HOME Living in North Georgia
October | 2017
Education issue: Learning for a lifetime
School leaders discuss classroom goals Museums, libraries, adult classes and more
NOW BRINGING EXCEPTIONAL HEARING HEALTHCARE TO YOUR COMMUNITY Our Doctors of Audiology have over 30 years of experience in treating the hearing needs of North Georgia.
NGA i with AL s in-netwo rk L ma carrier jor insurance s includ * Diagnostic Hearing Medicare. ing
Evaluations * Tinnitus Evaluations * Cochlear Implant Mapping * Balance Exams * In-stock technology from the 4 leading manufacturers
678-971-4647 www.YourHearingLink.com JOHNS CREEK • WOODSTOCK • GAINESVILLE 726 S. ENOTA AVE., SUITE B
Learning for a lifetime Family & Fun
Michelle Boaen Jameson
INK museum in Gainesville lets kids learn and play in a scaled-down version of a grown-up world.
Norman Baggs Designer
Elachee Nature Science Center puts students of all ages in a natural setting to learn more about their world.
HOME Magazine, a division of:
The planetarium at the University of North Ga.
The Times Gainesville, GA
A Morris Multimedia Inc. property
345 Green St. | Gainesville, GA 30501 | 770-718-3421
Home & Garden
Living in North Georgia
The right home fabrics can add color and freshness to décor, and The Great Cover-Up can help.
July | 2017
Out & About
A home built for entertaining
Downtown Drafts tapped into a couple’s dream and turned into a homey tavern popular on the Gainesville square.
Living in North Georgia
Crisp and cool summer appetizers
Northeast Georgia History Center
Get healthy by juicing
Living in North Georgia
August | 2017
A botanical retreat from a sloping yard
Valhalla Resort offers a luxury mountain getaway Easy B’s opens pop-up restaurant
On the Cover
Jeremy Williams, left, new superintendent of Gainesville City Schools, and Hall County Superintendent Will Schofield address the challenges they face in public education to keep their students moving toward lives of achievement. PAGE 6 Photo by Scott Rogers 4 | HOME | October 2017
In North Georgia
August 2017 1
Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @ HomeMagazineNGA Manuscripts, artwork, photography, inquiries and submitted materials are welcome. 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 Morris Multimedia Inc. Although every precaution is taken to ensure accuracy of published materials, Morris Multimedia cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied by its authors. HOME: 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 HOME: Living in North Georgia.
The Sheila Davis Group For Everything Lake ... Cottages to Estates firstname.lastname@example.org
THE TIM ES
Follow us on
r de t Un traC n Co
#5844521 $1,499,000 2229 Sidney Dr, Gainesville
#5868962 $1,350,000 4833 Propes Dr, Oakwood
#5852900 $1,295,000 5337 Bay Circle, Cumming
#5801065 $1,250,000 6029 Shadburn Ferry Rd, Buford
#5771049 $1,175,000 3555 Mill Road Gainesville
#5906269 $1,100,000 3445 Shoreland Dr, Buford
#5815654 $949,900 494 Laina Bennett Rd, Dawsonville
#5840633 $899,900 3567 Water Front Dr, Gainesville
#5696584 $869,000 8950 Fields Way, Gainesville
#5812299 $499,000 6147 N Point Dr, Flowery Branch
#5881313 $435,000 3148 White Magnolia Chase, Gainesville
#5906215 $359,000 7628 Pine Place, Murrayville
#5905921 $289,000 1763 Green Rd, Buford
r de t Un traC n Co
#5890401 $895,000 7330 Pine Valley Rd, Cumming
6 | HOME | October 2017
Education is our
superpower Gainesville, Hall County superintendents discuss passion and drive for local schools Story by Norm Cannada Photos by Scott Rogers
s the top administrators in their school systems, Gainesville City School System Superintendent Jeremy Williams and Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield are in different places in their careers. Williams, 36, is in his first few months as a superintendent, taking over for Wanda Creel July 1. He is a former physics teacher, who worked for several years with Pioneer Regional Education Service Agency and as the No. 2 administrator for Union County Schools before signing a threeyear contract to take the job in Gainesville this summer. Schofield, 54, has 30 years of experience in education, 18 of those years as a school district superintendent. He has worked with Hall County Schools for 13 years, the last 12 as superintendent. He recently signed a contract extension that will also keep him in the school district through June 2020. In a recent interview with Home, the two school administrators discussed a variety of issues. What’s been the best thing you’ve seen in education? Schofield: One of the things I’m most proud of when I look at 30 years of education is when you talk about public education in this country, we take all comers. You take kids wherever they are, whatever their color,
whatever their background is. and you open up your doors and you put your arms around them and you do the absolutely best that you can. I think that speaks to what’s best about our nation and our educational system, but that has come a long way even in the last 30 years. Williams: I think the best is yet to come where we’re headed. Where we’re headed is really looking at the whole child. ... Whether it’s our gifted kids and giving them the opportunities to excel and expand or it’s our language learners that are coming in with a whole new set of eyes on education, it’s making sure that we meet each kid where they are and taking them to places that they’ve never been. Many of our families that we serve, they don’t know the doors that can be opened. Just what I have seen in the last few years, I believe you’re starting to see more community involvement. ... I think the emphasis that’s come on in the last few years of just that community engagement, developing that talent, has a lot of potential if we don’t screw it up. Both of you are known for creativity. Why do you believe it is important to go outside the box to improve education? Schofield: If you compare education to a football game, it’s third down and 27 and we’re still running off tackle. The last time
Gainesville Exploration Academy students raise their hands during math class recently as new Gainesville City School System Superintendent Jeremy Williams listens in.
October 2017 | HOME | 7
Above: Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield, left, and Gainesville City School System Superintendent Jeremy Williams. Below: Williams visits with a class at Gainesville Exploration Academy recently. Before coming to Gainesville, Williams served as Assistant Superintendent then Associate Superintendent of Union County Schools .
