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Popular artist and local musician sing in the holiday season The ‘Hot Toddies’ will perform a series of concerts at downtown Newnan restaurant BY MELANIE RUBERTI Some familiar face s w i l l b e s pre ading Christmas cheer t h roughout dow ntow n Newnan when they hit the stage every Tuesday n ig ht at t he Cel la r on Jefferson Street. S i n g e r, s o n g w r i t e r, g u it a r i st a nd G eorg i a native Michelle Malone w i l l j oi n D o u g K e e s , guitarist and owner of Musicology in Newnan and Bassist Robby Handley to perform as the “Hot Toddies” for a series of holiday-themed shows. The event will feature jazz versions of popular Christmas tunes. “ We’l l play ‘Rock i n’ A r o u n d t h e C h r i s tmas Tree,’ ‘Let it Snow’ a nd severa l ot hers. We' l l c h a n g e u p o n e or two of the arrangements to make it Latin a n d b l u e s y,” M a l o n e e x p l a i n e d . “ We a l s o sing the 1 2 Days of Christmas, which is f u n . We a c t o u t t h e

song on stage. We also do a Louie A rmstrong Ch ristmas song that not a lot of people know a b out . We to ok ‘ B lue Christmas,’ turned it on

Indigo Girls, Drivin’ and Cryin’ and ZZ Top. She has won numerous awards and received two Grammy nominations. Kees and Handley

I’ve known Michelle forever and she is a world class performer. A singer, songwriter and wonderful entertainer.

its head and made it a little darker Christmas." Ma lone, best k now n for her rock-n-roll, folk a nd blue s s ou nd , h a s produced 1 5 a lbums. She was signed by Clive Davis at Arista Records before stri k ing out on her own as an independent artist. M a lone’s resu me i nc lude s h i g h prof i le collaborations and performances with artists like, Gregg Allman, the

helped Ma lone record her most recent album, which will be released i n Ma rch of 2018 . But the trio has never performed as a group outside t he studio unti l now. The three musicians formed the Hot Toddies specifically for the holiday-inspired shows. “We chose the name to convey the feeling of



Doug Kees, Michelle Malone and Robby Handley will perform together as the Hot Toddies this holiday season at the Cellar restaurant in downtown Newnan.

Barker named Georgia Superintendent of the Year



Dr. Steve Barker takes a congratulatory phone call after being named Georgia Superintendent of the Year.

BY REBECCA LEFTWICH Dr. Steve Ba rker accepted t he G eorg i a Superintendent of t he Year award last Friday, saying the honor reflects the collaborative work of the Coweta County

community. “Coweta County is a special, special place,” Barker said at the Georgia State Superintendents Association awards ceremony, held at the Waverly Ren a i ssa nce Hotel i n Atlanta. “I congratulate

From left are GSBA President Tom Odom, 2018 Georgia Superintendent of the Year Steve Barker, Georgia School Superintendents Association Executive Director John Zauner, and GSBA Executive Director Valarie Wilson.

this entire community for the job they do getting along with each other. In our community, government holds the hand of the school system, holds t he h a nd of t he civ ic groups, and of the business leaders.”

Barker, superintendent of the Coweta County School System since 2011, said he was honored to be nominated along with the other finalists – Samantha Fuhrey of Newton County S c ho ol s , D r. M ic h a el Duncan of Pike County

Schools and Wes Taylor of Lowndes County Schools. “I respect the work you do every day,” he said. Education is a calling, Barker said. “I think most of us who get into this work with children probably did it

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because we were called to do it,” he said. “I thank my Lord and Savior for the calling he placed on my life to do this work.” Barker was nominated for t he awa rd by t he


2 Times-Herald Xtra   |  Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Times-Herald Xtra


continued from page 1

Coweta County Board of Education. In their nomination, board members said that Barker has maintained “an incredible level of respect from our educ a to r s a n d h a s c o n ti nued to bri ng fresh a nd i n novat ive idea s i nto ou r d i st r ic t ” a s superintendent. “For the past seven ye a r s , D r. B a rker ’s main goal is student achievement. He strives to see our students succeed,” board members wrote in their nomination, noting Barker’s academic s upp or t for s c h o ol s , h is steady leadersh ip i n m a n a g i n g Cowet a

