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West Georgia

LiVing Sept./Oct. 2017

Life . Art . Music . People

HOME GROWN Celebrating the rural heritage and lifestyle of our region


Vol. 7/Issue 6



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Features 20


Living her dream and being 100% organic in the process



Livestock auction barns a mix of theater and business

Poultry farming has grown in Haralson County

PLUS Rural living nurtures virtues, kindness. - 8 A look at Douglas County's hydrangea festival - 12 Ag in the school system - 24 Tapping into a new brew- 46

4 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017


Beech Creek Orchard owners meet customer expectations


Enjoying the sweet smell of success right from the kitchen

On the Cover: Starry Special Nite, a prize winning show horse, relaxes at the West Georgia Riding Academy stable in Roopville, Georgia. His trainer is Francis Mercier. Photo by Ricky Stilley.

Doing it SOUTHERN STYLE! Everyone looks forward to Autumn, cool evenings begin to set in, sitting on the front porch enjoying the night air, the start of football season, and our leaves begin their spectacular fall show of color. Brilliant reds, yellows and oranges dot the landscape in a show of force. Color may be the first thing you see, but when trees and shrubs drop their leaves they can reveal much more. Red berries and exfoliating bark can be the real show underneath all those leaves. The American Beauty berry (Callicarpa americana) makes quite a show, boasting bright magenta berries that look much like bracelets of amethyst beads that grow in clusters along drooping branches. The fruit is high in moisture content and is an important food source for more than forty species of songbirds. There are several example of shrubs that can change color from season to season. Kaleidescope Abelia is a low, compact selection that works well as a foundation plant or a low hedge. The Bright, golden yellow variegation on medium green leaves along with brilliant red stems create a striking kaleidoscope of color. Another choice is Firepower Nandina. Brilliant red foliage develops in the fall and persists through winter. The neat, low evergreen mounds are terrific for borders, massing and containers. Crape Myrtle trees are often over looked as an autumn foliage tree. While Crape Myrtles do provide people with beautiful blooms in the summer, the blooms often times last into the fall. I’ll let you in on a secret about them; their leaves turn amazing colors in the fall as well. Sioux and Natchez Crape Myrtles have very dark green leaves that create a radiant show of contrasting colors. Then in the fall the leaves turn unique shades of purple and red. The Tonto Crape Myrtle has blooms that range from dark fuchsia to red. During autumn the Tonto Crape’s leaves go from deep green to dark maroon. It is not too late to get started with your own color landscape. In the professional landscape industry, planting goes on year-round. However, fall is the best time of year to plant in terms of root growth and plant establishment. Unlike the tops of woody ornamental plants that go dormant and cease growth for the winter, roots continue to grow throughout the winter months.

During the fall, the above-ground portion of a plant begins slowing down its growth as it moves toward dormancy. As a result, it makes little demand on the roots. Therefore, the energy produced via photosynthesis during the previous season can be directed toward root growth. When spring arrives and a new growing season begins, the plant has a well-established root system ready to provide the necessary water and nutrients for optimum plant growth which is necessary for plants to survive our long, hot summers. Soil preparation and planting are perhaps the most critical of all landscape practices. Proper planting assures rapid plant establishment and healthy growth. Haphazard planting is like sentencing plants to lifelong stress and suffering, making them more susceptible to injury, pests, drought, and cold. If you are unsure about the condition of your soil, take the time to do a soil test. Good results start with good soil. Soil amendments might be necessary if the existing soil is lacking the proper structure, although there is no exact recipe. An ideal soil is one that contains air space for good drainage, yet has good water holding capacity, some mineral matter to provide the soil chemistry necessary for nutrient absorption, and a small amount of organic matter to supply slow-release nutrients. Proper planting involves more than simply digging a hole and sticking a plant in it. It all starts with digging the proper hole for your plant. Pay close attention to the width, give your plant room to put out new surface roots and make sure of the depth, not too deep, and keep the existing root ball at or slightly above the ground line. It may also be a good idea to place a light ground cover over the root ball, but be sure not to smother your plant. So with all that said, seek out healthy plants, grab your shovel, and give your plants their best chance with careful soil preparation and planting. Then sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Now is the time to “Get Growing”! Southern Home & Ranch Garden Center is the place to come for all your plants, shrubs, trees and planting needs, so turn on the COLOR, WE CAN HELP! Please be sure to “Come by and Visit”, hope to see you soon ... “Excerpts from Ga. Certified Plant Professional Manual

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West Georgia

Li Ving Volume 7 . Issue 6 Sept./Oct. 2017 Publisher Marvin Enderle

Editor Ken Denney

Advertising Melissa Wilson

Photographer Ricky Stilley

Design Richard Swihart

Contributors Melanie Boyd, Laura Camper, Robert Covel, Rob DuvĂŠ, Erin McSwain, Shelly Murphy, Arthia Nixon, Josh Sewell, Molly Stassfort, Marilyn Van Pelt, Haisten Willis


ach year, we like to celebrate the rural lifestyle we enjoy here in west Georgia, and that includes the people who still make their livelihood from the land and nature.

producer of craft beers, which has just opened in Carroll County.

But that isn't all. Rob DuvĂŠ gives us some pasta recipes that make use of locally grown food. We learn how to keep our gardens In this issue, we begin with a look at how we are striking a balance between reserving growing throughout all the seasons of the year, and Haisten Willis brings us the story some of our county lands for agriculture, of a Douglas County artist who isn't letting while still planning for an economic future built increasingly on industry and manufac- health issues get in the way of her art. turing. Josh Sewell takes a look at what we can expect in the movie theaters this fall, and we Also, we visit two organic farms, one in Douglas and the other in Haralson County, review this past year's Hyradngea Festival in Douglasville, and look forward to this where farmers use modern methods and year's Arts Festival of Carrollton. technology to raise healthy food for local consumption. We also look at the importance of poultry to our region, especially in West Georgia has lots of green spaces and Haralson County. Erin McSwain takes us to rural landscapes. Its a heritage from our agricultural past that we all cherish and enjoy. the livestock auction house, where theatre and business seem to go hand-in-hand. We It's good to know that some people still can find a sustainable lifestyle in these modern also examine how schools are teaching our kids the importance of agriculture. Finally, times, and we celebrate all those efforts in this issue. We hope you enjoy it. Arthia Nixon tells us about a homegrown

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


Failing eyesight can't stop this artist's vision


Local homegrown food straight to your table


Tips for year-round garden care


Time to review this fall's big screen lineup


An odyssey from the East to the West

To advertise in West Georgia Living, call Melissa Wilson at 470-729-3237. 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. 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.

Copyright 2017 by the Newspapers of West Georgia

6 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017


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The quiet blessings of the rural life

hen I am in New York, or Chicago or one of them other big cities up North, I like to get up early in the morning, like 2 or 4 a.m., and walk out for a pizza or a hot dog or a 55-inch LCD television. OK, not really. But you continually hear from folks who live up in those concrete concentrations that the joy of living in a big city is that you can find anything you want at any hour, day or night. The city is so alive, they say – as if that were a good thing. If I wake up here in Carroll County at 2 a.m. with a hankering for a bigscreen TV, my only option is to drive up to a certain big-box retailer which caters to denizens of the darkness. Folks around here who are up at that hour are people who, for good reason, don’t venture out in the daylight. The idea of mingling with them in their combination sleepwear-shopping wear is enough to get me to roll over and go back to sleep. If your idea of freedom is being able to get something whenever you want it, you might want to re-evaluate your definition of the term. There’s a certain virtue and structure in being denied certain impulse buys. Yes, I can buy a 2-cycle weed eater at 2:15 a.m. here in Carrollton. I can also rightclick and buy a fidget spinner while sitting in my living room. They are both things I don’t really need and, if I do need them, it won’t hurt me to wait. Waiting is something you do a lot in the country. Waiting is in the genes of country people, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, there’s quite a lot that’s good about it. Waiting for the seasons to turn, waiting for the harvest, waiting for the rain to start or stop – these reinforce patience, which, we are told, is a virtue. Patience is a space in time in which we can reflect

8 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017

on the value of having, or the blessing of not-having. I am not going to say that country people are more virtuous that city folk. I remember once walking down 63rd Street in New York and stopping into a restaurant owned by a very nice Italian couple. When I walked in, I was the only customer, and they treated me as if I were their son home from the wars. Good people are everywhere, but in some places those people are good despite their surroundings. Big cities are faceless and impartial; they don’t really encourage interpersonal kindness. New York has been there for 200 years, and despite September 11, it is still there, and will continue to be there. Its strength and resilience comes from the fact that it is an ideal. So long as there are people who call themselves New Yorkers, New York will exist. The same is not, I think, true about the country. Here, I think it is the place that nurtures kindness and virtue – and the reason, again, is the patience that all that waiting engenders in people. You learn to tolerate a lot from people here and, if you can’t, you learn to say, “bless his heart” and move on. Yes, there are some people who live in the country who are ornery old cusses, meaner than a snake and up to meanness – all of which, by the way, are things my grandmother would say. She was a very tolerant person who would use such terms to describe someone, but never to engage them in their bad behavior. Living in the country means giving up some things city folks praise, and


receiving things which are universally desired: peace, quiet and centeredness in your soul. There may be those here who seek drama and strife with others, but they are few and, ultimately, out of place – which is a tough place to be, way out in the sticks. Living the rural life demands that you stop listening to the negative voices in your head and listen instead to the song of cicadas rising and falling in the summer heat. It requires you to hear the crickets at night, to see the stars in the sky, and to live in silvery moonlight as fireflies flicker in the pines. The country imposes silence on troubled minds and conflicted souls. The troubles may not disappear, but they are at least put into perspective against the awesome example of nature, the turning wheel of the seasons, and the cleansing wash of thunderstorms. There is not a farmer I know who is not, at heart, a philosopher. Though they may have never heard of Socrates, they have spent enough time alone with the course of nature to catch a glimmer of universal truth. You cannot squat in a barn in the dewy morning, helping as a calf is born, and not see the Great Circle of life. You cannot plant a seed, hoe away weeds and harvest a crop through a season of wet and dry, and not feel improved by the experience. I am not a farmer, but I walk across the one I inherited from farmers and I feel their ghosts beside me. I hear echoes of their lifelong interrogation of nature. I see the same trees they saw, and listen to the rain patter on the same roofs that sheltered the generations they raised. I hear them in myself and I listen to the counsel they give in the long, dark night. WGL



Fall Movie Preview Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard in Alcon Entertainment's sci fi thriller "Blade Runner 2049" a Warner Bros. Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment release.


ach year, when I look ahead to fall’s big releases, I typically mention how summer tentpoles are now behind us and it’s time to look to studios’ best hopes for Oscar gold. But as I compiled my 2017 list, I realized that – much like television has shifted to a year-round schedule – the release calendar has gradually evolved into a variety of genres that offer something for everyone. I tried to reflect that diversity in this assortment of upcoming movies I’m looking forward to, in order of their release dates:

Logan Lucky” I’m cheating a little, since Steven Soderbergh’s latest isn’t technically a fall release, but I’m trying to get the word out since this redneck “Ocean’s Eleven” looks hilarious. Soderbergh remains one of the only directors who knows how to properly utilize Channing Tatum. Also, the supporting cast (including Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Katie Holmes and


Hilary Swank) promises to be compelling. (Aug. 18)

“IT” Stephen King’s epic about childhood horrors and the danger of nostalgia is one of my all-time favorite novels, and the 1990 TV miniseries boasts Tim Curry’s terrifying, iconic performance as Pennywise the Clown. A big-screen version was inevitable, but this adaptation focuses on the kid-half of the story (the grownups will feature in the West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017