8 | HOME | October 2017
I coached football, when it was third down and 27, we’re going to step back and sling it. ... I would think, when look at our children and see the millions of students who are leaving schools with no diploma and/or no skills and, most importantly, with no hope, I would like to think there are more of us who would say it’s time to step back and sling it. We need to try some things. ... We’re our own worst enemy. Educators are some of the finest people to ever wear shoe leather and if you want to talk about somebody who will give you the shirt off their back, it’s a teacher. On a continuum, I will say educators are among the finest people I have ever met, but in general if you ask the question are educators risk takers, are they people who say, “Let’s step back and sling it, and try to do something different,” we’re really not. We’re a pretty conservative lot and we kind of like to do things like we did last year. And I remind teachers all the time you have to remember school worked for you, but traditional school doesn’t work for about half of our kids. Williams: As teachers we are either teaching to the past, the present or the future. And it’s comfortable to teach to the past and the present, because we already know what that is. But in order to teach to the future, there’s a whole different slew of skills that kids have to have in order to be able to do that. I’m talking about problem solving and creativity, different employability skills. We don’t know what problems there are going to be 10, 15, 20 years from now, but if we keep teaching kids that it is the same way now that it was 20 or 30 years ago, we’re not preparing our kids for the future. When you look at a teacher they’ve got a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. If they’ve got a fixed mindset, those are the ones that are hard to move because it is comfortable. It doesn’t mean that they are bad people. It doesn’t mean that they’re not good teachers. It just means they could do a whole lot more with the skill set that they have. Those with the growth mindset say, “Let’s get on board and let’s go.” I always want to encourage creativity not just from a student’s standpoint, but from the teachers’, too. If there’s an idea they want to try in the classroom, give it a shot. If there’s an idea in a school to engage the community that will stretch kids further than they’ve ever been, give it a shot. If you don’t try it, you know what the results are going to be — nothing. But if you do try it, and even get some results, think about the buy-in you get and think about the impact on that kid. Both school districts have more Hispanic students than any other ethnic group. What challenges does that present for your schools? Schofield: It is an opportunity for growth when 20 or 30 percent of your kids are moving around to different schools every year. What we have found is if we can just keep kids in a stable environment for a period of
years — 2, 3, 4 years — we can erase a lot of these challenges they show up with. The challenge is not their heritage and the challenge is not the color of their skin. The challenge is we have kindergartners that have a working vocabulary of 300 words and you have other kindergartners that show up with a working vocabulary of 15,000 words. There’s your achievement gap that everybody talks about. ... It’s more difficult when you start getting 13-year-olds and they show up with no formal schooling and no language skills. That is a daunting task. What we have made the determination of in Hall County is a 16-year-old shows up with no English skills and no formal schooling, the idea of saying, “Sweetheart, we’re going to get you a traditional high school diploma” is not only is it unrealistic, I think it borders on immoral. What we need to be saying is: How do we put you in a position where you’ve got some career paths and you can have a family and buy a home of your own and live out the American Dream? Williams: We have over 40 nationalities and so we may have 40 percent of students learning our language. But when you break that down, you may have a very highly educated non-English speaker. At the other end, you may have someone like Will mentioned who has limited formal schooling. They’re grouped as (English learner) kids, but their needs are very, very
... if you want to talk about somebody who will give you the shirt off their back, it’s a teacher. different. So it’s important as kids come into our school system that they get the language support they need and the academic support they need. If you have a 16- or 17-year-old kid that comes into the high school, they’re not going to graduate in four years. They’re not going to get out of school anyhow. To put them in a ninth-grade Lit class versus some type of language development class, we’re doing a disservice to them. Are there ways Gainesville City and Hall County school districts work together more? Schofield: I’ve got to believe that with two districts our size there are some opportunities for economies of scale where we could all be more efficient when you take advantage of each other’s strengths, lean on each other, consolidate some services that we’re both providing that we could probably do just as well together, and still maintain the identities. Of course, the old adage is if we quit worrying about
who gets the credit, it would be amazing what we could get done. There’s some things I think we do pretty well that I think we could help Gainesville. There’s some things Gainesville does pretty well that I’m convinced they could help us. Williams: When you look at the kids we serve, we have a lot of kids that go back and forth between Gainesville City and Hall County Schools. We’ve got staff that either worked in Gainesville and are now in Hall County or were in Hall County and are now in Gainesville. They may go back and forth there, too. We can be more on the same page in working together because really we’re in it for all 35,000 kids that we serve. To do that, we’re going to have to sacrifice some conversations, some pride and other things that some people want to divide the two. In Hall County and Gainesville City, it’s important for us to make sure that we are working together that our staffs are working together and lean on each other for expertise.
More Than 30 Years Serving Residential, Commercial and Industrial Heating & Air Conditioning Needs THE TIM ES
Voted Best Heating & Air Conditioning Service in Hall!
October 2017 | HOME | 9
‘It’s creative, it’s education and … imagination’ INK celebrates 15 years with plans to move to new facility Call us! We’ll be there!
770-536-1161 RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL
RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL
Call us! We’ll be there!
Story by Frank Reddy Call us!Photos We’ll be there! by Scott Rogers
PLUMBING WATER HEATERS SEPTIC www.HulseyPlumbing.com
10 | HOME | October 2017
nfants, toddlers and older children grow up in a world brimming with vivid colors, interesting sounds, enticing smells and varied texture that awaken a natural curiosity of the senses. Unfortunately, the world is full of danger children don’t yet understand, and their desire to touch, smell, taste, hear and feel is often met with resistance from parents who must put up barriers to keep their young ones safe. DRAINS A local museum for young people has a possible solution.
Left: Parket Volpe, 2, plays with a toy parking garage during a visit to Interactive Neighborhood for Kids. Right: Stella Reddy runs through a giant foam block fort inside INK on Chestnut Street in Gainesville
Interactive Neighborhood for Kids provides 25,000 square feet of playing space, where parents can relax as children explore a tiny version of the world their adult guardians inhabit, minus the often-lurking dangers that necessitate those ever-present barriers. The children’s museum, located at 999 Chestnut St. SE, Gainesville, is celebrating its 15th year of operation. Founder Sheri Hooper says it’s been a long journey since she first had the original idea: a makeshift INK prototype built in early 2002 to keep kids occupied while she hosted a Bible study group for other mothers in her home. Hooper says she’s thrilled to have seen the museum grow over the past decade and a half, which included two moves, several expansions and an upcoming relocation to a 35,000-square-foot building in the South Hall area near the Friendship Road exit. Hooper believes INK has been successful over the years due to community support and a welcoming atmosphere. “Every person who walks through that front door feels comfortable,” Hooper says. “Kids love it (because) it’s creative, it’s education and you get to use your imagination. (Inside INK), there’s something everybody can relate to in one way or another.” There is indeed a wide variety of options for young people who visit.
Now Open the all new hayes of Baldwin truck town!
relax in luxury... and allow us to offer you the very finest care.
678.450.1570 • spaongreenstreet.com
635 Green Street N.W. Gainesville, GA 30531
hayes of Baldwin
3656 highway 365 •alto, ga 30510 Hwy 365 in Baldwin 1-866-262-7407 877-255-2794 h ay e s o f•bhayesofbaldwin.com aldwin.com October 2017 | HOME | 11
INK is a full-on feast for children’s senses. It includes a small-scale grocery store with tiny shopping carts; a hospital radiology department where children can look at X-rays or radiographs on an X-ray light board; a medical clinic where children can practice going to the doctor or the dentist; a full-sized Aero Commander 560 aircraft kids can climb aboard; a bank branch where young people can pretend to withdraw money from an ATM; a beauty salon that lets young people play hair stylist (complete with fake, plastic scissors); a post office; a preschool playroom; a pottery studio; a healthy body exhibit; and many other rooms designed to entertain, educate and stoke the imagination. Many of these rooms or learning stations existed 15 years ago in a primitive form when Hooper built the museum’s prototype in her basement. As her Bible study meetings grew larger, Hooper brainstormed new ways to entertain the children of those in her group. It was on a trip to San Antonio in 2002 when she visited a children’s museum that the ideas for INK blossomed. “When I walked through the door, my jaw dropped,” Hooper says. “It was everything I had been dreaming about in order to expand our Bible study. And it got on my heart very strong it was what I was meant to do in the community, so I came back home, talked to many different business leaders and over a few months we decided to take a leap of faith, and we found a space (203 Green St., the former First Methodist Church) and redid the rooms there.” The first iteration of INK opened in August
VOTED BEST DENTIST 2016 & 2017 Providing general, cosmetic and comprehensive dental services to patients of all ages. Offering extended hours and same-day appointments to better serve you.
FIRST DENTAL HYGIENE VISIT Valid for new patient dental hygiene visit only at BGW Dental Group. Must present coupon at appointment. Expires 10/31/2017.
bgwdentalgroup.com | 678-649-1538 1215 Vine Street | Gainesville, GA 30501 12 | HOME | October 2017
• Cosmetic dentistry • Wisdom teeth removal • Children’s dentistry
• Zoom whitening • IV sedation • Implants & implant-supported dentures Richard G. Bennett, Jr., DMD Cindy Fulenwider Greene, DMD Ryan M. Wood, DMD Matthew L. Vaughn, DMD Raina E. Graham, DMD
SECOND LOCATION COMING SOON TO BRASELTON!
The Interactive Neighborhood for Kids museum welcomes all children and their families, but their exhibits focus on ages 2-10.The museum also hosts events and parties.
