March/April NCM 2021

Page 1


Best of Coweta

Ballot Inside


• Creature Curations • Fashion Forward • Smart Homes • Electric Vehicles MARCH | APRIL 2021 COMPLIMENTARY COPY

Forging Metal The Art of Blacksmithing



Living at Wesley Woods of Newnan comes complete with friends.

In these difficult times it is easy to feel isolated, especially if you live alone. Happily, that’s not something our residents have to face. They are literally surrounded by companions and fun. Enjoying everything from movie nights to card games and exercise classes (taking all necessary safety precautions, of course). Sound appealing? Now is a great time to act.


Special Offer: Move into a onebedroom apartment and get 10% off your monthly fee for a full year. ***

To schedule a private, onsite tour, contact Beth Tripp at 770.683.6859. (Virtual tours also available.) Remember, there are a bunch of friends waiting to say, “Welcome home.”

2280 North Highway 29 | Newnan, GA 30265 | 770.683.6859

Wesley Woods is the only Life Plan Community in the Newnan area – offering independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing.

Altogether welcomi n g

Looking to get away without going too far? Visit Carrollton. Come for the day or stay and enjoy a room with a different view. Local eats, artisan beverages and craft brews are on the menu in our charming downtown. Find live music, art exhibits, theatre performances, historic landmarks and boutique shopping around every turn. Love the outdoors? Bike or walk our 18-mile GreenBelt or enjoy a round of disc golf. With so many options to explore, Carrollton is a short journey away from adventure.

c a r r o l lt o n g a . c o m

Protecting the Rights of Injury Victims for Over 35 Years


2795 Highway 34 East • Newnan, Georgia 30265 $1 Million – Our firm has more $1 Million + injury settlements and verdicts in Coweta County than any other law firm.

100% Focused On Women’s Health Care

Our Services: • Comprehensive Obstetrical Care • High Risk OB

A Publication of The Newnan Times-Herald


Vice President


William W. Thomasson Marianne C. Thomasson C. Clayton Neely

Elizabeth C. Neely

Jackie Kennedy


Creative Directors

Production Director

Sandy Hiser, Sonya Studt Debby Dye

Contributing Writers

Ali Benson

Susan Mayer Davis

Jennifer Dziedzic

Jenny Enderlin

David Fox

Marty Hohmann

Frances Kidd

Emily Kimbell

Neil Monroe

• Certified Nurse Midwifery

Robin Stewart

• Comprehensive Gynecological Care

Jeffrey Ward

• In Office Procedures including Mona Lisa Touch®

Jill Whitley

Chris Martin

• Minimally Invasive Surgery

• Pelvic Organ Prolapse Repair

Advertising Manager

Multimedia Sales Specialists


Sara Moore Bonnie Pratt Misha Benson Jill Whitley


or email

Our Doctors: Deborah Shepard, MD, FACOG W. Darrell Martin , MD, FACOG Elizabeth W. Killebrew, MD, FACOG Heather S. Turner, MD, FACOG Kristie Dyson, MD, FACOG Crystal Slade, MD, FACOG Tanya Beckford, MD, FACOG Benita Bonser, MD, FACOG Susan Thomas, MD, FACOG Michlene Broadney, MD, FACOG Gina Harris, DO Edwin Bello, MD, FACOG Alena Naumova, MD

(770) 991-2200 Offices in Newnan, Fayetteville and Stockbridge


Newnan-Coweta Magazine is published bi-monthly by The Newnan Times-Herald, Inc., 16 Jefferson Street, Newnan, GA 30263. Newnan-Coweta Magazine is distributed in home-delivery copies of The Newnan Times-Herald and at businesses and offices throughout Coweta County.

On the Web: @newnancowetamag @newnancowetamagazine © 2021 by The Newnan Times-Herald, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.

OUR OUREMPLOYEES EMPLOYEESARE ARETHE THESTARS STARS InInaarecent recentsurvey, survey,Newnan NewnanUtilities’ Utilities’customers customersshared shared their theiropinions: opinions:

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96% 96% Satisfied/Very Satisfied/VerySatisfied Satisfiedwith withthe the courtesy courtesyand andknowledge knowledgeof ofour our field fieldcrews crews

96% 96% Agree Agreethat thatNewnan NewnanUtilities Utilitieshas has continued continuedto toprovide provideexcellent excellentservice service ininthe themidst midstof ofthe thepandemic pandemic

91% 91% Satisfied/Very Satisfied/VerySatisfied Satisfiedwith withoverall overall service serviceand andsupport support

Email Emailsurvey surveyconducted conductedJanuary January12-19, 12-19,2021 2021

Newnan NewnanUtilities Utilitiesisiscommitted committedto todelivering deliveringthe theservices servicesthat thatenhance enhancethe thequality qualityof oflife life throughout throughoutNewnan. Newnan.

70 70Sewell SewellRoad Road• •Newnan, Newnan,GA GA30263 30263• •770-683-5516 770-683-5516

NewnanUtilitiesGA NewnanUtilitiesGA

@NewnanUtilities @NewnanUtilities

NewnanUtilities NewnanUtilities

NewnanUtilities NewnanUtilities




16 | Announcing Best of Coweta 2021 It’s time to vote for your favorite products and services. By Sonya Studt

24 | Forging Metal Michael Sebacher shares a modern take on the ancient art of blacksmithing. By Emily Kimbell 8 | WWW.NEWNANCOWETAMAGAZINE.COM

30 30 | Creature Curations Brian Colin’s online art becomes threedimensional. By Sue Mayer Davis and Jill Whitley

34 | Live Music Local Coweta stages prove you don’t have to drive to Atlanta to hear great bands. By Jenny Enderlin

38 | Electric Vehicles On The Move Expect more electric vehicles on the road as EV technology continues to improve. By Neil Monroe

44 | Fantastic Fashion Christina Yother and Molly Burch discuss creating new fashions. By Jennifer Dziedzic

50 | COVID-19 No. 1 Coweta’s first COVID-19 patient looks back on the past year. By Marty Hohmann

52 | Israel in Photos


Take a pilgrimage to the original site of Easter. By Jackie Kennedy

in this issue

10 | From the Editor 11 | Readers Write 11 | Caption This 12 | Roll Call 13 | Georgia Bucket List 14 | Behind the Shot 20 | Book Review 22 | Coweta to Me 58 | Coweta Home

62 | Coweta Cooks 66 | Coweta Garden 69 | Nonprofit Spotlight 72 | Coweta Arts 74 | #NCMstyle 76 | Coweta Prose & Poetry 80 | Blacktop 82 | The Wrap-Up

➤ Cover Photo by Chris Martin

Behind the Shot, page 14.

Dr. Jayson A. McMath

Dr. Michael P. Gruber Dr. George M. Ballentine


Art to Forget, Tech to Transform


his month marks one year since the COVID-19 pandemic brought monumental change throughout the United States. I’ll never forget driving on Interstate-85 during the first few weeks of last spring’s shutdowns. More than once, I looked ahead through my windshield and behind through my rearview mirror to discover I was alone on a five-lane expressway. It was as if “The Walking Dead” had come true. Through the spring of 2020, we got used to news of coronavirus and school closings, and we started wearing masks. Through the summer and early fall, shops and restaurants that had been closed reopened, and we looked forward to happy holidays. But as cold weather set in, the virus ramped up again. At this writing, I’ve lost count of how many people I know who have had COVID-19 since Christmas. The past year has been a rollercoaster. But rather than the fun, amusement park kind, it’s been the dark, jolting type that nightmares are made of with “Danger Ahead” signs at every razor-sharp turn. But for all its dark turns, this past year has been the kind that leads to great art and technological advances. “For me, painting is a way to forget life. It is a cry in the night, a strangled laugh,” said French painter Georges Rouault. Some read novels, some grow flowers, and others paint, sculpt or sing to shift from daily concerns to a place of peace. As much as art inspires those who create and enjoy it, it also provides an escape to both the artist and the art appreciator by allowing them to block out the world while they create or enjoy what’s created. At their best, art is balm to the soul and tech is a boost to humanity. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” goes the saying. Some believe Plato was the first to utter the phrase that eventually morphed into this English proverb. Plato lived 428-347 BC. Surely, the great philosopher would gasp at the inventions that have transformed mankind through the past two millennia. Today, inventions made possible because of tremendous technological advances come at us with warp speed, whether it’s in the form of smart home technologies or vaccines to combat COVID-19. In this issue of Newnan-Coweta Magazine, we share the art of local creators whose work not only inspires but allows us a momentary escape. And we visit technologies that are changing the way we live and how we travel. We also catch up with Coweta’s first COVID-19 patient. What a year it’s been for him. What a year it’s been for us all. Here’s hoping 2021 offers art and technology to heal and to advance peace. God willing, and the creek don’t rise.

Jackie Kennedy, Editor

Editor Jackie Kennedy rests by the Mediterranean at Tel Aviv on her last day in Israel in 2018. See her "Tracking Easter in Israel" photo essay on page 52.


“I swear this is the last time I go on a blind date!”

Dear Editor, The November-December issue of Newnan Coweta Magazine was a trip down memory lane. I can’t believe we’ve been enjoying the magazine for 25 years! Thank you so much for including “Donie’s Gift” in this special issue. My cousin, Becky Coggin Center, has just moved back to Newnan. After reading the article, she located four out-of-print copies of the "Best Loved Poems of the American People" and tucked them under our Christmas tree. Those books and the memories they evoke are priceless to my niece, nephew, brother and me! Wishing you and Newnan Coweta Magazine all the best in 2021.

— Cheryl Coggin Glisson

Dear Editor, Just saw the Wedding Issue (January-February 2021). Wow! Very well done both on content and graphics. Great looking magazine. And the race relations pieces were excellent.

— Neil Monroe

Caption This! In January, we asked our Newnan-Coweta Magazine readers and Facebook friends to caption this photo. We received numerous entries with the winning caption, above, submitted by Steve Brady of Luthersville. In March, we’ll post another photo for readers to caption. Winners receive an NCM 25th Anniversary T-shirt. Visit or follow us on Facebook to submit your caption.


MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 11

Our Contributors Chris Martin has photographed Major League Baseball, NCAA football, bull riding, air shows, space launches and international swim meets. He shoots action sports for The Heritage School in Newnan and for The Newnan Times-Herald. Marty Hohmann is a career journalist whose sweet spot is in good, old-fashioned storytelling. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, gardening and making her home a place where people want to gather around the dinner table and share a tale or two.

Emily Kimbell is executive director of the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society. An active member of her community, she enjoys exploring the city’s historic cemetery and acting in local theatre productions.

Jennifer Dziedzic lives in Newnan with her husband, the most extraordinary untrained chef she knows, and her amazingly artistic daughter. Jennifer loves being a freelance writer, uses a pen name sometimes, and is in the process of publishing children’s books while her daughter is still young enough to enjoy them.

Jenny Enderlin graduated cum laude from Florida State University. She enjoys volunteering with the NewnanCoweta Historical Society, Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church, Coweta County Democrat Party, One Roof and Backstreet Community Arts.

Susan Mayer Davis lives with husband Larry and golden retriever Mariah. What she enjoys most about writing for NCM is meeting great people when she researches articles and then sharing their stories. “It’s fun,” she says, “but it’s also a privilege.”

Sara Moore’s warm and welcoming nature influences her photography by putting her subjects at ease. She enjoys living the quiet country life while residing in Newnan with her husband, horses, dogs, chickens and ducks.

Neil Monroe is a retired corporate communicator whose career included jobs with Southern Company, Norfolk Southern Corporation, Delta Airlines and CocaCola Enterprises. His roots are in community journalism. He and his wife, Rayleen, live in Sharpsburg where they enjoy tennis, golf and grandchildren.

David Fox has settled in Senoia after a 13-year stint in Anchorage, Alaska, where he worked as a marketing executive and book reviewer for the Anchorage Press.

Ali Benson is a home baker whose love for food started early as she grew up in the food industry and competed in baking competitions for Girl Scouts of America. After traveling the country for a decade, she hopes to start a business selling her homemade cookie and cake mixes.

Frances Kidd is a Newnan native who spent most of her adult years working as a nonprofit and marketing consultant. Although she’s an avid traveler, she never lost her Southern accent. If she’s not in Georgia, you can find her out in the country in Italy.



What’s on your


Jill Whitley is a former courtappointed child advocate for Coweta CASA and has navigated widowhood, single parenting and blending a family. She lives in Coweta County with her incredibly patient husband and two kindhearted, hilarious children.

Jeffrey Ward is a native San Franciscan, Vietnam vet and University of Washington communications grad with a 50-year career in aviation. He’s been married 47 years, has two adult children and six grandchildren, and is a foodie and Facebook junkie.

Robin Stewart volunteers with the Newnan-Coweta Humane Society and, along with her artist husband, is active in the local arts scene. She loves all animals, is addicted to costume jewelry, and the part of her brain that used to know math is now occupied by useless facts for team trivia purposes.

