, and 6. This popular regional arts festival welcomed approximately 15,000 attendees last year, a record number. This year, there will be even more to see and experience. Approximately 100 tents containing fine artwork of artists from across the Southeast and beyond will vie with a continuous schedule of musicians and dancers for visitor’s attention. There will also be a Children’s Art Tent, a Book Bistro, an Adult Learning Village, a Wine Tasting, and a Student Exhibition of artwork from Gwinnett schools and Wine Tastings. Organizers are diligently working on fine tuning these events and more. Focus is being placed on two special components of Barefoot in the Park during these early planning stages. The first piece of good news is that the Barefoot Gala is returning after a hiatus of 2 years. Held on Friday, May 4th beginning at 7:00 p.m., this year’s return will be titled “Carnevale,” featuring decorations and entertainment from the joyous Italian festival tradition. During the Gala, there will be special events, one being the 2nd “Paper Dress Fashion Show.” This fashion event will showcase glamorous outfits made from repurposed books and magazines from the Gwinnett Public Library. The Gala will also feature fine food, wine and exciting performances, but it is the silent auction during the Gala that contributes to the second special component of the Barefoot Festival, its Scholarship Program. The Barefoot in the Park Arts Festival Scholarship Program has awarded over $43,000 to area arts and educational organizations since the festival began. Money made through the Gala’s Silent Auction and other income is put back into the community to ensure that Gwinnett’s artists and students have what they need to thrive. Barefoot’s Executive Director Caryn McGarity says, “Our Festival is fun for the many families and individuals who attend. They get to see and do so much! But there is another reason we work so hard to create this exciting event. Giving back to our area arts organizations is one of our primary goals, which we do through our Scholarship Program. As a fellow non-profit organization, Barefoot in the Park feels the responsibility to support what it also showcases to the community-our arts.” Web site, and be sure to join our Facebook Fanpage at http://www.facebook. com/#!/barefootinthepark10. You may also write info@ or call 678-677-0172.

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Join us for the

2nd Annual




A Celebration and Thank You to our Hometown Heroes the WEST JACKSON FIRE DEPARTMENT, BRASELTON POLICE DEPARTMENT, and the JACKSON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE. All proceeds benefit OPERATION ONE VOICE, in support of the wives and children of wounded Special Operations Forces Soldiers. To purchase tickets or become a sponsor, please contact Amber Chatham at 706.224.5493 or

Brought to you by the eXchange, a notfor-profit supporting the families of our wounded and fallen soldiers.

A special thank you to the following photographers for contributing to our premiere issue.

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North Georgia Edition .b ww

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The Fine Art of Teaching

By Kasie Bolling Photos by Tracy youngblood-Wingate

Jackie Ellett GEOrGIA ArT EDUCATOr OF ThE yEAr 2012 AnD SOUThEASTErn ArT EDUCATOr OF ThE yEAr 2012

Front row: riley Montgomery; Jackie Ellett; Alex ruso Back row: Maryann Craig; Brent Crader; Jenlaya; Andrew Phillips; Anna Swars


t may be hard to believe, but great art is sometimes born under the glare of fluorescent lights and within the cinderblock walls of a public school. It was beneath those same glaring lights and windowless walls that a great art teacher was also born. Jackie Ellett, an art teacher at Gwinnett County Public School’s Duncan Creek Elementary School in Hoschton, Georgia, first found her deep and abiding love of art within the hallowed halls of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. From a very young age, her uncle picked her up from her home in Queens to visit the works of the world’s greatest artists. It wasn’t long before she could distinguish


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between the various styles of the masters, including her favorite artist, the late 16th Century Italian painter Caravaggio. At home, she explored her creative side, putting on productions in the backyard that showcased handmade props and backdrops. She composed pet portraits and Disney character renderings, and sold them to the parents in her neighborhood. Although art was a lucrative childhood pursuit, the young Jackie never considered it for a career. Instead, she dreamed of one day becoming a veterinarian. Shortly after moving to Savannah in the sixth grade, Jackie’s parents began to recognize her talent and enrolled her in classes taught by local artists Sharon Saseen and Peggy