2002. Within a few months, word spread, according to Hooper. The place became popular and rapidly outgrew the building housing it. Hooper would later have conversations with Gus Whalen (who passed away in June 2015) who founded the Featherbone Communiversity about moving into a facility there. INK signed a lease at the Communiversity in June 2006, and there it remains. Today, the nonprofit organization’s headquarters plays host to a variety of school field trips, church groups, child care centers and home-school students. Home-schooler Aaron Miller said he enjoys getting to interact with other kids at INK. “I make new friends every time I come here,” said Miller, 12, who added that he’s been to INK three times total and has yet to play at all the different areas inside. Mandy Volpe, executive director of INK, said that’s one of the museum’s biggest strengths. “There’s tons to do,” Volpe said. “You can come once and spend two hours, leave, and come another day and there’s still plenty to do you might not have even seen yet.” Volpe added that popular spots at the museum include the medical center and grocery store.
INK Address: 999 Chestnut St. SE, Gainesville Phone: 770-536-1900 Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sundays Admission: $8 Monday through Saturday, $6 Sundays Website: www.inkfun.org “Kids can truly use their imaginations here,” Volpe said. “Usually at a museum you’ve got a lot of ‘Do Not Touch’ signs, and that’s the complete opposite here. We want people to ... have that hands-on experience.” She said the upcoming move and expansion will allow INK to further that goal. The current facility is 25,000 square feet, and the new spot will be 35,000 “with the potential over the next few years to go to 50,000 square feet.” Hooper said when she looks back on how far the place has come since its origins in her very own basement she feels “very honored.” “God has used me to be part of gathering people in our community,” Hooper said. “I am humbled and in awe of what our community has done. It’s overwhelming, honestly.”
CUSTOM DRAPERIES, BLINDS, WINDOW TREATMENTS & UPHOLSTERY Serving Northeast Georgia since 1968. We have been devoted to providing quality interior design with an emphasis on customer service for nearly 50 years. What We Do We are a full service interior design company serving both commercial and residential clients. Our designers have over 50 years combined experience, and specialize in helping you achieve your unique look. Contact us for more information on how Millie’s Drapery and Decorating, Inc. can help you design the perfect look for your home or business.
Original Owners since 1980 1732 Cleveland Highway, Gainesville, GA 30501 Info@milliesdrapery.com
770-532-3819 October 2017 | HOME | 13
Education Naturally Elachee Nature Science Center puts the world into fresh focus
ll -In fa ve e o al M s
Enjoy Life on the Lake and see what separates us from everyone else. Semi-Private Rooms starting as low as $2,600
No Community or Assessment Fees. Call to schedule your tour today.
2601 Thompson Bridge Road Gainesville, GA 30501
• Outdoor Covered Patios with Overhead Fans, Outdoor TV and Big Views of Lake Lanier • Warm, Cozy Fireside Seating • Daily Housekeeping • 18-Slip Community Boat Dock • Cable TV and All Utilities Included • Executive Chef with Elegant Plating
• Daily Wellness Checks • Bistro Bar • Medication Monitoring • In-Room Emergency Call System • Salon and Podiatry Services • Personal Laundry/Linen Service • Non-Denominational Church Services Every Sunday
Georgia Abercrombie, 4, marvels at a woma python during Snake Day at Elachee Nature Science Center in Gainesville.
Story by Pamela A. Keene | Photos by David Barnes
he spreading branches of a massive tree greet visitors to the Elachee Nature Science Center. If you look closely, you can see various wildlife in the tree, from squirrels and birds to snakes. It’s just the beginning of discovery at Hall County’s popular nature destination located in one of Georgia’s largest protected green spaces. Each year, more than 32,000 school children take field trips to Elachee to learn about the environment, nature and science. From pre-K through seniors, students get close to nature and wildlife, then go home and share their excitement with parents who bring them back for weekend festivals, exploration days and naturalist programs. “The children really sell us to their parents and families,” says Andrea Timpone, president and CEO of Elachee Nature Center. “With everything we offer, plus our seasonal events, hiking, naturalist classes, child- and adultfriendly activities, something exciting is always happening here.” The center’s most popular annual
16 | HOME | October 2017
program, September’s Snake Day, draws hundreds of children and adults to a day of demonstrations, educational programs and hands-on activities with snakes, turtles, lizards and frogs. Raptor Day each March showcases bird of prey, and there are other events including the Trillium Trek Trail Run and Walk on Earth Day weekend in April that showcases the center’s 12 miles of hiking trails. Elachee Nature Academy Nestled among the hardwoods in the 1,440-acre Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve, Elachee is becoming a focal point for innovative environmental education. With the 2014 opening of the private Elachee Nature Academy for preschoolers ages 3 and 4, the center has established the first program of its kind in the Southeast with hands-on learning and outside-the-classroom curriculum. In the 2016 school year, Elachee expanded the academy to include kindergartners and first-graders who come to classes on the same schedule as Hall County schools.
“This is such an important age to introduce children to the outdoors,” Timpone says. “Nature centers across the country are creating these kinds of programs because of the emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and nature is the perfect classroom. And research has shown great benefits for children learning in a natural setting.” About 50 percent of the instructional day is spent outdoors with the center’s trails, animal exhibits and other environs providing the backdrop for learning. “We’re bringing nature into focus to help teach concepts and skills to our students,” Timpone says. “It’s
Elachee Nature Science Center
Where: 2125 Elachee Drive, Gainesville, GA 30504 Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays Phone: 770-535-1976 Website: www.elachee.org
just one of the many ways we’re encouraging and supporting youth education.” The Elachee Nature Academy is fully licensed through Georgia’s Bright from the Start and accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. A history of conservation Elachee Nature Center, as we know it today, began as a vision of five Hall County women who envisioned a site for ongoing conservation and environmental education in 1978. It’s located within the Walnut Creek watershed on land that was formerly home to the Johnson & Johnson Chicopee Mill and Chicopee Village from the late 1920s until the 1970s, when the company donated it to the Gainesville Park Commission. Elachee began offering programming even before its current facilities were built, through day camps, hiking and nature education activities. By 1984, the park commission granted permission for a nature center to be built in Chicopee Woods. Elachee developed programs for Hall County and Gainesville City schools and by 1989 the county approved a local-option sales tax increase of a penny to fund construction of the center’s visitor center and classrooms. It opened in 1990. Elachee Nature Science center operates independently as a 501(c)(3) private organization supported by memberships, donations, corporate sponsorships, planned gifts, grants and fundraising events. For more information about Elachee Nature Science Center, visit www.elachee.org or call 770-535-1976.
Elijah Zapata, 4, pets a baby alligator during Snake Day at Elachee Nature Science Center in Gainesville.
Join in the fun Between now and the end of 2017, Elachee is presenting several special events for families. Events are free to members; nonmembers pay admission. • Elachee Tree Sale and Festival, Oct. 21, Elachee Visitor Center. Celebrate trees, purchase evergreen and deciduous trees, plus shrubs that attract wildlife and pollinators, meet author and survival training educator Mark Warren, signing his book “Secrets of the Forest.” Admission $5. • Stars Over Elachee, Oct. 28, Nov. 25, Dec. 23, Chicopee Lake. Beginning at dusk, tour the night sky to see the first-quarter moon and seasonal stars. Admission $10 adults, $5 children 12 and under. Reservations required by calling 770-535-1976.
DIRECT MANUFACTURER OF ADVANCED DIGITAL HEARING AIDS
U’RE WEARING ITs YO S W O N K E N O O N sand il - Saving You Thou
Reta 1/3 Price of Typical ice Center & Models - Full Serv 32 Different Styles TWO LOCATIONS TO SERVE YOU:
601 S. Enota Drive, Ste A Gainesville, GA • 770.534.4150 Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm
5890 Bethelview Rd., Ste 10 Cumming, GA • 770.205.5776 Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm
Healthy diets for growing minds
Ke Ke Jones, 11, reaches for a bag of apple slices as she goes through the serving line at the Fair Street School cafeteria.