Bucket List?


ave you ever walked the rim of Providence Canyon or hiked to the top of Stone Mountain? Jet-skied at Lake Lanier or taken the ferry to Cumberland Island? Watched penguins waddle at Georgia Aquarium or run the Fourth of July Peachtree Road Race? Maybe you haven’t scratched these things off your bucket list. We want to help! Let Newnan-Coweta Magazine know what’s tops on your Georgia Bucket List, and your dream may become reality. We invite you to submit your top bucket list wish that’s doable in Georgia. We’ll pick five and make them happen in the coming year. So, tell us what’s tops on your to-do list. It doesn’t have to be tied to visiting a Georgia tourist attraction. Maybe there’s a restaurant you’ve heard about but never tried. Or maybe there’s a certain someone you’ve longed to meet in person but never had the opportunity to do so. Let us know what bucket list item you haven’t been able to mark off your list and why it’s important to you. If we choose your entry, we’ll make it happen and share that story with NCM readers in an upcoming issue. Submit your entry online at, or fill out the form here and mail to Newnan-Coweta Magazine, 16 Jefferson Street, Newnan, GA 30263, or drop it by our office at the same address.

Name ____________________________________________________________ Address__________________________________________________________ Contact Email ___________________________________________________ Phone Number__________________________________________________

The item I’d most like to scratch off my Georgia Bucket List: ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ Why is this important to you?

Let Us Hear From You... Send thoughts, ideas and suggestions to

___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 13


Photo by Jackie Kennedy

Creating A Spark Written by JACKIE KENNEDY


Photo by Sandy Hiser

fter interviewing and photographing artisan Michael Sebacher in his blacksmith shop, we knew an image of him applying his trade would make a great cover. The question was: With so many sparks, what angle works best? We employed photographer Chris Martin for the job in January. Inside Sebacher's art studio/blacksmith shop on a cold winter afternoon, the only heat came from the stove where metals heated in preparation for bending at the blacksmith's will. We migrated toward it in between shots. Creative Director Sandy Hiser was true to her job title. She directed the shoot, requesting Sebacher to move here,

Photo by Sandy Hiser

shift there, and proposing different portrait suggestions to Martin. The trick to this shoot was capturing the brilliance of the sparks and balancing the dark background while maintaining proper lighting on our model's face. Sebacher's friend and fellow artist, Michelle Thomasula, came to the rescue by holding a portable mobile light Martin pulled from his handy-dandy photographer's bag of tricks. Voila! NCM


TOP AND CENTER Blacksmith artist Michael Sebacher plies his trade while photographer Chris Martin works to get our cover shot. Beside Martin, Michelle Thomasula holds portable lighting to capture Sebacher's expression. LEFT Michael Sebacher's trusty companion, Viktor the German Shepherd, does his best to help out with the photo shoot.

Expertise You need. Expertise You need. Expertise You need. Compassion they deserve. Compassion Compassion they they deserve. deserve.

Ourunique uniqueapproach approach Our Our unique approach involves personalized involves personalized involves personalized supervision byour our supervision by supervision by our doctorand andstaff staff doctor doctor and staff I INNTTEERRNNAALL MMEEDDI ICCI INNEE I N T EV R LI INM CNINN VAN ACA CCC NAE ATD TI IOO SSE

Askyour yourneighbors neighborsabout aboutus! us! Ask 2789 US-29, Moreland, GA 30259, Ask your neighbors about us! 2789 US-29, Moreland, GA 30259, just a 20 minute drive from Lake Redwine. US-29,drive Moreland, GARedwine. 30259, just a2789 20 minute from Lake just a 20 minute drive from Lake Redwine.





Honor your favorite Coweta businesses by voting them Best of Coweta 2021!*

MARCH  1 – APRIL  15, 2021



PRINT BALLOT: • Please read the rules, and print clearly and legibly. • Enter the name of one (1) COWETA COUNTY business of your choice next to each category as completely and correctly as possible. If a business has multiple locations, indicate the location to which your vote applies. If you have no favorite for a particular category, you may skip it. • Drop off your completed ballot in person Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. or mail to: Newnan-Coweta Magazine, ATTN: Best Of Coweta, 16 Jefferson St., Newnan, GA 30263 • Print ballots will also be available to fill out at The Newnan Times-Herald office during the voting period, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. • All print ballots must be received at our office by 5 p.m. on April 15, 2021. PHOTOCOPIES WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

ONLINE BALLOT: • Scan the QR code below or visit or and follow the link to complete the online ballot. • In the text box, enter the name of the business/entity you are voting for, following the same naming guidelines stated above. If you have no favorite for a particular category, you must select N/A to continue. • All completed online ballots must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on April 15, 2021.




WIN! 10 random voters will be selected to receive a

25 Gift Card!*


Sponsored by

16 Jefferson Street • Newnan, GA 30263 • 770.253.1576 *Rules and conditions apply. See Rules page 19 for details.

VOTING CATEGORIES Please enter only ONE (1) LOCALLY OWNED COWETA COUNTY business per line in each category.* Please print clearly and legibly. FOOD & DRINK Best Breakfast/ Brunch: ___________________________________________________ Best Wings: _________________________________________________ Best Cocktail: _______________________________________________ Best Dessert: _______________________________________________

Best BBQ: __________________________________________________ Best Italian Food: ____________________________________________ Best Mexican Food:____________________________________________ Best Asian Food: ____________________________________________

Best Southern Food:___________________________________________

Best Local Bakery: ____________________________________________

Best Pizza: _________________________________________________

Best Date Night Spot: _________________________________________________

Best Burger:________________________________________________ Best Steak: _________________________________________________

Best Overall Restaurant: ________________________________________________

SHOPPING Best Antique/ Vintage Store: _______________________________________________

Best Home Decor Store: ____________________________________________________

Best Jewelry Store:____________________________________________

Best Furniture Store: ____________________________________________________

Best Apparel Store:____________________________________________ Best Boutique/ Gift Shop: __________________________________________________ Best Thrift Store: _____________________________________________

Best Plant Nursery/ Greenhouse:________________________________________________ Best Vape Shop:______________________________________________ Best CBD Store: ______________________________________________

ENTERTAINMENT Best Local Band:_____________________________________________ Best Local Musician:___________________________________________ Best Live Music Venue:__________________________________________

Best Kids Entertainment/ Activities: __________________________________________________ Best Playground/ Park: _____________________________________________________

Best Art Gallery:______________________________________________

Best Local Hiking/Walking/ Biking Trail:_________________________________________________

Best Special Event/ Wedding Venue:______________________________________________

Best Outdoor Recreation:_________________________________________________

Best Bar/Pub:_______________________________________________

Best Local Event:_____________________________________________

BEAUTY & FITNESS Best Fitness Center:___________________________________________

Best Lash Salon:______________________________________________

Best Day Spa: _______________________________________________

Best Barber Shop:_____________________________________________

Best Hair Salon: _____________________________________________ Best Nail Salon:______________________________________________

Best Tattoo/Piercing Parlor: ____________________________________________________

VOTING CATEGORIES Please enter only ONE (1) LOCALLY-OWNED COWETA COUNTY business per line in each category.* Please print clearly and legibly. SERVICES Best Landscaping/ Lawn Service:_______________________________________________ Best Home Builder:____________________________________________ Best Home Remodeling/ Renovation: _________________________________________________ Best HVAC Service:____________________________________________ Best Home Repair/ Handyman Service:____________________________________________ Best Interior Design Service:____________________________________________________ Best Carpet Cleaning Service: ___________________________________________________ Best Pest Control Service:____________________________________________________ Best Roofing Service: ___________________________________________________ Best Real Estate Agent: ____________________________________________________ Best Auto Repair: _____________________________________________

Best Auto Detailing:___________________________________________ Best Tire Shop:_______________________________________________ Best Auto Body Shop:_________________________________________________ Best Florist: ________________________________________________ Best Catering Service: ___________________________________________________ Best Bicycle Shop: ____________________________________________ Best Attorney: _______________________________________________ Best Financial Advisor: ___________________________________________________ Best Certified Public Accountant: ________________________________________________ Best Child Care: ______________________________________________ Best Pet Groomer: ____________________________________________ Best Pet Boarding: ____________________________________________ Best Veterinary Hospital/ Clinic: ____________________________________________________

HEALTH & MEDICINE Best Internal Medicine/ General Practitioner:___________________________________________

Best Dermatology Services:__________________________________________________

Best Pediatrician:_____________________________________________

Best Chiropractic Services:__________________________________________________

Best Women’s Health:___________________________________________ Best OB/GYN:________________________________________________

Best Massage Therapist: __________________________________________________

Best General Dentistry: __________________________________________________

Best Med Spa: _______________________________________________

Best Orthodontist:____________________________________________

Best Assisted Living Facility:___________________________________________________

Best Optometrist:_____________________________________________ Best Orthopedics:_____________________________________________

Best Mental Health Services:__________________________________________________

Name: ____________________________________________ Phone: ______________________ Email: ________________________________________________________________________ Please return this page to: Newnan-Coweta Magazine, ATTN: Best of Coweta, 16 Jefferson Street, Newnan, GA 30263 *Rules and conditions apply. See Rules page 19 for details.


Voting and Prize Drawing Official Rules NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. ALL FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. WHEN TO VOTE: Voting begins on March 1, 2021 at 12 a.m. EST and ends on April 15, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EST. WHO CAN VOTE: Voting is open only to legal residents of the United States and Georgia who are eighteen (18) years of age or older at the time of voting. Employees and independent contractors of The Newnan Times-Herald and NewnanCoweta Magazine are not eligible to participate.

ONLY LOCALLY-OWNED, COWETA COUNTY BUSINESSES/ ENTITIES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR VOTES. BIG-BOX STORES AND NATIONAL CHAINS ARE NOT ELIGIBLE TO BE VOTED BEST OF COWETA. HOW TO VOTE ONLINE: During the voting period, visit or and click on the Best of Coweta 2021 Readers’ Choice Survey link; scan the QR code on one of the print ads in Newnan-Coweta Magazine or The Newnan Times-Herald; or scan the QR code on one of the promotional posters at any business displaying one. Enter your first and last name, one (1) valid phone number, and one (1) valid email address and proceed to the first voting section. Enter the name of one (1) COWETA COUNTY BUSINESS of your choice for each category, as completely and correctly as possible, in the ‘Other’ box. If a business has multiple locations, indicate the location to which your vote applies. Proceed through each voting section in the same manner, and click on ‘Submit’ at the end. If you have no favorite for a particular category, you must select N/A to proceed. Online ballots must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. on April 15, 2021 in order to be eligible. No online ballots will be accepted after this time. HOW TO VOTE ON PAPER: Best of Coweta 2021 paper ballots will be available in the Weekend editions of The Newnan Times-Herald during the voting period, as well as at the office of The Newnan Times-Herald and Newnan-Coweta Magazine. Fill in your choice for each category as described in the “How to Vote Online” section above, and fill in your first and last name, one (1) valid phone number, and one (1) valid email address at the end (required). If you have no favorite for a particular category, you may skip it or enter N/A. Please print clearly and legibly. Print ballots may be mailed to Newnan-Coweta Magazine, ATTN: Best of Coweta, 16 Jefferson Street, Newnan, GA 30263, or hand-delivered to the same address. Print ballots must be received at The Newnan Times-Herald/ Newnan-Coweta Magazine office no later than 5 p.m. on April 15, 2021. No printed ballots will be accepted after this time.