Brown, Black Panther (if we’re counting fictional superheroes), and now we can add Thurgood Marshall to the list. This biopic, about the young lawyer who would eventually become the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, focuses on one of the cases that defined his career. (Oct. 13)

sequel, assuming there is one) and shifts the time period from the 1950s to the 1980s. I’m skeptical, but I must admit the trailer was awesome. (Sept. 8)

“Battle of the Sexes” Steve Carell reunites with his “Little Miss Sunshine” directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, as well as his “Crazy Stupid Love” co-star Emma Stone, for this true story about the 1973 tennis match between Bobby Riggs (Carell) and Billie Jean King (Stone). The actors seem perfectly cast and the cinematography is gorgeous – it looks like the movie was actually shot in the ’70s. (Sept. 22)

“Thor: Ragnarok”

Ezra Miller as The Flash, Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in Warner Bros. Pictures' action adventure "Justice League," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. made my Top 10 last year, so that earns him some trust. (Oct. 6)

“American Made” I’m hoping Tom Cruise can recover from his summer misfire “The Mummy” with this comedy/action hybrid about a pilot who works for both the CIA and a drug cartel. He’s reteaming with “Edge of Tomorrow” director Doug Liman, which is promising. That underrated gem featured Cruise’s best work in years. (Sept. 29)

“Marshall” Chadwick Boseman is apparently the new go-to guy for portraying iconic AfricanAmerican trailblazers. He has starred in films about Jackie Robinson, James

“Blade Runner 2049” I might lose my film nerd credibility for admitting this, but I’m not a big fan of Ridley Scott’s original sci-fi classic. I understand why it’s a foundational genre text, but it’s not one I enjoy revisiting. Still, the images on display in the trailer for director Denis Villeneuve’s sequel – which stars Ryan Gosling and a returning Harrison Ford – are unquestionably intriguing. His beautiful, heartbreaking “Arrival” 10 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017

Josh Gad and Chadwick Boseman star in Open Roads Films' biopic "Marshall."

Earlier this summer, Marvel continued their massive winning streak with “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Judging from the trailer for the studio’s third movie of 2017, they’ve got another hit on their hands. Not only does director Taika Waititi lean on Chris Hemsworth’s killer comedic instincts, he’s also steering the franchise into just plain weird, cosmic territory. I dare you not to grin like an idiot when Thor, standing in the middle of an alien gladiator arena, sees his buddy Hulk and exclaims, “We know each other! He’s a friend from work!” (Nov. 3)

“Justice League” Until recently, I was actively dreading this movie about Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg and – in perhaps the worst-kept secret ever, Superman – teaming up to defeat an enemy that threatens Earth. Director Zack Snyder’s interpretations of my favorite childhood superheroes have been grim, miserable slogs. But then Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot and Chris Pine worked miracles with “Wonder Woman” and (for the moment) restored my faith in these characters. I’m hoping DC paid attention to fans who loved

Jack Quaid (from left), Brian Gleeson and Daniel Craig star in "Logan Lucky," a Fingerprint Releasing and Bleecker Street release. that film’s tone, sense of humor and commitment to focusing on heroes who can shine a light in this dark world. (Nov. 17)

“Wonder” Based on the popular children’s book by R.J. Palacio, this drama centers on a young disfigured boy (Jacob Tremblay) who attends a mainstream school for the first time when he enters the fifth grade. It’s an inspiring story boasting an incredible cast; in addition to Tremblay (who was incredible in “Room”), the film’s cast includes Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Mandy Patinkin and recent Tony winner Daveed Diggs (one of the breakout stars of the Broadway smash “Hamilton”). (Nov. 17)

“Coco” While I’m happy that Pixar’s “Cars 3” turned out much better than I expected, I’ve always been far more excited about the animation giant’s original stories. The studio’s latest looks gorgeous (was there ever any doubt?), but the story is shrouded in secrecy. For now, the official synopsis states that a 12-yearold boy named Miguel sets off a chain of events relating to a centuries-old mystery,

leading to an extraordinary family reunion. Combined with a voice cast that includes Benjamin Bratt, Edward James Olmos, Gael Garcia Bernal, Gabriel Iglesias and Cheech Marin, that’s all I need to know. (Nov. 24)

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” J.J. Abrams’ continuation of this beloved saga introduced viewers to wonderful new characters like Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo Ren and (of course) BB-8, but that final scene promised an intriguing return by Luke Skywalker. I’m curious to see how phenomenally talented filmmaker Rian Johnson adds to the story. It’s also a bittersweet opportunity to see the late Carrie Fisher on the big screen one last time. (Dec. 15)

Jump-start your college career. How? The University of West Georgia’s dual enrollment program makes it possible.

And you can take classes at our main campus in Carrollton or at UWG Newnan. Core college classes in English, math, science, and more can be worked right into your school schedule. You could have as much as an entire year of your college degree finished before you graduate from high school.

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Everything changes when you Go West.

“Pitch Perfect 3” Supposedly the final installment in the surprise hit franchise about a college a cappella group, I’m hoping the Barden Bellas can finish strong after a lackluster second chapter. Anna Kendrick basically sleepwalked through the last one, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that returning screenwriter Kay Cannon and new director Trish Sie kept a bottle of NoDoz on the set. (Dec. 22) WGL West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017 11




Each year in early June, Douglasville becomes the hydrangea captial of the South with the annual Penny McHenry Hydrangea Festival. McHenry was the founder of the American Hydrangea Society and became world famous as a grower of this beautiful flower, which comes in many varieties that grow from summer to fall. This year's Festival took place between June 3-4, and involved a number of activitie and events all over town. Each year, mail boxes and lamp posts across Douglasville are decorated with hydrangeacolored ribbons, and visitors come from across the region and beyond to take part. The Festival was created by the Dougals County Museum of History and Art, and its purpose is to beautify the community, as well as to preserve history and historic places. But mostly, of course, it celebrates the unique diversity of the hydrangea. Jessica Holt of Junk Starlet touches up one of her creations.

Benny and Jeri Farmer's front porch, decorated for the festival.

PHOTOS BY RICKY STILLEY 12 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017

Kay Diplacido, left, and Jan Hohenstein found just the plant they were looking for at the plant sale.

Wanda King takes photos in Susanne Hudson's garden.

Above: Shawn McDaniel, left, and Alene Morrison take a stroll through Benny and Jeri Farmer's garden. Left: Clara Montemoino of Tainos Hidden Treasures gets her necklaces ready for customers. Sept. / Oct. 2017 West Georgia Living 13



FARM As farmlands disappear, west Georgia leaders find ways to preserve our rural heritage


n the mid-1870s, John Shadinger, a farmer in Carroll County, built a wall.

It was a pretty good wall, too, made of rocks, stacked up without any mortar, eight feet high and running several hundred yards along what is today U.S. 27.

But he didn’t build it just to show off his rock-stacking skills. This was an act of protest.

In 1873, businessmen and railroads began pushing for a fence law, to force farmers to pen in their animals. This was the first time – ever – that any government had dared to tell farmers what to do. And the farmers fought back. Shadinger sided with his fellow farmers, and built his rock wall to protect his row crops so that his neighbors’ cows could keep

For years just after the Civil War, cattlemen had been letting their livestock roam freely over the open range. There were no fences to keep the animals within pastures; the animals grazed wherever they wanted. This was inconvenient to railroad companies, whose locomotives were killing animals that ranged across their tracks. The railroads had to pay farmers for their dead cows, and the cost of those payouts was passed along to wholesalers in town.

on grazing as they had always done. Meanwhile, the farmers waged a political war, fighting would-be regulators who had put their economic interests over the farmer’s way of life. Shadinger’s wall stood for nearly 50 years, until it was torn down in 1934 when Highway 27 was widened and paved. Ultimately, the farmers found they could not build walls against progress. Commerce, represented by the streams of trucks and traffic on the highway, won out – and commerce is still winning.

Demand for a rural lifestyle


Today, Shadinger’s home is a tumbledown ruin along a four-lane highway that is a major corridor from Columbus through Carrollton, part of a road network that links to Georgia’s interstates. Trucks haul all sorts of products along these thoroughfares, blasting through once peaceful farmland. West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017


The farms and rolling pasturelands of west Georgia have been slowly disappearing for the last 50 years. These acres were once a heritage; handed down to sons and daughters and grandchildren. Yet increasingly, descendants of these farm families have been moving away. With no use for their family farms, they have sold their birthright to developers and builders. But the rural lifestyle they have rejected is a prime consideration for the new residents moving into west Georgia at a rapid clip. In fact, those in charge of promoting the area to new industries make the area’s peaceful, pastoral setting a major selling point. And farming still hasn’t gone away. West Georgia is still a major producer of cattle and poultry, and those two economic sectors are in competition with retail and industry to power the region’s economy.

"Dynamic balance" Daniel Jackson, president and CEO of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, calls this a “dynamic balance.” And the secret of maintaining that balance is to plan growth along the natural corridors, i.e., roadways, that already have the infrastructure that industry needs – and to leave other parts of the county alone. “The goal is not to plow up everything and convert it to parking lots and retail or industry or whatever,” he said. “We want to treasure and protect the very things that are important to this community. At the same time we want to have a healthy community.” It would be foolish for anyone to think industry would not continue to grow, given

That is a lot of land to be sure, but the land supports more than cattle, row crops, chicken houses and hayfields. It also supports 284,000 people – and so the available land for farming is in competition for land for homes, for schools, for stores and for places of employment. How to share the finite space between industry, retail and residential – and still leave room to maintain a vital agricultural and farming economy is a conundrum that vexes our political and economic leadership. 16 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017

Carroll County now supports 6,709 jobs in manufacturing, which is now the county’s leading industry. With 120 manufacturing establishments in place, planners expect that number to jump 8.1 percent by 2021. Andy Camp, vice president of economic development for the Carroll chamber, says that despite this increasing reliance on industry and manufacturing in the county, planners have to accommodate agriculture, which supports – in one way or another – one out of every five jobs. “You don’t put at risk an agrarian community,” Camp said. “We all need to eat.”

Agribusiness in west Georgia

That sets up a tension between three various interests: a battle for living space, working space and farming space. And there’s only so much land to go around. Carroll County, twice the size of both Haralson and Douglas counties, also has more of its acreage in farmland. More than 26 percent of Carroll’s 504 square miles – 85,926 acres – is listed as farmland in the 2012 Census of Agriculture. That’s compared to 16 percent of Haralson County’s 283 square miles, and 6.5 percent of Douglas County’s 201 square miles.

more people to hold down 1 million new jobs, and the state must also be prepared to produce 16 percent more energy than it currently does.

the needs of Georgia to maintain its economic foothold in the global community. But Jackson knows this can be difficult for those who want to maintain their rural lifestyle. “We humans want to say, ‘I want to come to Carroll County because it’s the coolest place – but shut the gate behind me, because I don’t want other people to come here to mess it up.” Yet the grim truth is, Jackson said, “you’re either growing, or you’re dying.” The Georgia Chamber of Commerce reckons that to stay competitive in the nation, the state must grow its economy by 40 percent by 2030. That includes adding 1.9 million

When John Shadinger and his neighbors were farming in the 1870s, cotton was the numberone agricultural product in west Georgia. By the 21st century however, cotton has disappeared with the textile industry, as has corn, soybeans and other crops. But the region remains an agricultural powerhouse, thanks to livestock. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, 9.6 million broilers and other chickens were raised under Carroll County’s chicken houses, and another 2.7 million chickens were raised in Haralson County. The market value of crop and livestock sales in Carroll County was $192 million in 2012 and $42 million in Haralson. And although Douglas County is far behind its sisters in agriculture, it sold over $1 million of farm products that year. A more accurate term for this economic sector is “agribusiness,” which encompasses a much wider diversity of farm-related activities. Not only are we raising cows and chickens, we’re also increasingly making

home-grown products like artisanal cheeses and organic-based products. And the region is becoming known as a wine-producer, thanks to the re-discovery of grape varieties that have since produced award-winning wines.

city, they bring big-city expectations with them. And those expectations include access to major retailers, restaurants, recreational facilities and other conveniences. Their employers want that too; it’s a major part of their recruitment.