Hall schools make nutrition a big priority Story by Gillan Ritchie
upporting healthy eating habits and active lifestyles in children can be a difficult task, especially for school districts across the U.S. School meals have to meet the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service nutrition standards, while staying within the guidelines for the National School Lunch Program. Hall County School District is making strides to ensure that each child receives a healthy, well-balanced meal. In August, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation unveiled the list of “America’s Healthiest Schools,” and 15 schools in Hall County made the cut this year. The schools were recognized by the alliance for meeting or exceeding the federal nutrition
standards for all meals and snacks. According to Sara Sheridan, school nutrition coordinator for Hall County Schools, the district does not use a meal service to provide food to students. School officials don’t have any plans to move toward prepackaged meals, or work with any type of meal service. Instead, groceries and produce are ordered weekly to create “in-house” meals. The district works with two local vendors to order produce in addition to working with grocery vendors. “We do not plan on moving to prepackaged meals; in fact, we are trying to move to a more scratch cooking-based menu, as that seems to be the demand from students,” Sheridan said.
Bike TOWN USA
Sheridan added that prepackaged meals could be expensive and often produce a lot of waste. School officials for Hall County encourage and support healthy eating habits in students even outside of the cafeteria. Second-grade students in Hall County are offered the opportunity to attend Gardens on Green Street, which is hosted by the Hall County Board of Education and Hall County Master Gardeners, to
Largest bike store in N GA! Serving Gainesville for over 35 years.
We Do... Inspections Preventative Maintenance Annual Performance Packages Tips on Where to Ride & More... We’re Your One-Stop-Shop! 770-532-7090 • biketownusa.com 1604 Dawsonville Hwy, Gainesville, GA 30501 Monday - Friday 9-6 • Saturday 9-5 18 | HOME | October 2017
learn about composting, gardening, nutrition, parts of plants, butterfly gardens, and other nature-related topics. Hall County schools received honorary recognition in October 2016 during the annual Golden Radish Awards for participation in the farm-to-school movement. The awards, presented by the Georgia Departments of Agriculture, Public Health, Education and Georgia Organics, evaluates school districts on 10 different aspects of farm to school, including food procurement, hosting taste tests and gardening with students. “Farm to school teaches our children the importance of food that helps bodies grow healthy and strong and food that promotes learning,” Brenda Fitzgerald, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, said in an article published by Georgia Organics. In late 2015, Georgia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, Georgia Department of Education Superintendent Richard Woods and Dr. Kathy Peavey, assistant director of school nutrition program for the Georgia Department of Education announced the “20/20 Vision Plan for School Nutrition.” The vision plan aims to have at least 20 percent of every meal in Georgia public schools to include Georgia grown products. In addition, the plan challenges 20 percent of schools to have menus that include 50 percent meal content made with Georgia grown products by 2020. Placing an emphasis on eating locally grown foods in Hall County schools can help the economy and build the community. The school district’s approach to scratch and “semi-homemade” cooking ensures that students’ demands are met while providing local jobs to Hall County residents. The 20/20 vision plan is not the first program in the state of Georgia to address healthier meal options. The Georgia Grown Test Kitchen, a program launched in 2013, gives opportunities for school nutrition directors to create healthy, better tasting cafeteria meals for students. “We do a lot of taste testing with our students (in Hall schools) and work with marketing/home economics classes to collect student input,” Sheridan said. By creating meals in-house for students, school officials are able to monitor the content of each meal carefully, which is an important factor for students with food allergies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found that food allergies in children increased by 50 percent between 1997 and 2011. That is roughly two students per classroom with food allergies. “We try to be as accommodating as possible to students with allergies and/or intolerances,” Sheridan said. “Many of our menu items can be adapted to meet a student’s needs in a way that may not be listed on the county-wide menu.” There are no formal policies currently set in place to address a student’s food allergies. Officials with Hall County Schools work with students and parents in conjunction with nurses and nutrition managers on an individual basis to ensure the health and safety of the student. Sheridan has been the school nutrition coordinator for Hall County for three years, and Cheryl Jones, director of Hall County School Nutrition, has been with the district for four years. There have been no reported incidences involving students with food allergies during Sheridan and Jones’ employment with the Hall County School district. “I encourage parents to contact us if they have questions on how to adapt the menu to their child(ren)’s needs,” Sheridan said. Parents and students can view the Hall County School district menu for food allergens and other nutritional information online at foodservices.hallco.org/web.
October 2017 | HOME | 19
The heartbeat of the The University of North Georgia’s George E. Coleman, Sr. Planetarium on the Dahlonega campus is the Digistar 5 Full-Dome Digital Planetarium Projector pointed straight up to the 30-foot diameter dome ceiling.
UNG’s star attraction Planetarium gives public a view of university as well as universe Story by Jeff Gill | Photos by Scott Rogers The wait to see the planetarium show resembled a thrill ride line at Six Flags of Georgia. That excited Lesley Simanton-Coogan, who runs the George E. Coleman Sr. Planetarium at the University of North Georgia.
20 | HOME | October 2017
She likes to see the same public enthusiasm for free Friday night shows as she did at that packed house in August, when UNG hosted a pre-eclipse event. “We can be half to completely full (on Fridays),” she said. “If we to regularly
start filling up, we would expand to do two shows. ... It is a nice public service for the community.” It’s also a good way for people to see the university — not just the universe. The planetarium has been in place for years and was
moved when Health and Natural Sciences Building was built off Sunset Drive. Another upgrade came in 2015, when UNG rolled out a new digital projector that’s able to splash images across the 30-foot dome. “It’s like a movie theater
You will be truly immersed in the universe. projector, so we can show anything,” Simanton-Coogan said. That includes videos she’s compiling as part of the planetarium library and simulations of flying through space past planets, moons and stars. The current show, “The Secret Lives of Stars,” begins with a 28-minute full-dome video about the life cycles of stars, featuring real images of stars throughout the galaxy and simulations of how stars change and behave. Actor Patrick Stewart is the narrator. The show includes a live presentation of the fall 2017 evening sky and a presentation on recent discoveries in astronomy. “You will be truly immersed in the universe,” the UNG website says. “The live content of the show changes throughout the year to reflect changes in the evening skies and new developments in science. “Shows may include stunning images of stellar nebulas, travel to distant planets or stars and detailed instruction on how to identify constellations.” In her talks with audiences, she’s been focusing on the NASA-sponsored Cassini spacecraft mission to Saturn. The dome show is all supported by high technology. “We have a software program that basically (depicts) a three-dimensional map of the universe for a million years in the past and million years in the future,” Simanton-Coogan said. “If I pull up a planet on a certain day and fly up to it, the moons around that planet are in the right spots and the planet is in the right location around the sun. It’s like a 3-D map.” And everything is computer-run. “Each of four computers controls a quarter of the dome,” SimantonCoogan said. The planetarium also is used for
Photos on right, top to bottom: The University of North Georgia’s George E. Coleman Sr. Planetarium on the Dahlonega campus offers visitors a view of the night sky as seen from Earth, or travel into the cosmos to explore other worlds in a dome-shaped theater. The theater seats 46 and has a 30-foot diameter dome that surrounds the viewer in the cosmos during film presentations
October 2017 | HOME | 21
Above: Director of the George E. Coleman Sr. Planetarium at the University of North Georgia Lesley Simanton-Coogan. Below: The dome-shaped theater allows visitors a view of the night sky as seen from Earth or to travel into the cosmos to explore other worlds.