PHOTOCOPIES WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. ALL PRINT AND ONLINE BALLOTS MUST CONTAIN A VALID AND LEGIBLE FIRST AND LAST NAME, PHONE NUMBER AND EMAIL ADDRESS TO BE ELIGIBLE. 50% OF BALLOT MUST BE COMPLETED TO BE ELIGIBLE. INCOMPLETE BALLOTS WILL NOT BE COUNTED, NOR WILL THEY BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE PRIZE DRAWING. The Newnan Times-Herald and Newnan-Coweta Magazine (the “Sponsors”) reserve the right to refuse votes for candidates that are deemed not appropriate for the category for which the votes were cast. Number of Ballots: One (1) ballot per person will be accepted during the voting period. WINNERS: Category Winners: The leading vote recipient in each category will be declared the winner of that category (the “Category Winner” or “Category Winners”). In the event of a tie, a random drawing will be held among the tied Category Winners to determine the final Category Winner. A candidate may win in more than one category, but votes will not be combined across categories. If a selected winner is not eligible in accordance with these

rules, the category win will be forfeited and awarded to another eligible business who has received the next highest number of votes in the same category. Odds of Winning: Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible votes received in each category. Winner Notification: Category Winners will be notified by staff of Newnan-Coweta Magazine after April 15, 2021. Winners will receive a window decal identifying them as a winner for each category in which they received the most reader votes (one sticker for each category won). Winners will also be announced in the July/August issue of NewnanCoweta Magazine. Survey winners must each sign a Media Release form upon delivery of winner’s decal(s). Winners will be photographed at a mutually agreeable date for prize winner and provider. Winners agree to allow use of their name, photograph, likeness and any information provided on the entry form, in any medium of communications, including print, internet, radio and/or television and for any purpose including editorial, advertising, promotional or other purposes, by The Newnan Times-Herald, Newnan-Coweta Magazine and, their affiliates or sponsors, without compensation, except where prohibited by law. PRIZE DRAWING: Ten (10) voter ballots will be drawn at random on or around April 16, 2021, from all eligible ballots, for the voter to receive a prize of one (1) twenty-five dollar ($25) Gift Card of the Sponsors’ choosing. Odds of Winning: Odds of winning depend on the total number of eligible ballots received. Winner Notification: Winners will be notified by telephone and/or email on or around April 22, 2021 in accordance with the contact information supplied on the ballot. If a Newnan Times-Herald/Newnan-Coweta Magazine representative who attempts to contact a prize winner is unable to speak directly to that person within 24 hours of the initial notification attempt, if prize notification is returned to Sponsor as undeliverable, or if prize is refused or cannot be accepted for any reason, that person will forfeit all rights to the prize and an alternative winner will be drawn. Upon forfeiture or refusal, no compensation will be given. How to Claim: Potential prize winners may pick up their gift cards at The Newnan Times-Herald/Newnan-Coweta Magazine, 16 Jefferson Street, Newnan, GA 30263, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Photo ID must be presented for verification. Prize must be claimed by May 1, 2021 at 5 p.m. or it will be forfeited. Potential prize winners must each sign an Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability and a Media Release form to be eligible to accept the prize. Prize winners will be photographed at a mutually agreeable date for prize winner and provider, but no later than May 1, 2021. The prize will be forfeited and awarded to another eligible voter if winner does not sign the Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability, or if selected winner is not eligible in accordance with these rules. Potential prize winner must pay their own transportation and/or other expenses to claim their prize, and is responsible for any charges not specifically listed as part of the prize, including but not limited to transportation, parking, gratuities or incidentals. Prize is non-negotiable and not redeemable for cash or credit. No substitution or transfer of the prize will be allowed, except at the sole discretion of the Sponsors. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute prizes of equal or greater value. No compensation will be given for lost, stolen, mutilated, or expired gift cards. Prize winners are solely responsible for all Federal, State and/or Local tax obligations and/or liabilities, if any, arising from, or in connection with, their receipt and acceptance of the prize. Prize winners agree to allow use of their name, photograph, likeness and any information provided on the entry form, in any medium of communications, including print, internet, radio and/or television and for any purpose including editorial, advertising, promotional or other purposes, by The Newnan Times-Herald, Newnan-Coweta Magazine and, their affiliates or sponsors, without

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‘The Boy Between’ Reviewed by DAVID FOX

n “The Boy Between: A Mother and Son’s Journey from a World Gone Grey,” co-authors Amanda Prowse and her son Josiah Hartley tackle the topic of suicidal depression among young men in the United Kingdom. At the book’s conclusion, Hartley points out that suicide is the leading cause of death among young people aged 20-34 in the UK. Writing this book was not an abstract project launched by these two; it was deeply personal. Following a troubled childhood, Hartley discovered he possessed stellar academic skills that would allow him to pursue studies at the highest levels – a dream come true. Then, out of the blue, it happened. His “brain switched off,” he writes. One minute, he’s able to think cogently; the next, all is gone. His world goes topsy-turvy. His descent into severe depression begins. The brilliant news for the reader is that this was written several years after Hartley emerged from this ordeal. So, even though the episodes we witness are gut-wrenching, at least we know that he emerges well enough to write about what almost rendered him a statistic. Myths are crushed. For those who believe depression is recognizable by sadness, Hartley jolts us to his reality in the book’s prologue: “The decision to end my life was one that came easily.” He describes his emotional condition, which crystallized his mental state, as what led to what he thought would be his final reckoning: “I wasn’t sad. I was numb.” The writing duo embraces a narrative where the chapters move from the mother’s viewpoint to her son’s. It’s a clean way of moving along a story about suicidal depression. It allows both authors to easily share their story without tripping up the other. Also, it underscores the radically different


perspective from the one experiencing the trauma to the caregiver. For example, Prowse posits this theory: “Happiness is the goal. If you have that, then everything else kind of falls into place and nothing else really matters.” Her son’s focus could not be more different. As he contemplated suicide, he just wanted life to stop. “I wanted my time on earth to STOP. I wanted everything to STOP,” he writes. Confronted by these dueling objectives it becomes easier for the reader to grasp the perplexities surrounding this complex dilemma. On the one hand, you’ve got the very real suffering of the young man juxtaposed against his mother’s seemingly simplistic view of the situation. Yet, this scenario can be extrapolated out onto the tens of thousands of families dealing with similarly non-aligned goals. Is there a simple answer to help resolve these universal conundrums? Honestly, no. The only real option available to the patient and caregiver is to follow Josh’s advice: “I want to say to them, to you, hang in there. Please, hang in there.” Written by Amanda Prowse and Josiah Hartley, “The Boy Between” was published November 1, 2020, by Little A/Amazon Publishing; 276 pages. ★★★★

Read a good book lately? Share your favorite new read with Newnan-Coweta Magazine by writing a book review for possible publication in an upcoming issue. Keep your review at 250-350 words and please include the author’s name, page count and date of publication. Send your review with your contact information to or mail to Newnan-Coweta Magazine, 16 Jefferson Street, Newnan, GA 30263.

The Newnan Centre and You...

The Perfect Union


(678) 673-5486 1515 Lower Fayetteville Road, Newnan, Georgia 30265 PHOTOS BY FOREVER PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIELLE HOLLINS



Promise of Pecans Written by FAITH FARRELL


Originally from Minnesota, Faith Farrell is somewhat new to Newnan where she designs sets and acts with the Newnan Theatre Company. She also spends time at Backstreet Arts and is currently writing a play (featuring larger than life puppets and hopefully a ukulele band) called “The Lonely Carnie.” She sometimes paints for movie and TV sets. Check out her art on Instagram: @faithfarrellart.


y love affair with Newnan began as a surprise in 2011. I was living in Minnesota at the time, battling a broken snowblower plus a broken heart. I was a scenic painter for films and TV, and Minnesota wasn’t particularly known for its lineup of movie shoots. One lucky day, I got a call to work on the film “Lawless,” based off the book “The Wettest County in the World,” and it was to be filmed in Georgia with the bulk done in Coweta County. The studio was to be in Newnan, which I pronounced “Newman.” I frantically started packing, wondering about the unknowns, especially the weather – because I'm from Minnesota and Minnesotans are constantly concerned about the weather. Making movies in Minnesota in winter requires thermal underwear (doubled for warmth), wool socks (doubled for warmth), gloves with mittens, giant boots that astronauts would approve of, and a good hat with ear flaps. I packed it all, along with an ice scraper and jumper cables (because a gal can never be too prepared). With suitcases packed for the Arctic, I was headed for Newnan, nerves on edge and excitement abounding. When I visit someplace shiny and new, I tend to fantasize (as I’m sure most folks do) about what it would be like to live there: hunting out the hidden nuggets of neighborhoods; scouring for secrets only the locals know, the promise of guaranteed adventure. We fantasize and explore, but do we actually take the plunge? Do we upend the security of our lives to pursue the potential in unknown possibilities? Imagining it was just a playful pastime, I never really considered it, but then Georgia grabbed me – and grabbed me good. It was February when I arrived, and to this Minnesotan it felt like spring. I found myself getting lost on the one-way streets around Newnan’s square. The upside of getting lost is in what you find – and I found plenty: beautiful homes oozing with history, their untold stories sifting through my half-rolled open window (because if it’s 50 degrees in February, that’s a spring day in Minnesota). As the weeks rolled on, I was introduced to spicy boiled peanuts, homemade fig preserves, Bingo at the VFW, Brunswick stew from Sprayberry’s, a potent margarita from La Fiesta, and some


“I’m giddy that this community embraces the arts with gusto.” excellent coffee on the square. I discovered that folks still make moonshine. I met singer Nick Cave at the Alamo on my birthday, was introduced to homemade gas-station breakfast sausage biscuits with grape jelly, saw white clay chunks sold in Ziplock baggies, and bought bundles of yellowroot tied in a rubber band. There were pecan trees. So many pecan trees. Imagine growing your own pecans! It boggled my brain and made my heart hanker to have a pecan tree of my very own. Coworkers introduced me to mistletoe growing in the trees. To live in a state where stolen kisses grew in backyards, to live in a place where pecans and peaches, figs and fruit, fueled your inner fire. I saw armadillos and salamanders, heard stories of wild boars, and was blown away by Barbie Beach while realizing that actual beaches existed in this state, too. I discovered that some days in the spring my car magically turned yellow with pollen, and I learned that a package store does not actually sell boxes. I was surrounded in this Southern swirl of magic and mystery, and my broken heart started to heal. As the weeks grew into months, my coworker and I were driving to a location near Senoia. We saw purple flowers like inky fluid dripping off the trees, unlike any lilac in my Minnesota backyard. It was wisteria. Just to say the name was like tasting bubbles on the tongue for the first time. I couldn’t stop saying it: Wisteria. Wisteria. My brain was heady with the sweet smell, and I knew at that moment, some sort of cosmic pact had been sealed. My fate had been fed. I returned to Minnesota in May whereupon my first morning back, I woke up to a lot of snow and that dang broken snowblower. There were no salamanders sunning themselves on the deck and my lilac tree had yet to bud. Two days before, I had been enjoying barbecue and cornbread in the sunny warmth outdoors, and now I needed the warmth of soup and mittens. I tried to make a peach pie for the Minnesota state fair. I named it “I miss Georgia Pie.” It didn’t win, but I didn’t make it to win; I made it as a token homage, a public display of my heart’s new love. But what had won was Georgia. It was time to move south. That was nine years ago, and my homecoming with Newnan had still yet to happen. I spent the first six years living in Atlanta and painting on movie sets. I was in Georgia, gainfully employed, living with an amazing guy, Joe, but something was still missing – the wide-eyed wonder I’d felt when I was in Newnan. After a long series of unfortunate events unfolded, I said to

Joe, “We need to move.” He looked up from the baseball game on TV and said, “What about Newnan?” There was a giant, white silence as the earthquake of his words upended my soul. The simple shift of those words being spoken out loud? That was it. That was the missing magic puzzle piece. So we bought a house walking distance to the Newnan square. After waiting many years, the word “community” has again reclaimed its power in my life. It’s a word I’m happy to have back in my dictionary. I am awestruck with the warmth and welcome I’ve been met with. I am not working on movies as much, but I’m feeding my forgotten loves by returning to the theater (Newnan Theatre Company) after 20 years and by making art again with inspiration from Backstreet Arts. I’m giddy that this community embraces the arts with gusto. I love the weekend market days where I can buy elderberry syrup and soap made out of red clay. I embrace every parade and festival while still discovering the history of this amazing area. Wadsworth Alley is a backstreet bingo win and it’s an extra bonus when I find a painted Newnan rock hidden around the square. My cousin even bought a home on our block and it is the first time in my life that I have lived with a relative in the same state or town, nevermind down the road. Newnan continues to surprise this girl with no need anymore for that dang broken snowblower. I always thought the answer was Georgia but it turned out that Georgia was only the canopy. The true answer was more specific, like the wisteria drip-dripping its ripe aroma, reminding me of that day when I imagined myself living in such a place as Newnan – and then one day, it happens and you don’t even realize it. You find yourself rubbing the ache in the small of your back after hours shuffling through the leaves, on a scavenger hunt you never imagined. You stand under the towering tree at the edge of your backyard, grinning from ear to ear, proud of all the pecans you just picked. NCM

What is Coweta to You?

Whether you’ve lived here all your life or only a year, we want to hear your personal Coweta story. Email your “Coweta to Me” story to or mail to 16 Jefferson St., Newnan, GA 30263. We look forward to hearing from you.

MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 23


Forging Ahead Local Blacksmith Keeps Traditional Arts Alive



hile some centuries-old art forms are in danger of being lost to modern technological advances, the ancient art of blacksmithing is alive and well thanks to artisans like Coweta’s Michael Sebacher.

Photo by Emily Walker

Sebacher’s unconventional path to becoming a blacksmith took him through a variety of occupations, including work as a captain (USCG Master) of his own 40-foot sailing sloop, a truck driver, scuba instructor, fishing boat deckhand, migrant agricultural worker, staff management consultant, submarine nuclear power plant operator, motorcycle restoration technician, automotive body design engineer, defense contractor training consultant, nonprofit organization director, corporate management trainer and – perhaps thanks to this extensive background – work as a career counselor. Sebacher's interest in metals originated while attending Nuclear Propulsion School during his service with the U.S. Navy. After obtaining an engineering bachelor’s degree and education master’s degree, he began a career in engineering with Ford

ABOVE AND OPPOSITE Michael Sebacher practices the ancient art of blacksmithing at his shop in Sharpsburg.


Photo by Emily Walker

— Michael Sebacher

Photo by Chris Martin

People don’t realize that we are made to do this. We are physiologically constructed to make things with our hands.”

Photo by Michelle Thomasula Photo by Sandy Hiser

A brief flame flares as a hot blade is quenched in oil to harden the steel.