Even as Georgia works to focus its educational system on producing skilled futureemployees for high-tech and manufacturing industries, the state continues to foster agribusiness, because it is valuable. All the various aspects contributing to agribusiness – timber, retail and equipment sales and manufacture – add $71 billion to the state’s economy.

Yet the fact is, without controls on growth, a rural area like west Georgia, with its inviting open spaces and rich landscape, can quickly become indistinguishable from the crowded cities those folks are escaping. One way counties avoid this fate is by for-

Within the past decade, Carroll County has seen a tremendous growth in population; a 23 percent increase since the 2000 Census, and that population is expected to double by 2030.

But when large masses of people escape the

Douglas County’s explosive growth over the past decade has been an objective lesson for community planners. Chris Pumphrey, executive director of the Douglas County Economic Development Authority, acknowledges that the rapid expansion, followed by an almost immediate economic downturn, created a lot of unplanned growth.

Douglas County is smaller than Carroll, so it literally has little room for mistakes. The eastern part of the county is denser; the west is more rural, and that’s the way it needs to stay, Pumphrey said, to protect the county’s only water resources.

Planning the future

All county and city officials in west Georgia agree that the primary reason people move here is the quality of life. We are, it seems, the perfect distance from Atlanta; close enough to drive in for concerts and nights on the town, but far enough away to escape the traffic and other headaches associated with big-city living.

Learning from mistakes

“We didn’t do a lot of deep planning in the past,” he said. “But we’re really diving deep into these areas and doing our best to fix some of the challenges. There’s going to have to be some tough decisions going forward, but I think we have the right leadership in place to help us get there.”

According to the annual Farm Gate Value Report, there are only about 45,000 farms in the state. Yet they are growing in acreage and, through technology, are producing higher yields. As a result, Georgia is keeping pace with its agricultural needs, even as fewer people are taking up the farming life.

But Douglas County has experienced explosive growth. The Census reports a 7.5 percent population increase since 2010, with the unincorporated area more than doubling since 1980. And the county expects the area outside Douglasville to increase by 148 percent by 2025.

idents and all the stores and other service amenities they will require.

mulating what is called a “comprehensive plan” that establishes their vision for the future, and how they should guide future growth. Each of west Georgia’s counties has formulated such a comprehensive plan; in fact, each county is due to update those plans by next year. All three counties are working to preserve their rural, agricultural lands even as they prepare for an expected growth in industry and manufacturing, not to mention new res-

The county’s “Sweetwater Master Plan,” which will be added to the county’s revised comprehensive plan, envisions of way of allowing the industrial area growing around Sweetwater State Park to live in harmony with the residents who live nearby – people who were attracted to Douglas County in the first place because of its rural location. Planners in Carroll and Haralson county want to avoid whatever mistakes Douglas County made, and wish to follow the example the county is now setting in righting the ship. “Everyone won’t be happy,” Pumphrey said. “But we can at least say we have a plan that found the middle ground.” West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017


Change is going to come

not simply sell for a quick buck – is, Pumphrey says, “a touchy topic.�

For those who grew up in west Georgia, and who did so back in the days of quiet, family farms, it is tough to see those farms disappear. Many acres have been subdivided and sold off by family members who live far away, or whose livelihood does not depend on agriculture.

On the one hand, he said, “you have a property owner’s rights, and ‘this is what I want to do with my property.’ Can you truly deny them their rights? But you also have those who don’t own the property, but who would be affected by whatever goes there.� As Carroll County’s Jackson said, there is a “dynamic tension� among competing interests.

The farmland that once surrounded John Shadinger’s stone fence in the 1870s has long since passed down to his descendants, most of whom have sold that land. The nature of the area seems destined for change.

But there’s another interest at the table, a party without a voice. Those who will come after this generation also have a stake in the future of west Georgia’s farmlands, and no one can predict what they will have to say.

Yet those who plan out the future of west Georgia’s counties know that rural farmlands must remain part of the future, just as these fields are part of the past, because farming, or agribusiness, will always be an important component of the region’s economy.

“We’ve got to accept the fact that change is going to come,� Pumphrey said. “We’ve got to understand that there are generations behind us who are going to be in our community, they may want that development and may think completely different.� WGL

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Down on the

(organic) far A

shley Rodgers had a pretty sweet job a couple of years back: managing the popular Serenbe Farms in south Fulton County.

For most folks, managing the farm at what has become both a popular attraction and major movie filming destination (“Insurgent” was filmed there) would be a dream job. But for Rodgers, still just half a decade removed from college graduation, the dream was bigger. “In my third year managing Serenbe, I stumbled upon some land in Douglas County,” said the 2010 College of Charleston graduate and Michigan native. “My partner and I looked at it, and slowly but surely we put in an offer and then closed. I wanted to go full throttle.” That’s how Rodgers Green and Roots farm was born. Located at 5292 Highway 92, the farm sits just inside the southeast corner of Douglas County. If you drive another half mile south, you’re over the Chattahoochee River and into Fulton. Rodgers owns, operates and manages the farm, which is USDA-certified organic and operates as a community supportive agriculture (CSA) farm. Basically, CSA is a subscription program where customers can become members and pick up vegetables once a week from set drop-off locations. It’s local, organic produce, which has been in high demand across the country in recent years. Right now, there are four employees including Rodgers, but ultimately the goal is to create one of the largest CSA programs in all of metro Atlanta. A customer’s weekly package might include a head of cabbage, broccoli, carrots, arugula and cilantro one week – but the selections would change 20 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017

the next week, depending on what the farm is growing. Rodgers said she likes the idea of having a relationship with the people eating vegetables from her farm, which is a big driver behind the CSA model.

rocking and rolling ever since, installi lines and electricity, among other infr needs.

You don’t need to drive down to Rodg to check out the fare. She regularly vis farmers markets including the Peacht Road Farmers Market in Buckhead an “We spend so much time growing, Peachtree City Farmers ma caring and harvesting the produce,” in Fayette County. She’s als “We spend so much she said. “To have a relationship with working to get her product people week in and week out is what time growing, to local wholesalers and it’s about for me.” caring and restaurants both in Douglas County and elsewhere. harvesting the

Growing Pains

Getting her business off the ground was no easy task. Because Rodgers’ farm is located near the Chattahoochee, she had to comply with the Metropolitan River Protection Act; submit plans to the Atlanta Regional Commission; and plow through a lot of red tape before planting the first seeds.

produce. To have a relationship with people week in and week out is what it’s about for me.”

“Anything I was building, I had to get an application for it,” she said.

Rodgers got her start interning at Serenbe in 2011, worked elsewhere, then came back to work full time. She describes it as a “right place, right time” —Ashley Rodgers situation where owner of Rodgers Serenbe’s owners Green and Roots farm were looking to elevate their business.

The regulatory process set her back several months, but the barn opened the first week of 2017, and is now accompanied by a greenhouse and several acres of farmland. Spring crops were planted, and Rodgers and her crew have been


She doesn’t come from a farming family. Instead, both her mother and father worked in sales, a crucial component of any successful b

“Honestly, I don’t know where I got th thumb,” Rodgers said. “I just wanted farming a try, especially when I realiz business, marketing, and science was

The new farm certainly bears some re the one at Serenbe, but brings advant


ing irrigation rastructure

gers’ farm sits area tree nd the arket so



he green to give zed how much s involved.�

esemblance to tages that give

Sept. / Oct. 2017 West Georgia Living 21

it more potential. For one, it’s much bigger. Serenbe’s farm spans four acres, while there are nine acres being cultivated at Rodgers Green and Roots, with a total of 25 available should the need arise. Customers won’t find any pesticides on the property at Rodgers’. Instead, the farm uses such practices as covering the plants with fabric to keep bugs away. Rodgers describes her method as the “three C's”: cover crops, crop rotation and compost. Rotating crops is the practice of planting a different crop in each field each season, to keep the soil full of nutrients. For example, if tomatoes are planted in a certain location one year, they won’t be placed in the same space again for at least another five years.

Ashley Rogers carries some waste vegetables to her tractor, for transport to her compost pile.

Rodgers takes her farm’s organic certification seriously. “Everything we do is for the betterment of the soil and the crops,” she said. “We don’t spray the kind of pest and disease control products that conventional farms are using.” WGL

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TEACH At west Georgia schools, kids are learning to live sustainably.

The Children


e expect children to learn a lot in school, but what are they learning about diet and exercise? Not much, apparently. The Centers for Disease Control says childhood obesity rates have tripled – tripled – over the past 30 years, so that now one out of every three kids is considered overweight. And if you believe that parents should set an example for their children (and they should), then you must keep in mind that more than one third of American adults are also considered obese. Which means that kids have gotten a jump start on the risk for

24 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017

diabetes, stroke, heart attack and other health concerns that their parents now face. In west Georgia, however, the county school systems are taking matters into their own hands by doing what they do best: teach children at a young age the important lessons that will carry them through life. In 2013, for example, the Carrollton City schools received a $31,000 grant from the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, which offers funds to provide schools the tools teachers and students need to increase the amount of locally grown, nutritious food served in schools.


“After buying equip-

ment and training our staff, (we) shifted our focus to include more local items on our menu,” said Linette Dodson, director of nutrition for the school system. Since then, the school’s nutrition program has evolved to not only focus on local grown foods, but also Georgia-grown foods. And this initiative has been recognized on a state level. “We have been fortunate to receive the ‘Golden Radish Award’ for the last four years,” said Dodson. “That award is for doing more farm-to-school initiatives. It’s more inclusive than just serving local grown foods; it also involves the nutrition education, staff training, community events and all that highlight local foods.” The award is presented annually by the Georgia departments of Education, Agriculture, and Public Health, as well as the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension service and Georgia Organics, a group devoted to promoting sustainable foods and local farms in the state. The Agriculture Department has also recognized the school system as a Georgia Grown District of Distinction for its focus on serving

more Georgia-grown foods to students. But giving students healthy food choices is only part of the story. West Georgia schools are also working with local farms to teach agriculture and livestock raising in classrooms. At Central High School in Carroll County, two teachers have been working hard to do just that. Stephanie Kuzy-Jenkins and Nikhol Dysart, have been pushing to expand the agriculture program, and they are succeeding. Animal science has been at Central High since 1982, although the school has never kept animals on campus long term. KuzyJenkins, a Spanish instructor, approached the agriculture teacher, Dysart, with the idea of bottle feeding a young goat that she had. “I jumped at the opportunity, because I found it a chance to allow my students hands-on experience,” said Dysart. “Jenkins’ baby goat, Luna Belle, has made an impact on our students and the agriculture education program here at the school.” Dysart’s agriculture program is about to put up chicken coops and goat pens on school

grounds. She hopes that with the success of having the animals on campus, students will be able to sell eggs and goat milk to local families. And, when a beehive has been installed on campus, she hopes to sell honey. “Farmers and others involved in agriculture, make up only 2 percent of the career field, but they feed 98 percent of the world,” said Dysart. “As teachers, we hope to not only encourage students to enter this field, But to gain an understanding of where food comes from and how the process works.” Haralson County High School’s agriculture program is working with multiple school programs to expand. The high school’s construction class and agriculture class are working together to build chicken coops for this upcoming school year, not only for the agriculture program but also the culinary arts program. “I have been teaching, with this upcoming semester, for five years now,” said Haralson High Agriculture teacher Jeskica Holloway. “I teach it because I am passionate about agriculture, because it is not only our past but it is also our future as well.” Holloway said that agriculture is important Sept. / Oct. 2017 West Georgia Living 25

because without it, we would be “cold, naked and hungry.” She now teaches four agriculture classes at the high school; animal science, basic agriculture, general horticulture, and agriculture business and leadership. “I hear from students who come up to me years later, or just a few month after graduation, and they tell me ‘I was not sure about learning agriculture, but it was much more than just working out in the field,” said Holloway. As with Central High in Carrollton, Haralson High hopes to put the eggs grown from its chicken coops to good use. The agriculture program is looking forward to provide eggs to the culinary arts classes, as well as helping those classes learn how to preserve such foods as jams and jellies. Douglas County Schools are also taking their agriculture education seriously by teaching elementary students ways to cultivate crops. “Some of our elementary schools have gardens that students cultivate for learning experiences. One of our elementary schools, Bill Arp Elementary, has help from a local garden club,” said Douglas County School System Community Relations Specialist Nell Boggs. “However, Alexander High School is the only school with an agriculture program.” Alexander High has its own full greenhouse with their agriculture teacher, Freddie Morrison.