UNG academic purposes. “This used to be the only lab for astronomy classes,” she said. “We’ve started transitioning to mostly using another classroom because we needed tables and there’s no tables in here. But (students) still come here to learn the night sky as part of their lab.” The planetarium also is a popular school field trip destination. “We do charge a flat $85 fee for those, but if you have 50 or so students, that’s less than $2 per student.,” SimantonCoogan said. Between public shows, school visits and UNG astronomy labs, the planetarium is something of a star attraction. “Some weeks, it’s on almost every day,” Simanton-Coogan said. “I try to make sure we use it. That’s what it’s here for.” That’s also fine by her. The Michigan native traces her love for astronomy to middle school, when a teacher showed a movie about the moons of planets 22 | HOME | October 2017
outside the solar system. Fueling her interest on the celestial was a high school astronomy club. The solar eclipse, which could be seen in totality in much extreme North Georgia, was a great thrill. SimantonCoogan helped with presentations at the UNG pre-eclipse program Aug. 20. For her, the planetarium aspect of her work — she also teaches astronomy labs — is a bonus. Upon graduating in 2015 from at the University of Toledo in Ohio, where she was pursuing her doctorate in physics, she looked for teaching jobs with a focus on public outreach. “They’re hard to find. I found only a couple across the country, and this (UNG job) was one of them, so I jumped on it right away, Simanton-Coogan said. She began the job in August 2016. “I think of it as the most fun thing to do in astronomy,” Simanton-Coogan said of her planetarium work. “You get to learn the coolest stuff and tell people about it.”
Where: Health and Natural Sciences Building, 159 Sunset Drive, Dahlonega More info: 706-864-1471 Free shows: 8 p.m. Fridays, with doors opening at 7:30
Save 20% - Call Today!
Quality custom shutters, shades and blinds direct from the factory. Manufactured locally in Gainesville –BOGO 40% off plantation shutters.
plantation shutters • traditional shutters • specialty shapes louvered • raised • bahama • custom • solar & transitional shades hunter douglas blinds & shades • blinds • vertical & sliding panels
Now offering motorized shades, control at the touch of a button in the home or anywhere in the world with an internet connection Stellar reputation & relentless customer service
louvershop . com
Call 706-844-1656 Today
To SChedule your free in-home eSTimaTe
The right touch of The Great Cover-up adds color and style to home decor Story by Steven Welch Photos by David Barnes When dressing up the rooms in your house, try to appeal to both sight and touch. Whether you want to completely overhaul your living space or just add a little pop of color with some accents, the right fabrics can make your home feel completely new. Charlene Praytor, a design specialist at The Great Cover-up in Gainesville, says taking a look at current trends can help jump start some ideas. “I think we’re seeing a little bit more color,” she said. “People are also simplifying accessories while keeping colors fresh and soft. Geometrics are a big thing.” Rudy Corn, the store manager, echoes Praytor’s sentiments when it comes to what’s currently popular. “I think the plain, simple designs are very much in-vogue,” he said. Praytor and Corn say blues and neutrals serve as a great jumpingoff point for any room, with blue in particular being one of the more popular colors this season. Pairing different shades with simple designs is one of the best ways to make a room stand out. A quick look at all the patterns and styles available in the store may be daunting to some, but The Great Coverup’s specialists will work with all types of clientele — whether experienced decorators or a newbie looking for some simple changes — to achieve the looks they want. The staff does everything in-house, from recovering or refurbishing furniture to designing the different types of window treatments. “We do a lot with shades — roman shades, solar shades, shutters,” Praytor said. “Then we add the decorative 24 | HOME | October 2017
Above: Custom window treatments made in-house at The Great Cover-Up in Gainesville. Below: Charlene Praytor, design specialist at The Great Cover-Up, unrolls wallpaper samples.
fabrics, usually in drapery panels.” While the fabric choice itself can oftentimes tie the whole room together, sometimes other items in the room can serve as a jumping off point for decorating ideas. “I like to have a catalyst to get started with,” Corn said. “If they have a special piece of art, I think that makes it easier. If they have one thing we can work from, it can grow from there.” Wallpaper has also seen a return to prominence, after having been viewed as passé in recent years. The Great Cover-up has a large selection of designs available, and the staff has seen more and more customers go that route to bring new looks to their homes. While fabric trends are leaning more toward neutral and simple styles, Praytor says bolder choices are being made with wallpapers. “We’re getting a little pop from an accent wall of wallpaper,” Praytor said. “It’s a very nice decorative feature now that we had gotten away from.” The most important thing to remember when decorating is to make your home feel like an extension of yourself. It all begins with what catches your eye, and your room is essentially a blank slate waiting to be filled. Praytor and Corn both believe being open to change will go a long way in finding the perfect look for whatever room you want to decorate. At the end of the day though, they stress the need for a customer to be satisfied with what they choose. “While you can get inspiration from a magazine or advertisement, those are just houses,” Corn said. “Here, we try to turn your house into a home.”
Fabric samples on display at The Great Cover-Up in Gainesville.
• Custom Window Treatments • Custom Bedding & Headboards • shutters, Blinds & shades • Wallpaper • Upholstery • design services
“From windows to walls, we’ve got you covered!” serving north Georgia for 30 plus years collection
900 McEvEr road • GainEsvillE, Ga 30504 770-531-0430 • greatcoverup.com October 2017 | HOME | 25
Books filled with old photographs at the Hall County Library System’s Gainesville branch can be a great source of information for anyone interested in genealogy and local history. Photo by Scott Rogers
Taking a trip
Hall County Library offers history section to trace your roots Story by Kayla Elder Rich in history and booming with growth, the Hall County Library System continues to build its collection of historical content for the community. As one of the few libraries in Georgia with a full genealogy department, which is free to the public, the downtown Gainesville branch hosts several programs for all ages to delve into the past. The Sybil Wood McRay Genealogy and Local History Collection on the second floor of the downtown branch is named after a well-known local genealogist, according to Ronda Sanders, local history and genealogy librarian. “We have everything here from microfilm, books, maps, family vertical files and county records,” Sanders said. “We are working on getting county records as far as marriages and wills all over the state of Georgia and working our way up the coastline and the migration paths for that, too.” According to Hall County Library System Director Lisa MacKinney, Sanders “spends a lot of time developing the collection” in the genealogy area. “We definitely go back as far as the county was created,” Sanders said of 26 | HOME | October 2017
documents dating back to the 1800s. “We try to get the earliest records we possibly can that have either been microfilmed or have been put into book format.” The section is open during library hours Monday through Saturday. “We have a very solid collection with biographies and history books for all ages. We try to spend a good portion of our budget on that because it is one of our higher circulating areas,” MacKinney said. “We also do historical displays, basic research and have a historical photo collection which has actually helped a lot of times when people need pictures.” The library system will be offering a variety of programs this fall for the history buff in every family. Celebrating Friday the 13th, the library will host Sitting Up with the Dead this October for experienced genealogists. “That can be someone that has been doing it for two months and has really gotten into it, understands how a library works – it doesn’t have to be someone that has been doing it for five to 10 years,” Sanders said. “There are going to be 40 people here.” The event will be from noon to
midnight and pre-registration is required. There is a fee for dinner. Also in October, Sanders will do a presentation on the Basic Building Blocks of Genealogy. The event will be Oct. 17 and will be for those who could not make it to the Sitting Up with the Dead event. Sander said the library will be “going a new route” in the upcoming months, providing webinars for the community. “FamilySearch offers classes for libraries where we can actually have webinars with handouts. There are a lot of classes...we are going to offer one of those a month,” she said. “Some of them you can see the instructor and see the PowerPoint slide beside it and others you just see the slides and hear the instructor.” The library has already planned two webinars hosted by FamilySearch. “If I’d Only Known” on Nov. 14 will be presented by Beth Foult at the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence Montana. Sanders said it “piggybacks a little on what I teach and we will teach them some new alternatives of what to do and what not to do.” On Dec. 12, the library will present Tim Bingaman with a webinar on United States Probate Records.