A Holbein-style dagger is made from spring steel, walnut scales and bronze bolster and pommel. Overall length is 15.5 inches. The Scabbard is ash wood covered in leather with brass locket and trim.

Photo by Michelle Thomasula

Motor Company before relocating to Savannah to work at Gulfstream Aerospace. After buying a house in one of Savannah's historic districts, Sebacher decided to install a wrought iron fence to match the aesthetic of the home. Upon researching how much it cost to have one made (a lot), he decided to make his own – and fell in love with blacksmithing. “I had a background in engineering, steel and machinery, so it wasn’t all brand new,” he says. “But basically, I learned my trade by the school of screwing up.” Sebacher took the leap in 2001 to leave Gulfstream and open his first metals studio in Savannah. He began creating custom furniture and headboard designs and became heavily involved in several of the city’s architectural ironwork restoration projects. Now based near family in Sharpsburg, the blacksmith is dedicated to preserving the time-honored tradition of his craft. “It’s all about history and heritage,” he says. “This craft is all a gift. I didn’t invent any of this. This is all knowledge handed down to us from those prior, people adding to the pool of knowledge and expanding on it. And as you get good at it, you add to that pool of knowledge and pass it on. It gives you a greater respect for those who came before as you realize the long heritage.” This pool of knowledge has been growing ever since the ancient Iron Age when blacksmiths became a major part of the community. “The blacksmith was always the one who made tools for the potter and the woodworker,” says Sebacher. “He made the chain and nail. You make everyone else’s tools. If the town has nothing else, it has a blacksmith.” Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the high cost of tools required damaged tools to be repaired rather than discarded. This meant that blacksmiths were not only responsible for the creation of these tools but for all repairs as well. Essentially, no community could survive without a blacksmith. The high-standing position of the blacksmith led to myths, heroes and deities dedicated to the tradesman as an air of mystery and secrecy surrounded the practice. Throughout the Middle Ages, many blacksmiths belonged to guilds that punished members for revealing trade secrets to nonmembers. While Sebacher says that some working blacksmiths still hold to this tradition of secrecy, he believes the craft should be taught and shared. He fundamentally believes that humans are made to create: “People don’t realize that we are made to do this. We are physiologically

Sebacher recently collaborated with Senoia homeowners to design driveway gates for the couple's horse farm. Mill-cut cedar and steel were used to create the impressive entranceway.

constructed to make things with our hands.” Educating the next generation about traditional crafts is essential in keeping the Arts alive, according to Sebacher. While blacksmithing nearly disappeared in the United States after the Great Depression due to industrialization, the art form saw a resurgence of interest in the 1970s; however, the industry remains relatively small. In 2012, there were between 5,000 and 10,000 blacksmiths in the U.S. with only 10% working professionally. Sebacher is dedicated to passing down his knowledge to the next generation. He created the Artisans Heritage Guild, a local coalition of accomplished artisans dedicated to teaching others and starting a school of traditional arts. Currently, the guild consists of 28 artist-members teaching more

Photo by Sandy Hiser

Photo by Michelle Thomasula


TOP AND ABOVE Blacksmith artist Michael Sebacher created the metalworks that adorn the doors and windows of the Dr. Thos. J. Jones building in downtown Newnan. 28 | WWW.NEWNANCOWETAMAGAZINE.COM


Custom cuff

Photos by Michelle Thomasula

Photo by Sandy Hiser

Axe based on Nordic design

Sebacher created this geometric room divider installed at Blue Fern in downtown Newnan. The mid-century design is the result of a collaboration with the store's owner, Lori Duncan.

than 14 disciplines of traditional art making. Sebacher teaches a blacksmithing class that covers topics like safety practices, blacksmithing tools and equipment, identifying steel and other basic skills. “I love showing off my cuff,” says Sandy Hiser, who created a wrist cuff in one of Sebacher’s classes. “There is something incredibly satisfying about making and wearing your own unique creation rather than a mass-produced item.” Teaching his trade and other traditional arts is Sebacher’s passion, and his future goal is to expand the Artisans Heritage Guild with a facility for a traditional arts school in Coweta County. Until then, the blacksmith continues to work on his trade by creating jewelry, furniture, gates, weaponry and other custom metal items. He encourages others to learn the traditional arts. “Although it takes a while, it’s not mind bendingly difficult,” he says. “It just takes repetition and practice.” For those who don’t believe they can learn the craft, Sebacher has a quick response: “That is like saying a fish can’t swim. You are designed to do this. Of course you can!” NCM

Photo by Michael Sebacher

Twisted cuff based on Nordic design

Door knocker from railroad spike and horseshoes

MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 29


Creatures Sculptor Fills a Fantastical World with Colorful and Cunning Creatures Written by SUSAN MAYER DAVIS and JILL WHITLEY Photographed by Keith May



s parents, we dream of giving our children the world. Unlike most of us, Carrollton artist Brian Colin did just that by creating a mystical realm where, with the help of his children Wyatt and Ruby, he shapes reality to his will with a roll of the polyhedral dice.

Colin’s business, Creature Curation, was formed to showcase the fantastical World of Revilo, which was born the same year as his son Wyatt – in 2009. The role-playing game (RPG) he created for his son is based on a cast of whimsical creatures that range from life-size sculptures to squishable plush toys, from cuddly and adorable buddies to fierce and a bit frightening friends. Players can choose from among these characters to forge a campaign into an open-ended world based within the Dungeons and Dragons framework and rules. Players can read the back stories on all the creatures and choose to play as the one they identify with best. A member of the Newnan-Coweta Art Association, Colin says his love for role-playing games resulted from

Surrounded by his creations, Colin wears his "dress" apron at a gaming convention in Indianapolis, Ind.

ABOVE Brian Colin poses with his Grathalla, a multi-eyed and heavily horned creature of his making, at a game fair in Columbus, Ohio.

a boyhood escapade with a book of matches and mischievous friends. “As fourth graders, we thought it would be a good idea to sit around and light things on fire one afternoon,” he recalls. “Fortunately, we were caught by my friend’s older sister, who took the matches, slapped us each on the back of the head, and handed us an old Dungeons and Dragons game to keep us busy and in one piece. I fell in love and never looked back.” The main difference between Dungeons and Dragons and The World of Revilo is the painstaking artistic effort that goes into each creature. “I wanted all the characters to be creatures that no one would recognize, so that no one will feel uncomfortable playing as any of the characters,” says Colin, adding that the strange, fanciful creatures make the game feel more inclusive. “Until recently, RPGs were mostly played by a bunch of old white men. When the characters are all different colors and shapes, everyone feels included and invited to play.” The family-designed nature of The World of Revilo allows it to embrace diversity. Colin’s children are each free to develop their own characters and worlds, and his wife Kerry is one of few women involved in highlevel RPG game development. “The whole family is a part of this process,” says Brian. “Kerry edits all of the writing that gets published and is essentially the loremaster to make sure I don’t include anything that would break what has already been published.” Brian wanted to create a world of creatures that could be fierce and mystical – but not too dark – as MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 31


he wanted it to appeal to all ages. When he began to sculpt the first creature to inhabit his fantasy world, the ideas kept flowing. “I am exploring my craft in many ways including sculpture, world building for role playing games and more,” he said. Over time, Brian has created many creatures, written a backstory for each one and collected those in a book with photographs. He has also created comic books and cards, and he pitched a Revilo movie to Hollywood. He recently launched small squeeze and plush characters for children. “COVID-19 has given me time to really focus on launching a product line,” he says. Brian is quick to note that The World of Revilo is not just for children. “Role playing in general is a great way for people to learn to use their imagination, think on their feet, and interact with a diverse group of people who don’t always have the same ideas on how to play the game,” he says. “It’s great for problem-solving and creative thinking.” The creature curator describes his game as a good introduction to RPGs for young players. “I’ve set The World of Revilo so that anyone can tell their own story,” he concludes. “It grows with the player.” NCM




The curious creatures of

The World of Revilo: 1. Grinataurs are highly intelligent creatures that have learned to adapt to monsters roaming the forest floor by using skulls and bones to mask their appearance. 2. Ozweild the Drachoreous makes his home in the Marshes of Revilo due to his deep connection to the water. 3. Ghyrma, a reaper of the Brood tribe, gets his blue color from adapting to his home in the Icy Divide region of Revilo.




4. The Reapers of the Seekashah Tribe have adapted to the drifting waters of the Marsh. They are fairly reclusive when it comes to interactions with other intelligent creatures. 5. Chelonids are a reptilian species that reside in the fiery pits of Revilo.


6. Karkathians are large intelligent creatures who prefer to live in mountain caverns. 7. Thalia, a Hassanavul, is a very rare, fox-like species not native to Revilo and is featured in her own comic book. MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 33

From left, Doug Kees, Michelle Malone and Reno Roberts perform at The Iridium in New York City.

Live, from Coweta

The Local Music Scene Written by JENNY ENDERLIN


Photo courtesy of Daniel Toole

“The first night we played, you couldn’t get in. It wasn’t that we were that good — there was nowhere else to go,” says singerguitarist Doug Kees when discussing his former gig playing jazz at a downtown Newnan restaurant. Prior to Kees’s arrival some 30 years ago, live music was scarce in Coweta. Musicians like Alan Jackson and his nephew Adam Wright had to relocate to find a substantial audience. Now, local talent with ample opportunities to perform here include Alex McCullough, Sara Greer, Blair Morgan, Daniel Freeman, Paul Garrett, Matt Lions, Matt Moskal, Miguel Olascuaga, Damon C. Scott, Lerogie Sims and Stella Weaver, just to name a few. In addition to playing local restaurant and bar venues, musicians rotate through seasonal lineups like Main Street Newnan’s NewnaNights, Tucked Away Music Festival and Jazz in the Park; Ashley Park’s Sounds of Summer Series; Senoia: Alive! After Five; and performances at Summer Grove Golf Club and Arbor Springs’ Coweta Club. The relationship of professional musicians in the area has led to a bevy of crossover singer-songwriters unafraid to embrace multiple genres and combine rock, country, soul, folk and bluegrass. Much of Coweta’s vibrant music scene is a result of Kees’ Musicology business, which has provided music lessons, facilitated recording and coordinated talent for events for decades. Additionally, the Central Educational Center boasts a strong music program in which hundreds of students study every aspect of the industry from theory to ticket sales to touring. Despite its proximity to Atlanta, Coweta has its own distinct music culture, according to Kees, who attributes the phenomenon to a spirit of cooperation not always found elsewhere in the industry. Everyone has to get along because “sooner or later we’re all going to end up playing in each other’s bands,” he says. Soul and rock singer-songwriter Daniel Toole appreciates the local music scene. “It’s a small-knit community, but it’s open enough to give you space to think and feel and put things in motion,” says Toole, who fell in love with Newnan and moved here from LaGrange a few years ago. “Everybody is so welcoming that if you walked in with a guitar and wanted to play with a few of the bands, they would welcome you,” adds Georgia Country Awards-winning artist Kris Youmans of the American country/western swing Kris Youmans Band. “Local musicians are incredibly encouraging of each other.” Youmans tours frequently but loves playing to her home audience. “Musicians who have played here and left want to come back,” she says. “Musicians email me and want to know if there’s anything available in Newnan.”

Photo courtesy of Melody Kiser

Photo by Dina Regine


he music scene in Coweta County was basically nonexistent in the early 1990s.

TOP Daniel Toole strums and sings at Eddie's Attic in Atlanta. ABOVE Melody Kiser performs live at local venues and throughout Georgia.

MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 35

Photo by Susan Gore Gardner 36 | WWW.NEWNANCOWETAMAGAZINE.COM

Photo courtesy of Senoia Main Street Music Festival

However, the kinship local artists enjoy with one another goes beyond music. Many involved in the local scene attribute their connectivity to the legendary entertainer Eric “Erok” Patterson, who died in August 2020 from a brain and spinal infection. In addition to promoting, booking and recording hundreds of aspiring musicians completely free of charge, Patterson was an encourager and friend to everyone he met. “It seems to me that everybody respects the place he had,” says Toole, who doesn’t expect anyone to fill Patterson’s shoes. “People just kind of want to leave that legacy where it is.” Singer-songwriter Mary Martin has never forgotten the confidence Patterson inspired in her when she was a budding musician – and how he was the first person to ever put a tip in her jar. “It always felt like there was a friend there when you knew no one else in the crowd,” she recalls. In the few short years since her initial public appearance, Martin has released several singles and the EP, “No Man’s Land.” “If it wasn’t for Eric, I wouldn’t be doing half the stuff I’m doing in the community,” says Jerry Schutjer, who started the Erockathon fundraiser to support Patterson when he became sick. Though Patterson is gone, the comradery remains. “I will always be very thankful that he pulled everyone in his community together to become friends,” says Melody Kiser of the band HeyDreamer. “He wanted everybody to feel included.” NCM

TOP The Kris Youmans Band performs with, from left, Warren Slim Hall on steel guitar, Jerry Lee on drums, David Puett on lead guitar, Youmans on acoustic guitar, and Patrick Thompson on bass.

ABOVE The Final Answer Band performs at the Senoia Main Street Music Festival.

