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West Georgia

LiVing Jan./Feb. 2017

Life . Art . Music . People

Technology From schools, to work to home — west Georgia is completely up to date $3.95

Vol. 7/Issue 1




Features 17


Recovering from a wound has just gotten a little easier thanks to locally available medical technology

PLUS Law enforcement has new tech toys too - 36 Technology has its pitfalls - 34 Keeping primitive technology alive - 41 Even gardening has gone high-tech - 49 Eating well, even on a budget - 43

4 West Georgia Living

January/February 2017


Welcome to Kudzu Valley, an incubator of technology on the cutting edge

Goodbye checkbook, hello mobile banking. Money made faster and easier




Readin’, ‘riting and robotics — it’s a new age in education

Home tech is bring a George Jetson lifestyle through our front door

On the Cover: Computer equipment at FOGO Data Centers, Carrollton, GA Photograph by Ricky Stilley

Come By and Visit Us!

Well, It’s been another cold winter, here for just a little while longer they say, but Spring is really coming, so let’s get our yard and garden ready now that spring is on its way!

Whether you vegetable garden, flower garden, or just love having a beautiful yard, it starts with good soil. The # 1 secret to successful growing is knowing if the PH level is correct and you are providing the proper nutrients. • Have your soil tested to determine what’s needed, lime, fertilizer or specific nutrients, Test your soil at least once a year, ideally in the fall or at least two months before any planting. • Observe the location conditions, morning or afternoon sun, full sun, partial shade, ease of watering, well drained but not too dry, free of rocks, and sunny. There’s nothing like the satisfaction of growing fresh vegetables in your own backyard. • The fun part is deciding what vegetables you would like to grow and eat! Use the vegetable chart below to help decide type, when, and how to plant. Keep this chart for future reference Vegetable type Asparagus Beans, Bush Beans, Pole Beans, Lima Beets Broccoli Cabbage Cantaloupe Carrots Cauliflower Collard Corn Cucumbers Eggplant Kale Lettuce Mustard Okra Onions Peas, Garden Peas, Southern Peppers Potatoes, Irish Potatoes, Sweet Radishes Spinach Squash (Bush) Squash (Winter) Tomatoes Turnip Watermelons

When to plant vegetable seed

Distance in ft. between rows (garden tractor cultivation)

Distance in ft. between rows (hand cultivation)

Distance in inches between plants or hills in row

January 15 to March 15 4-5 3-4 April 1 to May 1 3 2 April 1 to May 1 4 4 April 1 to June 1 3-3 1/2 2-2 1/2 February 15 to April 1 2 1/2 -3 1-2 February 15 to March 15 2 1/2-3 2-3 January 15 to March 15 3 2-2 1/2 March 25 - April 20 5 3-4 January 15 - March 20 2 1/2 -3 1-2 March 1 to April 1 3 2 - 2 1/2 February 1 to March 10 3 2-3 March 12 - June 1 3 2-3 April 1 to May 15 5 3-4 April 1 to May 15 3 2-3 February 1 to March 10 3 1 1/2 -2 January 15 to March 1 2-3 1 1/2 January 15 to April 1 2-3 1-2 April 1 to June 1 3 2-3 January 1 to March 15 2-3 1-2 January 15 to February 15 3 2-3 April 1 to August 1 3 2-3 April 1 to June 1 3 2-3 January 1 to March 1 3 2 1/2 -3 April 15 to June 15 3 2 1/2 -3 January 15 to April 1 2-3 1-1 1/2 January 15 to March 15 2-3 1 1/2 -2 April 1 to May 15 5 3-5 April 1 to August 1 5 3-5 March 25 to May 1 3-5 2 1/2 -3 January 15 to April 1 2 1/2 - 3 1 1/2 - 2 March 20 to May 1 6 4-5 Note: Planting Dates in this chart are appropriate for MIDDLE Georgia.

18 3-6 36-48 12-18 4-6 15-18 18 36-48 3-4 18 18-24 8-9 36-48 24 8-10 8-10 4-6 18-24 3-4 1-3 1-3 18 12 12 2-3 4-8 36-60 36-60 30-36 4-6 36-72

Southern Home & R Ranch Garden Center is getting ready for a wonderful year of gardening and growing, in addition we are now w your local re and pasture Southern States brand independent dealer. We carry a wide selection of the best lawn and garden products along with pond care products, from names you know and trust. Come on by, we can help, talk with our knowledgeable staff, bring your ideas and questions, they will be happy to help you with your gardening, yard, pasture and farming needs, hope to see you soon, your friends at Southern Home & Ranch Garden Center.




West Georgia

Li Ving Volume 7 . Issue 1 January/February 2017 Publisher Marvin Enderle

Editor Ken Denney

Advertising Melissa Wilson

Photographer Ricky Stilley

Design Richard Swihart

Contributors Taylor Boltz, Melanie Boyd, Alexandra Coffey, Robert Covel, Amy Lavender, Joyce McArthur, Arthia Nixon, Josh Sewell, Marilyn Van Pelt. To advertise in West Georgia Living, call Melissa Wilson at 770-834-6631. West Georgia Living is a bi-monthly publication of the Newspapers of West Georgia. Submissions, photography and ideas may be submitted to Ken Denney c/o The Times-Georgian, 901 Hays Mill Rd., Carrollton, GA 30117.

ABOUT THIS ISSUE Now begins the seventh year of West Georgia Living magazine, and it’s appropriate that we do so with a look at technology. You may think that magazines are a piece of “old technology” in that they’ve been around for years. That’s true, but technology has shaped the way this magazine and all other print products are made. Writers submit their work remotely, and photographs are edited by software. Just as technology has shaped and changed the publishing industry, we wanted to explore how much technology has changed life in west Georgia.

Departments A R T I S T' S C O R N E R 52

A worldwide journey provides inspiration


Budgeting doesn’t mean going without flavor


Imagine never cutting your grass again. SERIOUSLY!!


When technology has a role on the silver screen


Sometimes you just need a little humor in your life


Copyright 2017 by the Times-Georgian


January/February 2017

We also look at how students are getting a leg up to the jobs of tomorrow. We examine how a new form of medical technology is helping heal chronic wounds. We look at how our homes are coming pre-wired for the future, and we track how we all are moving to a cashless society.

Also in this issue, you’ll find some ideas for easy recipes that help save money. We look You may be surprised to learn that a region at the artwork of Alice Searcy, and discover a new work by a Southern humorist. And that only a generation or so ago was dominated by agriculture is now a booming tech- our own photographer, Ricky Stilley, shows off some of his best photos. nological center. Businesses are growing here that facilitate other companies around So whether you’re reading this issue in your the world to exist in the cloud of wireless armchair or a computer screen, enjoy! internet.

Submissions will not be returned unless requested and accompanied with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. West Georgia Living reserves the right to edit any submission.

6 West Georgia Living

Our features this month explore many different aspects of this technological revolution. We look at our region’s status in this world of tomorrow and in a separate article, we examine how tech is changing both crime and the reach of law enforcement.

Getting Off on the Right Foot With Your New Knee BY TAYLOR CATES, MD | CARROLLTON ORTHOPAEDIC CLINIC Knee replacement is one of the most common orthopedic surgical procedures performed today, with more than 600,000 such procedures performed in the United States each year. New designs and alloys allow replacement joints to last longer, so we can consider addressing knee pain with a joint replacement in younger patients than in years past. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has found that 90 percent of patients who undergo a knee replacement procedure report experiencing much less pain after their surgery. There can be many reasons you may need to consider a knee replacement surgery, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or post-traumatic arthritis, which can follow a serious knee injury. Once you’ve consulted with an orthopedic surgeon and settled on a knee replacement as the best approach to your pain, your next thoughts may invariably go to what happens after your procedure. Fortunately, because knee replacement is such a common orthopedic procedure, we also have lots of data and research about it. At Tanner, we’ve examined the research and developed evidence-based clinical practices to ensure the best possible outcome for our knee replacement patients in the days following their surgeries. In fact, Tanner’s approach to knee replacement has earned Tanner Ortho and Spine Center the Joint Commission’s Disease-specific Care Certification for hip and knee replacement. The award-winning level of care begins even prior to surgery when you attend the Tanner Joint Academy, a class led by registered nurses, a physical therapist, care coordinators and the orthopedic and spine

nurse navigator. This class will help decrease anxiety that comes along with surgery and explain to you and your “coach” (or support person) what to expect before, during and after surgery.

DAY OF SURGERY After your knee replacement procedure, you’ll wake up in a recovery area called the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU), where specially trained nursing staff will be on hand to help you recover from the effects of the anesthesia. Because this area is used by other patients also recovering from surgery, visitors are not allowed out of respect to your privacy and the privacy of the other patients. From the PACU, you’ll be moved to your hospital room where your loved ones are welcome. The nurse will take your vital signs, and through the day you’ll learn about the medications you’ll need to control pain and nausea, how to use an incentive spirometer to prevent pneumonia and begin the physical therapy that will be critical to helping you live actively on your new knee. Your first physical therapy goal will be to walk to your room door and back which is about 25 feet.

FOLLOWING SURGERY On your first day in the hospital, the patient care team will draw labs and check your vital signs. Your IV will be stopped and you’ll be able to lose the hospital gown and put on some normal, comfortable clothes from home. The nurse will go over the pain control medications and help you understand what you’ll need to do after you leave the hospital to continue to improve the range of motion in your new knee. The physical therapist will help you achieve a goal to walk 100 feet on your new knee that morning, and 150 feet that afternoon. The

therapist also will show you more exercises to do at home for your knee. Most patients will be ready to be discharged from the hospital by the end of the first or second day after surgery. On the day of discharge, you should be able to walk at least 200 feet, navigate stairs and understand your pain management and discharge instructions. Any assistive devices you need, such as a walker, will be delivered to you in the hospital. Once medically cleared, you’ll be ready to go home with the support of a home health agency, such as Tanner Home Health, to continue your physical therapy. Once home, the physical therapist from the home health agency will continue to meet with you regularly to work on exercises that will help you improve your range of motion and walk with less pain than you’ve experienced in years. Recovering from any joint replacement procedure is a lot of work, but you’ll be glad you made this choice. Need to discuss your knee pain with an orthopedic medicine specialist? Call the Tanner physician referral line anytime at 770.214.CARE (2273) to find an orthopedic specialist on the medical staff of the Tanner Ortho and Spine Center. Dr. Cates is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with Carrollton Orthopaedic Clinic and a member of the patient care team at Tanner Ortho and Spine Center. He earned his medical degree from the University of Tennessee in Memphis, completed his internship and residency in orthopedic medicine at Atlanta Medical Center and a fellowship in sports medicine at Atlanta Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics.

More information about Tanner’s orthopedic services can be found online at West Georgia Living

January/February 2017 7

Technology doesn’t always mean progress


here’s something about the word “technology” that gets us excited. To us, the word is synonymous with “change” – maybe even “advancement,” and we are wired, so to speak, to desire new things: experiences, places and even new electronic doodads. The chairman of Apple doesn’t get up in front of a big audience to say that this year’s iPhone is going to be the same as last year’s. No one wants to hear that; they want to hear that the iPhone clipped to their hip for the next 12 months is going to be leaps and bounds ahead of that iPhone they craved this time last year. To be sure, that old iPhone will still dial your numbers, play your jam, let you watch cat videos as well as Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook to your heart’s content. In terms of what it does, last year’s model phone hasn’t really changed. But the new phone does those old things in an all-new improved way – and that fact alone, it seems, is enough to link the old phone to the Mesozoic Era. That’s right: if the T-Rex had long enough arms, he’d be using an iPhone 6. I think I know where this attitude comes from, and we can trace it to the Greatest Generation. Yes, of course that generation deserves heaps of praise for ridding the world of Hitler and fascism, but the economy built by all those returning GIs was based on pure consumerism – and a hope that the same technology that produced weapons of war would now build a better, peaceful world. Midcentury America was enraptured by the Space Age. The ballistic missiles of Germany became vehicles for space exploration, and everyone looked forward to having a flying car, or a personal jet pack or talking to grandma over a picture phone. Television was a postwar miracle, and Walt Disney would come into our living rooms each week to show us the future, one that would be built by enlightened 8 West Georgia Living

January/February 2017

technocrats; smooth and efficient, planned down to last blade of grass. We believed it because we wanted to – and who wouldn’t? The pace of progress through the 1950s to the early 60s led us to think that we would be hopping onto regularly scheduled rocket ships to the Moon or Mars. Everything, including your mom’s Sunbeam mixer, had a space-age design, sleek and streamlined, even though it merely sat on the kitchen counter. Things started to change in 1957. That’s the year that the Soviet Union (remember them?) used one of those rockets to launch a satellite into space, proving simultaneously that they could dance rings around the U.S technologically, and that their rockets could presumably lob an atomic bomb into our suburban patios. Tomorrow, we suddenly realized, might not be as bright and peaceful as we had imagined. And in 1958, of course, the Ford Motor Company introduced the Edsel, instantly proving that new and improved wasn’t necessairly so. In the Cold War (remember that?), technology was scary, and our visions of tomorrow were equally tainted. A-bombs created giant monsters to crush cities; aliens would use their advanced gizmos to enslave us; semi-sentient computers would refuse to open pod bay doors, etc. That’s the world in which I grew up. We had rotary telephones and gas-guzzling cars, and if we wanted to know the name of the era in which the T-Rex lived, we had to drive that car to the library and crack open a book. Our attitudes toward technology had changed, but those feelings did nothing to halt the march of progress, nor did it deter the Mad Men of Madison Avenue from making us want things we didn’t know we were missing. Through the


era of blow-dried hair, bell bottoms and shiny disco balls, the future kept on coming, bringing with it all sorts of gimcracks and gewgaws. So, here we are, in a new century, and the future is starting to look a bit brighter again. There’s no longer a Soviet menace and, apparently, they’ve finally found a cure for acne. We can watch the latest movies in the comfort of our homes, spend a weekend binging on TV series, and summon a stranger to drive us someplace in his car – something our parents never wanted us to do for some reason. We are a long way from our distant ancestors who lived in caves and did not know about microwave ramen noodles. We live in a technological wonderland that is no less so for the absence of jetpacks and flying cars. Yet this new century has arrived with a cost, and that’s also a legacy of postwar consumerism. We have all these tools of wonder, but what do we do with them? We Tweet the minutiae of our existence to friends who are mostly strangers, and argue politics with friends of those same strangers. Amid a universe of information, we select only those facts that conform to our beliefs about how the world should be, not as it is. We have been jaded to the point that we treat each technological advance as just another disposable good; what’s here today will be obsolete tomorrow. We spend our money and time on fads and trends, and allow our zeal for the latest and greatest to supplant more important things. Our relationships with friends and family are built less and less on mutual feeling, and more and more on how we share with them our consumerist passions. Technology will never stop; it is the genius of humankind, tinkering to improve things as they are. But we must decide whether those shiny, new things are good for our old soul. WGL


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CINEMA “Great Scott!” Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in the 1.21-gigawatt blockbuster “Back to the Future.” 1985 Universal Pictures





ecause cinema is a relatively new art form (compared to writing, painting, theater, etc.), one that takes full advantage of current technology while also pioneering new advances, stories on the big screen have been obsessed with the benefits and drawbacks of scientific advancements since the beginning. If you don’t believe me, take a look at Fritz Lang’s 1927 film “Metropolis.” An exhaustive collection of movies that address technology would probably require several books, so consider this list a brief glimpse at some modern greatest hits. Even 10 West Georgia Living

January/February 2017

in that respect, it’s sorely lacking. So don’t get mad if you don’t see yours; plenty of fantastic movies didn’t make the cut. These are just a few that I love.