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The school will partner with the City of Douglasville through Keep Douglasville Beautiful to assist, from time to time, with a city garden known as “Freedom Island.” Ryan Ayers, an agriculture teacher at Bowdon, has his students get down in the dirt when it comes to agriculture education. “I start my students out with learning about the soil,” said Ayers. “We start with soil testing, because having nutritious soil will determine whether a crop will be able to survive and thrive.” Ayers was raised on a farm and has taught agriculture for 16 years. He works with young and old farmers, to teach them new aspects of farming. “Working with new farmers, I have noticed the lack of education,” said Ayers. “There is a lot of knowledge in agriculture that many people do not know about. It helps to teach with hands-on techniques, so students can learn as much as possible.” Ayers says that agriculture is important to the entire nation because if we cannot feed ourselves, we would crumble as a country. “I absolutely feel that I am making an impact on these kids,” said Ayers. “We need farmers. Some students are not born to be an athlete or scholar, but I find students who shine working in the fields.” WGL

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THERAPY PHOTOS BY RICKY STILLEY 28 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017

Jessica Shaw, far left, and her friend Sophia Smith, above, and Shaw's son, Colt, visits The Oaks Assisted Living and Memory Care in Carrollton on a regular basis, taking her goat Beau, some horses, and her dog Dixie so the residents can interact with them. Visiting with the animals is therapeutic for the residents, and they look forward to the visits.

Sept. / Oct. 2017 West Georgia Living 29


The livestock sales barn is a little bit of theater, a whole lot of business

Barry Robinson


he auctioneer’s voice rises and falls in a singsong cadence as he reels off a list of prices set by the bids of the buyers arrayed in front of him. 30 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017


From top and left: Kasey Sparks, left, of Buchanan, attended a sale with her grandfather, Amos Sparks, center, and Gerald Redding. Eian Garland of Calhoun, GA, watches the livestock prior to auction. A mama cow and her calf await auction. Fans do provide some airflow in the large barn. A bull awaits his turn at auction. Buyers and sellers fill the auction room. Barry Robinson is trying to sell a 700-pound cow. The crowd of about 100 people watch the animal as it moves around the sale ring; the faint sound of other cattle bellowing can be heard from the pens in the back of the sales barn. “I have been doing this for about 25 years,” said Robinson, who is the general barn manager at the Carroll County Livestock Sales Barn, near the corner of highways 61 and 166 in Carroll County. “I don’t know exactly what drove me to be an auctioneer, but I believe it had something to do with being around it my whole life and teaching myself.” Robinson’s talent to auction off any cow that comes into the ring has attracted cattle growers and cattle buyers from across west Georgia and the counties of east Alabama. Over 150 of them come weekly to the auction to buy or sell mostly beef cattle. Robinson’s voice carries on with barely as pause as he introduces a cow and her calf, which the ring men bring into the sales arena. The mother calls for her baby to stand by her side as the crew encourage both to stay in place. She feels threatened, but Robinson keeps the bidding going. She cries out in warning, but her baby will not be harmed. Robinson chants louder and the bidders are focused on the sale. The cow then takes a stance to charge the ring men, but Robinson calls out to soothe her. And it works. The sales barn is a rural version of a stock market, where livestock is the market. Most of the people who come to the sale (every Monday at noon) do so because they have business there, and to them it is a serious business. But some of those in the seats are there, frankly, to see the show. Robinson sings a song to sell a beast, and it is fascinating to watch him do it. WGL

West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017 31



ou might think organic farms are small affairs, supplying fruit and vegetables to high-end groceries patronized by Doc Marten-wearing hipsters. Actually, anyone interested in naturally grown food can find it small markets across small-town America. Those who want the farm-to-table experience are those who are interested in nutritious food for themselves and their families, and trust food more if it’s grown near their hometown. Folks who live in Carrollton can find such produce everyday at Farmers Fresh CSA on Adamson Square. And one of the suppliers for the store happens to be a large organic farm in Haralson County called Beech Creek Orchards. Patricia Heatherington owns the store; her husband, Brian, runs the farm. They are celebrating their second anniversary this year, and they met through the store. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and the store provides a conduit for farmers to directly sell to customers through monthly deliveries divided into customized boxes. Patricia opened the store in 2010. Her husband is one of about 50 farmers who supply produce, milk, eggs and meat to the store and deli, she said. She sells produce only from farmers who follow sustainable practices - those that are good for the environment and protect it for future generations. “That’s what our customers expect,” Patricia said. ** The Beech Creek Orchards, which raises apples, peaches, plums and a variety of

STORY BY LAURA CAMPER PHOTOS BY RICKY STILLEY 32 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017

Sweet pickings in Haralson County

vegetables, follows a number of earthfriendly practices, including those organic practices that are practical. During a tour of his farm in July, Brian Heatherington pointed out plastic sheets protecting rows of vegetables. The plastic holds the water released through irrigation in the soil, and keeps most weeds from germinating, he said. Much of the irrigation on the farm is accomplished through solar-powered well pumps. He raises bees for pollination. In addition, he follows integrated pest management in his orchards, which he said is even better for the environment than some organic methods. “The organic sprays for apples, they spray every five days, all throughout the summer,” Heatherington said. “It’s a lot of spray, a lot of water, a lot of fuel.” With integrated pest management, they spray less often and use more focused sprays that will kill specific pests, while encouraging the growth of the “good” insects and bugs, such as the honeybees, he said. That way, the good insects can take over pest control, and he doesn’t have to spray all summer, he said. “Most of our spraying has already happened,” Heatherington said during the July tour. He started using environmentally friendly methods to meet the Farmers

Brian Heatherington Fresh Food Network qualifications. That was how he started in the business, but the demand has allowed him to expand quickly. Now, he supplies a number of community supported agriculture programs in the Atlanta area, wholesale food distributors, farmers markets, as well as Farmers Fresh. Right now, he harvests about 4,000 bushels of apple in a season, Heatherington said. That’s his “money crop” and it pays the bills.

Brian maintains several beehives near his orchard. Honey bees are vital to pollinization of all kinds of plants.

West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017


Brian, 57, was raised on the farm that now hosts his orchards and vegetable crops. Back then, it was a successful dairy farm. But there were three apple trees on the property that he took care of when he was a boy. “The very first time I came up with even a basic spray program for them, they were good apples,” he said. “Really good; tasted a lot better than what I got at the supermarket.” Georgia apples aren’t as big or as pretty as apples raised in Washington State, one of the country’s biggest apple producers, Heatherington said. But they have far more flavor, he added. When he came of age, Heatherington left the area to become a musician, but returned in 1991 after his father, Norman Heatherington, had a mini stroke. At the time, much of the farm was slated to become a water reservoir for Carroll County, Heatherington said. He decided to keep the farm going until that day

came, with the idea of developing the land that would then become lakefront property. He planted an apple orchard on one of the hilltops that would be left high and dry. “I said, ‘well, I’ll have an apple orchard on the side of this big lake.’” But the plans for the lake, well, they dried up, and Heatherington, who had decided not to return to work as a musician, ended up with an orchard that he then decided to expand. He named the farm for Beech Creek, which runs through the property. He used to fish in the creek as a boy, and the creek still attracts gold prospectors who pan for nuggets in the cool, clear water, Brian said. On his barn is a sign for the GPAA - Gold Prospectors Association of America.  ** Today, Brian has about 10 acres of orchards on higher ground and six acres of vegetables growing just above the

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creek. He has plans to expand the apple orchards, since he still isn’t keeping up with demand, Brian said. He also rents a portion of the farm to a cattle farmer. It’s important to support local agriculture, both Heatheringtons said. Food security is ensured when produce, meat and other agriculture products are grown locally. People trust how their food is grown when local farmers produce it, and local agriculture protects the county landscape.

food is from and how it’s grown, she said. The store tries to create that relationship for them. “If you sit here long enough eventually a farmer will come in the store,” Patricia said. WGL

Farmers Fresh also tries to bring the farmers and their customers together through events such as the supper club - a monthly meal that features whatever vegetables are in season and a local farmer. Beech Creek Orchards is also opened up for tours occasionally. “Too much of our food is hidden,” she said. “We have no idea where it’s coming from, or even what country it’s coming from – much less how they’re growing it, and the farmer himself is disassociated from his customer.”

Brian Heatherington picks a plum to check for ripeness.

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iving in the South, nothing brings people together quite as much as food. Southern cuisine staples include mashed potatoes, collard greens, cornbread and maybe a pecan pie; but the centerpiece is fried chicken. Whether you pick up your bird from the grocery store and fry it up at home - or swing through Chick-fila-A for some crispy nuggets and waffle fries - no Southern meal is complete without it. But where does all that chicken come from? Probably from Georgia. “Georgia is the number one poultry producing state in the nation,” said Mike Giles, President of the Georgia Poultry Federation. “We are also the number one broiler 36 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017

chicken producing state. Every day, there’s about 30 million pounds of poultry produced, so about 5 million chickens a day; that accounts for about 1.4 billion chickens a year.” Founded in 1951, the Federation is a nonprofit trade association that oversees and represents the political and regulatory interests of the entire poultry industry at the state and federal levels. It supports local farmers involved in the poultry industry, as well as poultry companies within the state. According to a University of Georgia study, the poultry industry contributes over $25


billion to the state income, and the demand for chicken has increased steadily with the population. And federal statistics show that the state produced just under $4 billion in broiler value in 2016, $1 billion ahead of Alabama, the region’s next-largest producer of broilers, which are young chickens. But Georgia and Alabama rank first and second, respectively, in the numbers of eggs set, chicks hatched, and chicks placed during the year. When combined, the two states account for more than 27 percent of the U.S. total in each category. Those figures aren’t just chicken feed, and they reflect America’s tremendous appetite for chicken. The USDA says Americans consume 81.4 pounds of chicken annually, per capita. Chicken consumption in all the


Haralson County poultry keeps us fed Americas has continued to climb, while beef consumption has seen a decline since the late 1970s. To meet demands nationally and internationally, Georgia sends its poultry farther than just state lines.

Jan Robertson picks blueberries.