Where can I hear

Photo courtesy of Lisa Roiret

Local Artists?

NEWNAN Pickin’ on the Square

The Cellar

Abide Brewing Company

A lively rotation of artists – more than 150 to date – accommodate every taste in music: western, jazz, Christian, folk, classical and more. Visit to see who’s playing 7-10 p.m. on Wednesdays, 8-11 p.m. on Fridays, and 2-5 p.m. and 8-11 p.m. on Saturdays. Catch touring performers like Camille Rae, Jeanine Duke and Mark Miller, and there’s never a cover charge.

happens the first Saturday of each month at the Courthouse Square in downtown Newnan with local musicians playing acoustic music of various genres.

130 Werz Industrial Blvd., Newnan Visit 5-9 p.m. on Fridays or 3-7 p.m. on Saturdays to hear local musicians play rock and country music in a fun outdoor setting.

The Alamo

19 W. Courthouse Square, Newnan Formerly a movie theatre, The Alamo features one of the largest private stages in the area. It accommodates both solo musicians and rock bands, such as Lerogie and Blood on the Harp, every Friday and Saturday from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Enjoy the entertainment, gourmet pizza, beer selection and the occasional celebrity sighting.

Big Joe’s Bar & Grill

1329 Bullsboro Drive, Newnan Check out the music lineup on Facebook to find out which local country, rock or bluegrass musician is playing at the indoor-outdoor upscale bistro on Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m.

Brickhouse Grille and Tavern

80 Newnan Station Drive, Newnan The indoor-outdoor sports bar offers live country and rock music Fridays and Saturdays from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

20 Jefferson St., Newnan

The Half Shell Oyster Bar & Hot Dog Shop 1690 Hwy. 34 E, Newnan

Hear beloved local musicians play a mix of country and classic rock hits on Thursday nights, 6-9 p.m. Check Facebook for upcoming lineups.

The Mad Mexican

2 E Courthouse Square, Newnan Solo guitarists of all genres play in a low-key restaurant environment Wednesdays and Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m.

Musician Kayla Hayward performs at Senoia's Alive After Five.

SENOIA Alive! After Five

Restaurateur Lisa Roiret worked with the Downtown Development Authority to create Senoia: Alive! After Five. Shoppers enjoy musicians stationed throughout the downtown landscape the evenings of the third Friday of each month.

Fuego Mar Mexican Grill & Seafood 18 Main St., Senoia

Bands play classic hits and jazz upstairs at the trendy new restaurant on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 10 p.m.

RPM Full Service Patio Pub & Grill

15 Jackson St., Newnan The gas station-turned-pub’s Wednesday open mic night has become a haven for local musicians who bring in big crowds. Signup begins at 7:30 p.m., and mic, amp and guitar are provided. Saturday evenings feature either professional acoustic musicians or karaoke, and Sunday afternoons present live blues music from 2 to 5:30 p.m.

Vinylite Record and Skate Shop

28 S Courthouse Square, Newnan After taking a hiatus during the pandemic, the record store hopes to soon revive its popular open mic nights. Aspiring and experienced musicians sign up in advance on a first come, first serve basis. NCM MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 37

Electric Vehicles:


Future is


Written and Photographed by NEIL MONROE


or more than 120 years, the automobile has provided the impetus for the constant evolution of transportation and society. And for nearly all that time, the gaspowered internal combustion engine has powered that change.

But today there is a sea change taking hold in automotive technology as electric vehicles (EVs) have begun to earn an increasing share of the road. Projections vary, but a consensus of studies show that by 2040, electricity-powered cars and trucks may account for as much as 40% of global vehicle sales. This growth is driven in part by rapid-fire improvements in battery capabilities. As costs have declined rapidly, technology continues to provide greater power and range.

All-electric trucks and SUVs to drive profits, growth While all-electric cars of the past decade have been mainly small, low-powered passenger cars, the future EV revolution will include not only small, 38 | WWW.NEWNANCOWETAMAGAZINE.COM

four-passenger cars but large SUVs, pickup trucks and vans as well. How about an all-electric, hard-working Ford F-150? Ford says it is coming by 2023, with a full hybrid, 430-horsepower model available now. The automaker also is now offering the Mustang Mach E, all-electric SUV. In fact, every global car manufacturer, including Tesla, which helped pioneer the market, soon will have multiple models of electric vehicles for sale. Chevrolet, BMW, Fiat, Kia, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar and Volkswagen all have EVs available now with plans in place to soon offer an increasing number of models and styles. General Motors plans an extensive all-electric car, truck, and SUV expansion with its Cadillac brand at the heart of its program. Cadillac is expected to become an all-electric brand for GM by 2025. And Cadillac will introduce the first all-electric Cadillac, the Lyriq, in 2022. There are also new companies on the verge of entering the market. Byton and Rivian, which are partially owned by Ford, will soon begin selling new, high-end EVs. With advancements in batteries and technology, manufacturers fully expect EVs to generate profits – and soon. In fact, the investment bank UBS, which believes Volkswagen will become the first mass

Newer electricity-powered vehicles stay on the road longer between charges thanks to continuous battery improvements.

MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 39

producer of EVs, predicts the German automaker will begin seeing profits from its EV lineup as early as 2022. Today, more than 20,000 plug-in electric vehicles ply Georgia’s roads, and that number does not include hybrid vehicles. Many of those vehicles are on the road as the result of a now-expired state tax credit that provided a $5,000 tax rebate with purchase of an all-electric vehicle. Locally, EV inventory is typically low in west Georgia as long commutes and an abiding love of trucks and SUVs continue to dampen local demand for EVs – for now. Local dealers say sales are often to northside Atlanta residents who find lower prices online from dealerships in our area.

Electricity is cheaper… even free

Most EV owners, as many as 95%, charge their cars at home. A Level 2 home charging system runs upwards of $1,000 including installation, though there are many options and cost levels. Electric vehicles recharge at different speeds, but the Level 2 charger will get the job done for nearly all cars in four to five hours. Of course, owners can simply plug their car into a home electrical outlet, but charging this way is exceptionally slow and may take up to 10 hours, depending on the car. It is hard to say exactly how charging an EV impacts a home power bill, but it is typically less than $10 per month in most cases. The true cost varies from utility to utility but is generally equivalent to about $1 per gallon of gas. Many power companies have a plan in place to provide How will we lower cost power if the car is make this work? charged in off-peak hours. Change is coming, and it Georgia Power has a plug-in creates a key challenge for electric vehicle rate that is less than half the cost of power stakeholders: How will we make during peak hours. Cowetathis work? Where will the power Fayette EMC offers a special come from, and how do we “First Year Free” package that increase charging capability to a gives EV purchasers a $28 traveling public? monthly credit that essentially Jimmy Adams is vice president covers the cost of additional of energy services for Cowetaoff-peak power. Fayette EMC, headquartered in “We’ve had sign-ups Palmetto and one of the largest throughout the year for the electric membership corporations program, and we’re prepared to meet the increasing (EMCs) in Georgia. He believes demand as it comes,” says that increasing the availability of Adams. “Electric vehicles are charging stations is essential to intertwined in our business. the growth of the electric vehicle It’s part of our commitment market. to conservation and renewable The number of charging Coweta-Fayette EMC employees showcase the electric energy, and we will work hard stations depends on the area cooperative's electric car, from left: Lead Customer Service to help that segment of the Representative Willie Freeman, Energy Services Coordinator you live, but there is not an market grow.” Shamika Lastie and Customer Service Representative Nicci abundance anywhere in west Mobile phone apps are the Millians. Georgia. In Coweta, Fayette best way to find charging stations. Level 2 chargers are and Troup counties alone, there located on major interstates throughout the country. For now, are probably fewer than 20, and some of those are for use only and into the near future, long trips in EVs will require advance by tenants or customers of the business where they are located. planning. Charging up at public power stations is free at most stops, although some charge up to $3 per hour. “Many people believe the EV market will really take off once car owners can find charging stations easily and charge their vehicles quickly, perhaps almost as fast as they can fill up with gas,” says Adams. “With current level-three chargers, drivers can recharge in 40 minutes or less, depending on the vehicle.” But faster charging systems are coming, and newer model cars will be equipped to utilize them, according to Adams. “We’re working throughout our service area to add stations, but at this point, the expense of the stations is a challenge,” he says. 40 | WWW.NEWNANCOWETAMAGAZINE.COM

Chattahoochee Region and The Ray As EVs command more road space, a high-tech project on an 18-mile stretch of Interstate 85 through Troup County is planned to help drive much of the technological advancement to provide impetus for that growth. Called The Ray, the roadway is a test bed for transportation technology, conservation, safety and efficiency. It is a project of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, named for the highly successful industrialist who founded Interface Inc. in LaGrange

Photo by Beth Neely

in 1973. Today, Interface remains the world’s largest manufacturer of modular carpet for commercial and residential applications, and Anderson is remembered as one of the world’s leading proponents of sustainability in business. Upon his death in 2011, much of Anderson’s fortune went to his foundation, which now is run by his children and grandchildren with a clear mission: “Through research and funding, the foundation aims to help create a better world for future generations.” Following Anderson’s death, his youngest daughter, Harriet Anderson Langford, looked for ways to honor her father’s legacy. In 2014, she succeeded in having a section of I-85, which runs through his native Troup County, named for him in honor of his work on sustainability. “We were honored to have the highway named the Ray C. Anderson Memorial Highway,” says Langford. “But then there was an epiphany: What is restorative about a highway? It’s the kind of question my father would have asked.” And at that moment, the creation of perhaps the most ecologically advanced section of highway in the world began. “We had put the name of my dad, who was the world’s greenest CEO, on a very dirty highway,” Langford recalls. “That was simply unacceptable to me.” With the financial support of the foundation and a willing partner in the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT), The Ray was born. “We’re very proud of our relationship with DOT and very much appreciate their willingness to work with us to utilize new technologies and create a living transportation test bed,” says Langford. The project reflects a threepronged approach, focusing on sustainability and safety. Key projects on The Ray include: • Georgia’s first solar-powered PV4EV (photovoltaic for electric vehicle) charging station, located at the Georgia Visitor Information Center, just inside the state line from Alabama. • A pilot project with Wattway for pavement that uses traditional solar cells, protected in a patented frame, that allows the road surface to generate clean energy under heavy vehicles. The test project covers 50 square meters of roadway. • A pilot project for Georgia Power to install one megawatt of solar generation in the right-of-way alongside The Ray. • Autonomous vehicle lane striping, in partnership with 3M “Connected Roads,” on 13 of The Ray’s 18 miles. This smart vehicle technology guides automated cars as they interpret their environment to make decisions regarding speed and direction to obstacle avoidance and emergency response. • Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) data ecosystem, with Panasonic and GDOT, that will enable Georgia’s first connected interstate roadway. • Projects to mitigate water runoff, improve and control vegetation growth along the highway, and add plants that can absorb pollution in the runoff. “We are constantly looking for new initiatives, ways to improve how we travel, how safely we travel, and how our travel impacts the environment,” Langford says. “There’s so much more to come, and technology is moving so rapidly. How about a wind turbine below a bridge to capture the energy from passing trucks? We’re looking at it.” Or how about solar-powered reflectors that transmit real-time traffic and weather data? The foundation is considering that, too. “We look for anything that will potentially save lives and improve the way we travel,” says Langford.

Harriet Anderson Langford explains how the WheelRight drive-thru tire safety monitoring system works to provide motorists with information about tire pressures and tread depths.

“We are constantly looking for new initiatives, ways to improve how we travel, how safely we travel, and how our travel impacts the environment.” – Harriet Anderson Langford

MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 41

is so

much more

Want an EV?

Here’s what to expect

Beth Warren says her electricity-powered Tesla handles like a pro and is a pleasure to drive.

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For nearly two decades, Beth Warren battled Atlanta traffic from Peachtree City around I-285 to the Galleria area, a difficult commute made easier by the reliability of her indefatigable 10-year-old Honda Accord. She knew that once she retired, she would want something different, something new – something really new. So, in April 2016, she went online, put down $1,000, and began waiting for a new Tesla 3. Warren finally got the email; her Tesla was ready. All she had to do was pay for it online and travel to Athens to pick it up. Tesla does not operate dealerships; instead, the company delivers cars to a pickup point, which in Warren’s case was Athens. Teslas are paid for online prior to delivery. This is a major point of contention for existing auto dealers who feel Tesla has a major cost advantage – and who also feel this is a disservice to customers who have few options for repairs. Nevertheless, Warren remains thrilled with her choice. “To be honest, I feel like an early adopter, that I’m on the cutting edge of what’s coming,” she says. “And I love the car. It handles well, drives well.” Plus, Tesla continuously provides updates to her car; one recent update increased the range it drives on a full charge by almost five percent. “Another one, my grandchildren love,” says Warren. “They added a whoopee cushion function for each seat. Clearly, someone had a bit too much time on their hands.” Her Tesla has had no mechanical issues, save for a balky glove box that wouldn’t stay closed, according to Warren, who says Tesla sent a technician to her home to fix the problem – and he rotated her tires for free. In the name of research, this writer convinced Warren to allow him to drive her Tesla. It was, in a word, awesome. The car is quick, responsive and eerily quiet. It has a futuristic look that’s incredible and is loaded with smart driving technology. Warren charges her car at night and has seen little change in her electric bill. Her longest trip? To Warner Robins with her husband John to visit their son. “We looked at it as an adventure,” she says. “We were concerned about recharging, but everything worked out fine.” NCM


Computer technology is so built into our lives that it’s part of the surround of every artist. STEVEN LEVY

American technology journalist

Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller,

you’re part of the road.