“Alien” (1979)

One of my favorite horror movies has a love-hate relationship with technology. It’s responsible for the miracle of deep space travel, but that’s also what leads to the characters’ fateful encounter with the


titular monster. It’s also what created the evil android in their midst, designed to prioritize the alien’s capture above the lives of the crew.

“The Terminator” (1984)

Yet another dark film that doesn’t hold an optimistic view of technology. This classic cemented James Cameron’s reputation as one of Hollywood’s most imaginative filmmakers, as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s action star status. While it spawned four sequels, the quality diminished with each. “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” from

ratchets up the tension to unbearable levels – even though most viewers already know how the story ends.

1991 is great (the action sequences are stellar and the visual effects are jaw-dropping), but the original is still the only one you really need.

“The Matrix” (1999)

Revered for its use “Back to the Future” of technology from (1985) both a narrative My favorite movie is and filmmaking remembered for its perspective, it’s not an complicated time travel exaggeration to claim narrative and (for its that the Wachowskis’ era) revolutionary masterpiece changed special effects, but it the face of cinema. Bill Paxton, Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon have a puts technology to the Every action movie problem while traveling to the Moon in “Apollo 13.” best possible use: in you’ve seen since 1995 Universal Pictures service of a wonderful, the beginning of the universal tale that 21st century has been asks us to think of influenced by the story Strathairn, Timothy Busfield, Donal Logue, our parents as real of Neo, Morpheus, James Earl Jones, Stephen Tobolowsky and people and warns us about the dangers of Trinity and Agent Smith. If you need further River Phoenix in one of his final roles. It’s nostalgia. Unfortunately, the sequels forgot proof of its power, just think of the endless basically the proto-“Ocean’s Eleven,” and the value of putting story first, a lapse that times it has been imitated and parodied I still can’t believe there’s not a series of has followed Robert Zemeckis for much of (even “Shrek” referenced it). As with several them. his career. entries on this list, it’s best not to dwell too   much on the disappointing sequels.  

“Sneakers” (1992)

While this story of computer hackers hasn’t aged well in terms of technology, it remains an entertaining comedic thriller thanks to a crackling screenplay (co-written by director Phil Alden Robinson, who also helmed “Field of Dreams”) and a killer ensemble cast. Just look at these names: Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd, Ben Kingsley, Sidney Poitier, Mary McDonnell, David

“Apollo 13” (1995)

Most movies that revolve around technology serve as cautionary tales, but this one – a remarkably true story – uses the topic to showcase the extraordinary intelligence and bravery of which people are capable when placed in an impossible situation. The film boasts incredible performances from Tom Hanks, Ed Harris, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton and Gary Sinise, and director Ron Howard

“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004)

Another of my all-time favorite films is technically about revolutionary advances in science, but the topic is just an excuse to meditate on relatable themes like love, heartbreak and sexuality. As with all of Charlie Kaufman’s screenplays, the complex narrative treats viewers as adults and

Keanu Reeves just says “Whoa” in “ The Matrix.” 1999 Warner Brothers

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Arnold Schwarzenegger is a cyborg on a mission in “ The Terminator.” 1984 Orion Pictures

Robert Downey Jr. drops the mic in “Iron Man.” 2008 Paramount Pictures

expects them to keep up, with minimal hand-holding. That means multiple viewings are required, and each one is more revelatory and beautiful than the next. “Eternal Sunshine” features Jim Carrey’s best performance to date, just a hair above his work in “The Truman Show” – which, coincidentally enough, is also a fascinating rumination on the effects of technology on society.

“Iron Man” (2008)

Sometimes movies with a heavy technological theme are just plain fun. That’s the case with this pivotal story, which simultaneously launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe and revitalized Robert Downey Jr.’s career. Like the best films that address gadgets and gizmos, it’s more interested in the human component behind their creation. I’m not sure if Downey knew

he’d be forever associated with Tony Stark when he signed on, but that’s certainly what happened. When he dies (hopefully many decades from now), “Iron Man” is the first clip that will play during his Oscar “In Memoriam” segment.

“The Social Network” (2010)

Before its release, this fascinating collaboration between David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin (two of my favorite storytellers) was derisively called “The Facebook Movie,” as if these geniuses were wasting their talent on material that was beneath them. Once it hit theaters, people stopped laughing. Fincher and Sorkin use the invention of social media to comment on the kind of person who would create it, as well as a culture that would adopt it so quickly. The ultimate takeaway isn’t pretty, but it’s a glorious car crash to behold.

“Ex Machina”


Easily one of the decade’s best films, this modern retelling of “Frankenstein” comments not only on the dangers of technology – particularly how we easily trade privacy for convenience – but also the dangers of toxic masculinity and patriarchal societies. In less than two hours, Alex Garland, with the assistance of astounding performances from Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac, forces viewers to question their preconceived notions on topics ranging from search engines and artificial intelligence, to what makes someone a hero or a villain. WGL E-mail: Twitter: @IAmJoshSewell Facebook:

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January/February 2017




January/February 2017 13

Previous page: Sunset after a storm, on Lake Carroll. Above: Sunset in Mt. Zion. At right: Snow on Richard’s Lake.

14 West Georgia Living

January/February 2017

At right: Waterfowl takes flight across the sunset on Lake Carroll. Below: A rainbow after a storm on Curtis Creek. Bottom: A great Blue Heron takes flight over Lake Carroll.

West Georgia Living

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Now, that’s some powerful news.

Most people served by GreyStone Power are paying less for electricity than they were a year ago, thanks to our ongoing Wallet Watch reduction. That’s something to celebrate!

GreyStone Power. Energizing your life for even less than before.

Just think about computers, TVs, phones, washers and dryers, hot water, lighting, heating and all the other things that use electricity to make our lives better. Georgia Power customers pay 30%* more for their electricity than GreyStone Power members, based on the most recent residential rate survey by the Public Service Commission.

*Based January/February on 1,500 kilowatt hours (kWh) 16 West Georgia Living 2017per month for 2016 summer rates.

GreyStone Power is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Welcome to

Michael Holmes, Andy Johnson and Jay Bland of GreenCourt.

Kudzu Valley West Georgia has quietly become a hub of innovative technology and data resources


here’s been a quiet revolution these past few years in west Georgia – a slow shift in the economy, thanks to a remarkable confluence of people, opportunity and circumstance. Where there was once cotton fields and textile mills, there are now server farms and software. The three counties of Douglas, Carroll and Haralson counties have seen a transformation in the age of the internet, a change that promises to be every bit as fundamental as that which created Silicon Valley in California.

focused on harvesting a future that blends a quiet, rural life with the lightning speeds of fiber optics. Carroll County is at the hub of this revolution, with several new startups that have not only captured the notice of Wall Street investors, but also that of developers and forward-thinking clients. And while each day hundreds of commuters leave the county to travel to jobs in Atlanta, the trend is starting to slowly reverse. Some people, it seems, are leaving the Big City each morning for jobs out in the country.

Welcome, then, to Kudzu Valley.

The situation is much the same in Douglas, where large data centers – particularly one run West Georgia, favorably located near metro by a little company known as Google – have Atlanta and its airport, has proved to be an been springing up like mushrooms after a incubator of advanced technology on the rainstorm. And in Haralson County, a telecomcutting edge of tomorrow. Only a generation or munications company is at the vanguard of an so away from farmers information delivery and laborers, the revolution that links all STORY BY KEN DENNEY new economy of this these companies to the PHOTOS BY RICKY STILLEY modern-day region is vast internet. West Georgia Living

January/February 2017 17

William G. Esslinger, Jr., CEO of FOGO Data Centers.

A fortunate coincidence In the 1880s, the agrarian existence of subsistence farmers in west Georgia was utterly transformed by the arrival of railroads that snaked across the region. That rail infrastructure, once established, brought a slew of industries dependent on rail transport. The three counties became a major shipping point for cotton, and next a locale for textile mills that sent finished textile goods to markets all over the country. In the postwar era, the county’s economy changed yet again when manufacturing companies began to leverage the skilled workforce created by the older mills. Children of textile workers could afford higher education and to learn trades that took them further away from the farm lives of their parents. In 1950, Southwire Company was founded in Carroll County for the simple reason that it was the home of its creator, Roy Richards. That fortunate connection has been repeated with the advent of the new technology era. 18 West Georgia Living

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Systems and Methods, Inc. – better known locally as SMI – is a data processing business that began in 1971, serving local businesses in Carrollton. It was founded by Bob Stone, a professor at what was then called West Georgia College, now the University of West Georgia. Not long after, another Carrollton resident, Tommy Green, also of Carrollton, sold his chain of auto parts stores to create his own data processing company, Greenway Corporation. Both companies were similar in nature in that they provided the same kind of services that much bigger companies provided large corporations. SMI concentrated on processing payments for local governments; Greenway focused on helping small banks process check transactions. But both took advantage of the kinds of computer technologies then coming on line, giving smaller entities the same advantages that the big boys enjoyed. Green sold the banking side of the business in 1998, but kept another part – that which

provided data services for doctor practices. Greenway Medical Technologies is now one of the Carrollton’s largest corporations. But Green still wasn’t finished. He and a team of people with roots in both SMI and Greenway medical are now involved in Greencourt, an all-new company that, as the name implies, focuses on legal services, specifically electronic court filings. The service has been integrated into courthouses all over Georgia, and the company is still growing. This generational growth of business in Carroll County – in which one company spawns another company, which then morphs into another – is what Green calls the “spillover effect.” But for whatever reason, Carroll County is fast becoming a technology center, much in the same way that it became a center of light manufacturing in the 1950s. Both Silicon Valley and the Pacific northwest became the locus of cutting-edge growth simply because that is where the entrepreneurs lived. In much the same

Both Silicon Valley and the Pacific northwest became the locus of cutting-edge growth simply because that is where the entrepreneurs lived. In much the same way, Carroll County is becoming a tech center simply because Tommy Green and Bob Stone live here. maintains its own data center in Douglas County: a massive, sprawling complex that helps keep the world supplied in cat videos and Facebook posts.

way, Carroll County is becoming a tech center simply because Tommy Green and Bob Stone live here.

Location, location, location

Breezy Straton of the Douglas County Economic Authority, says this phenomenon is due, in part, to the region’s proximity to the amenities of metro Atlanta – especially Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. But the workforce here is also attractive, thanks to the tech-heavy education students are receiving in our high schools generally, and at the University of West Georgia particularly.

Greenway Health, as Green’s former medical services company is now known, sits on Tom Reeve Drive, just behind the Carrollton city school complex. Almost directly across the road is a company called Fogo, one of several large data centers that have been springing up across west Georgia. Behind Fort Knox-level security, Fogo – which provides cloud-based data storage for the healthcare industry – maintains a giant roomful of computers, each one dedicated to the service of one of their clients. The array is supported by enough air conditioning units to keep the whole county cool on a hot, summer day, and has a sophisticated electrical backup system that includes two locomotive-sized diesel generators. Fogo also has roots in Greenway. Some of its key officers originally worked there. And while both companies are big enough and sophisticated enough to work closer inside the metro area, they find west Georgia is just fine.

Jay Bland and Ryan Roenigk of GreenCourt There seems to be something about the west Georgia area that both creates high tech companies and then keeps them here. And not just local companies. Google, perhaps one of the largest companies on the planet,

“I will tell you that the new agreement between the technical college system of Georgia and the University System of Georgia, with their articulation agreement seems to at least have a positive impact, where kids who weren’t sure if they wanted to go to a four-year school can start out at a technical school and then matriculate more easily into a four-year university system if they choose to,” she said. Not too long ago, kids in west Georgia high schools could take a shop class and learn how to build a birdhouse or tune up a Chevy. Now, along with the rest of the state, west Georgia schools are heavily invested in STEM West Georgia Living

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education, an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. In doing so, they are getting a ground-up education that prepares them for the whiz-bang jobs of tomorrow.

GreenCourt software engineers Ryan Hill and Kumar Sabnis

Even if a four-year college isn’t in their future, today’s young folks are getting ready for a comfortable lifestyle in the tech industry. Through the articulation agreements that Straton talks about, kids who are concentrating now on a technical education can create a transcript that will help them enter a full university later. All in all, the area’s schools have become a pipeline of workers ready to enter the tech workplace from the get-go – and then go on to create little tech startups of their own.