“United States Probate Records are fantastic – wills and anything that goes with them and how you can use those to find out about families and relationships in families,” Sanders said. “If you find a will and someone was given $1, apparently at that time in that state you had to leave them something or they could come back and contest it, so they left you $1 so you can’t say anything. You can tell how the relationships were going in that family at that time.” Each system library also has online databases for individuals to take advantage of to find history easily. “You can get into Ancestry Library Edition, which has international records,” Sanders said. “We also have Heritage Quest which focuses on census records but also has scanned books and documents; this one you can use your Galileo password and do from the comfort of your home.” Sanders said researching genealogy has grown in popularity due to “a lot of different reasons” including knowing medical history, passing the information down to younger generations and inherent curiosity about one’s roots. MacKinney said searching history has become “a growing hobby nationally,” and Sanders agreed adding that “it is addictive.” “Be prepared to find the good, the bad and the ugly. Once you start, you can’t stop,” Sanders said. “They have to start with themselves and work back generation to generation. When they can get back to the 1940s, that’s when they can get into the United States census records.” MacKinney said that the library system’s mission is to provide what the community needs through their programming. “We try to listen to what the community wants when we do collect all that data. We feel we are using that information to meet the community’s need,” she said. “This is what we hear the community would like for us to provide in addition to core library services. You can still come in and check out books, use the internet or type up a paper, but as we are able, these are the additional roles that we have heard the library should fill.”
Hall County Library System
Gainesville branch: 127 Main St. NW, 770532-3311. Website: www.hallcountylibrary.org
• Oct. 12: Spooky Drop in Craft at the BPL Youth Services Area from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. • Oct. 19: Gothic Halloween – Adult Coloring Extravaganza in the North Hall Adult Area from 6 to 7:30 p.m. • Oct. 20: Friends of the Library ghost story program for adults at the Gainesville Tech Lab from noon to 11 p.m. There will be professional storytellers and ghost hunters. • Oct. 21: Local Author Fair with about 50 authors at the Spout Springs Meeting Room from 1 to 3 p.m. • Oct. 23: Tween Club, Zombie Gingerbread Men at the Gainesville Meeting Room (YS) from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Northeast Georgia History Center chronicles region’s past for new generations
Story by Pamela A. Keene Photos by Scott Rogers
on’t let the name fool you. The Northeast Georgia History Museum is more than a museum; it’s a living example of times gone by in Northeast Georgia, with two historic structures on site and an expansive collection that provides a narrative and artifacts as far back as prehistoric times. “At any given time, we may have about one-fifth of our collection on display,” said Glen Kyle, executive director of the facility that opened in its current location on Academy Street in 2004. Its showcase exhibit, “‘The Land of Promise,” opened with the museum and is perhaps the most comprehensive display of its kind in Northeast Georgia, spanning history of the area from prehistoric times to the 20th century. “We’ve begun a renovation of ‘The Land of Promise,’ that’s ongoing, and we’ll be including many items that people have never seen before as we roll this out moving forward,” Kyle said. “It features a new interpretive approach that’s even more engaging and interactive than before.” “The Land of Promise” includes highlights from the times of the Native Americans and the Civil War, plus artifacts and interactive displays of other significant events in the region’s history. Additionally, the museum houses the Northeast Georgia Sports Hall of Fame that honors the region’s sports greats including Ty Cobb, Bill Elliott and Tommy Aaron through action photos. “But there is so much more than just walking through the museum building,
Director of the Northeast Georgia History Center Glen Kyle portrays a surveyor during Family Day: Frontier Conflict, Frontier Coexistence at the Center. Visitors got a look at life in America during the 16th century during the event.
its permanent collection and rotating exhibits,” Kyle said. “Be sure to tour the grounds and our two other historic buildings.” White Path Cabin, a fine example of how Native Americans lived in the late 1700s, and a restored and rebuilt blacksmith shop give visitors a look at skills of yesteryear. Two gardens — the American Freedom Garden that honors the military and the Victory Garden, reminiscent of the European gardens from World War I and World War II and maintained by the Hall County Master Gardeners — blend the beauty and resources of nature with history. One of the most recent additions, The Cottrell Digital Studio, has brought the latest in technology to the museum, allowing its programs and exhibits to interface with the internet through living history video presentations that can be broadcast into
Benny Drobny, 6, and sister Alexandra, 8, play a Battle of Mabila strategy game between the Mississippian Societies and the DeSoto Spanish expedition during Family Day: Frontier Conflict, Frontier Coexistence at the Northeast Georgia History Center.
October 2017 | HOME | 29
classrooms across the county and digital curriculum that teachers can download to provide multimedia lessons. “It’s our way of helping expand the field-trip concept,” Glen says. “These days, with the emphasis on time in the classroom and the logistics of moving students off-site for field trips, our digital resources can bring history directly to the students.” The museum offers its Travel Trunks programs that teachers can “borrow” to take historical artifacts, costumes and other items into the classroom. Of course, there are still numerous field trips throughout the school year, including museum theater performances by figures from history including George Washington and Abraham
Lincoln, Georgia Loyalist Elizabeth Johnston, Georgia Patriot Lachlan McIntosh, and Former Slave/Nurse/Teacher Susie King Taylor of Georgia. The 30,000-square foot museum offers free admission Family Days on the second Sunday of each month with costumed historical characters, hands-on activities and authentic relics. Kyle said it’s not unusual for between 100 and 200 people to show up and take part. The Northeast Georgia History Museum is solely funded by private and corporate donations and foundations. Membership fees account for approximately 5 percent of the organization’s annual operating budget. It has a full-time staff of four and a strong force of community volunteers.
Above: Ken Johnston portrays an English long bowman during Family Day: Frontier Conflict, Frontier Coexistence at the Northeast Georgia History Center.Visitors experienced 300 years of interaction between Native American and European American cultures.
30 | HOME | October 2017
Northeast Georgia History Center
Address: 322 Academy St. NE, Gainesville Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, special events on Sundays How much: Annual membership $35 for individuals, $70 for families. Admission $6 adults, $5 active/retired military and seniors, $4 students Phone: 770-297-5900 Website: www.negahc.org
Oct. 8: Family Day, “Medieval Times: The Dark Ages Come to Light” spans four centuries and interprets the Battle of Hasting to the European contact with the New World. Armor and weaponry will be on display. Oct. 26-27: “Ghost Walk on the Square,” multiple tours between 6 and 9 p.m. each night that reveal stories of Gainesville’s haunted past. Admission $8 members, $10 nonmembers. Sponsored by museum and Main Street Gainesville Nov. 12: Family Day, “Home and Harvest” Dec. 10: Family Day, “Victorian Christmas”
Beautiful memories are made here. Make your rehearsal dinner, anniversary, graduation celebration, birthday party, wedding reception, or baby shower an event to remember.