County’s academic program and accountability and his support of c o m m u n i t y i n vo l ve ment a nd i n novat ive practices to raise student achievement. Board members also c i t e d B a r k e r ’s o p e n com mu n ic at ion w it h sta keholders, wide c o m m u n i t y i n vo l ve ment, strong managem e n t s t yle a n d c on ser vative f i na ncia l stewardship in support of his nomination. Barker began his c a re er i n t he s c ho ol system in 1990 at Evans Middle School. He was a teacher, coach, assistant principal and principal at Coweta County

e l e m e n t a r y, m i d d l e a nd h ig h school s for 20 years before being named superintendent. School boa rd memb e r s , B a r k e r ’s f a m i ly, a nd a l a r ge contingency of education, business and community leaders surprised the honoree by entering the hotel’s ballroom as GSSA Executive Director John Zauner named Barker Superintendent of the Year. Barker will be Georgia’s nominee for 2018 National Superintendent of t he Ye a r. T he n at ion a l w i n ner will be a n nounced in mid-February.


Coweta County Superintendent of Schools Steve Barker, right, is shown with his wife, Dr. Karen Barker and the couple’s children, Cade and Lily.


continued from page 1

t he holiday sea son … somet hing t hat was lighthearted and fun,” Kees explained. “ I ’ ve a lw ay s love d Ch r i st m a s mu sic ,” Ma lone sa id. “Most p e ople k n ow m e for rock a nd blues . T h i s ti me a round, it ’s just Christmas songs. T he Hot Todd ie s i s a C h r i s t m a s g roup, but we don’t just perform. We have singa lon g s a nd a whole lot of audience participation.” According to Kees, Ma lone ma kes the show fun for everyone. “I’ve known Michelle forever and she is a world- cla ss performer- A singer, songwriter and wonder f u l enter t a i ner,” he stated. “She’s just a ball of energ y. She interacts so well with the audience. It’s been interesting for me to sta nd beside her on stage.” T h e H o t To d d i e s performed their f irst holiday show in front of a packed house on Nov. 28 at the Cellar. For Ke e s , pl ay i n g for a loca l crowd is nothing new. The guitarist grew up in Atlanta, played i n ba nds , received a mu sic de g re e a nd “chased record deals.” In the late ‘80s, Kees began giving guitar lessons in Newnan a few times a week. He decided to make it his full-time job in 1993 and eventually moved to town, where he opened his ow n busi ness ca lled Musicology off Spring Street. Kees is also the band director at The Heritage School, teaches lessons at the Cent ra l Educationa l Center, and still plays gigs i n New na n a nd throughout the state of Georgia. H e ’s w a t c h e d t h e music scene grow and f lourish in New na n, but said it is still rare for non-local acts to play here. “ Just t he ch a nce to see someone of Michelle’s caliber ten minutes from home is a g reat t h i ng,” Kees explained. Malone agreed. "I don't usually play Ne w n a n u n le s s it ’s something like this,” she stated. “So these

per for m a nces a re a cha nce for fol k s to come out and hear me sing and perform." She believes the Hot Toddies show will be meaningful for guests of all ages. "Live music is so m u c h m o r e i m p a c t-

f u l t h a n l i sten i n g to music on your laptop or in your car,” Malone explained. “This is an event, not just going to a bar and listening to music. People can part ic ipate i n t he s how and create a nice memory with their children

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The show will begin at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. The Hot Toddies will a l s o pl a y a t E d d i e ’s Attic in Atlanta every Thursday up until Christmas, The Crimson Moon in Dahlonega and at private events.

Anyone wanting more information a b o u t t h e H o t To d dies or the shows can v i s it w w w. m ic h el le or contact t he Cel la r at 770-683-6328.




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“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD as ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness, come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord He is God, it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves. We are His People and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His house With THANKSGIVING and unto His courts with praise. BE THANKFUL UNTO HIM AND BLESS HIS NAME. For the Lord is good, His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures unto ALL Generations.” Psalm 100

and families. "We try to make sure ever yone is h av i ng a good time,” she added. “I k now my job is to make people happy and I enjoy it." The Hot Toddies will perform at The Cellar on Tue sd ay, D e c . 19.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017   |  Times-Herald Xtra 3

Times-Herald Xtra

Downtown Newnan hosts ‘Unsilent Night’ BY REBECCA LEFTWICH


Participants in “Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night” make their way toward Newnan’s Court Square.