“Georgia poultry is sent all over – all over the world really,” said Giles. “Actually, 20 percent of nationally produced poultry is exported; that number is a little higher for the state. The port of Savannah is actually the largest chicken port in the nation.” But most of the chickens raised in the state goes to Georgia grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, food service companies and the like. The chicken and Haralson County Haralson County’s poultry industry specifiSept. / Oct. 2017 West Georgia Living 37

Above: Jan waters her raised bed garden. Top right: David and Jan in the fields. Right: Exhaust fans on one of the chicken houses. Far right: David inspects one of his several beehives. Honey bees are an essential part of farming. cally contributes to this state market. “The Haralson County poultry industry has seen substantial growth over the past three years,” said Allen Poole, chairman and CEO of the county Board of Commissioners. “We have had an influx of fundraising programs in the county that have led to farmers going into the poultry business; these programs are driven by local banks and they are providing incentives for these new growers to begin poultry farming.” With 70% of Georgia’s poultry production territory lying above Interstate 20, Haralson is in a prime competitive spot. In the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture, Haralson County’s highest quantity livestock inventory was broilers and other chickens, with over 2.7 million raised in the county. Poultry and eggs were also ranked the top in value of sales by commodity group for the county. Similarly, in that same 2012 census, chickens were the top livestock inventory in Carroll County at over 9.6 million. “The birds raised within the county go to a selling market,” Poole said. “These particular birds range from three to five pounds 38 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017

each. In 2016, Haralson County had a little more than $30 million of birds sold into the poultry market. This market is comprised of three major companies, including Gold Kist. Poultry is probably the largest economy in the county next to the beef and cattle industry and timber.” Of Georgia’s 159 counties, 102 are producing more than $1 million of poultry, as of July 2014. On an average day, Georgia produces 29.3 million pounds of chicken, 6.9 million table eggs and 5.5 million hatching eggs. “There has been a growth trend in Haralson,” said Poole. “It’s a rural county with quite a bit of large tracts of land that are conducive for chicken houses.” The poultry industry, of course, has its critics. There is a concern about how the animals are raised, often in close quarters. Then there is concern about the feed the animals are given, with supplements that affect the people who consume them. And there are worries about how poultry farming impacts the environment. All these concerns contribute to a sometimes negative view of

the industry that farmers must combat. David Robertson, is one such poultry farmer from Buchanan. “A lot of people want to prove some kind of negative point about the poultry industry, and I feel it as my duty to be a promoter for the agriculture industry in Georgia.” The biggest concern of poultry farming is avian influenza, a disease affecting chickens causing them to no longer be viable for production. “Haralson County is a member of the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission, and we take pride in being proactive and staying ahead of any kind of avian flu outbreak,” says Poole. “There are classes offered on how to watch for it and prevent it.” “Even though poultry is a large part of the county’s economy,” Poole added, “we are a diverse county; we don’t depend solely on one particular crop or animal industry. The chicken industry, however, has continued to grow. The need and demand for chicken has continued.” WGL

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Local harvests,

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STORY BY ROB DUVE PHOTOS BY RICKY STILLEY West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017



Chanterelle mushrooms and New South Pimento Cheese.


f you’ve read anything I’ve written, you’ll know that farmers market season is my favorite time of year by far. Fresh ingredients with their wonderful flavors, coming from friends and farmers from around the area, helping sustain a vibrant local economy – and the surprise of not knowing what will be available from week to week – all create the best possible cooking experiences. You will also know that I can talk about these subjects for hours, simply because of how important farmers and their products are to healthy eating, as well as the economic state of the community. So, I won’t delve into again, except to say that every ingredient in these recipes can be found in west Georgia, and that includes all the fresh vegetables, wines, and meats. The seasonal traditions of our local harvests speak to the heritage and traditions of farm life. It’s good to know where your food comes from, and today we can create unique dishes that our farming forefathers could not have imagined. Chefs and home cooks alike can find creative ways to enjoy the bounty that can be 42 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017

gathered right outside your door.

Chanterelle Mushrooms & Duxelles Because of the immense amount rain this year, chanterelle mushrooms have been exploding in west Georgia, and in places no one has ever seen or expected. This lovely midsummer treat is a meaty and slightly earthy mushroom, that not only has a wonderful flavor but can be dried very easily and used throughout the year. Another great way to preserve them is to make Duxelles, named after a French marquis, and which is commonly used as a condiment for sandwiches as well as other dishes, It’s also a wonderful addition to sauces.

Duxelles 2 pounds chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and very finely chopped ½ cup minced shallots ¼ cup quality olive oil 1 cup sherry wine ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Sauté mushrooms and shallots in olive oil with

salt and pepper until the shallots start to disappear in the mixture. Add sherry and reduce until almost all the liquid is gone. Remove from heat and let cool for about five minutes and add parsley. As mentioned, this can be spread on toast points, used as pate on a cheese platter, or it can be incorporated into sauces, such as:

Chanterelle Cream Sauce 3 cups heavy whipping cream 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 teaspoon butter ¼ cup dry white wine ½ cup prepared Duxelles Sea salt and pepper to taste

Sauté garlic in butter over medium high heat until just translucent. Add white wine and reduce until almost evaporated. Add heavy cream and Duxelles, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer until the mixture is reduced by half. Serve over pasta, chicken, or whatever you’d like. Now that we have a great sauce, lets pair it with something like a simple country, comfort food dish.

Grilled Chicken with Fried Green Tomato Napoleon Fried green tomatoes are about as Southern as you can get; few foods better evoke the idea of the Deep South. Combine them, however, with other traditionally Southern foods such as pimento cheese and fried chicken and you’ll be turning heads. You’ll notice that I won’t be telling you how to fry green tomatoes, and there’s a good reason for that: everyone has their own idea of how to do it. All I will say is that I use panko bread crumbs for my coating.

New South Pimento Cheese 1 cup smoked Gouda, shredded 1 cup mild Cheddar, shredded ½ cup blue cheese ½ cup roasted red peppers, finely diced ½ cream cheese ½ cup quality mayonnaise 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper Dash of Louisiana hot sauce Sea salt to taste

about a quarter cup of cream sauce on the bottom of the plate, add grilled chicken, and top with green onions. Place fried green tomato Napoleon off to the side and drizzle with just a small amount of cream sauce.

QUICK TIP If you’re working with chanterelle mushroomss and you need them finely diced but don’t trust your knife skills, there’s good news. Chanterelles tend to break apart quite easily, as you will see when you pick them up. Place all your mushrooms in a bowl with high sides and start crushing them with your hands. Even the largest parts will be reduced to crumbles in no time.***

As you can see, the simplest ingredients found either at your local farmer’s market, or just outside your door, can bring a new and interesting twist to the table. As always, I encourage people to play with recipes to make them unique, but it’s just as important to talk with the farmers who grow your products. They will have wonderful insights either from their experiences, or from other cooks.

Small handful of fresh, local arugula for the Napoleons

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and gently mix to combine. Do not over-handle, as you do not want to melt the cheese and change the texture. Slice green tomatoes, coat, and fry – but keep the slices in order, from top to bottom, because the idea will be to reassemble them back into the shape of the tomato. Spread about a quarter inch of pimento cheese between each layer, add a few sprigs of arugula, and stack. Press slightly so they hold together. On a dinner plate, ladle

Lastly, try not to forget the wonderful and long-standing traditions of those farmers. Theirs is a rich heritage, with a history going back thousands of years. It’s not an easy life, but a rewarding one – and their harvest provides us with both sustenance and creativity in the kitchen. As always ...


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Farmer's Markets A

cross west Georgia, local farmers are looking to sell their produce to customers who appreciate fresh food, locally grown, which is far fresher than anything found in a grocery store. Whether farmers gather at roadside stands, or in parking lots – or even restaurants - there are many places where you can find plenty of watermelons, squash, green beans, or just about anything throughout the growing season. We’ve compiled a list of some of the more established farmer’s markets in west Georgia, but it’s far from complete. Some of these are open for a few weeks or a few months.

Carroll County Carrollton The Cotton Mill Farmers Market is open each Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at 609 Dixie Street in Carrollton. That’s just north of the Tanner Medical Center, next to the Keep Carroll Beautiful offices. This outdoor market features vendors selling all kinds of produce, but also fruit, herbs, eggs, cheese, honey, baked goods and even live plants and crafts. For more information, see their website: Villa Rica The Highway 78 Farmer & Craft Market is located in Villa Rica at 106 Temple St.,

which is also the site of The Mill amphitheater. Open each Tuesday between April and November between 4 and 7 p.m., this is a great source of baked goods, cheeses, crafts items, flowers, soaps, fruits – as well as vegetables, meat, nuts and prepared food.

Douglas County Douglasville The Farmer’s Table is both a farmer’s market and a restaurant. Located at 3670 Highway 5, and open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The store features locally grown produce when in season, while their shelf products – jams, jellies, breads, ciders, etc. – are made within the state. And while you are there, you might as well have lunch at their café! In a similar vein, The Vine Café and Market, 6680 West Broad Street, is a farm-totable, family-owned restaurant that specializes in home-grown, multi-cultural dishes. It’s open Tuesday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. ** As we say, this is far from a complete list, so the thing to do is to get out and explore on your own. As you do, keep an eye out for farmers parked on the side of the road, sitting under an umbrella and stacks of produce in the back of the truck. You’ll get a good price, but what’s more, you’ll get a real taste of freshness from the farms and gardens of west Georgia! WGL

West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017


West Georgia's first beer maker taps into a new industry


rom printing paper to packaging pints, Greg Smith officially brought his family’s professional heritage full circle with the opening of Printer’s Ale Manufacturing Co. last April.

ers on the other side of his family as well. As an homage to them, the tasting room has floor-to-ceiling photographs of workers in the family printing factory doing their tasks. Smith’s uncle can name them all.

The soft-launch VIP tour at the Carroll County facility allowed local officials and the public a chance to see the county’s first commercial beer brewery up close.

“It took some time, but here we are,” said Smith. “We are excited with the milestones we have made and we still have a few more to go while we wait for some of the rules to change in September. But we are excited to be at this point.”

Smith, who came to the area in the 1980s, shared the story of what inspired him to start the business from a paper production company. His great-great-great-grandfather, Mark Fischer, had a brewery in Germany, and when Mark’s son, Karl, stowed away to America, he continued the family trade for some time. One of Karl’s sons ventured into printing. Ironically, Smith came from a line of print46 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017

Smith was referring to a new state law, passed earlier this year by the General Assembly, which allows direct sales of alcohol at breweries and distilleries. It went


into effect Sept. 1, and removes a previous restriction that brewers could only sell their products through wholesalers. There are about 100 hops plants behind the brewery, located on Columbia Drive in Carrollton, that will be used to produce a seasonal limited edition made-in-Carroll County beer, said Elliott Hall, co-owner and managing partner of the company. He had been told Georgia’s weather wouldn’t allow hops to grow, yet the brewery had a successful small harvest after learning some industry secrets from other commercial beer manufacturers. He said that he is excited by Smith’s vision, and is looking forward to catering to the tremendous amount of inquiries his new business has received. “The vision is definitely inclusive of his heritage from his brewing,” said Hall. “You can tell with that old feeling, the aesthetics, the

Hops are plants that add flavor to beer. Assistant Brewer Nick Moran .

vintage look and the industrial aspect that this is a bit more than the regular brewery. This is a converted back of a whole printing shop and now it’s a modern brewery, creating jobs and hopefully going to drive the local economy.” Johnathan Dorsey of the Carrollton Tourism and Visitors Bureau said the brewery literally does add flavor to the area and contributes to destination marketing. “It brings a whole different element to us that is really starting to take off in the state when it comes to breweries and wineries,” said Dorsey. “These things are really becoming the new thing, and so this will allow another unique point to add to our marketability as a destination. We recently had a group of travel journalists in town, and they got to sample some Printer’s Ale, and out of that we will get results in a lot of coverage out there which will generate interest and ultimately result in people coming here.” Allison Nelms, tapper manager and event coordinator for Printer’s Ale, said in April there was already a huge interest before the brewery officially opened. “Once our laws change in September, so that we can get out more beer and it can be sold by the pint, it is just really going to be a great hangout place. We’re going to get to a point where we’re going be a family-friendly place. It’ll also be a great hangout, considering this is a college town.”