Cone. It was her first introduction to living, breathing artists. As a teenager, Jackie drew cartoons for the high school newspaper and created covers for junior and senior prom programs. She was awarded a Scholarship of Art to Brenau University in Gainesville, where she discovered her love for ceramics under the direction of Mary Jane Taylor. After two years, she transferred to the University of Georgia and began to seriously entertain the idea of a career in the art field. She considered a future as a scientific and medical illustrator, but the self-professed “people person” found it to be a far too isolated pursuit. A professor suggested she would be a perfect fit for Art Education, but having come from a family of teachers,

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Jackie fought the idea at first. While waiting tables and tending bar to work her way through college, Jackie always made time to lead art camps in the community and facilitate art classes at local nursing homes and the Georgia Retardation Center (GRC). She found she had a natural rapport with her students, regardless of their age or ability. By her junior year she finally declared her major in Art Education. She got her first taste working in a classroom when she student-taught at Brookwood High School under Barbara Willis. It was there that she first garnered the attention of Gwinnett County Schools when she created a walk-in camera obscura for participants to experience what happens inside a camera at Brookwood’s endof-the-year student art show. After graduation, Jackie sent applications throughout the south and received several attractive offers. From the moment she entered the front doors of Rockbridge Elementary School in Norcross, Georgia, she knew it was the right place for her. She joined the staff and launched its art program in 1986 – her first real art job. The student population at Rockbridge spoke an astounding 53 languages, but that didn’t hinder the young and somewhat green teacher. She found great success reaching her students through multi-cultural art projects, and some of them had their work published in national magazines and books. Although many of her fondest career memories are from the halls of Rockbridge, she made the difficult choice to leave in favor of a shorter commute to launch the art program at Fort Daniel Elementary School, a new school closer to her Barrow County home. Several years later, when Duncan Creek Elementary School opened in 2003, Jackie made the move once more to launch another art program, and she’s been there ever since. Committed to keeping art programs in public schools, Jackie has remained extremely involved at the local, county, state, and national levels of art education. She has had educational briefs and articles, as well as her personal work and that of her students published in books and magazines. While she believes it is vital to remain active in the organizational end of the industry, she finds her greatest joy within the four walls of her classroom. On those walls hang the works of the masters alongside the works of her students. There is a sense of controlled chaos and an undercurrent of electricity in the

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room, adorned with tribal masks wearing pink glitter sunglasses, a Vincent Van Gogh action figure sitting in a corner, colorful paint cans hanging from the ceiling, and a wide array of art supplies strewn about that somehow signal that something really cool is about to happen here today. That same sense is reflected in the teacher herself, with a head full of curls and ever-present twinkle in her eye. “I feel as though teaching is a part of your being and everyday life,” explains Jackie. “It doesn’t begin and end with the school bell. You take it home with you. It’s not just a job; it’s a career and a calling. I’m truly passionate about what I do, and the kids recognize that.” Jackie’s students aren’t the only ones who recognize her passion. She was recently honored by the Georgia Art Education Association as the Georgia Art Educator of the Year 2012 and by the National Art Education Association as the Southeastern Art Educator of the Year 2012. “It’s quite an honor to be recognized,” says Jackie. “I’m pretty overwhelmed by it actually. I think about all of the people in my field who are so fantastic – I don’t know how you could choose just one or determine that one is better than the other. Of course, you can’t be successful unless you have people supporting you.” Jackie credits her family – husband Randy, son Matthew and daughter Andie – along with her “partner in crime” and fellow DCES art teacher, Maryann Craig as her biggest supporters. When Jackie’s students need support, they will always find it in her. “I believe every child can find success in some aspect of art,” insists Jackie. “I try to expose my students to a variety of media and materials. While they may not pursue a future in art as I did, I feel art helps develop the whole person. In art, you’re constantly thinking ‘What is next?’ and ‘How can I turn this around so it works?’ It teaches them to critically analyze and think about everyday issues on a new level.” Jackie Ellett and her family currently reside in Jackson County in a home that is a “work in progress”. When not teaching at DCES, Jackie works in clay and teaches in the evenings at Piedmont College to students ranging in age from 19 to 64. Though she has received a number of honors and accolades throughout her career, she finds her greatest reward in simply exposing her students to what she is most passionate about: art.