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The P D ow ntow n Ne w n a n pl aye d h o s t to a d i fferent k i nd of holiday promenade as paper la nter n-bea r i ng wa l kers wandered the Court Square to the sound of Christmas bells from an old-school boombox. “Phil Kline’s Unsilent N i g ht ,” or g a n i z e d by local writer and educator Dale Lyles, was the first of what Lyles says he hopes will become a Newnan tradition. Unsilent Night began in New York City in 1992, when composer Phil Kline created four musical works to be played simulta neously in a publ ic space . A nyone could bring boomboxes to Washington Square, where Kline would give them a cassette tape with one of the four pieces. On his signal, everyone would start their boomb oxe s a n d s p e n d t h e next 45 minutes walking around the park, creating an overlapping sound space of bells and choirs. “I f i rst encou ntered Un si lent Nig ht i n CD form in 1993, soon after … Kline wrote it in 1992,” Lyles said. “I thought it was a beautiful idea for a performance piece, four new age tracks playing simultaneously on boomboxes, constantly shifti n g a s pe ople wa l ked around with their sound systems.” Lyles said he emailed K line, asking if it was possible to do the piece in Newnan, but he didn’t hear back. “Last year was the 25th anniversary of Unsilent Night, and in the intervening years the technology has gotten easier

—there’s an app for that — and Kline actually has a website,” Lyles said. “I applied and was given permission to stage the piece.” Backstreet Community Arts sponsored a series o f w o r k s h o p s a l l o wing those who wanted to participate in the event to create paper lanterns. Dozens of walkers gathered in Greenville Street

Park, and Lyles led them on a 45 -m i nute st rol l through downtown. He said he’s looking forward to an even bigger turnout in the coming years, now that more people understand how Unsilent Night works. “I think it’s going to be a lovely tradition for downtown,” Lyles said.

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4 Times-Herald Xtra   |  Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Times-Herald Xtra

Dec. 13- 28

calendar your guide for local upcoming events


Eric Metaxas speaks at The Carnegie Dec. 13, 6:30 p.m., Free

New York Times bestselling author Eric Metaxas will be at The Carnegie Library in Newnan on Wednesday, talking about his latest book, “Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World,” which was published in October. Admission is free, but registration is required because of limited seating. To get tickets, visit www. eric-metaxas-presentsmartin-luther-tickets40877376333?aff=eac2 The talk by Metaxas is part of the Edgar B. Hollis Distinguished Speaker Series, sponsored by the Newnan Carnegie Library Foundation. For more information, call the Carnegie at 770-683-1347.


‘The Nutcracker’

Dec. 15 and 16, 7 and 5:30 p.m., $20

The City of Newnan Cultural Arts Commission will present “The Nutcracker,” a tradi-

tional holiday ballet based on the Tchaikovsky classic. The performance will be choreographed by Paulo Manso de Sousa with a special guest appearance by Mr. Personality, appearing as Drosselmeyer. The event will take place at the Wadsworth Auditorium, 25 Jefferson St. For more information, call 770683-3724, visit www., or email .


Carpenters’ Christmas at The Nixon Centre Dec. 16, 7 p.m., $15- $20

Long ago and oh so far away . . . the world fell in love with the Carpenters and their eradefining repertoire of songs. “Merry Christmas Darling: A Carpenters’ Christmas” is a concert show celebrating the biggest hits of one of the most successful recording acts of all time, and a full complement of their classic Christmas repertoire. A natural off-shoot of the show, “We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered,” this concert is guaranteed to put

you in the holiday spirit! The Carpenters sold over a hundred million records in just over a decade and still hold the record for the most consecutive top-ten singles. The dynamic combination of Karen’s voice and Richard’s compositions and arrangements created Grammy winning magic and won them a worldwide legion of loyal fans. The Carpenters released two classic Christmas albums as well as two Christmas-themed television specials. Their holiday music is played every season and their Christmas records still top “Favorite Holiday Album” lists every year. Michelle Berting Brett takes center stage accompanied by her 7-piece band of Nashville musicians directed by Harry Sharpe. Sharpe and the band have worked with popular music icons including: Donna Summer, Wynonna Judd, Bruce Hornsby, Collin Raye, The Monkees, Bobby Caldwell, Tanya Tucker, John Michael Montgomery, and Michael McDonald. The show re-creates the Carpenters’ sound and Berting Brett shares stories culled from extensive research and interviews with those who knew

Karen and Richard personally and professionally. The result is a family show and an intimate behind the scenes profile of the pop music phenomenon that defined an era. You’ll be singing along to the Carpenters’ classics and all your Christmas favorites!

Cooks: Cookie Swap for a fun-filled afternoon of sharing recipes and holiday stories. Bring at least 18 of your favorite cookies to share and swap. Call 770-683-1347 for more information or to reserve your spot.