Head brewer Brian Quinn joined Smith in leading the VIPs on a tour. “I always see breweries as a real source of community building,” Quinn said. “They are a place where people come together, and are places for special events and cultural events, and even charitable organizations. They’re a place where you have the ability to really build a community around a brewery. “We have a 20-barrel system and two 40-barrel tanks so we have pretty good capacity and pretty good room to grow. We can easily expand to meet the needs and the demand of not just west Georgia, but we are hoping to be statewide as quickly as we can,” Quinn said. Carroll County Board of Commissioners Chairman Marty Smith said he was excited to see someone venture into an industry that didn’t really exist on the commercial level in the area, and come up with something that can bring others to see it. “I obviously want to try to support anything that helps Carroll County become a destination point for people to come visit,” Smith said. “We talked about economic development, we talked about a collaborative effort, and when somebody goes out and wants to put something here to make people want to come, that’s great for Carroll County as well.

Greg Smith poses in an area that will become part of the brewery.

“He’s doing it for him but also it affects us, and it is a win-win for us.” WGL West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017


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Douglasville soap maker enjoys sweet smell of success

y m o n o ec


verybody likes to pamper their skin. It’s the largest organ of the body, so it deserves to be treated well. But if you’ve read the ingredients for some of your favorite bath products, you might have to wonder about what you are rubbing into your skin. Labels for most soap products may include parabens or chemical preservatives; phthalates, which are found in many soft vinyl products; or synthetic colors or fragrances. You want a bath – not a chemical dip. Steve Schwedel knows this, and so he created Willow Soap Company in 2008, after the Douglasville resident found inspiration from research articles on – of all things – the cattle industry. “I was reading about grass-fed beef and raw milk, and I discovered just how unhealthy and unregulated the meat and dairy industries are. I continued research and discovered reports of how common soap contains sodium lauryl sulphate in it, which can really be bad for human skin. These big soap companies use ingredients like this every day and

MOLLY STASSFORT West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017


we don’t always realize it.” Schwedel didn’t sit on this information; he acted. Even though his full-time teaching gig keeps him busy, Steve pursued his goal of having his own business. “it was always something I knew I wanted to do, but I was never sure what product or business exactly. As I kept reading about soap, I researched how to make it. Initially it was just a hobby; I ordered my material and really just played around with it.” After creating rounds of aesthetically unpleasing soaps, Schwedel found his groove. Nine years later, his marble soaps are as luxurious as they are beautiful. While presentation is important, Steve knew it was what was inside that mattered. “My whole goal initially was to make the products as natural as possible and then focus on the color and presentation.” Formulaically, Schwedel explains that the basics of soap making have remained constant through the ages. “All soap is really, is a bunch of oils. While they’re cooling, you add water and lye together in another container in the meantime. When both have cooled, you just mix them together. “ It’s a process called saponification, and it is the method soap makers have been using for millennia. Soap making dates to 2800 BC; even biblically, it is mentioned several times. Back then, however, animal fats and ashes were the main ingredients. Egyptians began adding vegetable oils, and over time soap mak50 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017

ing continued to evolve. “In earlier times in America in the country, women would just take the tallow from the cow or pig that was slaughtered instead of using modern oils,” he explains. Tallow is the solidified form of animal fat; it is commonly used in soap because of its long shelf life. Today, there are two main soap-making processes: cold and hot. Both, however, use the same foundation of water, lye and oil. To save money and increase shelf life, bigger companies began adding preservatives and synthetic dyes and fragrances for mass production, an idea Schwedel rejects. While he pays homage to the traditional process, Steve found his formula of oils and lye from trial and error; however, he’s not afraid to break out of the soap box. “I use a lot of natural additives to change up the soaps. I use dried lemongrass or dried peppermint or dried lavender for variations. That’s what’s interesting – it really varies from soap maker to soap maker; there’s so many ingredients you can use”. The list of different recipes he and colleagues have tried includes soaps made from beer, wine, carrot juice, bourbon, vodka and coffee.

About four years ago, Schwedel really hit a stride when he introduced goat’s milk into his repetoire; now his goat milk products are some of his best sellers. Constantly innovating, Steve has pushed past just soap. About seven years ago, he introduced natural deodorants; a couple years later he rolled out lip balm. Another two years introduced his shaving soaps. Last year, Steve released his beard oil and balm line, the Sweetwater Creek Beard Company, deriving its name from the state park in Douglas County. A true struggle, he says the product that took him six different batches before he perfected the consistency. “Last summer, I introduced an after-tattoo care product. It was a lot of trial and error, but I’m pleased with what I’ve created.” Currently, Schwedel sells Willow Soap products

at the Cotton Mill Farmers Market, Farmers Fresh CSA on Adamson Square, Country Gardens Farm in Sharpsburg and online through the Etsy shop he opened in 2012, which now showcases 25 unique products. “I would love to go national with my company if possible; there’s anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000 people making soap in the United States, so there’s a fair amount of competition.” While competition is stiff, Schwedel has no plans for Willow Soap to shrink back anytime soon. His love for his craft and his community keeps him going. “I have a real sense of gratitude for my customers. This is my creative outlet and I enjoy doing it, but most importantly, I feel like I trust what I’m using and I’m going to sell my customers something they can trust too.” WGL

“All you have to do is find what you can substitute for water and see how it mixes. I look at different recipes and ingredients to determine the best combination of oils to use. I want what will have the broadest appeal to customers with cheapest cost for me and them; I try to charge less than the bigger companies.” Keeping with his organic ideals is the basis of his company and to name his business, all he had to do was look into his back yard. “I didn’t know what I wanted to call my company at first, but I saw the willow tree in my backyard and thought it fit perfectly. I didn’t want some catchy, complicated name – I wanted it to mirror the simplicity of my products, even as I expand the line.”

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am Rothrock knows a thing or two about overcoming adversity. A lifelong artist from an artistic family, she has created dioramas, displays for giant corporations, greenhouses and even miniatures for her closest friends. And, for the past decade, she’s done it despite the threat of losing her eyesight. “Life is good, you’ve just got to enjoy it,” she said.

Rothrock is a Douglasvillebased artist who continues to create and display her work at local shows, even though she can no longer drive - and even a trip to the grocery store can be a challenge. Her work today involves mostly art inspired by friends of hers, though she does occasionally sell her creations.

"Life is good, you've just got to enjoy it." — Pam Roithrock

Douglasville-based artist

Pam Rothrock in her studio.

This minature has a backyard cookout motif. It’s the continuation of a journey that began long before the family moved south in 1989. Rothrock grew up in Ohio and began her working career as the manager at a local


drug store chain. She did not attend college, and instead got started in creative work after becoming a teacher’s aide in Cleveland. She created dioramas for the children at school, and later began making memorabilia boxes for her parents and some close friends. Through her husband Rocky, West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017


Above: A variety of minature dioramas created by Rothrock. Below: A minature created for Debbie Dillard, who likes giraffes, and who also gave a dog to Rothrock.

Rothrock began working with clients on a much larger scale: think General Electric and Hammermill Paper Co. “I’ve done lots of different artsy things,” said Rothrock. “I’ve painted, done oils, silk screens and airbrush, decorating. Whatever I saw, if I figured I could do it, I tried it.” The Rothrocks and a business partner formed JD Hanrock, creating displays for companies all over the country and beyond. They’ve even reached such destinations as an art show in Paris. It was a practical and profitable way to utilize their creative skills. On the side, she also made greenhouses and gave them away as thank-you gifts for some of her husband’s clients. Work in the display business eventually 54 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017

brought the family down South. After taking a job with a new company, the choice was between Chicago and Atlanta, and the thought of an icy Illinois winter was enough to make the decision easy.

she’d be able to create art again. Yet, even though her work is now more limited, she keeps at it. Rothrock can’t see far away or up close, but if an object is about two feet away she can see it well.

Then, about 10 years ago, on the way home from a funeral in her native Ohio, Rothrock began noticing she couldn’t read the signs on the highway. Later, while filling out checks, she noticed her handwriting was off. She closed one eye and could see fine; closing the other was a different story.

Most of Rothrock’s work today comes from referrals, as her show schedule is much more limited.

“I have a macular hole in my right eye,” Rothrock said. “It blew out my vision and I’ve had a number of eye surgeries.”

She loves the thrill of showing someone a custom-made piece of art for the first time. The act of making the art itself is also therapeutic. Rothrock has one room in the house dedicated to her artwork. If her husband or children see the door is shut, they know not

She was forced to retire and does not drive anymore, and for a time wasn’t sure if

“It’s a form of release for me to go into my basement and work with miniatures,” Rothrock said. “It’s been an adjustment.”

to come in unless the house is on fire. Inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere. She’s created memorabilia boxes based on her friends’ careers and hobbies, and has even made a small replica of a friend’s backyard. “It’s just goofy little things that I see and I think, ‘I might do that,’” she said. Her working materials often include Sculpey, a clay-like substance that can be molded, along with quilling tape and ribbon, wood, glue, vinyl, dried flowers – and anything that

catches her imagination. Sadly, the prospect of vision loss continues and Rothrock does not know how much longer she’ll be able to create her artwork. She had another surgery a few months ago to correct complications from an earlier surgery. Further issues could warrant more surgeries down the road. There are many things she already cannot do, including yard work jigsaw puzzles, which used to be a favorite hobby. Reading labels at the store is a challenge and she sometimes comes home with the wrong items. But the art-


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work remains, as does Rothrock’s optimism. Through it all, Rothrock’s spirits remain high. “I’m just viewing it as a wait-and-see,” she said. “I work with what I have. I have good lighting, I have magnifying glasses and regular eyeglasses that I use when trying to read. I don’t know what will happen, but I’m hoping for the best. “I have faith,” she said. “It is what it is, and it could be worse. Every day is a gift. You just have to figure out how to use it.” WGL

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A Season in the Sun How to care for your garden through the year Editor’s note: A garden is a living thing, but it changes from season to season. You plant in the spring, tend during the summer, and put it sleep in the winter. The late Shelly Murphy knew all the seasons of her garden, and she advised many new and experienced gardeners as a Carroll County Master Gardener and Extension Volunteer. We’ve pulled together three of her columns that deal with the entire growing season.


hen springtime arrives, and the dull grey of winter is eclipsed by bright green foliage, anyone who’s interested in gardening will want to head to the nursery and start planting. But even old pros with bright green thumbs can make a mistake or two. One big mistake is not preparing your soil properly. First, take stock of exactly where your garden is – is it shady or sunny? Moist or dry? Does it allow for good drainage? Good soil preparation is the key to successful planting. Till in compost or aged pine bark to amend red clay and allow for good drainage. Test your soil to determine what nutrients may be lacking. You can get a soil testing kit at your nearby Ag Center. Always buy healthy plants with good root systems. Read plant labels and ask


Removing spent flowers from perennials like this phlox might bring about another flush of blooms. West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017


questions to determine light, moisture and nutrient requirements. Make sure the plant is suited for this region, which happens to be Zone 7b; to do so, use native plants or plants proven to do well in west Georgia.

The addition of Black-eyed Susans light up the late summer garden.

Many plants start gasping for air when too much soil and mulch is piled up around their necks. Look at the depth of the plant in the pot and try to match it, or plant an inch or so higher to allow for settling. Just as you would not like to spend your life wearing shoes several sizes too small, your plants need a hole that allows room for growth. Dig a hole two or three times the width of the pot. Remove large rocks and loosen the soil.

Leaf spots and other fungal diseases can be helped by picking off infected leaves and using a fungicide. Heavilydiseased and dead plants should be removed. Pale, yellow foliage is the result of soggy roots and leached nitrogen. A light application of fertilizer will sometimes help Should our normally dry conditions this time of year make a comeback during the remainder of the growing season, add more water since your plants have become accustomed to more moisture. Make sure everything is mulched with pine straw or bark or shredded leaves. Pull weeds before they go to seed.