Because of its proximity to Atlanta, west Georgia benefits from that city being one of the nation’s largest internet hubs. Data centers like Fogo, for example, can plug into the information super-super highway by means of high speed fiber optic cables. One Haralson County company, Sync Global Telecom, is providing this service to many companies in both Haralson and across west Georgia, literally creating the infrastructure for future expansion of the industry.

Growing the future, keeping the past Right now, Douglas County is involved in a major economic strategic plan which will assess not only the full impact of the tech sector on the local community, but also help the county plan the future growth of the industry here. One thing the county does not want to do is to spoil what local officials believe is the reason why west Georgia is developing into a tech center in the first place: 20 West Georgia Living

Andy Camp, vice president of economic development for Carroll Tomorrow, tells prospective industries looking to relocate here that west Georgia has “a quieter, more casual pace of life, with all the big-city amenities nearby.”

January/February 2017

a lifestyle that is remarkably different from the big city world of other tech companies. “We know growth is coming and we want to be sure that we do it very focused,” said Straton. “Also, to conserve a lot of our beautiful landscape – we don’t want just every tree torn down and lots of buildings built, so this plan will help us to formulate a blueprint for our community. And be proactive with the growth, not just be reactive.”

“We’re not Midtown Atlanta, and if a company is looking for that, then we cannot recreate that out here,” Camp said. “But what we do have to offer is a proven track record of providing success to those businesses that locate here; they’ve all been successful. We’re close to Atlanta and the airport, plus we have great linkage to the internet through fiber connectively, particularly the northern part of Carroll county.”

Just far enough from Atlanta

Inside the 104-year-old Holderness Building, just off Carrollton’s Adamson Square, is the headquarters of GreenCourt Legal Technologies. It’s the third tech company founded by Tommy Green, a local boy GreenCourt Customer Service who’s made good. representative Tyler Woodard He and Andy Johnson, GreenCourt’s CEO, are at the center of a relaxed, corporate environment that makes itself cozily at home in the slowed-down atmosphere of Green’s hometown – yet the company itself is in the middle of a growing industry: providing data services for the legal world, just as Green once did for small banks and doctors’ offices. “Why is SMI, Systems and Methods, in Carrollton, and why is Greenway Health and now GreenCourt here? It’s just coincidence,” said Green. “It just happened that Bob Stone (founder of SMI) was here; he was

“We’re not Midtown Atlanta, and if a company is looking for that, then we cannot recreate that out here. But what we do have to offer is a proven track record of providing success to those businesses that locate here; they’ve all been successful.”

— Andy Camp, Carroll Tomorrow

a professor at West Georgia College. And my parents were here, and I was just born here.” More than that, Green said, the reason west Georgia – and Carrollton especially – has become a tech center is what he calls the “spillover effect”: developers who help introduce a product or service at one company, then move on to create their own products at their own companies. Of course, these newly minted entrepreneurs could spill over into some other community – yet they choose to stay here. Johnson left SMI to take up a new career with GreenCourt, a transition that he found to be seamless. “I know SMI’s culture, because I worked there; I grew up in SMI. I know Greenway’s culture, and then of course I know our culture. But the thing about those three companies is that we’re family oriented. I compare us to the big companies, and even the smaller companies that are out in Atlanta, by what they lack – and what they lack is that ownership feel; that not only am I contributing, but the people around me support me.” GreenCourt is riding to the future on a cloud-based system developed by Microsoft – designed, in fact, by one of Microsoft’s senior officers who relocated to Carrollton from the epicenter of technology that is located in Redmond, Wash.

“He’s a prime example of somebody that you would typically see working out in northern California, or the hub of technologies in Atlanta,” said Johnson. “But he sees the opportunity we’ve got here in GreenCourt. And the way Greenway has changed the medical industry and SMI has chanted the data processing industry, he sees the same opportunity for GreenCourt to do the same thing in the legal industry.” He’s not the only one. While a lot of Carroll citizens hop in the car each morning for a daily traffic-filled drive into Atlanta, some of GreenCourt’s employees leave the bustle of the city to commute to Carrollton. “They say we live out in the country,” says Green, “But we’re not but 45 minutes from the airport; we can be at most restaurants in Atlanta in 45 minutes or an hour max. And while we’re living here in Carrollton, I can get to work, I can get to the hospital, the doctor office, anything, in 10 minutes.” ••• Apart from the lifestyle, Green and Johnson say Carroll County’s governments have helped put in place the infrastructure that makes high-speed data businesses possible. It’s something that other counties in the region could do more of, if they would like to replicate Carrollton’s growth in the tech sector. The Greater West Georgia Joint

Development Authority, along with Carroll EMC, are busy now studying the possibilities of expanding broadband connectivity to an even larger section of the region. The goal, according to Carroll Tomorrow’s Andy Camp, is to create the best connectivity possible for economic development and education attainment. “There’s so much delivered via the internet now that we wouldn’t want somebody to not have that accessibility in their home, where their students may fall behind,” he said. “You can imagine that technology moves quickly, but really all business moves quickly,” Camp added. “So what we can do as a community is make sure that we’re well prepared to meet companies’ needs. And I think that’s something that goes back to that proven track record; that’s why we’ve been successful in the past and will continue to attract those types of jobs and investment in the future – because we have a history of doing those things and doing them well.” Within a single lifetime, west Georgia has changed from a mostly agricultural community to one powered by retail, commerce and now high-tech data and online financial transfers. Leveraging its advantages in resources, education and community, the region is transforming itself in ways that cannot yet be imagined, simply because the future is being made day by day. WGL

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Readin’, ‘riting and

ROBOTICS L ess than 15 years ago, I got an award for a high school computer class that involved using the Mavis Beacon typing program and spending a few weeks learning to cut, copy, paste and calculate on a computer spreadsheet. I also learned to log-in through a primitive, noisy dial-up modem. Not long ago, my 11-year-old seventh grader showed me a school project in which she had built a website on her own. She is also building a smartphone app that she wants to sell soon on some online marketplace. She does computer coding while watching Disney “princess films.” I’m considered part of the millennial generation, but when I was my daughter’s age, the clouds I learned about were classified as cumulus or stratus. She uses a digital cloud to do homework. Entire school programs today emphasize the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (a curriculum called STEAM). I stand in awe of my child’s accomplishments, but it turns out she’s just an average kid. In fact, children enrolled in west Georgia schools get a chance to go full throttle into technology competitions by the time they hit third grade. Overseeing these little techies is Richard Free, who serves on the board of the Georgia Education Technology Fair, and is the director of the West Georgia Regional Technology Fair – an annual competition for students in this region and across the state. Contestants attend public, private and home schools in Carroll, Coweta, Harris, Heard, Meriwether, and Troup counties, as well as Carrollton City Schools. When the Fair concludes on Jan. 13 of this year, the winners will prepare for the state tech fair on March 11. “I’ve been involved in it for 14 years and we’ve been doing it for close to 20 years,” said Free. “It started fairly simply, and it’s blown up into something bigger that is really more of a technology competition as opposed to a science fair. We start

ARTHIA NIXON 22 West Georgia Living

January/February 2017

“Chromebooks and other cloud-based platforms are becoming the way for many teachers to connect with their classrooms on an external network, if you will.” — Richard Free, director of the West Georgia Regional Technology Fair

them from grades three through 12.” ‘Fairly simple’ beginnings, Free explains, means that students competed using multimedia projects such as PowerPoint in their presentations. Now the competitors present entire websites, as well as projects in robotics, hardware and coding.

Mt. Zion Elementary Advanced STEM Club students Nathan Cowart and Mason Jakubiak placed second in the Robotics Competition in the January 2016 West Georgia Technology Fair.

Nothing that the students do surprises Free anymore. He said one of the more impressive projects he had seen involved a group of students who turned a normal vehicle into something he compared to as KITT, the car from the old TV show “Knight Rider.” Free also works within the Heard County school system, where Chromebook laptops

Now that the three R’s stand for reading, ‘riting and robotics, one wonders if there could be some things lost as there are new gains in education. “Yes, everything is on the computer, so penmanship is becoming a lost art for some,” agreed Free. “In some ways, I guess you could say that people will have to revert back to writing. Some things you naturally do with your hands like writing. Will it become a lost art in 50 years or so? I don’t know. I don’t see writing completely going away, but I do see technology being a big part of our education.”

“It’s second nature to them because of the generation that they are born into,” said Free. “Some of them are exposed to technology from the time they are infants, and so their level of computer skills is what was college level some time ago. They really do understand the coding blocks; what it takes to put them together and setting up a robotics program. “I also think today’s kids are less afraid than we were when it comes to trying some of these technologies and challenging themselves. If it doesn’t work, they try it again. It’s just a part of their daily lives now, not something reserved for nerds. It’s certainly not quite as nerdy as it was. Technology is really integrated into all aspects for today’s kids.”

education and the rest.”

are being made available to every student, from 3rd through 12th grade by 2018. Students are already accessing tablets, computers and other technologies in kindergarten and first grade in the school system. “Chromebooks and other cloud-based platforms are becoming the way for many teachers to connect with their classrooms on an external network, if you will,” he explained. “These types of things are getting to be more average for students. We had to lug these big heavy books around, but textbooks are now on the computer and kids can access them to get what they need. Some schools have BYOT (bring your own technology) in which kids are allowed to use their laptops, tablets or phones in the classroom for

Free may be onto something when it comes to the marriage of technology and education, especially considering online education is seemingly here to stay. There are now more than 2.7 million students across the United States who are taking part in digital learning, according to Connections Academy, which tracks K-12 education. As for adults relying on technology to further their own education, the numbers of online degree seekers have continued to rise steadily over the past decade. U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 Online Rankings placed the University of West Georgia among the top in the nation. The University has continually been among the highest performing in many of the assessed online areas, and that pleases its president, Kyle Marrero.

West Georgia Living

January/February 2017 23

“We are delighted that UWG continues to be acknowledged and recognized for our progressive work in distant learning,” he said. “A pivotal part of the university’s strategic plan is providing flexible, affordable and quality online program options for our students, and this ranking proves that we are among the best online.” The list evaluated more than 12,000 online programs offered by nonprofit and for-profit institutions in the United States, ranking the top 145 of those offering bachelor’s degrees and graduate-level programs in business, education, engineering, nursing, criminal justice and computer information technology. “UWG has a long history of providing exceptional online learning experiences for students, and our commitment to curriculum excellence and best practices in online teaching and learning continues to be reflected in these important national rankings,” said Associate Dean of Online Development and USG eCore Jason Huett. “Through the hard work of our dedicated faculty and staff, we continue to expand our reach to new and underserved student audiences, and to advance online education that is accessible, flexible and affordable for everyone.” WGL

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Mobile payments are here T

he days of the check or wire transfer are dying, if not already dead. Humanity grows more and more obsessed with the idea of instant gratification and the need for speedy money payments grows as well. Sure, PayPal has not gone anywhere in the last 17 years, but technology advances every year. With options like Venmo, Google Wallet, and even Facebook, it is no wonder that some people do not know how to write out a check. In 2009, Venmo was created to help friends send money to each other. The founders, Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon-Ismail, first designed Venmo as a means to send money through text messages, but now the app links to bank accounts and doubles as a form of social media. When a user logs in or opens the app, a “newsfeed” is the first screen to be seen. On this feed, the user can scroll through the different transactions of their Facebook friends or contacts. Only the basic information – parties involved in the payment, what it is for, etc. – can be

seen; payment amount is not disclosed. Considering that it was acquired by PayPal, Venmo is against its service being used to do business transactions.

Similar to Venmo is Google Wallet. It also focuses on payments and transferring funds, but offers three modes of payment: Gmail, the app itself, or the website However, unlike Venmo, Google Wallet is literally that — a virtual wallet, meaning that there has to be money in account. Users have to first add money themselves in order to do anything. Also unlike Venmo, there is the added safety of a four digit PIN number, which is opt-in, but protects the user’s identity and money when withdrawing, opening the app, or sending money. Google Wallet stores as much of the user’s credit card information as he or she would like, offering easier options for making store and online purchases. Everything is controlled by the click of a smartphone button – that is, if the platform is accepted by


the store. Businesses are still getting used to the idea of having a mobile paying app, and the machinery for having this accessibility can become expensive and taxing, especially if few businesses are participating.

Google is not the only company cashing in on the mobile paying trend. Both Facebook and Snapchat have rolled out their own versions of the PayPal idea as well. “Facebook Pay to Friends” is a free service, unlike Venmo and PayPal. The latter takes 2.9 percent from every transaction, plus a 30-cent fee every time a debit or credit card is used. Much like Google Wallet, Facebook Pay to Friends users are urged to create a passcode, or to use their fingerprint stored on iPhone to maintain security, because the app keeps a record of a user’s debit card information. There is always a risk whenever you are sending or receiving money, using a card in the store or online, or even carrying cash or a checkbook. But for some, convenience outweighs potential risks. If you use your smartphone as your personal ATM, you should be mindful of all the risks inherent in this new technology. WGL West Georgia Living

January/February 2017 27

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Living in the fabulous home of the future — today!

Rhett Harmon controls his thermostat with a smartphone app.


ave you met George Jetson? His boy Elroy, daughter Judy and Jane his wife?

Chances are, he could be you – the person talking on the smartphone, while your refrigerator tells you that you’re running low on milk before sending you a shopping list via email. Then there’s the robot vacuum cleaner that knows when you’ve dropped something and zooms off to clean it – careful to avoid your dog, who can summon you to attend to his needs by putting his nose against a device on the wall.