American writer, editor

I’ve always been a bit of a mix between art and technology. I used to paint a lot, but I’m not very good with my hands. It has always been a fusion between my computer gaming interests and being exposed to the rich data of society that we live in. AARON KOBLIN

American digital media artist

The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art. JOHN LASSETER

American animator and film director

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. ARTHUR C. CLARKE

English science fiction writer

After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in aesthetics, plasticity and form. The greatest scientists are

artists as well.


German-born theoretical physicist

Technology, like art, is a soaring exercise of the human imagination. DANIEL BELL

American sociologist, writer, editor

MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 43

ABOVE Models wearing Christina Yother designs also show off eco-friendly face coverings made from scrap fabric. The masks reduce fabric waste, and profits are donated to women's shelters. OPPOSITE PAGE Christina Yother's Spring 2021 Collection showcases free-flowing designs like this elegant ensemble.


Zen and the Art of Sustainable

Fashion Written by JENNIFER DZIEDZIC


ewnan native and fashion designer Christina Yother grew up seeing her grandmother create matching dresses that she and her dolls could wear. With that inspiration, at age 12, Yother taught herself how to use a hand-me-down sewing machine.

Photos Courtesy of Christina Yother

“I've always been interested in sewing and fashion and creating pretty much anything,” she says. Yother attended the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), in Atlanta, where she studied fashion design. She had dreamed of starting her own business and, after

MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 45


graduation, showed her first collection at Vancouver Fashion Week in 2018. The positive response there motivated her to focus on her brand. Yother began transitioning her hobby into an official fashion line while working for a children’s clothing company in Atlanta and teaching virtual fashion design software classes at SCAD. She started by utilizing the popular crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, a website where budding entrepreneurs with creative ideas can launch their business or product through pre-orders. Sustainability is a large part of her brand, according to Yother. She wants to avoid overproduction, which she considers a huge contributor to waste in the fashion industry. When she hit her preorder goal on Kickstarter, she placed her first production order with the factory she had worked with in New Orleans. “All of my fabrics are sustainable or eco-friendly,” Yother says. Christina Yother teaches classes on using fashion design software. Her designs incorporate MicroModal, a soft fabric made from beechwood pulp. She also uses recycled jersey, silk and Cupro, a product created with leftover fibers from the cotton production process. She recycles her excess fabric into accessories with profits from accessory sales donated to the Atlanta Mission's women's shelter, My Sister's House, to aid women and children faced with homelessness. Yother’s spring items are inspired by the yoga quote, "Yoga is a dance between control and surrender," and are available for preorder on her website Yother says she plans to share her designs in pop-up shops at local stores later this year.

When Art Meets Technology Fashion design as an art form depends on technology, and Yother has been educating students and professors alike in virtual classes on fashion design software at SCAD. Virtual fashion design software is a new and innovative technology that numerous brands are adopting due to the sustainability benefits, allowing companies to create a sample or design on the computer in 3D. This technological advance in fashion design significantly reduces the waste previously produced during development. “Huge brands and small designers like me are starting to use it,” says Yother. “It’s pretty new, so I’m teaching that at SCAD, and I use it in my designs and also for this collection.” She also can create virtual fittings in varying sizes on models in the design software, a perk for women who want to see how items will look on their form more accurately. This has become more of a necessity since online shopping habits have increased, especially since COVID-19 hit a year ago.

Meet Mollie Burch Another artist whose work relies heavily on technology is Newnan native Mollie Burch, owner of Crosby, an Atlantabased women’s clothing line that she founded in 2015 with her business partner, Taylor

Mollie Burch founded her clothing line in 2015.


Photos Courtesy Mollie Burch

Mollie Burch shares Fall 2020 designs from her Crosby collection.

Virtual fashion design software is a new and innovative technology that numerous brands are adopting due to the sustainability benefits, allowing companies to create a sample or design on the computer in 3D.

COWETA FEATURE Montes de Oca. “Pretty much all of the design happens in the computer,” says Burch. “I’ll usually start my print design by hand just because I think that there is something about an actual touch of a hand-done work, but it always ends up going into the computer and that’s how I tweak and play with colors and finalize designs. I also have to put every print into repeat, which happens in the computer, and then all of the body designs happen in Illustrator, so we use a lot of Adobe programs.” Working via computer with their manufacturing plant helps Burch and staff communicate quickly with the women-owned production facility in China that they have been working with since founding CROSBY. This saves money and resources as they work on samples digitally, instead of physically, thus eliminating waste from the production phase of clothing design, according to Burch. “Another big part of our brand is our social mission,” she says. “From the start, we have partnered with an organization based in Atlanta called Wellspring Living.” Wellspring Living is an Atlantabased nonprofit that provides at-risk and domestic sex trafficking victims with residential and community-based programs that aid in their recovery. Twice a year, Burch designs a print inspired by a Wellspring Living client, and proceeds from sales of those pieces are donated to Wellspring. Fashion and social media sites like Instagram go hand-in-hand to showcase work and win new customers and fans. “I think social media is a very important part of any business right now, especially with COVID and everything going digital, so we’re usually posting there every day,” Burch says. Appreciative of the support she receives from her hometown of Newnan, Burch promises: “Lots of fun, new, happy things will be coming out soon. Essentially in 2021, we’ll be launching a new collection of goods each month from January to May, so there will be lots of new stuff.” NCM Mollie Burch's Crosby fashions include breezy casual wear released in her Fall 2020 Collection. 48 | WWW.NEWNANCOWETAMAGAZINE.COM

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Changed Trevor Conkey, Coweta’s COVID-19 Patient No. 1 Written by MARTY M. HOHMANN Photos courtesy of THE NEWNAN TIMES-HERALD Grantville's Trevor Conkey beat COVID-19 last spring.


o you trust me?” he asked. Again, “Do you trust me?” A third and final time, God said, “Do you trust me? I’m going to bring you through.”

Grantville resident Trevor Conkey knew the answer something was desperately wrong. A phone call from and called his wife, Tracey, from his ICU bed at the Centers for Disease Control confirmed the worst. Piedmont Newnan Hospital. He told her he was going He had COVID-19. forward with being put into an induced coma and He was hospitalized for 35 days, from March 9 to allowing a ventilator to do his breathing for him. His April 15. final words to her during that phone call last March When Trevor awoke from his medically induced were, “I love you, and I will see you again.” coma, his doctors gave him some interesting news: Seventeen days later, Conkey, Coweta County’s first “When they had finished all the testing and after close COVID-19 case, awoke to a world forever changed by consultation with the CDC, the doctors told me I a virus that originated in Wuhan, China. probably had the original strain of the virus.” Conkey’s dilemma probably began in his Uber, Coweta’s No. 1 COVID-19 patient, Trevor became which he routinely used to pick up and deliver people No. 236 in the nation to be treated with Remdesivir. to the airport in Atlanta. After he began to experience Due to the virulent nature of the original COVID symptoms of what he believed to be bronchitis, he strain, he says his body is teeming with antibodies, was treated and released from the hospital. When his even a year later. symptoms took a dramatic turn for the worse, he knew While his treatment was difficult and often punishing, 50 | WWW.NEWNANCOWETAMAGAZINE.COM

COWETA FEATURE his wife was going through a fire of her own, which she meticulously documented in a journal for her husband to read – if he made it through. “He needed to know that when they took him out of here, I hit my knees, begging God to bring him back to me,” she says. “I needed him to know the loneliness I felt and, in the end, how grateful I was when he came home.” Both Trevor and Tracey, who never got the virus, have high praise for the medical team at Piedmont Newnan. “Those doctors and nurses were the best,” says Trevor. “They would not give up.” As Trevor slept, the community rallied around him, his family and the medical professionals at Piedmont Newnan. A prayer vigil was held in the parking lot of the hospital, and one of the nurses made sure Covid Patient No. 1’s room could be easily identified by a large cross that could be seen from below. “The prayer vigil was fantastic, but I wasn’t awake to see it,” says Trevor. But Tracey did, and she says the way the community, their neighbors and their church supported them throughout Trevor’s hospitalization and since has been an ongoing encouragement. Trevor celebrated his 54th birthday while hospitalized, just a few days after waking up. “The medical staff made a huge birthday card and put a birthday tiara on me with little fuzzy balls on top that was supposed to be COVID,” he recalls with a laugh. “And they brought me a big chocolate cake and a six-pack of Pepsi, which got us in trouble with my doctors because my blood sugar was high. But I loved it.” Trevor describes his medical team as compassionate and caring. They played his favorite praise and worship music, which he says kept him going. They called his wife and put the phone up to his ear so he could hear her voice. And they told him over and over to fight. And he did. “I was just blown away by what happened while I was asleep,” he says of awakening from the two-and-a-half week coma. The nation had put up a “Closed” sign. People were hunkering down and trying to discern how to ride out the storm. And a battered Trevor Conkey began his long road to recovery. Thirty-five pounds lighter and unable to walk on his own due to muscle atrophy were just two of the changes that had taken place. Prior to COVID-19, Trevor considered himself a relatively healthy man. “Everything he’s experiencing now, he didn’t have before,” says Tracey, adding that the unpredictability of the virus is one of its hallmarks. He has blinding headaches, which he describes as a moving fire in his head, and impaired vision. His lungs are scarred and operate at a reduced capacity, similar to COPD. He now has diabetes, which is severe and requires pills and insulin shots. Add to that fibromyalgia pain, tremors in his hands, and blood clots. “And the fatigue is crazy,” says Trevor. “They don’t know why I’m having the symptoms I’m having.” Trevor, however, doesn’t complain because he knows what’s important. “Our faith has carried us through,” says Tracey. One time the pastor of a church in Newnan, Trevor admits that he and his wife experienced a crisis of faith in years past. But in the months before COVID-19, the Conkeys began attending Change Church in Grantville. They agree that God was looking out for them and that they need him more than ever. In return, they have shared their COVID-19 experience with people from all over the country, giving them an opportunity to minister through their testimony, according to Trevor. Trevor says he plans to return to the ministry and though his life is forever changed, one truth remains: God is ever-present. “I have two scriptures that really apply to everything we are going through: Psalm 91 and Joshua 1:9, which says, ‘Have I not commanded you, fear not,’” says Trevor. “It’s become my life verse.” NCM

TOP Trevor Conkey undergoes rehab after spending 17 days in an induced coma during treatment for COVID-19. ABOVE While fatigue and other lingering symptoms of COVID-19 remain, Trevor Conkey is thankful for life after battling the virus last spring. MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 51


Tracking Easter in Israel Written and Photographed by JACKIE KENNEDY


aster is observed throughout the world in recognition of the day Christ rose from the dead. A pilgrimage to Israel provides Christians opportunity to walk the path Jesus took to Calvary and to ponder his resurrection at his burial tomb.

While COVID-19 has slowed travel for the past year, companies experienced in excursions to Israel are prepared to fly as soon as the pandemic wanes. In 2018, I visited Israel with a group assembled by The Georgia Bulletin, the newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta. Leading our excursion was Unitours, a tour company that’s led Catholic pilgrimages to Israel since 1957. But you don’t have to be Catholic to be included; in our group of 27, I was one of five protestant pilgrims. Visit for information. Closer to home, Biblical Resources, in LaGrange, takes study tours to Israel each year with renowned biblical archaeologist James Fleming and Hannaniah Pinto leading the way. With a focus on archaeology, geography, history and theology, small groups traveling with Biblical Resources experience Bible stories coming to life in the land where they originated. Visit for information.



LEFT The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem, encompasses the sites where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

BELOW LEFT At the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked his disciples to watch out for him as he prayed, but they fell asleep. Today, ancient olive trees fill the gardens, and stones spell out "Peace." BELOW A rock carving at the site depicts the Savior agonizing over his fate.

MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 53

COWETA ABROAD The Church of the Holy Sepulchre serves as a magnet for Christian pilgrims throughout the world and across centuries. The holy site attracts thousands daily. Originally a set of abandoned stone quarries, the nondescript Golgotha became the cornerstone of Christianity after Christ's resurrection there.

In Jerusalem, visitors are allowed to mingle in the lower room while the Upper Room is off-limits to tourists in order to prevent further deterioration. Beyond this barred window is said to be the spot where Jesus shared his last supper – and first communion – with the disciples.