Premier Casual Fine Dining Restaurant and Event Facility • 10,000 square foot event facility • 2 Private Dining Rooms • Award winning food
Restaurant • Bar • Lounge • Event Space 770-536-1111 • scottsdowntown.com • 131 Bradford Street, NW • Gainesville, GA
BULLI program keeps education going into later years in a social setting Story by Kayla Elder Photos courtesy of Kathy Amos Mature adults have been taking advantage of lifelong learning, leadership and cultural exploration through Brenau University’s Learning and Leisure Institute classes for 23 years. The BULLI program has served Northeast Georgia’s residents seeking continued education. The Center for Lifetime Study at Brenau offers the program at both its Gainesville and Braselton campuses. “We are an academically-oriented, continuing education program that offers classes in the daytime in Gainesville and daytime and evening in Braselton,” Executive Director Kathy Amos said. “What we are finding is that there is a real thirst for knowledge.” Amos said that though there are a wide range of reasons adults enroll in this program, many are in BULLI because “they didn’t get the chance to finish or even start their college education, and they want something that has an academic component.” “A lot of times when you see a continuing education class, you may see classes on how to play the piano, cake decorating, baby-sitting or life-saving,” Amos said. “These people want something with some real meat to it.” The program provides growth in their intellectual, social and psychological development through joint study, leisure time activities and social interaction, according to Amos. “Since our classes don’t require the people to take tests or do homework, it gives them free reign for studying without that pressure to perform,” Amos said. “It is really great to be around these older adults who are doing this – they get a lot out of what the instructor is teaching.” Amos said the students “find their voice” through these classes. “They feel they can go back and talk to their families and grandchildren about topics of interest and importance and be on equal footing with them,” Amos said. “A lot of times older adult voices are being told ‘that’s old fashioned’ or ‘you are out of date,’ they find meaning and purpose by using their voices in these classes,” Amos said. “We encourage our instructors to engage their students in thoughtful dialogue, not just lecture.” From doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs in their mid-40s to late 90s, Amos said anyone can enroll in this program. This fall about 350 adults from about six different counties have already enrolled. “It is not Gainesville- or Hall County-centric, it casts a much wider net than that,” Amos said. The six week classes are divided into four categories: academic, the arts, self-improvement and health
Left: From left, BULLI students Tina Brooks, Jonnie Everett and Alice Bryant take a breather on Hadrian’s Wall in the Lake Country, England.
32 | HOME | October 2017
and wellness. “Some (classes) are even three or four weeks depending on the instructor’s time and availability,” Amos said. “From how your body works to art appreciation, computer classes to geocaching and science, math, religion, literature and social sciences, these students see the value of stimulating their brains.” The center’s motto: where intellectual curiosity meets friendship and fun. “Science is telling us now that if you want to age well, part of the key is not just your physical body, but also your mental stimulation. Learning new things, critical thinking, approaching things from a new angle and then even exploring topics and subjects you haven’t done before, those are the kinds of things that keep your brain going and that is what these students have learned,” Amos said. “They are active, alert aged individuals and I see them staying that way because they are involved in their learning.” BULLI doesn’t stop with just classes. There is a leisure side as well that offers a variety of activities such as hiking, dining and poetry. “Not only do these students take all of the classes, they also do a lot of
Gainesville BULLI members, from left, Jennifer Skogman, Diane Rooks, Kathy McManus, Jim Hale, Robin Terrell, Caroline Kelly and Nancy Hill discuss books they are reading.
socialization,” Amos said. “There is a hiking group, a book club and poetry group. We also have a fun thing called Dinner Together where we go out once a month and have dinner together.” Since 1994 in Gainesville and 2012 in Braselton, BULLI has offered facilitated learning through a member-led and member-driven environment. “All of the programs planning, classes and finding of instructors is being done by the members of the program,” Amos
said. “We have a curriculum committee of 15 that will sit down and discuss what is of interest and find the instructors for each class.” The organization stays abreast with the needs and interests of the students by allowing the students to make all decisions regarding curriculum and general administration of the program. For more information about the Brenau University Learning and Leisure Institute visit www.brenau.edu/ lifetimestudy.
informative 1. : imparting knowledge : instructive
One of the primary roles of reporters and editors is to impart knowledge to others. Frequently, that means taking complex ideas or complicated situations and translating them in a manner so that everyone can understand. For a limited time, enjoy a
Digital Subscription for Only 99¢ for the first 4 weeks!
Honestly Local Now more than ever, you need information you can trust.
Register at gainesvilletimes.com
LIMITED TIME OFFER. Offer expires Sept. 30, 2017 October 2017 | HOME | 33
Downtown Drafts owners Aimee and Nick Hoecker are celebrating their 3rd anniversary of the business this month.
Gainesville’s own ‘Cheers’ Downtown Drafts offers homey, pet-friendly atmosphere, Wi-Fi links Story by J.K. Devine Photos by Scott Rogers
Conner Ryan has been a regular customer since Downtown Drafts opened its doors in October 2014 on Bradford Street on the Gainesville square. “It’s a great place for socializing and drinking beers you’ve never tried,” the 26-year-old Gainesville man said while sitting at a high-top table on a recent Thursday afternoon. Since its founding three years ago, Downtown Drafts has evolved from its original design as a growler shop to a beer café with free Wi-Fi, wine tastings on Tuesday nights and a trivia game on Thursday nights. “It’s a unique concept,” said Aimee Hoecker, who co-owns Downtown Drafts with her husband, Nick. “You don’t see anything like it. It kind of like a Starbucks but we offer beer instead of coffee. We have free Wi-Fi and you can spend as much time here.” Downtown Drafts is also pet-friendly, permitting customers to bring their dogs into the beer café. In fact, they have water bowls and ice cream for dogs, Aimee said. “We are not under the same 34 | HOME | October 2017
regulations like a restaurant is,” Nick said, explaining his growler store is under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, like a brewery. “We like dogs, so it was a nobrainer.” Starting such a unique business was no easy task for the husband and wife. The Hoeckers, both 36, decided to change their lifestyle in 2014. Nick was working as a bartender, causing him to miss dinner, bath time and bedtime with his son, Hudson. Aimee was also pregnant with their daughter, Ivy. “We were on our second child, and it was time for me to be home more,” Nick said. “I was making great money, but it was time to help out with the family. It was going to be better off for me to not work until four in the morning when I had two kids at home.” Therefore, the Flowery Branch couple set their sights on opening a growler store near the corner of Bradford and Spring streets in downtown Gainesville. They chose the business based on Nick’s beer knowledge. “Nick was bartender for a long time, and he really knew his beers,” Aimee said. Nick could select a variety of beers to serve on tap, then customers would pick their favorites. Then Nick and his
employees would fill a 64- or 32-ounce glass jug, or growler, and seal it for customers to take home. The simple concept worked. And the best benefit was Aimee and Nick could run the store together. “We knew we wanted to be our own bosses,” she said. The couple works in tandem at the store. Nick works 50 to 60 hours a week, serving customers and managing the staff. Aimee does the graphic design for the business, manages the finances and works at the store three days a week. Spending so much time together might strain some relationships, but not the Hoeckers’. “We’d rather work together,” Nick said. “We are best buddies.” “We are best friends,” Aimee said, looking at her husband, who took an unspoken cue from her. They fistbumped each other. Owning the store also has increased their family time. “Nick can come home for dinner and put the kids to bed,” Aimee said. “It’s really been good for our family and the store has really taken off.” Downtown Drafts usually has a constant stream of customers during the day. At night, the place is filled with customers drinking beer samples,
playing board games or socializing inside or outside on the sidewalk. However, it did not start out that way. “When we first opened, we were mostly empty,” Aimee said. “Customers would come in and get beer and leave.” Then Regina Dyer, manager of Main Street Gainesville at the time, proposed the idea changing the city ordinance to authorize the growlers store to serve “flights” or four 3-ounce tasting. “Main Street Gainesville was key in getting the ordinance changes before Gainesville City Council,” Aimee said. “It was to serve the community better.” The council agreed, and Downtown Drafts benefited. Instead of customers coming in for a growler and leaving, they were socializing and taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi. The Hoeckers then started adding board games for customers to play. In May 2015, the couple experienced the First Friday, a monthly event of concerts and activities from May to August on the in downtown square. “That First Friday just blew us away, and we had no idea what was about to happen,” Aimee said. “We were pretty slow most of time. On that Friday, people were lined up out the door. It was utter chaos, and it was a good sign for things to come.” Aimee’s prediction was correct. In the past 2½ years, Downtown Drafts has grown from selling a growler to selling “flights” and six packs of beer as well as offering wine tastings one night a week and selling a few select wines. “Now, it is constant people, because there is always something going on,” Aimee said. In fact, Downtown Drafts has sponsored several events such as Adult Prom and Adult Halloween. Both were well attended on the downtown Gainesville Square. A few months ago, the Hoeckers started trivia night on Thursdays. “It started with ‘Star Wars,’ which is our favorite,” Aimee said. Now, we have a different theme each night. We let our customers vote on the theme every week.” But the true realization that the couple has reached success happened in November 2016. Aimee, who kept her
full-time job as a graphic designer when they first opened, quit her job. “We knew we could make it our fulltime jobs,” she said. Their confidence along with their camaraderie with each other, their employees and their customers shows. “I walk in and it’s like ‘Cheers,” Ryan said. “The people who run it know you by name.” He said the Hoeckers and their employees know his favorite order of flights by heart: IPA. But he is willing to try new ones and stick around the place to enjoy the company. “It’s one of my favorite places in Gainesville,” he said.