Those who found themselves as children watching the classic Hanna-Barbera animated show the Jetsons are now living with quite a few of devices that once seemed out of this world. Just like Jane-his-wife, you can buy your clothes with the touch of a finger from a tablet, and just like daughter-Judy, your girl can talk into a diary (or app) that will transcribe her words (emojis included), and your boy avoids getting messy with his spill-proof clothes. When the cartoon series premiered in 1962, getting yelled at by the boss over a large TV screen in the comfort of your home seemed like a dream. Now, modern-day West Georgia Living

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“Going back to the Jetsons, we don’t have the flying cars yet – though we have the GPS and touchscreens” - Rett Harmon “Smart locks” can be opened by a homeowner even if he or she isn’t home.

“But while there are some people who have these things integrated into the construction of their homes, there are people who live in apartments who can do things cost effectively and take those things with them when they relocate. Small upgrades can be easily done without making permanent changes to the infrastructure of the house, especially if you purchase an older home or apartment. Artificial intelligence in the home today is not uncommon.”

Georges can converse with Mr. Spacely over the internet, arranging a business meeting with multiple clients, sharing a computer screen with them, even going so far as to control their laptops from his end. Based on current household trends that Rett Harmon encounters as CEO & Co-Founder at Century 21 Novus Realty, homeowners are increasingly living a Jetsons lifestyle. “Back in the 1970’s or 1980’s everyone was going crazy over the fact that you could put your lights on a timer, or motion sensor, and take off for a few days,” said Harmon. “Now, you can sit on a plane with your smartphone and unlock your doors to let someone in to feed the dog while you’re on vacation. You can use your tablets or phones to control your home temperature and all keep everyone on schedule. “There are so many cost-effective products out there, it’s not out of reach for most to have such technologies in their home,” he said. Harmon knows what he’s talking about because his own home is set up with programmable gizmos. “I find that I don’t need to mess with them a whole lot because once you program it for the year, you’re pretty much good to go. There are very efficient features.” Harmon has attended home technology shows in Chicago and Orlando this year, and says that today, Wi-Fi is essential equipment for today’s homes. 30 West Georgia Living

January/February 2017

neat seeing all the different options out there that can make life less complicated. In fact, we are working on a construction on Hays Mill Road in Carrollton that will have several features I mentioned – plus the sensors that can be pulled up on the phone.

The National Association of Realtors maintains CRT Labs, an institute that studies the so-called “internet of things” in which appliances not normally associated with data technology (like a refrigerator) are connected to the web. Such technology, along with door locks and security systems which can be assessed remotely via Wi-Fi, are integral components to what are being called “smart homes.” “Smart homes is one of the key things they were “Smart” refrigerators talking about at can be controlled and those conferences communicate through and there were a a smartphone app. lot of things they were testing,” Harmon said. “It’s

Having robotic lawn mowers or vacuum cleaners are certainly not a necessity, but they certainly help a busy lifestyle. The gizmos and gadgets that the Jetsons used to parody in the early 60s, when space-age living was just a fantasy, are becoming integral to modern life. It’s also an option-based world, in which people can do more things when they choose to do them. Just as VHS recorders freed TV viewers from having to be home at the time a football game or show was broadcast, Harmon said people can watch – or even binge on – their favorite shows, on demand through the internet. “Going back to the Jetsons, we don’t have the flying cars yet – though we have the GPS and touchscreens,” said Harmon. “Even with safety and children, there are (devices) that we use to keep an eye on them, and technology to monitor our teenagers and kids who come home early. I call it ‘plug-to-play,’ (meaning) it’s not terribly hard to set these things up. These are just lots of opportunities for people to connect and to make their lives a lot easier in their homes and lifestyles.” WGL

Technology for Wound Care Tanner and Wellstar hospitals introduce new tech to combat a growing problem in west Georgia


he body is designed to heal itself. From a cut on a finger to the most invasive surgical procedures or intense trauma, the body goes to work immediately to repair; closing the wounds and beginning to heal. But sometimes, the body needs a little help. Wound care is among the oldest areas of medicine, going back to the days before antibiotics when even a minor wound could lead to a life-threatening infection. By the mid 1800s, as medical professionals began to understand and appreciate “germ theory” — the belief that infections and illnesses are caused by tiny organisms that cannot be seen by the naked eye — the understanding of the importance of keeping wounds clean and helping them heal quickly became prevalent. Medical technology has certainly advanced a lot since then. West Georgia is fortunate to have two advanced hospital systems, each equipped to handle medical emergencies and other critical issues. Now, both Tanner Health System and Wellstar Health System have deployed the latest technology for wound care and management: hyperbaric oxygen therapy. In October, Wellstar Health System opened its Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center at Wellstar Douglas Hospital. Tanner opened its Advanced Wound Center recently in Carrollton. Now, west Georgia patients in need of this highly specialized area of care need not drive great distances to find it.

Diabetes and wound care A wound is any break in the skin, and can

Christy Campbell, RN, left, and Nicole Wiggins, RN, right, insert a patient gurney into one of the two Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy chambers at Tanner. be as simple as a scrape or more complex, including deep punctures that affect the organs. But there are many factors that can cause even the simplest wound to become a chronic wound; one that can seriously impact the health of the patient.

you – or a loved one – are one of them, then you know that a foot exam is part of every doctor visit. That’s because some 15 percent of all diabetics will develop a foot ulcer; a stubborn kind of wound that, for diabetics, is slow to heal and quick to worsen.

There is, of course, the risk of infection; the longer a wound is open, the greater the infection risk. But there are any number of diseases or conditions that can slow or even prevent a body from healing, and that’s when wound care becomes a critical matter.

Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not effectively use sugar. Elevated blood sugar levels make arteries stiff and narrow blood vessels; that, in turn, decreases the flow of blood. This reduces the level of nutrients and oxygen to skin tissue, and also the number of white blood cells to fight infection. This cascade of events means that, for diabetics, wounds are slow to heal.

Health experts say there are over 7.5 million people in the United States who currently have a chronic wound, and this number is expected to increase as the population ages and incurs long term medical issues that affect their overall health. Diabetes is one of those chronic conditions that can slow healing, making any wound a potentially serious problem. There are nearly 18 million people with diabetes, and if


As diabetes is a growing problem in west Georgia as elsewhere, the hyperbaric treatment now available through both Tanner and Wellstar is especially important to those patients and their families.

How it works Hyperbaric oxygen therapy was first used in the United States in the early 20th century, when Dr. Orville Cunningham, in Kansas, used pure oxygen to successfully West Georgia Living

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Often, people who suffered from diabetic wounds in Douglasville had limited resources for care and therapy. Now, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is available for the first time in this community. Photo courtesy of Wellstar Health. treat someone who was dying from the flu. Dr. Cunningham developed a hyperbaric chamber, but dismantled it after he tried and failed to use the therapy for other conditions. Yet his results were promising enough that the U.S. Navy tried it again in the 1940s to treat deep-sea divers suffering from decompression sickness. By the 1960s, the therapy was also used to treat carbon monoxide poisoning. Today, it’s still used to treat sick scuba divers and people suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, including firefighters and miners. It has also been approved for more than a dozen conditions ranging from burns to bone disease. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is administered by delivering 100 percent oxygen at pressures greater than sea level to a patient in a large clear acrylic chamber. Patients undergoing the treatment are able to lie down, relax, and watch TV or sleep. The therapy promotes healing by bringing oxygen-rich plasma to tissue starved for oxygen. Wound injuries damage the body’s blood vessels, which release fluid that leaks into the tissues and 32 West Georgia Living

causes swelling. This swelling deprives the damaged cells of oxygen, causing tissue to die. Hyperbaric therapy reduces swelling while flooding the tissues with oxygen. The elevated pressure in the chamber increases the amount of oxygen in the blood, breaking the cycle of swelling, oxygen starvation and tissue death. “The therapy is frequently used to treat chronic wounds — defined as wounds that do not heal or improve significantly within about four weeks,” said Brian Barden, MD, a surgeon with Carrollton Surgical Group, who works with patients at the Tanner Advanced Wound Center. “Often, the reason these wounds have trouble healing is because they’re simply not receiving enough oxygen from the body.” “The prime candidate for hyperbaric oxygen

therapy would be patients with diabetic foot ulcers,” said Scott Filgo, executive director of Wound Care and Hyperbaric Oxygen Centers for WellStar Health System. “Treatment is important because statistics show that patients with diabetic ulcers result in amputation and a high mortality rate. By saving patients’ limbs, it can help save their lives.”

Other benefits Hyperbaric oxygen therapy prevents “reperfusion injury” — the severe tissue damage that happens when the blood supply returns to the tissues after they have been deprived of oxygen. When blood flow is interrupted by a crush injury, for instance, a series of events inside the damaged cells leads to the release of harmful oxygen radicals. These molecules can do damage to tissues that can’t be reversed and cause the blood vessels to clamp up and stop blood flow. HBOT encourages the body’s oxygen radical scavengers to seek out the problem molecules and allow healing to continue. “Physicians will be better armed with cutting-edge resources that will enable them

January/February 2017

to treat complicated acute and chronic wounds,” said Christopher Watts, director of the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center in Douglas County. At Tanner Advanced Wound Center, patients are treated in “monoplace chambers,” or chambers built for one person. The chambers are long, plastic tubes that somewhat resemble MRI machines. The patient slips into the chamber, which is then slowly pressurized with 100 percent pure oxygen. Treatment can take from 90 to minutes to two hours. The number of treatments depends on how well the patient’s body responds to treatment.

Patients often say their ears feel plugged as the pressure is raised, as one can sometimes feel in an airplane. Simply swallowing or chewing gum will “pop” the ears back to normal hearing levels. Filgo says that the Douglas facility was the first of its kind for the area. “The Center is going to have a tremendous impact on the community. Douglas has a high incidence of patients in the area with diabetes who are in need specialized wound care – it is a service well needed.” Both the Tanner and Wellstar facilities take a multi-disciplinary approach to patient treatment, since the patients themselves will be undergoing treatment for wounds

complicated by many different types of medical conditions. “Having staff and physicians with advanced training and certification brings a higher level of knowledge and care to the patients,” said Sandra Dodson, manager of the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center at WellStar Douglas Hospital. “This ensures the team has the in-depth knowledge necessary to provide world-class patient care.” “The team-based approach is essential, because it’s not exclusively about the technology — it’s also about finding the physicians and nurses who have the expertise and experience to know how best to address a given problem,” said Tanner Systems’ Dr. Barden. WGL


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f you had to guess, about how many times a day do you check your smartphone? Next time you’re at a restaurant, the airport, or even sitting at a red light, look around at how many people have their smartphones in hand, their eyes down and their minds elsewhere. We depend on our cellphone to get us through a single day; and they are causing humans to resemble zombie-like creatures, unaware of their surroundings. Albert Einstein once said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” Well, Mr. Einstein, perhaps the future you predicted has arrived! No one could argue with the fact that technology has indeed invaded almost all human interaction. After all, whatever happened to handwritten letters instead of text messages, or handheld maps instead of those that speak to you through a GPS system on your phone? What about walking

34 West Georgia Living

January/February 2017

to the store instead of riding your hover board, or taking in the sights around you instead of worrying about which picture to post on social media? While we are all guilty of doing these things countless times, who is to blame? With the advancement of technology, other people look at you as if you were crazy if you still have a landline at your home. And Lord forbid you still use one of those flip phones from the early 2000’s. Lets take a look at some pretty shocking statistics: On any given day in America, over 60 percent of pedestrians are distracted by something on their cellphones while walking, which has led to a drastic increase in individuals getting hit by cars. One in five drivers of all ages surf the web while driving. We all know that being on our


phones while driving is illegal in the state of Georgia, even if you’re sitting at a red light, a stop sign, or stuck in traffic. So why do we keep doing it anyway? According to the CDC, over eight people in the U.S. are killed, and over 1,600 injured, in crashes everyday that involve a distracted driver – and technology is the cause in almost all cases. Over 30 percent of Americans use social media during work in order to take a “mental break” from their job. But these “mental breaks” tend to turn into 30 minutes to an hour, or maybe even longer, and essentially, valuable time is being wasted. Fifty minutes is the average amount of time users spend on Facebook and Instagram. That may not seem like much, but to put it into perspective, that means the average user’s is spending more than one-sixteenth of their waking hours on these platforms. And that’s just the average person. Americans are spending almost three hours per day watching television

programs and movies instead of being active and participating in exercise, going to social outings and so forth. Think about how much time is spent on a Sunday watching football games on television, or lying in bed and going on a major Netflix series binge. Last year, the average Netflix user spent 568 hours watching online shows, up from 505 hours in 2014. Do I have your attention now? It’s safe to say these statistics are not only shocking, but they’re increasing and getting worse. So, now that we’ve heard the facts, the big question remains – How can we possibly cut back on the use of technology when we rely on it so heavily each and every day? Here are five ways to help you make a conscious effort in putting the smartphone away, shutting the laptop, turning off that television and getting completely unplugged: 1. First things first, try taking a full 24 hours to get disconnected from the world of technology. Leave your phone at home and get outside to enjoy the outdoors! If

you need to, let your friends and family know you’re taking a daylong break from cyberspace so they understand why you’re not immediately responding to their phone calls and text messages. 2. Next, make it your goal to leave your work at work! Many of us get home after a long day on the job only to dedicate more time responding to emails, making follow-up calls and worrying about tomorrow’s long, overdue to-do list. Don’t allow that email alert on your smartphone to consume your relaxation time once you get home. After all, you deserve a break! 3. Turn off all notification alerts for each of your social media platforms. Many times, we’ll see a notification pop up on our phones and our curiosity gets the best of us. Before you know it, time has flown by and you’ve been sitting on the couch for an hour watching cat videos on Facebook. We get it – cat videos are cute, but don’t let those social media alerts consume all of your attention. 4. Make a list of things you’ve needed to accomplish and make it happen! Many times we sit down to watch a few minutes

of television just to catch up on the news, and two hours later, you realize there’s no way you’re going to have time to get all those errands done. Don’t let any aspect of technology slow you down from more important tasks! 5. Find one extended break throughout the year that you can dedicate to powering-down as many devices as possible. This may help you view life like you’ve never seen it before! If anything, it will teach you how to become less reliant on the things you thought you needed everyday. Try thinking of it as a New Years resolution – even if it’s only for one weekend. Repeat this every year to treat yourself with a tech cleanse. Ahhh, doesn’t it all sound nice? No matter how big a role technology plays in your life, we could all use a little break now and then. So, as Albert Einstein would have us do, let’s all make a conscious effort to unplug from technology and have a little more human interaction. WGL

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January/February 2017 35

POLICE TECH cop shows, police are always able to solve crimes ON between commercial breaks. Sometimes it’s due to

plot twists and coincidences beyond belief, but usually it’s because of some gee-whiz piece of technology. Of course, much of the tech you see on TV is just as fake as the downtown car chases fictional cops seem to get into each week. Your local police do not have a room filled with “Minority Report”-type computer screens; they can’t use government satellites to spy on abandoned warehouses; they can’t instantly identify a suspect from a single strand of hair. But actual police technology is nevertheless impressive. A 21st century police vehicle is a rolling computer station, bristling with cameras and cellular links to computer systems. Police who investigate crime scenes can record every detail of the location and literally put jurors inside a 3D reconstruction. And a criminal’s smartphone is a virtual treasure trove for police, allowing officers to trace a miscreant’s every move and to read their every Tweet.

increasingly using technology, police are in an escalating arms race to keep ahead. ••• Inside the Carrollton Police Department, two large LCD screens are divided into smaller squares, each representing one of dozens of traffic and other cameras scattered across the city. Most of them are there to record accidents that could take place at intersections. Elsewhere in the building, detectives hover over a computer monitor, scrolling through a bank of information extracted from a cell phone. They can easily read a suspect’s emails, text messages and Facebook posts (yes, even criminals are on Facebook.) And thanks to the fact that smartphones have GPS technology, cops can track the owner’ every movement through the string of breadcrumbs created each time the phone pings a cell tower.