Magical Comedy with Ken Scott


Masterworks Chorale performs Handel’s ‘Messiah’

Dec. 21, 10 a.m., Free

The Carnegie Library presents Magical Comedy with Ken Scott on Thursday, December 21st at 10:00 a.m. Ken Scott combines comedy and magic for an amazing show. Please call 770-683-1347 to register for this free program or register online at https://www.eventbrite. com/e/magical-comedy-with-ken-scott-tickets-39665040203. All programs at The Carnegie Library are open to the public and free of charge.

Dec. 17, 3 p.m., Free

Coweta County’s Masterworks Chorale will join the First United Methodist Church (FUMC) Chancel Choir to present George Frederic Handel’s Messiah, Part I. The performance will end with the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Three soloists will be featured in the performance; two of the singers have local ties to the community. Sarah Taylor, a soprano, is a Newnan High School graduate with an extensive recital repertoire including song, opera and oratorio. Soprano Robin Sewell is also from Newnan. She is a recent graduate of Georgia State University, where she earned her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and studied with Kathryn Hartgrove. The third soloist is Tenor Daniel Weisman. For more information, call the FUMC office at 770-253-7400.



Family Movie Day

Art Rez Artist Dec. 21, 2:30- 3:30 p.m., Free

Please join The Carnegie Library as we welcome Newnan Art Rez Artist-in-Residence and poet, Jessie Janeshek. Ms. Janeshek will be reading from her poetry and answering questions. Registration is requested please call 770-683-1347 or register online at https:// poetry-reading-byjessie-janeshek-tickets-40947358652. Jessie Janeshek’s second fulllength book of poems is The Shaky Phase (Stalking Horse Press,


CARNEGIE COOKS: COOKIE SWAP Dec. 20, 3-4 p.m., Free

Join the Carnegie Library for Carnegie

2017). Her chapbooks are Spanish Donkey/ Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), RahRah Nostalgia (dancing girl press, 2016), Supernoir (Grey Book Press, 2017), Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming), and Auto-Harlow (Shirt Pocket Press, forthcoming). Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010) is her first full-length collection. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an M.F.A. from Emerson College, and she is currently Associate Professor of English and the Director of Writing at Bethany College in West Virginia. You can read more of her poetry at For more infomation on the Newnan ArtRez prorgam please visit http:// All programs at The Carnegie Library are open to the public and free of charge.

Dec. 28, 12- 3 p.m., Free

The Carnegie Library presents Family Movie Day! We will be showing two different family movies on Thursday, December 28th. First up will be Frozen at 10:00 a.m. And then at 1:30 p.m. we will be showing Jack Frost. For more information or to register please call 770-683-1347 or register online at https:// family-movie-day-tickets-40151886373. All programs at The Carnegie Library are open to the public and free of charge.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017   |  Times-Herald Xtra 5

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Re-entry classes prepare inmates for life after prison


The Coweta County Prison recently graduated its first ever Re-entry Class. Prison staff include, at left, Warden Bill McKenzie and right, Deputy Warden Larry Clifton and counselor Capt. Ryan Alexander.

BY SARAH FAY CAMPBELL Going to prison is tough – but leaving prison and succeeding outside the walls can also be a struggle – especially for people with a criminal record that can make getting jobs and housing difficult. To ease that tra nsition and help set inmates up for success, the Coweta County Prison is holding four-week “Re-entry” classes for inmates who are nearing their release date. The prison just graduated its second class. The classes are part of Gov. Nathan Deal’s criminal justice reform package. The primary goal is to reduce recidivism. “The state wants everybody to do it, but every prison doesn’t,” said Deputy Warden Larry Clifton. “This is something we took on.” Clifton became deputy warden in April, and he and Warden Bill McKenzie discussed several programs that McKenzie wanted to start, including a GED program and the re-entry class. The GED classes started in June and are led by inmates Johnny Anderson and Rick Rubisch – whom some have given the nickname “Professor.”