Hours: Noon to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, noon to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 12:30-6 p.m. Sundays Address: 115 Bradford St. SE, Gainesville Phone number: 678-9432165 Email: Nick@ DowntownDrafts.net Facebook: www.facebook. com/DowntownDrafts Twitter: https://twitter.com/ downtowndrafts
Photos right top to bottom: Downtown Gainesville’s Downtown Drafts has grown into a regular hangout for locals. Lauren Williams draws a beer from one of the many taps Downtown Drafts offers to customers.The popular local hangout is celebrating its 3rd anniversary in October.
October 2017 | HOME | 35
Home In the community
Dancing for a Cause August 26, 2017
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival September 19, 2017
Good News Clinicâ€™s 25th anniversary August 17, 2017
36 | HOME | October 2017
Home In the community
Yonah Mountain Vineyardâ€™s annual Crush Fest September 2, 2017
Your Source for Property in North Georgia.
LocaL. ResidentiaL. commeRciaL. aLL at youR fingeRtips.
northgeorgiahomehub.com offers you the very best of real estate. You can browse local homes, connect with local agents, and streamline your search.
To advertise contact: Debra Cates at 770-535-6332 or email@example.com Leah Nelson at 770-535-6330 or firstname.lastname@example.org October 2017 | HOME | 37
October Oct. 1 Scarecrow Trail and Pumpkin Fest. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends. North Georgia Zoo & Farm, 2912 Paradise Valley Road, Cleveland. $21-$23. 706-3487279. email@example.com, www. northgeorgiazoo.com Buford Corn Maze. Noon -10 p.m. weekends. 4470 Bennett Road, Buford. $15-$25. 678-835-7198 jeff@vardeman. com www.BufordCornMaze.com Jaemor Farms Corn Maze, 1-7 p.m. weekends. 5340 Cornelia Highway, Alto. $9-$14, children 2 and under free with paid adult. 770-869-3999 caroline@ jaemorfarms.com, jaemorfarms.com Quinlan Visual Arts Center UniQue Artisan Craft Festival. 1-4 p.m., 514 Green St. NE, Gainesville. 770-536-2575, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.quinlanartscenter.org “Guys and Dolls.” 2-4 p.m. Piedmont College Swanson Center, 365 College Drive, Demorest. Adults $10. seniors/ students $5; Piedmont students free. 706-778-3000, email@example.com www.piedmont.edu FPC Fine Arts Series. 4 p.m. First Presbyterian Church, 800 S Enota Drive NE, Gainesville. $15, Students free. 770532-0136, www.facebook.com Pottery Comes to Town. White County Courthouse, Ga. 129 and Ga. 115, Cleveland. Free. 706-878-3933, helenartshc@helenarts. org, www.helenarts.org Oct. 2 Zumba Kids. 5:30-6:30 p.m. Mulberry Creek Community Center, 4491 J.M. Turk Road, Flowery Branch. $3. 770337-1572, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.hallcounty.org Oct. 3 “The Hills Are Alive with Joan.” 9-11:30 a.m. Quinlan Visual Arts Center, 514 Green St. NE, Gainesville. 770-536-2575, email@example.com, www.quinlanartscenter.org 38 | HOME | October 2017
Sing music with The North Georgia Barbershop Singers. 7-9:30 p.m. Cumming Baptist Church, 115 Church St., Cumming. Free. 770-609-9853, www. northgeorgiabarbershopsingers.com Oct. 4 Petit LeMans. Oct. 4-7, Road Atlanta. 5300 Winder Highway, Braselton. 1-800-849-RACE, 770-967-6143, info@ roadatlanta.com, www.roadatlanta.com Wine Lover’s Wednesday. 5-7 p.m. Where: Scott’s Downtown, 131 Bradford St. NW, Gainesville. scott@ scottsonthesquare.com Wednesdays with Tom and Juli. 7-9 p.m. The Crimson Moon, 24 N Park St., Dahlonega. Free. 706-864-3982, firstname.lastname@example.org Oct. 5 ‘Chanticleer.’ 7:30-8:30 p.m. Piedmont College Chapel, 992 Central Ave., Demorest. $25 online, $35 at door. 706-778-3000, email@example.com, www.piedmont.edu Oct. 6 Mule Camp Market. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 6-8. Downtown Square, Gainesville. 770-532-7714, firstname.lastname@example.org www.gainesvillejaycees.org Liz Longley. 8-10 p.m. The Crimson Moon, 24 N Park St., Dahlonega. $15-$18. 706-864-3982, email@example.com red. vendini.com Oct. 7 Bark in the Waterpark at Lanier Islands. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Lanier Islands, 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford. Free admission, $15/car resort fee. 770-9458787, www.lanierislands.com Patriot Choir Alumni Concert with current Patriot Choir. 5 p.m. Where: UNG Memorial Hall gymnasium, 130 Georgia Circle, Dahlonega. Free. 706867-2508, firstname.lastname@example.org The Whiskey Gentry. 8-10 p.m. The Crimson Moon, 24 N Park St., Dahlonega. $20-$24. 706-864-3982, crimsonmoon
email@example.com red.vendini.com Oct. 12 Winter Exhibitions. 5:30-7 p.m. Quinlan Visual Arts Center, 514 Green St. NE, Gainesville. paula.lindner@ quinlanartscenter.org Oct. 13 Special Olympics. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center, 1855 Calvary Church Road, Gainesville. 770-531-6855 Pickin’ in the Park Concert and Cruisein. 6-9 p.m. Chattahoochee Park, 639 Main St., Clermont. Free. 770-983-7568, Kristicrumpton@clermontga.com, www.facebook.com Oct. 14 Steve Bryson. 8-10 p.m. The Crimson Moon, 24 N Park St., Dahlonega. $11-$14. 706-864-3982, firstname.lastname@example.org, red. vendini.com Oct. 20 Jay Drummunds and Wayne Baird. 8-10 p.m. The Crimson Moon, 24 N Park St., Dahlonega. $12-$15. 706-864-3982, email@example.com, red. vendini.com Oct. 21 Oakwood Secret Santa Car Show. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. University of North Georgia Gainesville, 3820 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood. $25 registration, free to spectators. 770-519-8300, firstname.lastname@example.org Salem Baptist Church Car Show and Antique Tractor Show. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Salem Baptist Church, 6455 Westbrook Road, Gainesville. $30 registration fee. 678-986-8004 57th Annual Chicken Q. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Bethel United Methodist Church, 100 Lumpkin Campground Road S, Dawsonville. $9. 706-216-6220, email@example.com Oct. 27 Boo at the Zoo. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. North Georgia Zoo & Farm, 2912 Paradise Valley Road, Cleveland. $21-$23. 706348-7279, www.northgeorgiazoo.com
Published on Sep 20, 2017