No, police still cannot solve a crime in the time it takes to sell you an acne cream – but they can do a lot more than you might think. In a world in STORY BY KEN DENNEY which criminals PHOTOS BY RICKY STILLEY themselves are 36 West Georgia Living

January/February 2017

Outside, police cruise the streets in patrol cars kitted out with laptops,


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dash cams and portable devices that can record fingerprints. And some of the cars are equipped with a series of cameras that can literally read a license plate, telling the officer whether the tag could belong to someone with expired car insurance – or maybe even wanted somewhere for murder. None of this Star Wars tech replaces the need and instincts of a police officer, but it does save time. Sgt. Brandon Wilson said the in-car laptop allows police to do all the paperwork associated with their job, including questionnaires for suspicious persons, incident reports and other things that police used to have to take down by hand, then re-type into a computer back at the office, duplicating work. “For accident reports, we can have most of the report done while we’re waiting on a tow truck for the vehicle,” he said. Wilson and his partner ride around in a specially equipped SUV that has four cameras mounted on the outside. They are pointed in such a way as to be able to record the license plates of the vehicles around them. The system is known as Automatic License Plate Reader, and it does just what it says: it records the numbers on the plate and checks them against an online database over a cellular network. If the numbers it reads bring back a response, then police have probable cause to pull the car over. But a positive response doesn’t mean a ticket – or more – for the driver. For all its sophistication, the system isn’t perfect; 38 West Georgia Living

January/February 2017

Top left - a license plate scanner. At left, a fingerprint scanner that offices can use in the field. Above, Sgt. Blake Hitchcock gleans information from a cell phone. sometimes it misreads the license plate. The officer is supposed to double check the plate against info stored with the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC), a high-tech group that maintains computerized records linked to law enforcement agencies across the state. There’s also a National Crime Information Center, and the license number is checked against it as well. Also inside the car, mounted overhead, is a small screen and controls for two other cameras; a dash camera that can record an officer’s activities outside the vehicle, and one that allows officers to watch a suspect in the backseat, or cage, of the vehicle. In a console between the seats is a bank of switches for emergency lights and the siren, as well as a police radio. In short, the interior of a modern police car looks like the cockpit of the space shuttle. But ultimately, these gizmos and gadgets are just tools. They can’t replace a person in a uniform. Crimes and police detection are two things

that haven’t changed in this technological age. A theft is a theft, whether it is someone grabbing a purse from someone on the street, or taking someone’s personal information and stealing his or her identity. In the old days, criminals and others who might know of crimes would pass information about those wrongdoings in conversations that might take place in person, at a bar, or any other venue. But now those same conversations take place on social media. “Can you think of any kind of crime that you can’t either use a computer or a cellphone to commit the crime or talk about the crime?” asks Sgt. Blake Hitchcock. “There’s not.” Hitchcock works with the department’s criminal investigations division, inside a specialized part of that unit that deals with computer data, whether it is on a desktop, a laptop, a tablet – or even a smartphone. Most people cannot live without their cellphone – they contain photos of loved ones, messages from friends, emails from co-workers and the phone number of just about everyone they know. But criminals are people too, and that means they live on their phones just as much as everyone else. Smartphones can be a treasure trove of information for law officers. When officers need to get into a cellphone and extract that data, they have sophisticated tools that will get everything: including passwords, chats on social media, and even a timeline of places anyone has visited, built on the GPS signals recorded by the phone every time it

The Leica laser scanner creates a 3D model of a crime scene.

pings out a signal.

the computer hardware.

Such access worries some people, and for good reason. The same technology that can be used in the lawful pursuit of crime can be used for nefarious purposes as well. Hitchcock says police searches of cellphones are done only if the owner consents to a search, or as the result of a court order.

Beyond that, local police do not deal much with other types of computer crime. But in the Peach State, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has a unit that is constantly monitoring the internet for those trafficking in the sexual exploitation of children.

Last year, FBI agents were temporarily stymied when trying to open an iPhone that had been taken from the body of a terrorist involved in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. The manufacturer, Apple, had made the phone difficult to break into in response to their customers’ concerns over privacy. For a while, Apple and the Federal government were at a standoff over law enforcements’ needs versus the company’s responsibilities to its customers.

The GBI, like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is an agency that has the kinds of investigative resources that most cities in the state don’t have, and they can deploy their arsenal of high-tech resources anywhere it is needed. Steve Foster is a crime scene specialist with the GBI office in Thomson, in McDuffie

“Each crime scene investigator basically can do every aspect of an investigation, and that includes such things as the documentation and photography.” County. There are 15 regional offices across the state, and at least one crime scene specialist is stationed at each one. Each office is also equipped with a truck loaded with everything those specialists might need to investigate a crime. “Our crime scene unit is a one-stop shop,” he said. “Each crime scene investigator basically can do every aspect of an investigation, and that includes such things as the documentation and photography.” But it’s not just taking pictures. GBI agents can use a 3D scanning device that uses a laser beam and sophisticated software to record every detail of a crime scene. For example, if a crime takes place inside the room of a house, every detail of that room can be recorded – from bric-a-brac to throw pillows.

In the end, however, the FBI found someone who could break into the phone and the information was given up. No technology, it seems, is totally secure. Hitchcock can pull the same kinds of information from computer disk drives, doing so in such a way that the contents of the drive are not altered and the police can obtain a perfect copy of what’s on

Once recorded, investigators can “return” to the crime scene over and over, even if the room is changed or the whole building torn down. With each detail perfectly recorded, police can still look over the evidence inside to see if they missed anything. And, the recording has the additional advantage of being able to present a crime scene to a jury, so that the jurors can see exactly what investigators

IT Manager Jeffrey Thomas

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saw when they first arrived. In short, investigators can collect an amazing amount of information at the scene of a crime. But information, or raw data, is useless unless it can be interpreted. “A key piece of our equipment is the mind of the crime scene investigator, because he has to figure out where to look and know what he’s looking for,” Foster said. Otherwise, important evidence could be overlooked. For example, GBI agents have the ability to do DNA analysis using only a few skin cells. But that ability depends on the agents actually finding that evidence, and doing so requires the skill of examining a scene correctly. “For example, if you have someone that’s shot and killed, and their pockets are turned inside out and their billfold is on the ground, we have to be able to recognize that the suspect probably reached into the

40 West Georgia Living

pocket and if they did, there’s a good chance we’ll get skin cells.” The advantage of police technology, Foster said, is that it helps investigators discover clues that they might not otherwise find. Fingerprints, he said, sometimes don’t show up well using the old dusting techniques – but they might show when put under ultraviolet or infrared light source, or scanned with other advanced equipment. The amazing amount of data that police can extract from a crime scene can be compared to a large haystack. Somewhere in that haystack is the one piece of evidence that can link a person to a crime. And that – not the technology – is what police who use high tech tools must always remember, Foster said. “I do think we get so overwhelmed with the technology that we can easily forget why we’re there, which is to put a name with the crime.” WGL

January/February 2017

The Carrollton Police Department Server Room.


Stone knapper keeps ancient skills alive

alking along a creek bed, or any place in west Georgia where rocks have tumbled together, you are likely to find an arrowhead. Shaped from quartz or other local stone, these relics are a reminder that people were hunting and living here hundreds, if not thousands of years ago.

Nowadays, of course, bow hunters use steel blades mounted on carbon arrow shafts. But in ancient days, a skilled craftsman could shape a sliver of stone into a deadly weapon or a useful tool equal to anything made today using only a smooth stone or a deer antler. Zachary Lawson understands this. He is a modern-day stone artisan who puts a slightly

fine-edged tools.

From his home in Carroll County, this University of West Georgia geology student is partially paying his way through college by creating objects that are usually sold as decorative art, but also sometimes to hunters who prefer primeval ways.

modern twist on an ancient skill. Using a few steel tools, he knaps – or shapes – ordinary (and sometimes not so ordinary) stone into


Shaping stone is mankind’s oldest skill and it assumes many forms in today’s world, from sculptural carving to cleaving gemstones into sparkling objects. But Lawson sees a difference between lapidary work (gem cutting) and creating tools from more ordinary rocks. “The lapidary guys tend to focus too much on the crystal structure,” he said. “The stones West Georgia Living

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I work with - obsidian, flint, quartz – they don’t have an internal crystalline structure. They’re ‘amorphous solids,’ which means their structure is just blobs stuck to each other. Their atoms don’t line up in any specific way; they’re just blobs.” In other words: strike a diamond the wrong way, and the shock wave will reverberate down to a flaw in the stone and shear it away. Not so for more common stone. “If it’s just a blob, it will flow free – and that’s what you want the shock wave to do, to flow across the stone.” That method of shaping stone by hitting it is described by Lawson as “bopping” or percussion flaking. But to create his art, Lawson employs another technique he calls the Western method, or “pressure flaking.” It involves using a long metal rod into which a metal stylus, like a nail, has been set into the center of one end. Holding the stone in the padded palm of one hand, he places the stylus against the edge of the stone and applies pressure, snapping off small pieces of stone. “What that does is, it allows you to create these very fine flaking patterns. It allows you to get a sharper edge, and a more resilient edge.” Lawson grew up in Carroll County, attending Roopville Elementary School before moving on to Central High. It was at Roopville that his mother worked as a history teacher, and it was from her that he first began to be interested in the techniques of the people who were first native to this area. “My earliest memories are museums, reenactments, things like that. She happened to take me and my younger brother to a powwow when I was about eight years old.” It was at that celebration of traditional Native American culture that he was introduced to an expert in flint knapping named Eddie Rampley, who soon became a close friend and instructor. Rampley gave Lawson the 42 West Georgia Living

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basic instruction he needed, and he has since moved forward with his own interest in the art. Lawson now combines his knowledge of flint knapping with his scientific interests in geology, a discipline he says he fell in love with “from day one.’ “My geology is focused more along the technical side of rocks; why things look like this, why things are shaped like this,” he said. “And that love of geology, mixed with my art has given me a lot of opportunities. I spent a month out west in the Rockies with a professor who knew I was looking for certain things, and we stopped at a certain place to get some obsidian. Even though the trip was about crystals and gems and things that didn’t have anything to do with flint knapping, he knew that this is what I wanted so we made a special stop for that.” Although the craft is called flint knapping, it is often used on many other types of stone, such as obsidian, a hard, glasslike stone that, although not native to Georgia, was highly sought by ancient people through trade. A skilled craftsman can create an edge with obsidian that rivals honed steel. “Before I actually started geology I got into the science behind (stone) knives: why is the stone breaking like this; what does this, and why does it do this, and why does it do that. And it all boils down to one of two principles.” Those two principles (and here comes the science bit) have to do with two phenomena involving breakage. First is a “conchoidal fracture,” which means that when brittle materials break, the edge of the break is thinner than the center. The second is a “Hertzian cone,” which is the conical shape produced when an object goes through a solid, so that the exit hole is larger than the entry.

Of course, ancient peoples had no such names for these characteristics of stone, yet they and modern-day flint-knappers exploit them to shape ordinary rock into edged tools. Lawson demonstrated by holding a stone in one hand, pressing his knapping tool against an edge, and locking in his forearms with his knees. The idea was to flake off a piece of that edge. “What I’m doing is using pressure leverage in between my legs to push a flake across the stone. The science behind it is actually a shock wave. The basic principle is you can control the shock wave by the direction you’re pushing. If you’re pushing too far down, it’ll send the shock wave too far in and it won’t work. You have to be able to control the shock wave to skim across the top.” He presses down with considerable force and with a loud snap, a small sliver of stone appears underneath in the palm of his hand, the result of the transfer of pressure from one side of the rock to the opposite. “And they just start peeling off,’ he said, moving quickly along the edge, snapping off one small piece after another. The result was a row of tiny markings along the side that taper down to a sharper edge. A few more passes, and the stone had an edge that was keen enough to slice through tanned leather. Lawson travels around visiting crafts fairs across the region, selling his art. And while his arrowheads and spear points get attention, it’s the handcrafted knives – many with antler handles – that are the big sellers. “For the most part, people buy them as a decoration. I do have traditional hunters who buy my knives, my spears, and my arrows. Everything I do, no matter what it is, is functional in one way or another, whether you buy it as a display or you buy it to use.” WGL



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Crock Pot Roast ou’ve heard it time and again: “what’s for dinner?”