And while we’re at it, remove those tags and ties. Imagine leaving the same collar on your adult dog that he wore as a puppy. Wire, twine and rope can girdle or strangle plants as they grow. When planting bare-root trees and shrubs, position the joint where the roots meet the top growth just below the soil’s surface. When planting seeds, read the packet; the smaller the seed, the less soil should be on top.

even for experienced gardeners. Too much rain like we have experienced this year can make it worse. When annuals and perennials stay consistently moist, they can develop leaf spots and root rot. If planted in compacted or soggy soil, too much rainfall will cause them to die.

To add compost properly, be sure to mix the good stuff into the soil that you use to backfill the plants, as well as the soil surrounding the hole. This will encourage the roots to spread out rather than stay within the hole.


Removing spent blooms and yellowed foliage from perennials will help rejuvenate them and make for a neater appearance. Some, like summer phlox (Phlox paniculata) and chrysanthemums, may bloom again after a trim. Cutting yellowed tips from leaves of bearded iris, which look sad after blooming, not only will improve their looks but is the best time to fertilize. Remove seedpods, dead stems and yellowed foliage from tropical lilies and hybrid daylilies after they have finished blooming.

Newly planted seeds and plants should not be allowed to dry out. Water frequently in

The dog days of summer can be a challenge

Each year following your Independence Day celebration, cut back tired leggy annuals

periods of insufficient rainfall and gradually taper off. Once established, most plants generally need an inch of water per week. New seedlings planted indoors may need misting with a hand-held sprayer twice a day to keep the soil moist.

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58 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017

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(petunias, begonias, impatiens, verbena, marigolds and zinnias). Give them a drink of liquid fertilizer and they should do well until frost (there is still time to do this). Regularly pinch back coleus and herbs like parsley and basil to promote fullness and keep them from going to seed. For best flavor, try to keep herbs on the dry side and fertilize sparingly.

the plants to get new growth which could be damaged by the first hard freeze.

Leave old-fashioned mophead hydrangea blooms intact to dry for winter interest.

Whether you should cut back perennials depends on the plant or your own preference. Some gardeners like a neat and tidy appearance in the winter garden. They think all dead foliage looks ugly and should be promptly cut back and discarded. Others prefer to wait until spring returns. They find seed pods and withered flower heads, such as dried hydrangea blooms, or plumed yellowed ornamental grasses – or branches and twigs of deciduous shrubs – can add texture and winter interest to the garden. Such plants can also look lovely when covered with frost or snow.

The right plants will extend summer color through fall. Mix evergreen trees, shrubs and vines with perennials for structure and color throughout the year. An annual Mandevilla and large-flowered clematis vines will make your mailbox the envy of your neighbors in every season except winter. Annual Purple Fountain Grass and perennial grasses are late-season showstoppers, as is Japanese maple.

Wildlife lovers sometimes like to leave dead foliage as a winter hideout and protection from the elements for small creatures and birds. Bristly seed heads of Echinacea left intact through winter are a favorite of wild finches.

Season’s End To get your garden ready for its long winter nap, all dead foliage should be removed from the summer vegetable garden. Leftover vegetation can harbor pests and diseases which may infect next year’s plantings. Vegetable debris can generally be composted unless there is evidence of insects or diseases. In that case, it should be burned or discarded in the garbage.

freeze is predicted. Once rooted, they can then be potted and saved indoors, ready to plant outside when warmer weather returns.

In your flower garden, do the same with dead foliage from annuals, since their life cycle has been completed. Seeds may now be harvested and stored in a cool, dry place for the winter. Then next spring, after all danger of frost is past (typically around mid April), they can be planted outside. Cuttings of annuals such as colias, begonias, and geraniums can be taken before the first

Fall pruning of spring blooming shrubs is definitely a no-no, since doing so will rob them of next year’s blooms. This includes azaleas, old –fashioned hydrangeas, spireas, and abelias. For best results, spring blooming shrubs should be pruned immediately after they bloom. Pruning of evergreen shrubs should never be done in the month of September, because there is still time for

If you do decide to cut dead perennial foliage back in the fall, wait until about the third hard freeze to make sure plants are dormant. Then trim them back two or three inches from the crown and cover them with a layer of dead leaves or pine straw to protect them from drying winds and freezing rains. Thick leaves can smother lawns, so rake and carry them to the compost heap. Or shred them with the lawnmower and use them in your beds to mulch and protect your plants from harsh winter cold. Resting your gardens well and being ready for a new spring planting will ensure your garden stays beautiful, not only for the next growing season but for all the others to follow. WGL

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West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017


The ARTS FESTIVAL o Raine Davis, 5, plays with a piece called "The Train of Thought."

Artist Marjorie Bower discusses her work to customers Nancy Jones and Shelby Dewell.

DATE: October 14-15, 2017 TIME: 10 AM - 5 PM LOCATION: Carrollton Cultural Arts Center 60 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017


Philip and Taffy Rhyne of Carroll County browse photography pieces.

of Carrollton F

or the past 14 years, nationally known artists have come to Carrollton to exhibit and share their talent with the west Georgia community. One of the big reasons they come here is because of the warm welcome they receive from residents. Held at the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center in the heart of the downtown area, visitors will experience first hand a supportive community that recognizes the value of the arts in enhancing the quality of life for its citizens. “For an area that has such a ‘small town’ feel, we have an amazingly strong arts community – people here just love art and the beauty that it brings to their lives.” said Don McWhorter, one of the founders of the event. “This juried fine arts festival gives

people a chance to not only see great art, but to meet the people who have created it, hear their stories and understand what makes them tick. It’s a great way for art fans to connect with artists. And being able to purchase a unique piece of art from an artist you've met adds significance to the enjoyment of the entire experience.”

Several people laugh and shop in Helen Helwig's tent at the Arts Festival.

Formerly known as “MeccaFest” the Arts Festival of Carrollton will feature 70 national and local fine artists and craftsmen, a new Food Truck Court, and nationally known (as well as local) entertainers. Artist demonstrations will let festival goers see how art is made, and children’s activities will let kids get hands-on experience at creating their own masterpieces. WGL


Heard County artist Lee Laney talks with customers. Laney does pottery and painting. Sept. / Oct. 2017 West Georgia Living 61


TWO CULTURES ONE Life: An Odyssey from East to West 'Marks Behind the Stones' Habiba N. Shaw Solstice Publishing, 2017


pic journeys have been the stuff of the literature in all human cultures, as the heroes of those tales boldly go to new environments in the face of great challenges. Habiba Shaw’s memoir of her own life’s journey reflects many of those same challenges on a personal level.

Uprooted from her childhood home in Bangladesh and transplanted to south Alabama, Shaw’s memoir is a delightful and thoughtful education on many levels, contrasting her multicultural background as she voyages into a Deep South. From the outset, Shaw impresses the reader with her honesty and clear sense of self. Her childhood experiences, filtered through her mature adult awareness, give the reader a clear, sometimes amusing picture of the young

ROBERT C. COVEL 62 West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017

Bengali girl who learned English so that she could marry Robert Redford. Through her, Westerners gain insight into her culture as a young girl growing up in a traditional Muslim culture. She describes her daily life with her family; her struggles with school work; and her relationships with her friends. At the age of 19, her life changed forever when she became engaged, as her family accepted the proposal of Abdur Razzaque, eight years older than she. Shaw describes in detail her arranged marriage and the Islamic ceremonies involved. She is honest in her reactions to the marriage and the changes it brought to her life. The Western reader learns of the cultural differences that Shaw experienced as her new husband departed from Bangladesh for London to pursue a doctorate in biochemistry. She followed him later, leaving her country during a horrible war, as she began the first chapter of her odyssey from East to West. Shaw describes vividly the many culture shocks she experienced as she began her married life in an unfamiliar land. She spent approximately five years in London, adjusting not only to her new husband, but also to the inhospitable weather, the unpalatable (or at least different) British cuisine, and the many cultural differences she encountered in those first years. As she pursued her own graduate work in nutrition, Shaw gave birth to her daughter Faria, as her husband completed his doctoral work and accepted a post in Ontario. After two years in Canada, with more new adventures and discoveries, Shaw’s husband accepted a teaching position at the Tuskegee Institute, also doing research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Once more the family was uprooted, and Shaw’s journey of selfdiscovery continued. Shaw’s experiences in the United States constitute the majority of her memoir, and the joys and tragedies of her personal life, along with her experiences as a nutritionist in Eufaula, Alabama. Shaw details the tragic loss of her husband in an automobile accident, resulting in her being the single mother of a small child, living in a radically different culture. Faced with the prospect of providing for her daughter,

Shaw became a Cooperative Extension agent, teaching nutrition to people in her community, a challenge that she describes at length. Her reactions to traditional Southern food are humorous as she describes the fat and salt laden fried food that most of her clients ate. Her dual perspectives as a cultural transplant and a nutritionist make her responses doubly interesting and funny. In addition to being entertaining, this aspect of the book also provides the reader with useful insights into healthy nutrition and lifestyle changes. Shaw relates the changes in her personal life, including meeting Dr. Tim Shaw (with considerable match-making and wheedling by friends), whom she eventually married. She earned her doctorate in Health Care Education. Eventually, she and her new blended family moved to Georgia, where they currently reside in Villa Rica. Shaw’s writing style is unique and engaging. Her approach to her narrative is clear and objective, but she maintains a certain ironic distance, especially in talking about herself, that is amusing and entertaining. When she tells of her obsession with Robert Redford, her uncertainties about her arranged marriage, or her reluctance to get emotionally involved with her daughter’s doctor, Shaw is honest and somewhat self-deprecating. As she writes about nutrition and health, especially about her frustrations in attempting to educate her clients about the dangers of their unhealthy diets and lifestyles, Shaw is passionate and straightforward in her approach. Her professionalism, combined with her personal attitudes, make these segments educational and entertaining at the same time. She describes her response to one typical meal: “I could still picture the ladies in the kitchen taking lard from a red bucket in the kitchen to fry the chicken, drowning the collard greens in the grease of seasoning bones and ham hocks, having the butter beans simmering with bacon, and making gravy from the burnt residue of fried chicken.” Her vivid detail and word choices make her reactions clear without further editorializing. Shaw’s memoir gives much to enjoy and more to ponder. Her engaging style and

her vivid use of detail allows the reader to experience the joys and sorrows, the challenges and successes as she moved through cultures and learned from them. Seeing Western culture through the eyes of a woman who grew up in a Muslim culture in Bangladesh provides a unique lens through which to observe ourselves. Here is an opportunity to learn not only of the writer and her own journey, but also to learn about ourselves and our own culture. Such discovery is the goal of all epic tales, and may be the most important goal of any reading. Shaw has succeeded in teaching us about ourselves and our own journey through life. WGL

Author Bio Dr. Habiba N. Shaw lived her early life in Bangladesh. She married when she was 19 and followed her husband to England and Canada before arriving in Alabama. After giving birth to her daughter and losing her husband in an automobile crash, she became a nutritionist for the Cooperative Extension Agency. She married Dr. Timothy Shaw and earned her doctorate in Health Care Education. She currently lives with her husband in Villa Rica.

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West Georgia Living Sept. / Oct. 2017



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West Georgia businesses answer consumer questions Social Security Administration Benefits Scott & Ellen McBrayer/ Jones Wynn Funeral Home ........................................67

Kennel Cough Carroll County Animal Hospital ..................68

Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pelvic Health Tanner Heath System ............................... 70

What Does it Mean to Be a STUDENT- Athlete?

How Much Water Does My Lawn Really Need This Summer? NG Turf ................................................69

The Heritage School ................................ 71


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West Georgia businesses answer consumer questions

What every West Georgian should know about... Social Security Administration Benefits


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


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.