In 1989, Jackie Ellett illustrated her first children’s book, “Little Bear and his Teddy Bear” by Doug Renahan. She also illustrated “Little Bear Visits His Grandparents” in 1993 and “Little Bear’s Birthday” in 1999. “Jackie extends our students’ art experiences through Art Club, county competitions and other competitions ranging from state to national levels. [She} is the consummate professional, looks for ways to solve problems and strives for improvement in all areas of our school. Her passion for teaching and caring for the students and staff are evident in her every day practices. Jackie is a gem and a wonderful asset to our school. We are so proud of her accomplishments.” ~ Debbie Chavannes, Principal Duncan Creek Elementary School


3/9/12 5:58 PM

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Cannoli alla Siciliana

Sebastian Englert

Tracy Youngblood-Wingate and Chef Marc Sunneman

Chateau Elan Chef Food and Wine Series February 25, 2012

The Italian themed evening presented by Chateau Elan’s Executive Chef Marc, guest Chef Seien Raugei from Chef SayWhen Italian Gourmet, and Winemaker Karen Van de Vort. Photographer: Tracy Youngblood-Wingate

Chef Seien Raugei

Patricia Hatcher and Darryl Gumz

Ramone and Misty Gilbert

Wayne Garrison, Sheree Garrison, Michelle ElderGilreath, Kim Ledford and Ricky Savage

Dawn Ferry, Cindy Patterson, Rae Summersill, Donna Cascio, Doreen Ivey, Chris Perschall, Nikki Vickery

June Davis, Magistrate Judge of Barrow County (in gold)

Peace Place Masquerade Ball February 18, 2012 Winder Community Center

Proceeds from the ball will beneďŹ t Peace Place Inc, which brings together advocates, donors, volunteers, community partners, allied organizations and individuals who are committed to ending domestic violence Photographer: Tracy Youngblood-Wingate


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Meadows Surgical Arts Red Lipstick Event February 9, 2012

Benefit for AIDS Athens hosted by Meadows Surgical Arts and MAC Georgia Square Mall. Photographer: Sarina Roth

Tonya Merrell,Wendy Smith, Elizabeth Anderson,Tasha Beaver, Kathryn Meadows, Dr. Lionel Meadows, Samantha Rickman, Stacey Murray, Alexa Robertson, April Stanley

Dr. Lionel Meadows

MAC Artist, Charity

Pam Bennet

Lleyana Daves

ArtWorks! Fusion: 1st Annual Artworks Gwinnett Awards

January 23, 2012 Gwinnett Center’s Performing Arts Center and the Hudgens Center for the Arts in Duluth, GA. Photos by Staff Photographer

Judy Waters,Teresa Osborn, Sally Corbett, Front: Margaret Parsons AndrewsPhoto courtesy Jenny Heuer

Kelley Cody-Grimm and Matt Hyatt Photo courtesy Richard Jackson, Enrichment Photography

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Hudgins Awards 2012: Larry Larsen, Caryn McGarity, Randy Sutt, Cindy Sutt, Doug Spohn and Tina Lilly

Tom McDermott Dan King Sally Corbett,Vince “The Voice” Bailey Photo courtesy Richard Jackson, Enrichment Photography

Vickie Johnson and Herman Pennamon. Photo courtesy Richard Jackson, Enrichment Photography


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