What indeed? It’s often easy to throw up your hands and order takeout, or to load the family into the car and head for a local restaurant. That’s fine for a treat, but doing that on a regular basis can get expensive. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that more than a third of every dollar we spend is for eating out. If you’re strapped for cash, an easy way to help your budget is to just prevent yourself from eating out. First, dedicate yourself to eating more at home and packing your lunch every day. Second, you may have to learn a few budget-friendly habits, like learning to cook cheaper cuts of meat or instituting a vegetarian night. Eating on a budget doesn’t mean you must resort to dull, bland food. There’s lots of inexpensive variety on your grocer’s shelves, and hopefully these recipes will both help you get your food budget under control while getting you out of your comfort food zone.

Crock Pot Roast Roasts are one of the easiest and most cost-effective meals you can make. You simply put the ingredients into the pot, set it and leave it! When you get home, dinner’s ready and the house smells wonderful. 1 roast, chuck or round 2 cups of baby carrots 2 cups cubed potatoes 1 medium onion, sliced 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 2 tablespoons garlic powder 2 cups chicken stock Water Start with a chuck roast or an eye of round roast. Place the thawed roast in the crock pot, followed by the potatoes, carrots and onions (in that order) placed around. Sprinkle the seasonings over everything, then pour in your chicken stock. Once you’ve poured in your stock, add water to the

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crock until it almost covers the meat. Replacing half your water with stock will increase the flavor, and leaving the very top of the meat uncovered will allow it to brown as well as stay together instead of falling apart in the rock. Set your pot at its lowest, longest setting (preferably “low”) and let it cook for at least eight hours.

After the family has had its fill of roast and veggies, you can use the leftover roast for sandwiches.

Roast Herb Sammies It doesn’t get much easier than sandwiches. For a quick lunch, use your leftover crockpot roast to make a sammy that’s full of flavor. Simply sauté some onions and add some herb mayonnaise that’s easy to make. Leftover roast beef 1 cup caramelized onions Rye/pumpernickel marbled bread Sliced Provolone cheese Herb mayonnaise Before layering your sandwich, let’s make our own herb mayonnaise. First, gather up any herbs that may be on hand around the house, in the garden or in the fridge: fresh basil, rosemary and garlic, for example. Give them a very fine chop and mix them your favorite mayonnaise, or run the herbs through


a food processor with the mayo. You can also let this mix sit overnight to increase the flavor absorption, or just let it rest while you caramelize the onions. When you’re done, simply layer the ingredients on the bread and pair your sammy with some whole fruit and raw veggies.

Mini Veggie Pizzas A great way to get your budget under control is to introduce your family to Veggie Night. You can do this any number of ways; removing the meat from your lasagna and replacing it with vegetables is one way (it’s also healthier); or you could

THOUT CUTTING BACK ON FLAVOR brown and the cheese completely melted.

Sausage and grits Eating on a budget only makes sense if you economize on all your meals, including breakfast. Here’s a cheap but delicious and easy way to start your morning. Grits ¼ cut sharp cheddar cheese Andouille sausage, sliced 1 medium to large onion, sliced 1 bell pepper, sliced 1 cup mushrooms, sliced 2 gloves garlic (or more, to taste) 1 can of tomatoes, 8-10 ounces 1 teaspoon Cajun spices

try this easy recipe for mini veggie pizza. This helps make your Veggie Night a fun, family activity. Get your kids involved, and everyone gets the pizza they want and you get some help making dinner. Store-bought pizza dough or pre-made mini crusts Mozzarella cheese Pizza or alfredo sauce Sliced fresh veggies Follow the instructions that came with the pizza dough or crusts to prepare it for your toppings. Place the sauce of your choice on top, followed by cheese and toppings. Bake according to the package directions, or until the crust is golden

Sausage and Grits will make your grits far more flavorful and creamy. When done, allow the grits to cool, then add some cheese.

Cooking and eating on a budget doesn’t mean dull, simple recipes. Use your imagination to add flavorful ingredients from sections of the grocer you don’t usually visit. Incorporate seasonal vegetables and don’t limit yourself to simply following the directions printed on a box or a label. There’s lots you can do to stretch your food dollars and keep yourself and your family well-fed and eager for seconds. WGL

First, get your sauce ready by sautéing your onion, peppers and mushrooms in some oil. Once the onions are translucent, add your garlic and a cook for a couple of minutes, being careful not to let the garlic burn. Next, add your tomatoes Roast Herb Sandwich (home-grown are cheaper and best), along with the Cajun spices. Now let the whole thing simmer, periodically tasting and adding spices, salt and pepper as needed. As it simmers, you can make the grits. Instead of following the directions on the grits package, substitute water for a mixture of half chicken stock, half milk or heavy cream. This

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arden adgets

From robots to cut your grass to apps to identify plants, gardening technology can grow on you Photo courtesy of Robomow


a rdening is one of America’s favorite outdoor activities. Millions of people participate in some type of lawn or garden pursuit, and it becomes more popular every year. Whether we are seasoned green thumbs or new-to-the-dirt beginners, our approach to gardening can be determined by our interest (or disinterest) in technology. In this wired-in, computerized, solar-powered era, smartphones and other objects with a brain have been found useful in everything--so why not gardening? Since I favor technology, I am quick to call some people Luddites because of their disdain for gardening innovations and gadgets in general. If you have no use for technology, please stop reading here.

A favorite “tool” that I use frequently is my smartphone. I have a free app that allows me to take a picture of my landscape, and then drop images of plants into the picture to create a virtual landscape design. I can take a picture of an area in the garden and quickly see how a flower bed, bench, tree, shrub, pond, statue, rock wall, etc., might look in that location. I have another app that lets me submit a picture of a plant to be identified, and get an answer right away. This has been very helpful to me and my friends who think I know more about plants than I do! There are also apps that tell me what tasks to do each month in my garden here in the South, while giving appropriate


direction to those who use the app in other parts of the country. I look around at my favorite garden tools, and they are probably much the same as my grandparents used; however, I am intrigued with the idea of new, amazing doodads for gardeners, and I am not afraid to try some of them. I have regularly been replacing worn out gas-powered equipment with lightweight, ergonomic battery-powered gadgets that are just right for people (me) who are older or not very strong. I find that they perform quite well for most of the work that I need to do, and they’re quieter and exhaust-free. Developing and using new technology has been part of gardening since people started West Georgia Living

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using sticks, stones and bones to dig in the ground. In terms of home gardening, technology hasn’t really changed that much over time. We still use shovels, rakes, hoes, picks, mattocks, trowels and clippers. A big part of the reward that comes from home gardening is our contact with nature, our relationship with the weather

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conditions, the soil, and the things that grow there. Most passionate gardeners do their own monitoring of the environment, as well as pests and disease, and all the other factors that influence how our garden grows. We stick our fingers in the dirt, examine leaves for signs of disease and lack of moisture and see just when a tomato or ear of corn is ready to be picked.

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To many folks, that’s what gardening is all about, but for those of us who want a little more, there are all kinds of interesting and helpful devices out there. Many “highfalutin’” things like electronic soil pH testers and digital moisture meters are useful advances that help make it easier to gather the information we need for best growing conditions. Websites can tell us

when the soil temperature is just right in our area for planting in the spring.

weather sources to determine the amount of watering needed in your yard, saving up to half of the water wasted in your garden or lawn. It works with your existing irrigation system, and can be controlled with your smartphone, as well.

An artificial owl keeps the varmints away

I have always had minor problems with critters in the garden, but this summer was a nuisance-critter apocalypse. For the first time I had ground hogs, raccoons, and armadillos, in addition to the usual deer and rabbits. Before I discovered what creature was doing all the newest damage, I considered buying a garden camera that can be set to snap photos at intervals from 1 minute to every 24 hours. I soon learned from other, more experienced gardeners what was eating and root-pruning my plants, and avoided the expense and bother of buying and installing a camera. I also received suggestions for some old-fashioned methods of dealing with these critters, but I haven’t had much luck with the armadillos so far. I may retire my plastic garden owl because he is not doing his job scaring these critters, but I could replace him with a new guardian in the form of a decoy which has movement and sound. Not only does it look like a great horned owl, but when its sensors detect that garden pests are near. If all goes well, it will turn its head in

that direction and hoot, scaring the critters away. Another weird, but interesting device is a gadget that imitates the high-frequency vibrations of a bee’s wings during pollination. Lack of pollination causes gardeners to have poor yields. The vibrations release pollen onto a spoon, which the gardener can then use to hand-pollinate other plants. The reward? A 30 percent increase in crop yield (they say) and the satisfaction of giving Mother Nature a helping hand. I think I will just let the bugs do it but this device might interest those who want to be involved in every step of a plant’s fruiting cycle. An innovative new controller for your irrigation system is one that is connected to weather data from satellites and local

Now, some lawn aficionados love their riding mowers, no matter how small their turf area may be. The perfect gardening gadget dream tool for me, though, is the robotic lawn mower – it looks rather like the robotic vacuum cleaners, and is so quiet it can be used at night. It’s pricey ($1600), but it won’t run over your newly planted pansies like the lawn mowing service guys do, and it puts itself away when it’s finished. This little beast will do up to a quarter acre lawn, so it’s great for an in-town or small subdivision lot. Beginning gardeners and old pros alike will always need the basic hand tools, knowledge and loads of experience to make the most of their yards. Garden technology can make it easier, more fun and give you a bit more time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. WGL Joyce McArthur and Marilyn Van Pelt are Carroll County Master Gardeners.

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West Georgia Living

January/February 2017 51


A former flight attendant traveled the world to find inspiration for her art



52 West Georgia Living

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“Speckled Eggs”


efore Alice Searcy decided to take up painting, she traveled the world visiting museums. But not exactly as a tourist; it was during her down time as a flight attendant. She grew up in Carrollton and worked for Delta Air Lines for 32 years, but she is fast becoming one of the better-known artists in west Georgia. She is a board member of the Carrollton Artist Guild and a member of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and has participated in shows and festivals across the state. We asked her about her life and her art during a recent interview:

When did you begin painting? As a child, I was in awe that my mother could draw anything. I guess she inspired me, and I inherited my creative side from her. I would watch Joh Gnagy (America’s original TV art instructor) every Saturday morning and was amazed at what he could draw in 30 minutes!  That year Santa brought me his Gnagy’s artist kit.   I still have the workbook and my first drawing.  Early attempts at painting left a lot to be desired, so I would try to re-create other artist’s works – a method I


later learned was a legitimate lesson that many instructors include in their classes.  It wasn’t until I was an adult that I enrolled in my first art class.  But even then, it came after my children and work schedule. I was living in Alpharetta at the time, and found an artist named Lala Mulherin- Streett, who offered classes in several media.  I eventually studied with her for several years, and to this day, I hear her voice when I paint.  In 2005, I retired from Delta and started devoting more time to painting and studying.   It is a true passion. How did your work as a flight attendant inspire your art? When I was flying, I always took advantage January/February 2017

West Georgia Living


“Final Approach” that I was in a different part of the country, with different surroundings and way of life. The first museum I visited was the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.  I saw my first (Frederic) Remington and was hooked.   It became my goal to visit as many art museums as possible, especially when I started flying to Europe.  It was amazing to stand in front of a famous painting and actually see the brushstrokes, or to go to the art store in Paris where Monet had bought his pigments.   You could see earlier works of the Masters; works that weren’t as famous, or follow the different movements in art and see how those changes had influenced all of their paintings.  There is no way you could leave there and not be inspired.  You were constantly surrounded by their art and architecture and it made me want to paint.  I took photos of everything and still use them as reference material in some of my paintings.  It was a wonderful career and I tried to take advantage of everything.

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What is the subject matter of your paintings? Over the years, I have painted all subjects and enjoyed them all, with one exception – portraits. I just don’t enjoy painting people.  I’ve done numerous pet portraits, but not a single owner!   I took my first workshop in Colorado years ago, and during the morning session, they would bring in models for us to paint.   My results were pitiful, and I felt terrible when the models saw my paintings!  I couldn’t apologize enough.  That must be the reason I prefer landscape and still life paintings.  When I was introduced to plein

air painting, I began to see a big difference in my work. The French term, en plein air, refers to open air painting, or painting directly from nature.  This can also apply to setting up a still life in the studio.  There, you have a more controlled environment, but you are still painting from life.  I always take a photo to use as a reference later, but nothing compares to the real thing.  I try to use this method as much as possible, but sometimes I have to rely totally on a photograph.   I’ve tried acrylics, watercolors, and pastels, but what excites me most are oils.  I love painting with oils;  I love their rich colors and buttery texture.  Plus, it is a very forgiving medium.  If something isn’t working, wipe it off, or paint over it when it dries.  Some of the colors in my pallet have changed over the years, but a few are constant.  A particular painting may require an added color, but for the most part, I use what works for me. Tell us more about learning to paint. The artist I studied with,

Lala Mulherin Streett, gave me a great foundation with solid information that I still apply to my paintings today. When I moved back to Carrollton, I went back to West Georgia (College) in 2005 and took pottery and sculpture classes, life drawing and art history.  I studied a whole lot more the second time around, and learned the importance of researching my subject.  It’s got to be correct if it’s going to look right.    Since then, I have continued to take classes and workshops with artists whose work I admire.  I have been very blessed to study with some artists who I feel are the best in their field:  Roger Dale Brown, Scott Christensen, James Richards, and Sherrie McGraw. All of them are phenomenal painters and teachers.   The old saying is true: the more you learn, the more you realize what you don’t know.  Each workshop is different, so you try to learn something new from each one.  Eventually, you apply what works for you, and you develop your own unique style.  My best advise to anyone interested in painting is to study only with an artist whose work you love.  Paint what excites you and go for it. What inspires you to paint? If the creative juices came from my mother, my love of nature came from my father.  I was the son he never had.    He taught me a lot about the outdoors, and I think that’s where my passion for painting nature is rooted.  There is nothing more inspiring than being outside, observing what God has

created, knowing that He has given you the desire and opportunity to put it on canvas.  I never start a painting that doesn’t first begin with a prayer. How has your art evolved? When I first started painting, I gravitated toward gardens and flowers, and all the things I thought were “pretty”.  Art has definitely broadened my perception of “pretty”.  You don’t have to be in the mountains or at the beach to find great subject matter.  It’s in your own back yard.  Plein air painting has helped me see that.  I never leave home without a camera, and I can spend hours riding through Carroll County looking for paintings.  The results usually lead to paintings done on the side of a dirt road or in a cow pasture somewhere.  So far, I’ve never had a confrontation with any large animal, except a moose in Idaho.  Painting on location forces you to make decisions quickly.  Shadows are constantly changing; clear blue skies become cloudy and overcast, and the reason you decided to paint a particular scene has completely changed.  For me, it is the most challenging but the most rewarding. How can people acquire your artwork? My art is available at Madison Market in Madison, Ga., and at Aurum Jewelry Art at Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Ga.   You can also visit my website at Alice Searcy Fine Art. WGL

“Fishing Village Blue Rock, Nova Scotia” West Georgia Living

January/February 2017 55

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Stilley's Best

The first full moon on the Summer Solstice since 1948 occurred on June 20, and was captured by WGL photographer Ricky Stilley as it rose behind the Bald Head Island lighthouse in North Carolina. Every now and then, we like to feature a collection of Ricky’s best photos, so we hope you will enjoy this album.