When a loved one passes away, there are usually multiple questions concerning Social Security Administration benefits for the survivor(s).

deceased’s date of death. The lump sum

We hope this will help inform you of the customary procedures to follow and what to expect if you are faced with the task of applying for Social Security benefits. The first step in approaching SSA benefits involves the funeral home reporting the death of the loved one to the SSA by submitting the SSA721 form. This is a standard procedure performed by funeral homes and should be done as soon as possible. After this initial step, it is important for the next of kin to call or visit the local SSA office to pursue further information and gain help in obtaining appropriate benefits. The one time lump sum benefit of $255 must be applied for within two years of the

allows for survivor benefits for a spouse

benefit may be given to the surviving spouse or eligible child. In addition

to the one time benefit, the SSA also or child. If the recipient is already

receiving benefits, the SSA will change any monthly benefits after receiving the notification of death (SSA-721

form). The benefits will be based on the

deceased’s earnings record and will need to be discussed with a Social Security

Administration representative. You can

call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778 between 7am and 7pm

Monday through Friday, or you can visit the nearest SSA office. If you would like additional information on this subject, please visit



Jason Harden, D.V.M

Carroll County Animal Hospital

Qualifications: 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.

What every West Georgian needs to know about... kennel cough


We are asked all time time, â&#x20AC;&#x153;my dog boarded at a kennel and now it is coughing, does it have kennel cough?â&#x20AC;?


The short answer is maybe. People generally refer to kennel cough as the disease cause from a bacteria Bordatella bronchiseptica. Kennel cough or a more proper term is infectious tracheobronchitis and can be caused by several diďŹ&#x20AC;erent agents. B. bronchiseptica, canine para-inďŹ&#x201A;uenza, canine inďŹ&#x201A;uenza, and several Strep bacteria can all cause the same symptoms of kennel cough. The symptoms will generally include just a dry, hacking, nonproductive cough, and will otherwise act normal. Sometimes they may vomit and sometimes owners will believe their dog has something caught in its throat. These are all reason to have your veterinarian examine your pet when these symptoms persist for 2 or more days, so that treatment can begin immediately. Treatment in these cases is normally treated at home with antibiotics and a cough suppressant. Rarely will pets with kennel cough need to be hospitalized. Pets that are exhibiting these symptoms and are started on antibiotics and cough suppressants will generally respond quickly. On occasion if the pet has a weakened immune system that may require more aggressive therapy but this

is infrequent. Preventing these diseases is the goal with vaccinations. Sometimes even with vaccinations your pet may contract an infection that causes these coughing symptoms. This doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t necessarily mean the vaccine was ineďŹ&#x20AC;ective. Your pet likely was infected with a pathogen that they were not vaccinated for like strep, or their immune system didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t respond to the vaccine like we would expect. We would recommend that you have you pets vaccines updated 2-4 weeks prior to boarding. In some older patients, they may need to be vaccinated more than once a year to maintain a proper protective antibody level. The good news is that with proper vaccines we can prevent a lot of these diseases. However, if your pet does become infected with one of these pathogens with proper treatment they should respond quickly and without complication. If you have any further questions visit our website at

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

Carroll County

Animal Hospital Sometimes your petâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s health care canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;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       

(770) 832-2475 Across from Sony(770) Music834-1000




And just like that, Mother Nature snapped her fingers and summer arrived all at once. How is your lawn doing in the sudden heat?

Help keep your lawn healthy and green this summer with these simple watering tips from our turf care experts: 1. New sod needs a little extra TLC

big problem for many Georgia homeowners since our soil typically has a high clay composition. 3. Water when you see signs of stress Many established turfgrasses can go dormant during times of water stress, but newer sod is susceptible to permanent damage while roots are still in development. Step up your watering if you notice signs of water stress, like curling blades, graying color, or footprints that remain visible after grass is walked on.

Newly installed sod requires more water to encourage healthy root development. Even under drought restrictions, you can water new sod as needed for the first 30 days after installation. Aim for 1 inch 4. Mow less for reduced stress of water each week, including rainfall. (Be sure to use a rain gauge Freshly mown grass loses more water from evaporation. Mow less to get an accurate measurement!) often when the weather is hot and adjust your mowerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s height to remove no more than the top 1/3 of the blade height. Sharp blades Throughout the state, we are still limited to watering before 10 are a must, too. A jagged cut from a dull blade increases water loss am or after 4 pm â&#x20AC;&#x201C; which makes good sense to reduce loss due to evaporation. But please do not water during the night! Nighttime and the likelihood of disease. watering can lead to very slow evaporation and encourage Are you concerned about your water usage this summer? Consider moisture-related diseases in your lawn. upgrading to TifTuf bermudagrass from NG Turf. Created by

Nicky Dailey Scheduling Manager & Marketing Qualifications

2. All grass needs some water

Joined the NG Turf team in 2011. While being the Senior Sales Representative she is also the Scheduling Manager and oversees marketing for NG Turf. She became a Certified Turfgrass Professional in 2012.

As long as the soil below your lawn is moist up to a depth of about 6 inches, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re doing well. If rainfall is not enough to meet your lawnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s needs, plan on watering deeply once or twice a week to maintain soil moisture. Roots only grow as deep as the soils remains moist, so watering deeply is far better than watering a little each day. But, be on the lookout for runoff. If you see water running off the curb or down the driveway, try breaking up the watering session over to non-consecutive days. Slow absorption is a

A beautiful yard when you want it. Convenient Saturday morning deliveries.

CertiďŹ ed Turf Professionals Farm Fresh Quality Delivered to Your Door or Visit our Farm for Pickup Convenient Saturday & Monday Morning Deliveries 10+ Varieties of Sod 770-431-1347 â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;˘ 770-431-1348

the world-renowned turfgrass research facility at the University of Georgia, TifTuf is the most sustainable and environmentally friendly turfgrass on the market today. This amazing turf variety actually needs 1/3 less water to thrive â&#x20AC;&#x201C; even on our hot Georgia summers! Just imagine how much money youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll save on your water billâ&#x20AC;Ś

Need expert turfgrass advice? Contact NG Turf at (770) 431-1348 or visit us online at


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What every West Georgian should know about Women’s Pelvic Health

James Cullison, MD

Q. At what age do women experience pelvic health issues? A. One in three women will experience a pelvic healthrelated issue by age 60, but it can begin even when a woman is still in her 20s and 30s. Many women may be surprised to learn that the issues they experience when urinating or attempting to urinate, when experiencing vaginal or pelvic pain or even when dealing with frequent constipation are more than just a typical part of aging. Those symptoms may indicate a pelvic floor disorder — a somewhat funny and unusual name to describe a very common condition.

West Georgia Urology

Q. What is pelvic floor disorder?


A. Pelvic floor disorder is estimated to affect roughly one-third of the women across the country, according to the National Institutes of Health. The pelvic floor is the group of muscles that hold the uterus, cervix, vagina, bladder, bowel, urethra, small intestine and rectum in place so that they function properly. A pelvic floor “disorder” happens when the muscles can no longer hold the pelvic organs properly, often because of a tear, loosening or rip in the muscles. Older women, particularly those who’ve had children, are more likely to experience pelvic floor disorders.

Dr. Cullison is a board-certified urology and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery specialist with West Georgia Urology. He earned his medical degree from the Columbia School of Medicine at the University of Missouri in Columbia. He also completed an internship and urology surgical subspecialty residency at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.

Q. How is pelvic floor disorder treated? A. Fortunately, there are many treatment options to help the pelvic floor muscles work properly again. Care for pelvic health issues, from trouble urinating to pain during intercourse, has come a long way in the past few years. Those issues that were once considered part of the aging process are now met with a comprehensive clinical approach to help identify and treat a woman’s symptoms. The pelvic floor conditions that we treat include: bladder dysfunction, such as incontinence or overactive bladder; bowel dysfunction, including fecal incontinence; and prolapse conditions, including vaginal, uterine or pelvic organ prolapse. Treatment plans often depend on the type of pelvic floor disorder a woman is experiencing. Options include: biofeedback to help stimulate and strengthen pelvic nerves and muscles; medication; minimally-invasive surgery, including pelvic reconstruction surgery; and physical therapy to help strengthen pelvic muscles.

For more information, visit or call 770.812.6972.

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What every West Georgian should know about... BEING A STUDENT-ATHLETE

it can be difficult to be a student athlete where young men and women are expected to perform at high levels both in the classroom and on the field or court. Middle and high school are perfect opportunities to learn how to balance school and team responsibilities under the guidance of dedicated teachers and supportive coaches. Learning time management and self-discipline skills, gaining leadership experience, and understanding their individual strengths and weaknesses should be a part of the student-athlete experience. Working as part of a team and understanding how one can make the greatest contribution and enjoy the sport is a wonderful lesson.

Coach Micah Alba Qualifications Coach Alba graduated from Walton High School in Marietta before attending and playing football at BYU. He earned a full Athletic Scholarship after starting the program as a walk-on.  Coach Alba lead the team in interceptions his senior year.  After he graduated, he returned to BYU as a Graduate Assistant and earned a Masterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Degree in Exercise Physiology.  Coach Alba then became a full time Division 1 coach at Fresno State University in California coaching the Defensive Backs Coach at Fresno State. After moving back to Georgia, he has coached high school football at Dublin High School (Defensive Coordinator), Carrollton High School (Special Teams and Defensive Backs Coach), and at Troup County High School (Defensive Coordinator). Coach Alba is currently the Head Football Coach at The Heritage School.

demands put upon them and learning to prioritize and manage their time will make them more successful in life.

What are some day to day things a studentâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;athlete should do to help them succeed on the field and in the classroom? â&#x20AC;˘ Communicate- Make sure you are talking with your coaches and teachers about your academics and athletic demands. If you are struggling with either area or anticipate you will need help, have that conversation early. Being your best at all times can be overwhelming. Let the adults in your life guide you. â&#x20AC;˘ Sleep - Always get at least 7 hours of sleep to be ready for the next day. What is a coachesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; role in helping a student be successful? â&#x20AC;˘ Rejuvenate - Find time to be with family and friends away Coaches need to help their athletes be well rounded in their from school approach to all facets of the school experience. At The Heritage â&#x20AC;˘ Plan - Set goals and work to obtain them. Adjust your goals as School our school motto focuses on developing a studentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mind, your situation changes. Body, Spirit and Camaraderieâ&#x20AC;?. It is important for coaches to â&#x20AC;˘ Prioritize - Find a system that works for you to maximize your encourage students to focus not only on their game, but also on their school work, their relationships with peers, developing their talents time- whether it is an online system or a traditional calendar, in all areas, and the person they are becoming during their high planner system. Use the method that works for you to plan school journey. ahead so you can make time for more involved school projects and challenging games or tests. What skills will a student-athlete acquire that the can carry with them in life? Final thoughts? Learning the importance of work ethic builds character. Players The truth about many sports is that after high school or college most learn to put in the time and energy to improve and learn more if student-athletes will never play at the same competitive level again, they want to be successful. This strong work ethic can be carried so you have four years to give it your all, play with no regrets and be into college or the work place. Success comes through hard work. the best player you can be. Make the most out of your experience! Time Management is crucial for success. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. Students should use their time during school Learn more at to complete work and get help from teachers. Their time on the field should be used to give it their all. As these student-athletes continue their lives outside of high school, they will have many

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&#x20AC;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 2093 Highway 29 North | Newnan, GA 30263 | 678.423.5393


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. Ask your doctor about a coronary CT for calcium scoring at Tanner Medical Center/ Carrollton or Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica. The screening is available for just $99. Taking steps to identify and reduce your risk of heart disease is how Tanner delivers medicine beyond measure.

High-value screening for an affordable price. Get a coronary CT calcium score for $99. Ask your medical provider for an order.

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


WGL September-October 2017  

West Georgia's most popular living and lifestyle magazine

WGL September-October 2017  

West Georgia's most popular living and lifestyle magazine