“It is on their own time. It isn’t their job – it is something they choose to do,” Clifton said of the inmate instructors. Rubisch and Anderson were teaching the GED classes at the Troup County Prison, and when Troup County closed, McKenzie got Rubisch and Anderson transferred to Coweta. Capt. Ryan Alexander, one of the prison’s counselors, oversees the re-entry program. “Alexander has done a great job,” Clifton said. “He and Rubisch worked together and got this thing going.” The state puts out a guide for re-entry classes, and Alexander said they have tailored the program to fit the setup of the Coweta County Prison. Inmates learn about the barriers they are going to face upon release, as well as tools and resources to help overcome those barriers, Alexander said. Those i nclude job sea rch i ng skills, goal setting, managing finances and furthering their education. Classes are two hours a week for four weeks. For the first cla ss , representat ives from the U.S. Attorney’s office and a former federal prison inmate visited for a screening of a documen-

tary, “Released: When does the Sentence End.” In the documentary, ex-offenders are interviewed about the hurdles they face and what they did to overcome those challenges. “T hey present the truth: there are going to be hurdles,” Alexander said. When a prospective employer sees that an applicant has been in prison, “it brings up a huge wall.” The documentary and the former inmate are there to tell the inmates – “don’t let it stop you. Keep pushing, keep wanting to get to that goal,” Alexander said. For the second week, representatives from the Georgia Department of Labor visit and talk about all the resources and programs that the DOL has for former inmates. Through the Top Step federal bonding program, employers can hire inmates without worrying about financial liability. There are also some tax credits available. Re-entry students also get help on resume writing, and have a resume to take when them when released. In the evenings, after everyone is back from work details, lots of work goes on for resumes and GED classes. “There’s a lot


of homework involved,” Rubisch said “We have some that are study-aholics.” One young man in the GED program has particularly impressed him. “He worked harder than I have ever seen in this program – you never saw him without a book from the time he got in from detail,” Rubisch said. “I can’t say enough about Rubisch,” Clifton said. “He’s a really smart man who has a huge heart to help people. He gets them fired up, and he gets them to dedicate all this extra time – it’s not something we make them do.” “A lot of these guys will say ‘I’ve never written a resume, I’ve never been in a job interview,’” Alexander said. The re-entry classes “give them the tools and a chance to be able to go do that – not just getting released and saying, ‘Well, what now?’” Representatives from the Department of Community Supervision, which oversees parole and probation, come out to talk to inmates about how probation and parole will work once they get out, how they can help them, and about how to get housing. Week three is about finances and goal setting. Inmates work on setting a

budget and talk about education opportunities. “For a lot of these guys – just as for some people on the outside – they’ve never really done a budget,” Alexander said. “For anybody, it helps to see where your finances are coming in or going out. It’s more stuff to help them get back into a regular life.” In the final week, “We do 10-minute mock interviews with each person,” Alexander said. “Some of us from the facility come in, and we try to invite other people from the Department of Community Supervision to come in and help with interviews.” They tell the inmates to expect to get asked about their time in prison. “Nobody wants to put this on their resume, even though this is probably the most valuable experience they have,” Rubisch said. “We say don’t lie about it – use it as a way to sell yourself,” Alexander said. Through the work details at the Coweta County Prison, many inmates learn marketable skills, including road work, heavy equipment operation and automobile repair. Inmates are asked to talk about their strengths and weakness, and after the interview they are critiqued about better ways to answer certain questions. Benjamin Blackerby is a graduate of the first class. He thinks one of the most important parts of the re-entry class is that “it helps guys realize that getting out is right around the corner. It brings it all to life, that you need to start thinking about things and you need to have a plan.” Rubisch said a primary goal in the class is to keep it real. “Sometimes people have this illusion that everything is going to be great when they get out

of here. They don’t realize the people that they left out there are expecting a change.” If you don’t change your way of thinking, you could be right back in prison, he said. “Somebody’s got to care about these guys,” Rubisch said. “It’s very important what they do here.” And, it’s fun, he added. A c c o r d i n g t o C l i fton, some of the younger inmates have never really worked. The classes help them understand what it is going to be like to go out and find a job and how they will need to act. “That is huge,” Clifton said. Some of the students get excited and put in a lot of extra time on their resumes. “It gives them that hope that there is something outside of prison,” Clifton said. And some are just ready to get out. Clifton says the re-entry classes seek to show the inmates that there are tools available to help them have a life outside the prison walls. “It puts them in a different mindset of what life should be and can be once they are released,” Clifton said. The Coweta County Prison has long been a place that inmates want to be transferred to – primarily because of its reputation for excellent food. “Now it’s going to be a place where everybody wants to come and get their classes done,” Blackerby said. Alexander and the prison’s other counselor, Lathel Gardner, took the program and ran with it, Clifton said. “I want my people to have credit for that. They work hard for it.” “As a prison, one of our main priorities is keeping the community safe and helping to get these guys a good start – that is why we’re doing that,” Alexander said.


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20171213 xtra  
20171213 xtra