West Georgia Living

January/February 2017 57

Above: Sea oats at sunset on Oak Island, NC. Top right: Splendid fall color in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Right: an angry seagull at Daytona Beach, FL. Below: A river in Cades Cove.

58 West Georgia Living

January/February 2017

Left: The Little River, near Townsend, TN, in the Great Smoky National Park. Right: The Union Pacific rolls through Georgia. Below: The clouds look like an avalanche of snow on the slopes of Clingman’s Dome in the Smokies.

West Georgia Living

January/February 2017 59


“Now that’s funny!”

South of the Etowah: the View from the Wrong Side of the River Raymond L. Atkins Mercer University Press, 2016.


ne of the things that makes us human is our sense of humor. While all people laugh, the experiences or events that make us laugh vary widely from culture to culture, and from person to person. Sometimes we just don’t “get it” when someone tells a joke, or when we watch a humorous movie. Raymond L. Atkins’ collection of personal stories, “South of the Etowah,” fits well in the category of Southern humor. Atkins is in good company with such notable writers as Mark Twain, Flannery O’Connor, and Eudora Welty. Other writers such as Lewis Grizzard, Dave Barry, Rick Bragg, and Erma Bombeck have tickled the Southern funny bone with their brand of regional humor. Atkins’ gentle, self-deprecating stories delight the readers as he highlights the foibles of Southern life. Atkins’ stories spring from his own experiences. His stories are set nearby, in communities such as Cartersville, Rome, Canton, and Carrollton. Many revolve around Southern cuisine, from the Waffle House and barbecue, to the traditional elements of a Thanksgiving feast: “potato salad, dressing, gravy, casseroles, baked beans, cranberry sauce,” and all of the dishes that highlight the centerpiece of the traditional turkey. Atkins suggests that his “favorite holiday dish is tater tots.” Atkins’ story “Breakfast at the Waffle House” is as vividly Southern as a buttermilk biscuit, poking gentle fun at customers and staff, making fun of himself and his own attitudes as he tells the story. Atkins especially takes aim at his own traditionally Southern male attitudes toward “culture.” A number of his stories, with titles such as “Les Miserables,” “The Ballet,” “Shakespearean Dinner Theater,” and “Opera” drop the protagonist into cultural experiences that he neither enjoys or understands. He explains the title Les Miserables: “It is pronounced ‘Lay Miz’ by theater aficionados, and you don’t have to be a French translator to figure what the words stand for. If you are not ‘miz’ by page four of the book, or by the second song of the play, then you are a better man than I am.” His explanations of the plot of a Shakespearean play, or of an opera, recall Twain’s character Huckleberry Finn’s satirical accounts of his own cultural misadventures. 60 West Georgia Living

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Raymond L. Atkins is an award-winning novelist and essayist. His first novel, Front Porch Prophet, won the 2008 Georgia Author of the Year Award for First Novel. His third novel, Camp Redemption, received the Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction and the 2014 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Fiction. His fourth novel, Sweetwater Blues, was a Townsend Prize nominee. He teaches English at Georgia Northwestern Technical College. He lives in Rome, Georgia in a 110 year old house with his wife and dog. South of the Etowah is his first non-fiction publication.

In his essay “Graceland vs. Rowan Oak,” Atkins contrasts two icons of Southern culture – Elvis Presley and William Faulkner – through comments on their respective homes. As one would expect, the Nobel-winning author’s house loses in the comparison, partially because the gift shop at Graceland has more glitzy souvenirs for the tourist. Atkins searches in vain for “I Heart Faulkner” T-shirts and “Absalom, Absalom” action figures. One of the themes of the book is the average person’s dealing with modern life; the complexities of technology and a world so complicated that it is nearly beyond comprehension. Stories with titles such as “Passwords,” “Imperfect Machines,” “ Intimidating Technology,” and “Computer Science,” depict the author (and the average man) as a resident in a world of technology that he does not understand, usually to his detriment. The challenges of remembering a computer password, keeping up with and using numerous remote control devices, or using a self-service checkout, offer unique and often frustrating experiences that provide Atkins with opportunities to poke fun at himself. The reader who shares those frustrations will find himself nodding and smiling at the technologically challenged protagonist who is tempted to “boot” his computer – literally – with an object of footwear. A major component of Atkins’ humor is his style of writing, especially in his low-key rambling way of telling a story, using Southern language and images to draw the readers into

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his personal tales. The stories are usually short enough to read quickly, but long enough to include sufficient vivid detail to bring the plot to life. Atkins compares his storytelling style to that of old men whittling while they entertain one another with stories. Atkins aptly describes his own style as “Southern Digressional,” the story moving slowly meandering to its conclusion, entertaining the reader along the way.

work in a non-fiction genre with equal ability. His self-deprecating, low-key humor will entertain the reader who sees himself and his own foibles in the amusing, uniquely Southern perspective of Atkins’ work. WGL

Perhaps an appropriate metaphor to reading Raymond Atkins’s stories is rafting down the Chattahoochee River. The story moves and carries the reader, entertaining with details and satirical attitudes about all things Southern. He describes vacuum cleaners as having new “thingamabobs” added to improve them. His story “Stuff and Junk” revolves around the distinction between those two words as they apply to a yard sale. His story “Road Food” begins with a distinction between the title and “road kill.” Atkins embeds Southern language into his stories in ways that his readers will understand. He knows, for example, the distinction between “stuffing” and “dressing,” as is evident in his tale about Thanksgiving dinner. Many of his discussions of Southern cuisine get their unique “flavor” from the language as well as from the specific images that carry the humor. While Atkins’ is generally recognized as an award-winning novelist, this collection of humorous essays demonstrates his ability to

REVIEWER BIOGRAPHY Robert C. Covel, a retired university and high school English teacher, received his Ph.D. in English from Georgia State University. He has published two books of poetry and he is also writing a novel. When not reading and writing, he enjoys playing trivia. He lives with his wife Deloris in West Georgia.

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West Georgia businesses answer consumer questions Scouting

Cardiac CT for Calcium Scoring

Boy Scouts of America ......65

Tanner Health System ...... 69

New Year’s Lawn Resolutions

Why Schools should teach students to code

NG Turf ......66

Heritage School ...... 70

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How to reset my life to have the best year ever Crossroads Church ...... 68

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What every West Georgian should know about... Scouting? What is Scouting and its Mission?

How does Scouting serve West Georgia?

Scouting prepares the youth for a life of leadership, adventure, learning and service. The mission of Scouting is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scouting Oath and Law. Scouts serve 7-18 year old boys through their Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout Troops. They also serve 14-21 year old Boy and Girls in their Venture Crews and Explorer Post.

Since 2014, there have been over 15,000 hours of service returned to West Georgia through the work of Eagle Scouts. 2016, there were 21 youth that reached the rank of Eagle Sco Some of their projects included repairs and restorations of na trails and outdoor classrooms at Villa Rica Elementary Schoo constructing a walkway at Carrollton Public Library, several projects at Hobb’s Farm, and several others. Scouts also serve community by making lunches for the homeless, helping at t toys for tots drive, adopting trails for the Carrollton Greenbe Service to the community and others is imbedded in the Sco Oath and is a backbone to a great Scouting program.

How many Scouts are served in West Georgia? The Indian Springs District serves the three counties of Carroll, Douglas, and Haralson. Serving over 1,750 youth through the efforts of more than 530 trained volunteers who share their time, talent, and resources. Under the leadership of a volunteer board made up West Georgia top business and community leaders. The Indian Springs District is supported by the Atlanta Area Council and is known as the gold standard for non-profits in programmatic and financial strength.

Mark Foster Executive Manager Walker Cadillac, Buick, GMC Inc.

How do I find more information about Scou

To find a Cub Scout Pack, Boy Scout Troop, Venture Crew, a Explorer Post to join, you can go to or Atlanta org. To find local information on Scouting in West Georgia, can go to, or contact the Indian Sprin District Professionals. District Director – Paul Odom at 770-289-6321 or District Executive – Conor Closs at 404-431-4685 or

Where is Scouting located?

Qualifications Mark Foster is a Vice Chairman with the Boy Scouts of America Indian Springs District, an Eagle Scout class of 1998, and Executive Manager at Walker Cadillac Buick GMC, Inc. Mark continues to work his vision to help better the community.




Scout Packs and Troops are located throughout the three counties served by Indian Springs, and are chartered through local churches and civic clubs. We have over 30 chartered partners that support 54 separate scouting units.

How long has Scouting been around in West Georgia? Scouting has been in West Georgia for over 104 years. The first troop ever started in Georgia happened in Mt. Zion in 1912. The first troop had 60 boys and was located at the old Mt. Zion Elementary School. There is currently a stone that is engraved with the information of the first troop.


! S T U


atlan tabsa .org/ cubsc outs






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What every West Georgian should know about... SIX NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR A FABULOUS LAWN After our extended drought and cold winter weather, our lawns will need some serious TLC come spring. Our experts have put together these 6 New Year’s Resolutions to help you bring your lawn back to life:

Figure out what type of grass you have and master the best practices. If you’re not sure what type of grass is growing in your yard, take a 4-inch square sample (including the roots) and bring it to one of our area farms. Once you know which variety you have, look on the appropriate lawn care calendar to see when to fertilize, how to water, how low to mow, and when best to aerate. You can find links to the UGA Lawn Calendars here: resources/

Test your soil to determine pH and nutrient needs

Helen Albrightson Business Manager Qualifications

In order to add the correct amendments to your soil, you have to know what nutrients are out of balance. DIY soil testing kits are available at most garden supply centers. Professional testing through your local Ag Extension office costs about $15 and will give you the most accurate and useful results. (Find your Ag office on the same webpage as the calendars above.) The best time to test is in the early spring just before the growing season begins, but you can test any time of year.

A native of Wisconsin, Helen joined NG Turf in 2001. Her responsibilities include oversight of internal functions including accounting, sales, marketing and human resources. Helen Schedule your annual mower tune-up and have has been a Certified Turfgrass Professional blades sharpened since 2005. Winter is the best time to have your mower serviced. You won’t miss it while it is gone and the mechanic won’t be backlogged with everyone else’s mowers. A well-tuned mower with sharp blades will provide the cleanest cut. Ragged tips promote browning and disease, so a sharp blade is a must!

Break bad lawn care habits Pay attention to your lawn to nurture good habits. Mow when your lawn actually

needs it, not when just it’s convenient. Mowing too frequently, or too low, can damage the growing portions of the grass. If you let your lawn grow too high, don’t scalp it all at once. It can go into carbohydrate shock and die back. It’s best to remove no more than 1/3 of the blade height in each mowing and wait several days between mowings for best results. Water only as needed. Overwatered lawns are susceptible to fungal diseases like root rot. “Smart” irrigation systems can even automatically adjust to account for rainfall! See for more watering tips.

Consider transitioning to TifTuf for water conservation Drought seems to be the new “normal” in our part of the country. TifTuf Bermuda is the most drought tolerant sod on the market. Rigorous industry and university testing has shown that TifTuf stays green under extreme water deficit because it actually needs less water to thrive. If you update your lawn with TufTuf sod, you’ll be helping the environment and lowering your water bills!

Spend more time outdoors enjoying your lawn! None of this matters if you don’t get out there and enjoy your lawn! Plan a family backyard picnic, organize a neighborhood game of two-hand-touch, run in the sprinklers with the kids. Whatever you choose, be sure to take off your shoes and savor the cool green grass between your toes. It will make all your hard work so worth the effort.

Need a rain gauge this summer? The first 20 callers to mention this ad will receive one for free! Call NG Turf @ 770-832-8608.

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West Georgia businesses answer consumer questions

Scott & Ellen Wynn McBrayer Jones-Wynn Funeral Home & Crematory and Meadowbrook Memory Gardens As always, we remain “A Family Serving Families®....Since 1950”

Qualifications Scott & Ellen McBrayer are both licensed funeral directors and embalmers. Jones-Wynn Funeral Homes & Crematory has served our community since 1950. We keep our funeral home & crematory synonymous with its name & reputation of serving & caring for families. We are three generations carrying on one tradition. We offer Peace of Mind with the highest quality of service and affordable options. Our funeral home family is always available to help you clarify or answer questions you might need help with.