We rent a wooden cross and take turns carrying it along the Via Dolorosa, through Old Jerusalem to Mount Calvary. At each Station of the Cross, the priest leading our group stops to read scripture and pray as we contemplate the Passion of Christ. The ancient path is long, narrow, winding and crowded. Inside, we view the Rock of Calvary under glass on either side of an altar under which is the spot believed to be where the cross was raised. One by one, pilgrims kneel and bend under the altar to touch the ground where Jesus gave his life for us. 54 | WWW.NEWNANCOWETAMAGAZINE.COM


No matter the season, the highpoint of a visit to Israel for Christians is the opportunity to enter the rock-cut tomb where Jesus was buried. A small but elaborately adorned building covers the tomb, which serves as the centerpiece of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 55


Throughout Jerusalem, art devoted to Christ’s life, death and resurrection is evident in paintings, statuary and architecture, such as this depiction of Christ’s preparation for burial just beyond the Stone of Anointing.

At the Stone of Anointing, pilgrims touch and rub oils into the rock slab said to be where Joseph of Arimathea prepared Christ’s body for burial.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12 56 | WWW.NEWNANCOWETAMAGAZINE.COM

No photography is allowed inside the tomb, and only three may enter at a time. Inside the small tomb where Jesus was laid to rest, we kneel, pray and touch the new stone that protects the ancient stone bed just below. Not only is this the site where Christ’s body was placed; it is where he took his first breath of new life when resurrected. It is what happened at this spot that makes me believe new life awaits me, too.

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Home, Smart Home Written by NEIL MONROE • Photographed by SARA MOORE

Rayleen Monroe, of Sharpsburg, shows how she uses an app on her phone from anywhere to handle all of her Smart home security needs, including checking on her front door video doorbell or the home surveillance camera.

Inside, the Google Home assistant is voice activated.

A wall-mounted control panel enables Smart home technology at the tap of a screen.

The video doorbell provides surveillance.

Outside cameras provide video footage of would-be intruders.

Trivia question: When was the first remote control invented? Answer: 1898, by Nikola Tesla, and he was able to control a boat. Tesla’s invention was the first step in the evolution of technology that today allows us to automatically control nearly every aspect of our lives. From home security to entertainment, from cooking to cleaning, incredible home automation systems are available and are relatively low in cost while being highly effective in helping make our lives better. I speak from experience. Two years ago, I wrote an article for this magazine about the surging interest in home automation. Research on that story helped prompt my wife and me to begin a mission of upgrading technology in our 20-year-old home in Sharpsburg. Our first goal was to enhance our security system, utilizing doorbell and exterior cameras and improved lighting controls to make our home more secure. After working out a few bugs, MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 59


“After working out a few bugs, that system works well today and allows us to monitor our house from almost every angle, check on our dogs and monitor deliveries.” — Neil Monroe that system works well today and allows us to monitor our house from almost every angle, check on our dogs and monitor deliveries. Then came appliance replacements. Stoves, dishwashers and refrigerators all offer incredible technologies that can link to a home smart hub and create incredible levels of control and information. For example, smart appliances can alert you to equipment malfunction, regulate energy usage, and allow you to control the appliance from anywhere. Jimmy Adams, vice president of energy services for Coweta-Fayette EMC and Relyco, its subsidiary security company, says the financial impact of smart home technology can be substantial. “We offer rates for electric service that can lower energy bills substantially, based on the time of usage,” he says, noting that smart home technologies can help improve a homeowner’s ability to take advantage of these rates. “Running a dishwasher during off-peak times, adjusting a thermostat automatically, or turning lights off can offer real savings. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it can offer substantial savings.”

Buy what you need, buy what you’ll use

In the past two years, Neil and Rayleen Monroe have converted several home functions to Smart home technologies.

The depth of home automation availability sounds futuristic, but these technologies are available, reliable and in high demand. However, they come with a caveat: Do not buy more than you need or will use. For example, it’s possible to buy a refrigerator that allows you to watch TV on it. Do you need to watch TV on your refrigerator? If you do, or if you just want to be able to, great. But my wife and I quickly realized one key thing as we worked to upgrade our home: Automation can be costly.


Did we have the desire – or ability – to use items like the TV/refrigerator effectively? We decided we did not, and ultimately we replaced our refrigerator, stove and dishwasher with old-school appliances that cook, clean and wash very effectively in a low-tech sort of way. Our dishwasher does have Bluetooth capability, but we’re still trying to figure out why. While we felt our experience in upgrading our 20-yearold home was thorough, it does not reflect the trends in new home construction. Home automation remains a key selling point, and nearly all builders offer a system linked to either Google Voice or Amazon Alexa. These built-in systems provide an expandable technology base that is essential to many new homebuyers.

Keys to home automation success Adams, whose companies are integrally involved in home automation, offers one important tip for successfully upgrading your systems. “The strength of your home Wi-Fi is critical,” he says.

“If you have an outside camera that is connected to your system, it has to have a strong Wi-Fi signal to be effective. Going forward, the implementation of 5G cellular systems will be a significant key and will allow our appliances to more effectively talk to each other and provide us with information.” From a homeowner’s perspective, here is a final key: Take the time to learn your system. We found out quickly on our journey that information and understanding of what we have and what is available is essential in making automation work. If you install new equipment, or home hubs, expect that you will have problems and questions. And before you call the service tech out for a sometimes costly visit, give yourself time to try to resolve the problem. Maybe check for a YouTube tutorial. That’s just a hint from a guy who’s called for service help a few times too often, only to learn the answer was a simple one. NCM

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Written and Photographed by ALI BENSON


ne day a few years ago, I woke up and realized I didn’t feel good. I actually couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt good in the greater sense of the word: healthy, joyful, full of energy. And I couldn’t remember the last time I had woken up and not been in pain. I had been using my financial situation as a justification for not taking better care of myself, when in reality, I was prioritizing the wrong things. I hadn’t stopped to notice how much real food I was actually eating and, unfortunately, it wasn’t a whole bunch. I had been trading nutrition for convenience for almost a decade because I traveled for a living and didn’t always have access to a full kitchen. I knew that needed to change. Eventually, I decided to focus on making more nutritious meals, but I still felt awful. I ended up at an urgent care facility with pain in my abdomen. I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and told to eat fewer processed foods. Of course, I already knew that it couldn’t be that simple; I had made that change months ago and still felt sore, tired, irritable and depressed. I tried the elimination diet, which works as a test to determine if you have sensitivity to certain foods by eliminating them for a certain period of time. After experimenting for months, I finally discovered that I am extremely sensitive to gluten, alcohol and sorbitol, a chemical found in fresh corn, and I'm moderately sensitive to peanuts, pork and most dairy products. After reading that list, it may seem like I’ve had to give up a great deal and must be miserable. But I must say this experience has been all positive. Not only has it renewed my love for cooking and baking; it has changed my relationship with food as I prepare new recipes that promote my personal wellbeing. 62 | WWW.NEWNANCOWETAMAGAZINE.COM

Blueberry Walnut Cookies 1 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ¾ 1

cup gluten-free flour tablespoon coconut flour teaspoon baking powder teaspoon salt cup sugar cup light brown sugar cup coconut oil, melted and cooled large egg teaspoon lemon extract teaspoon vanilla extract cup dried blueberries cup walnuts, chopped

Sift together flour, coconut flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. Whisk together sugars and coconut oil. Add egg and mix. Add extracts and mix. Slowly mix in dry ingredients until well-blended. Stir in oats, blueberries and walnuts. Using a tablespoon or small ice cream scoop, portion out cookies on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.


Apricot Coconut Sweet Treats Makes 24 cookies.

Blueberry Walnut Cookies

2 3 ¼ ¼ ⅛ 1 ⅔ 1

tablespoons almond butter tablespoons coconut oil cup sugar cup honey teaspoon salt cup gluten-free oats cup dried apricots cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened

Heat almond butter, coconut oil, sugar and honey over medium heat until sugar has melted. Add salt and oats, heating for one minute and stirring until oats are soft. Stir in apricots and remove from heat. Form into balls either by hand or with tablespoon. Roll in shredded coconut and place on foil or parchment to set. Store in the refrigerator.

Strawberry Fields These white chocolate-covered strawberries with citrus sugar are delectable. ½ 1 2 1 1

teaspoon lemon zest teaspoon lime zest tablespoons sugar 10-ounce bag of white chocolate melting wafers pint fresh strawberries

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Mix lemon and lime zest and sugar with fingertips in a small bowl; set aside. Follow the package instructions for melting white chocolate melting wafers. Dip strawberries in chocolate by holding the leaves or use a toothpick. Then dip the end of the strawberries in the citrus sugar before the chocolate sets. Place on foil to set completely.


Gluten-free Cucumber Sandwiches, Two Ways 2 6 1

large cucumbers, sliced ounces garlic and herb goat cheese Cherry tomatoes, cut in half 10-ounce container of prepackaged hummus Roasted red bell pepper, chopped

Place sliced cucumbers on serving trays or plates. Roll goat cheese into bite sized balls and place them on half the cucumber slices. Take cherry tomato halves and put them on top of the goat cheese, pressing down gently. Fill a piping bag and tip with hummus and pipe onto the remaining cucumbers. If you don’t have a piping bag, use a Ziplock bag with the corner snipped off or spread the hummus with a knife. Place roasted red bell pepper pieces on remaining slices.

Pickled-Deviled Eggs 3 1 ½ ½ 12

15-ounce cans whole or sliced beets cup sugar cup water cup cider vinegar hard boiled eggs, peeled

Heat juice from 3 cans of beets. Add beets from one can to juice. Add sugar, water and cider vinegar. Heat until simmering. Pour over peeled hard boiled eggs in a glass container. Refrigerate for 1 week. Slice eggs in half and remove the yolk. With electric mixer, combine egg yolks with: ½ 1 2

cup mayonnaise tablespoon sugar teaspoons mustard Fresh dill Salt and pepper, to taste

Pipe yolk mixture into egg halves and enjoy. NCM


Since 1872, GBCH&FM has served children and families throughout Georgia to Since 1872, GBCH&FM has served children and families throughout Georgia to Since 1872, GBCH&FM hasgive served children families Georgia provide a safe haven and them a place and to call home.throughout Our residents oftentocome provide a safe haven and give them a place to call home. Our residents often come provide a safe haven and give a place home. Our residents come to us from places of abuse andthem neglect, but to wecall have the opportunity to often care for to us from places of abuse and neglect, but we have the opportunity to care for to us from places of abuse andvalued neglect, but we have the opportunity to care for them and show them they are and loved. them and show them they are valued and loved. them and show them they are valued and loved. As a member of our team, you can make a life-changing difference for so many in As a member of our team, you can make a life-changing difference for so many in As member of our team, you can a life-changing difference fortoso many in ouracare. We are always looking formake passionate individuals who want directly our care. We are always looking for passionate individuals who want to directly our care. are always lookingof for passionate individuals who want to directly serve our We residents in a variety positions. serve our residents in a variety of positions. serve our residents in a variety of positions. Qualifications Responsibilities Benefits (for full time) Qualifications Responsibilities Benefits (for full time) Qualifications Responsibilities Benefits (for full time) Supervise residents Favorable Health and Dental Supervise residents Favorable Health and Dental Supervise residents Favorable Health and Dental and manage behaviors background results Insurance and manage behaviors background results Insurance and manage behaviors background results Insurance Paid leave accrual through service and and reference checks Paid leave accrual through service and and reference checks Paid leave accrual plan through service and and reference checks Associate's Degree or 403(b) retirement safety plans Associate's Degree or 403(b) retirement plan safety plans Associate's Degree or 403(b) retirement plan safety plans Documentation Scholarship program higher in a Behavioral Documentation Scholarship program higher in a Behavioral Documentation Scholarship program higher in Services a Behavioral Staff development and And many more! or Social Staff development and And many more! or Social Services Staff development and And many more! or Social training field, or 2Services years of training field, or 2 years of training field, or 2 years experience (paidofor experience (paid or experience volunteer) (paid or volunteer) volunteer) To learn more about our employment opportunities, contact us or apply today! To To learn learn more more about about our our employment employment opportunities, opportunities, contact contact us us or or apply apply today! today!


Go Play Keep Newnan Beautiful Pollinator Garden and Outdoor Classroom

The garden's Sensory Path welcomes visitors to explore walking with bare feet on various materials including river rock, gravel, grass, Legos, tile and more.


Photographs Courtesy of Keep Newnan Beautiful/City of Newnan


lay in the dirt. Maybe touch a worm. Feel and hear the buzz of a bumblebee’s fast-beating wings. Make music with common household items. Observe a feathered friend up close. Behold a butterfly’s kaleidoscope of color. Peer about, waiting for a flying fairy to appear. There’s the magic of a Disney flick, only this is much, much better: There’s sun on your face, wind in your hair and grass under your feet. Who wouldn’t want to be in this classroom? This is the Keep Newnan Beautiful Pollinator Garden and Outdoor Classroom known as KNB Space, a very green result of the public-private partnership between the City of Newnan’s Keep Newnan Beautiful (KNB) and Niagara Cares, the charitable arm of local company Niagara Bottling. The half-acre space at 14 Carmichael Street is a unique play place designed to ignite the imaginations of young children and help spark an early interest in their environment. Page Beckwith, KNB director, secured the grant from Niagara Cares that allowed 66 | WWW.NEWNANCOWETAMAGAZINE.COM


"In this space, they find things to do in the environment so they can enjoy the outdoors." — Page Beckwith KNB to create the outdoor imagination station for local children. Other supporters include Buck’s Tires, Crain Oil and Newnan Utilities. In keeping with the reuse-repurpose-recycle triad, the outdoor classroom features as many recycled and natural materials as possible. Located behind the University of West Georgia’s Newnan campus, this once-vacant lot has been transformed. Beckwith is a former teacher and mother of three who considers this KNB space her fourth baby. What started in 2017 as a pollinator garden blossomed in 2019 to become an outdoor classroom. Geared toward children ages 10 and younger, the spot is designed to allow children creativity in their play. “In this space, they find things to do in the environment so they can enjoy the outdoors,” says Beckwith. A Sensory Path invites bare feet to safely explore walking on materials including rope, river rock, gravel, slate, grass, Legos, tile and rubber pads. Beckwith calls the path a “work in progress” as it will evolve and change when materials, subject to weather and wear, require replacement.