What every West Georgian should know about... Grief Has No Age Limits or Time Frames Q) Do holiday seasons magnify grief? A) Grief during the holiday season and particularly when starting a new year does seem to carry a heavy sadness. All the “happy memories” you shared with your loved ones are now full of grief, and remembering them can often change your emotions from happiness to sadness.  Also, when the world seems so happy and full of “holiday spirit”, grief can make your broken heart even more painful.   It’s an odd experience, almost as if there is a feeling of holiday peer pressure to “be happy”.   But never lose hope during the holidays.  As with any relationship,  grief will change over time, even if you don’t believe me while reading this.  We like to refer to them has happy/sad memories because, over time, you will learn to love these memories and simultaneously be sad that it’s “over”.  We find sadness in the fact that they are gone, but comfort and happiness in having the special memories.

Q) Can grief show up in your emotions regardless of how many years have passed or your age? A) We couldn’t help but realize how powerful love, memories, and grief are while watching the Cubs win the World Series. The Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. The world got to view this 7 game series as one of the closest and hardest fought battles between two teams who had not won in many, many years, possibly the two longest losing droughts in baseball, and it was a movie story finish.  The Cubs went into extra innings, in the other team’s stadium, and finally won it all.  Even if you are not a baseball fan, we want you to understand the magnitude of the buildup, and that it was on of the most epic displays of teamwork and bonding together, making it simply magical to watch.  Our point and reason for all these details is to create the emotional environment surrounding what happened next.  After the win, Bill Murray, long time actor and fan of the Cubs was interviewed.  He was so excited and overwhelmed with joy that he almost couldn’t collect his thoughts while standing on the baseball field.  Then Bill Murray

made a statement that no one expected and got teared up. He started talking about his mother, stating that the tears were from him reflecting about their special “mother/son” and family love of the Cubs.   Bill Murray explained that November 3rd (the day of the World Series win) was the anniversary date of his mother passing away 28 years ago.  Even in the middle of an epic win, he was taken back to the heart  of his mother’s death.  But the most touching part of this was that Bill Murray was so excited about the win and his emotions and memories were so strong about his mother, Bill Murray was able to use that to bridge an emotional tie to the World Series Win. In other words, he was able to still have his mother’s memories connected and tied to this event that meant so much to him.  Can’t we all do the same with our loved ones?   For example, on my wedding day, I used one of my dad’s neck ties to wrap around my wedding bouquet of flowers.  The memories keep our loved ones in our hearts and lives. Over the years, one thing that seems to prove itself time and again is that (on the outside) we all grieve differently, and some of us often build up emotional walls.  However, within our loving souls, we never truly let our loved ones leave our lives.  Instead, we keep their memories alive by reminding ourselves of the bonds that connected us and also by the silly stories we remember.

Q) Do the memories still hurt? A) If so, please take a moment to stop and look back at how far you have come. No matter the timeline, remind yourself to keep going, even if you need to ask for help.  There is always hope that tomorrow will be better on your broken heart than today.  The memories will not always hurt so badly, and one day soon, you will be able to smile at the times you had, even if the tears are still there.  Never lose hope.

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What every West Georgian should know about...

HOW DO I RESET MY LIFE TO HAVE THE BEST YEAR EVER? Our lives are made of a series of choices. The choices we make will always determine the direction of our lives, whether they are good or bad. If we want our lives to be better, then we need to find a way to make better choices. There is good news for all of us. It’s found in the Bible, and it shows us how best choices can be made.

Greg Towler, Pastor Crossroads Church Pastor Greg has a Doctor of Ministry degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and has been the Lead Pastor of Crossroads Church in Douglasville, GA for over 15 years.

1. How do I reset the clutter in my life? - The fi rst thing we have to do is decide what will drive us this year. We need to determine what we will live for the most. Th is helps us to prioritize our focus in our lives. If you don’t decide, someone else will decide for you! When we discover how to say yes to the things that are most important to us, it allows us to say no to the things that hold us back from living our lives to the fullest. How do I reset the failures in my life? When it comes to avoiding failures in our lives, we have to fi rst define what success is before we can begin to pursue it. It is my belief that God wants nothing but success for us. The key to our success doesn’t rely on our own doing, but instead if we are seeking and trusting in God’s will, He will direct our path to success (Proverbs 3:5-8). If we follow the right path in 2017, we will avoid failure and find success!

How do I reset my bad habits? - Every New Year, we all find ourselves making resolutions to quit our bad habits. Some of these habits are harmless, but others are destructive to our bodies, our minds, our relationships, and our lives. The best way to break free from a destructive habit is to kill our unhealthy desires. The habits we feed will become the habits that control us. We kill unhealthy desires by starving them and not allowing them to grow into even unhealthier actions.

RESET: A New Message Series Coming this January 2017 - The greatest thing about a new year is that last year is now behind you… well, except for all those things that you didn’t change or do last year. Are you ready for something different this year? Instead of living off the defeats of your past, make 2017 the year that you reset your life and your priorities and find out how God can take your future to the next level and so that you can the best year ever! Join us for a new message series that will help you reset your life this new year


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What every West Georgian should know about Cardiac CT for Calcium Scoring Why is it valuable to know your calcium score? Knowing your risk for cardiovascular disease is instrumental in helping you and your physician devise a plan that can reduce your odds of experiencing a lifethreatening heart attack. What is a CT scan? A computed tomography (CT) scan — sometimes called a “CAT” scan — uses X-rays and a powerful computer to generate clear images of bones, internal organs, soft tissue and blood vessels. Because of the CT machine’s ability to quickly capture images from multiple angles, the computer is able to generate cross-sectional images and even threedimensional images, enabling medical providers to clearly see the anatomical structures inside the body.

Timothy Albert, MD

Tanner Heart & Vascular Specialists


Dr. Albert is board-certified in cardiology. He earned his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, and completed his internship and residency at the University of Washington Department of Medicine in Seattle. He then completed a fellowship in cardiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., where he pursued additional training in advanced cardiovascular imaging. Dr. Albert has published widely in the field of cardiac imaging and frequently speaks nationally and internationally on these topics. At Tanner, Dr. Albert is further enhancing the region’s advanced imaging capabilities.

CT imaging is popular because of the variety of uses it affords medical providers, helping physicians make more accurate diagnoses and better plan their patients’ course of treatment. How can a CT scan determine heart health?

Cardiac calcium scoring is a popular use of CT technology, allowing a medical provider to diagnose the presence and extent of calcified plaque inside the coronary arteries that supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood. Plaque is the fatty substance that can collect along artery walls, causing them to narrow and inhibiting their ability to carry blood. Over time, the narrowed arteries can become blocked, preventing oxygen-rich blood from reaching the heart and causing a heart attack. This can also occur elsewhere in the body, limiting the flow of

blood to the arms or legs (a condition called peripheral artery disease, or PAD) or even the brain, increasing the risk of stroke. Along with narrowing arteries, plaque can also calcify over time — becoming hard and brittle — and leading to a disease called atherosclerosis, or coronary artery disease (CAD).

How effective is a cardiac CT for calcium scoring? The results of the test are called a “calcium score.” CT for calcium scoring has been found highly effective in diagnosing both early and advanced heart artery disease in at-risk patients. This allows us to start prevention before someone has symptoms or has a heart attack. How can you schedule a low-cost cardiac CT for calcium scoring at Tanner? Call Tanner Central Scheduling at 770.812.9721 to schedule your appointment. The screenings are offered at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton and Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica, so you may choose the facility that’s most convenient for you.

The cardiac CT scan for calcium scoring is not covered by Medicare, Medicaid or many private insurance providers. However, Tanner believes in the screening as a valuable tool to detect coronary artery disease early, so the health system offers the scan at a reduced rate of $99. That includes the cost of the scan and the interpretation fees to read and report on the scan.

Learn more: | 770.214.CARE

Advancing Health WITH ADVANCED HEART SCREENINGS. What’s your risk for heart disease? Tanner Health System offers a simple screening that’s fast, noninvasive and low-cost to assess the health of your coronary arteries. It’s called a coronary CT for calcium scoring, and it uses X-ray images to measure calcified plaque — the hardened, fatty substance inside your blood vessels — that narrows your coronary arteries and leads to a heart attack. The amount of plaque is your “calcium score.” If it’s high, you and your doctor can take steps to prevent heart issues. The screening is available for just $99. Taking steps to identify and reduce your risk of heart

To find a heart specialist, call 770.214.CARE or learn more at

disease is how Tanner delivers medicine beyond measure.

Know your risk with a high-value screening for an affordable price. Get a coronary CT calcium score for $99. Call 770.812.9721 to schedule your cardiac CT for calcium scoring.



January/February 2017 69

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What every West Georgian should know about... WHY STUDENTS SHOULD BE TAUGHT TO CODE

There are many benefits for learning Computer Science. It helps students develop critical thinking skills for problem solving, practice logical deduction, and learn to express themselves with greater precision and clarity. Some specific reasons it is important for students to learn to code are:

Tina Abbott

Director of Technology

The Heritage School, a coeducational, independent day school in Newnan, Georgia

Qualifications Tina Abbott is a native of Newnan, Georgia. She graduated from The Heritage School, continued on to Converse College, then earned a Master’s degree from the University of South Carolina. She worked as a software developer creating programs for international companies including BMW, Microsoft, Alcoa, and VMWare. After 15 years, she joined the technology department at a school and has been in the field of education ever since. Tina is currently the Director of Technology at The Heritage School, where she manages day-to-day technology needs, works with faculty on the effective use of technology in the classroom, and teaches high school computer programming. She is passionate about teaching kids to code.

It builds confidence and creativity. Coding provides the tools to create a world of limitless possibilities, where students can build solutions in their own way. Overall, coding is a very empowering skill. Just like art is a way to express creativity, coding can be a highly engaging, fun and empowering skill for kids today. With the ability to code students can learn to control a robot, create with a 3D printer, or even build their own computer apps or games.

passion lies. You will be able to do what you do even bet

Just like we teach English and math to all students, not j

future writers and mathematicians, we teach coding to he round out a student’s skills and abilities. Almost any job

any field can benefit from programming knowledge. Stev Jobs said everyone “should learn to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.�

In the near future there will be more programming job than qualified applicants Forbes projects that by 2020, nearly one million coding

Programming makes you smarter. It helps you be able to:

jobs will be unfulfilled based on projections from the U.S

• Break big problems into small pieces

Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to EdSource, scho

• Iterate over something quickly and make small, incremental changes

will produce only a quarter of the qualified candidates

• Find tiny problems within a big, complicated system

needed to fill these positions.

• Use your computer’s full potential You can apply programming to any field Use your programming skills in whatever you were doing before you learned to program, or in whatever field your

Learn more at

Come Experience Heritage.

The Heritage School is an independent school in Newnan, Georgia serving Pre-Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade students and families from diverse communities. Inspired by some of the very EHVWWHDFKHUVLQ*HRUJLDFKLOGUHQĂ€QGEDODQFH at The Heritage School - balance that empowers them to think creatively, act independently, and feel compassionately.

APPLY ONLINE NOW Bus Service Available from Carrollton To schedule a tour contact: Lory Pendergrast, Director of Admissions


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What every West Georgian should know about ultrasound in dogs and cats


 Probably everyone has had a friend or family member who has had an ultrasound before.  Ultrasound is now more than ever become standard of care in veterinary


medicine. Ultrasound has been common place in

human medicine for many years. Having the ability to look inside a patient without having to take them

to surgery is wonderful for the patient and the client, but more important allows us to provide more good time together for pets and their families.Â

Jason Harden, D.V.M

     Ultrasound takes sound waves, passes them


structure the computer generates an image. This

through the body, and based on the density of the

Carroll County Animal Hospital Dr. Jason Harden is a native of Carrollton, GA. He graduated from Oak Mountain Academy and continued on to the University of Georgia where he received his degree in Biology and his doctorate in veterinary medicine. His interests in veterinary medicine include surgery, exotic medicine, and ophthalmology. Dr. Harden is married to Chloe Harden, and they have 2 children, Maggie and Reese. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Animal Hospital Association. He is the chairman of the Oak Mountain Academy school board, a member of the Carrollton Lions Club, and on the board of directors of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce.

technology became popular in veterinary medicine about 20 years ago and as the technology has

improved so has the capabilities. Now we are able to detect heart defects in youngs dogs much easier than

before, we are able to perform biopsies of questionable area in the abdomen, we are able to evaluate hearts in

older patients and diagnose heart disease much earlier. In the past this level of expertise was only available at referral centers or veterinary teaching hospitals.

Now at Carroll County Animal Hospital, we are able to offer the latest technology enhancement that ultrasound has to offer. From the earliest pregnancy diagnosis, to quickly assessing a patient that has been in a traumatic accident, to obtaining a biopsy that historically would have taken a surgery, to the earliest assessment of heart disease; ultrasound has allowed Carroll County Animal Hospital to be the leader in west Georgia in advancement in pet healthcare. If you feel like your pet benefit from this technology, feel free to consult one of our doctors at 770-832-2475.

For more information, call 770-832-2475 or 770-834-1000 or visit

Carroll County

Animal Hospital Sometimes your pet’s health care can’t be scheduled Office Hours: Mon. - Sun. 8am - Midnight Regular Office Hours: Mon. - Sun. 8am - 6pm


(770) 832-2475

635 Columbia Dr. 1155 Stripling Chapel Rd. Carrollton, Ga. 30117 Carrollton, Ga. 30116 #OLUMBIA$Rs#ARROLLTON 'A (770) 832-2475 Across from Sony(770) Music834-1000



What does hip and knee pain stop you from enjoying?


Find an orthopedic specialist on staff at the Tanner Ortho and Spine Center by calling 770.214.CARE. Learn more online at


Is your hip and knee pain keeping you away from the game? Your playing days may be past, but the game still brings you joy. It’s been long enough; it’s time to start having a ball again.

West Georgia Living Jan.-Feb. 2017  

West Georgia's most popular living and lifestyle magazine.

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