Other features include a greenhouse constructed of recycled plastic bottles, a pallet wall, chalkboard, a magnet wall, maze and an activity table with large-scale wooden versions of tic-tac-toe, Jenga, sorting blocks and cedar logs. A panel of black PVC pipes makes a Lite-Brite type board where kids can slide in foam pool noodles to make patterns. Hands-on play is the name of the game here. Even during the pandemic, small groups and families frequented the delightful destination. “People were there daily,” says Beckwith. “Some would use gloves or wipes, but other than when the City shut down, the space was used.” Though designed for kids, evidence of visits by college students can be seen in “Go Wolves” scrawled on the chalkboard there. Pre-Coronavirus, students visited as groups. Beckwith says the last large group was from Elm Street Elementary’s Environmental Club. “We had 50 kids there that day,” she recalls. “They planted plants and helped paint the back of the pallet wall.” Seniors from Newnan High’s Ambassador Club helped complete the job with pretty, finishing touches. MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 67


Available from sunup to sundown daily, the KNB space is not a playground as typically defined, according to Beckwith; rather, it’s a hands-on exploratory experience for children. It’s also a litter-free, smoke-free zone, not surprising for a greenspace. From butterfly bushes and coneflower to red hot poker and turtlehead, the names of plants found at the pollinator garden are as whimsical as playtime there. The assortment varies with the seasons but all are perennials, so they come back each year, no replanting required. A visit during the fall or winter won’t look the same as spring or summer. When at its full-bloom glory, you’ll experience the sights and smells of lantana, jasmine, rosemary and more. The flora encourages winged visitors including bumblebees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Haven and home to crawling and flying things, this green space is alive with critters of all kinds, including squirrels, red-headed woodpeckers, finches and more. For a couple of years, Brandon and Rachel Hand of Newnan have been regular visitors with their twin daughters Bella and Presley. “We call it ‘Recycle Park,’” says Rachel. “The girls love it. We could stay out there forever.” The girls’ favorite activities include the Newnan Rocks leave one/take one painted rock exchange, the Lite Brite-style board, and dropping balls into twisty tubes. The KNB Pollinator Garden and Outdoor Classroom welcomes volunteers to help maintain plants and assist with weeding the garden space. Future plans at the space include adding a merry-go-round, according to Beckwith. A step-up deck shaped like a ladybug or butterfly remains on the 2021 wish list as does adding a picnic table. There’s no word yet on a future water feature, but when your community partner is a bottled water company, ideas flow like H2O. NCM

Old CD cases find new life as whimsically painted décor in a repurpose project at Keep Newnan Beautiful's pollinator garden and outdoor classroom.

A bamboo teepee is presently bare but a new Jasmine plant will soon provide natural cover giving it a “willow hut” effect.

Built in March 2020 by Niagara Cares, the community outreach arm of Newnan’s Niagara Bottling Company, this bottle house offers children another hands-on play/learn option. It's hard to get greener than a greenhouse made from recycled plastic bottles!

Dropping balls down colorful twisty tubes is a favorite for kids at the KNB play space.




“There’s a lot of violence going on, and as law enforcement officers, we do what we can. Instead of kids seeing us arresting people, we take the initiative and come to the kids first and show them we are here to help. That’s what we love to do.” — Sgt. Edward Lee. BELOW Students prepare to perform at a Guitars Not Guns gathering.


Not Guns Written by JEFFREY WARD Photographs Courtesy of Guitars Not Guns


aybe you’ve heard the old maxim, “Kids should never play with guns.”

The Newnan Police Department strongly agrees, but they offer a bonafide alternative: Play guitars instead. Their Guitars Not Guns program is the brainchild of Ray and Louise Nelson, who founded the nonprofit in the San Francisco Bay Area 18 years ago. The program focuses on teaching at-risk kids the basics of playing guitar. With vast experience as foster parents, the Nelsons wished for an alternative to the violence, drugs and dysfunctional environment many foster and at-risk children are exposed


“The Guitars Not Guns program helps soothe the minds of kids, and that is just one of the reasons why we have this program. They come in and see law enforcement on a positive level, and we let them know that violence does not solve problems.” — Sgt. Edward Lee

Newnan Police Sgt. Edward Lee


On the front row, Police Chief Buster Meadows, left, recently recognized Guitars Not Guns Founders Ray and Louise Nelson with Appreciation Awards as program volunteers look on, from left, back: Mike Twomey, Lisa Sewell, Chris Johnson and Danny Sewell.

to on a daily basis. Their goal with Guitars Not Guns is to provide these kids with security, empowerment, creativity and mentorship – learned abilities that many foster and at-risk children don’t acquire, according to the couple. The Guitars Not Guns’ mission statement reads: “Music has the power to heal. We instill a love and appreciation of music that children can carry with them for the rest of their lives.” After the Nelson’s relocated to Peachtree City, their program caught the attention of the Newnan Police Department; in particular, it grabbed the attention of Sgt. Edward Lee, a community resource officer who has spearheaded the program locally since 2015. Lee joined the Newnan Police Department in 2007 and says kicking off the Guitars Not Guns program was a challenge: They needed interested kids. They needed guitars. They needed guitar instructors. They needed funding. Lee and fellow community resource officer Cpl. Adam Griffith contacted the local housing authority and recruited students for the first guitar class in 2015. Forty students signed up, but since they could only take half that many, the others were assigned to a waiting list, according to Lee. Guitar instructors were recruited, including a couple who work at the police department, notably Lt. Denver Atwood and Mike Twomey who have been with the program since its inception. In all, about ten instructors have helped teach guitar to the kids. Guitars Not Guns classes run eight weeks with a weekly one-hour session. The program targets foster kids and at-risk youth ages 8 to 18 with ideally no more than 10 students per class with three adult instructors. While learning how to change from one chord to another, guitar students learn perseverance and discipline while building self-esteem, according to Lee. Students who successfully complete the basic program may keep their guitars and enroll for advanced classes. The program takes a minimum of $1,000 to conduct a successful class

Gathered with their guitar students, Guitars Not Guns volunteers are from left, front: Lt. Denver Atwood, Cpl. Adam Griffith, Sgt. Edward Lee and Deputy Chief Mark Cooper. Back: Brian Griffith, Brent Ritter, founders Louise and Ray Nelson and Ellis Lowery.

for 10 students, according to Lee, who says volunteers and donations make it possible. Funding is raised through the department’s golf tournament and car show, and various organizations contribute through Newnan Community Resource Inc., a nonprofit that helps fund Newnan Police Department’s outreach programs. As far as he knows, says Lee, the local Guitars Not Guns program is the first attempted by a municipal police department in the United States. “The Guitars Not Guns program helps soothe the minds of kids, and that is just one of the reasons why we have this program,” says Lee. “They come in and see law enforcement on a positive level, and we let them know that violence does not solve problems.” According to the Nelsons, foster and at-risk kids often suffer from behavioral difficulties due to chaotic or nonexistent home environments. So, why music? Studying, playing and listening to music causes the brain to release endorphins, which produce a pleasant and calming effect on individuals, according to the program’s founders. In the Guitars Not Guns learning environment, students learn how to concentrate, become disciplined, work as a team, enjoy musical creation and realize accomplishments. Due to restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Guitars Not Guns has been suspended since March 2020, but owing to its popularity, it will be back as soon as it’s deemed safe to do so, according to Lee. He considers Guitars Not Guns to be the police department’s most successful and popular program for boys and girls. “This program emphasizes kids,” he says. “There’s a lot

of violence going on, and as law enforcement officers we do what we can. Instead of kids seeing us arresting people, we take the initiative and come to the kids first and show them we are here to help. That’s what we love to do.” NCM

The Coweta Cities & County EFCU would like to thank Captain Travis Hall, his fellow City & County Firefighters, all our First Responders, 911 Operators, and especially our Healthcare Workers as they work tirelessly to serve and protect the residents of Newnan and Coweta County. We would also like to thank Capt. Hall for volunteering to serve on the Board of Directors since 2015. It’s volunteers like Travis dedicated to our community that make the difference at Coweta Cities & County Employees Federal Credit Union.

Membership may be easier than you think! 43 Jefferson Parkway • P.O. Box 71063 • Newnan, GA 30271-1063





MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 71


Visiting Art

Local Libraries Double as Art Destinations Written by FRANCIS KIDD


rt, in all its forms, has been a critical part of our culture and society since the first drama was produced in Greece in the early sixth century. From visual art to music, dance, creative writing, dramatic and comedic theater, art has enriched our lives, inspired us and given us great pleasure. The pleasure felt from experiencing art, as well as creating it, has been shown to have a positive impact on an individual’s health. Art can lower anxiety and stress and improve an individual’s sense of connectedness. Though art itself has been a constant in culture, how we experience art has changed through the years. From the early dramatic theater to museums and other indoor venues, we now can see great art online and take virtual tours of great art museums. But not all art is found in museums or virtual tours. Visual art is now often found in libraries and other public institutions. In fact, reading and art have many things in common: they can reduce anxiety, transport the viewer or reader to other places, activate the imagination and educate. Anyone who frequented the Coweta County Library System, the Carnegie Library or the Nixon Centre for the Arts before last March has seen different types of art under the same roof. For those who might wonder what reading has to do with art, Coweta County Director of Libraries Jimmy Bass explains: “We like providing art at our libraries because it offers additional stimulus for the brain. It is the same reason we offer music programs.” 72 | WWW.NEWNANCOWETAMAGAZINE.COM

How many times has a sentence started with “Before the COVID pandemic” during 2020 and into 2021? Usually the words that follow express something we once took for granted and felt we’d lost. Children’s story times at the Carnegie and Coweta Library System branches are examples of activities lost in the pandemic. Also gone were live performances, art exhibits and children’s camps at The Donald W. Nixon Centre for Performing and Visual Arts. Before COVID-19, local libraries offered a list of diverse events. Patrons could learn about applying for financial aid for college or the ins-and-outs of Medicare, or they could attend a book club. While some events take place systemwide, each branch develops its own programming. Some activities like storytime and crafts have become virtual events, but many were put on hold. As the institutions began to improvise, innovative ideas allowed them to continue providing services to the community. After some time, county libraries reopened in phases with reduced hours. By the end of 2020, patrons could walk through and browse, which helped limit the number of visitors in the building. The branches continued curbside delivery, bringing books to vehicles for those who reserve online. As part of the Coweta County School System, the Nixon Centre offers many exhibits and events geared to children. Some of those, like the annual summer Art Camp and exhibits, were conducted virtually. “We also have art exhibits that are not related to the school system,” says Centre Director Cathe Nixon, mentioning that the Centre has hosted community and national artists. Before the pandemic, visitors to The Carnegie Library could view art in the upstairs gallery and attend events with authors and artists. The art pieces, supplied by the Newnan-Coweta Art Association, were all for sale through the Association.


“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”


— Thomas Merton, theologian and writer

105 Autumn Glen Circle - Fayetteville

According to Carnegie Director Susan Crutchfield, the staff fully embraced virtual events and found ways to present their programs in this new way. They started sponsoring two children’s story times per week and also prerecorded stories that were posted on Facebook. Before COVID-19, copyright laws prevented the public from recording books to post online, said Crutchfield. “When the pandemic started, publishers began giving blanket permission for use of some of their authors’ work,” she added. The Carnegie took advantage of virtual events to increase the frequency of Hometown Novel Nights from every other month to once a month. “We can bring in authors and audiences from remote places,” Crutchfield says. “When things get back to normal” is another phrase heard a lot these days. While these organizations have adapted well, they look forward to getting back to normal. “Our virtual events have been popular with students, and patrons love them,” says Nixon, “but art needs to be seen in person.” NCM

When I first walked through the front door of Azalea Estates, I knew I was home. It felt so good and right. Life is as full for me here as it was prior to moving here. The staff is warm and loving. They quickly drew me into the Azalea Estate Family, showing me the genuine care and concern they have for all of us here at AE. Everyday is interesting (even in these COVID times) with a variety of games, entertainment, and creative activities. It’s a wonderful place to be and I’m grateful beyond measure to be here enjoying these sunset years of my life.

Photos by Sandy Hiser

- Claire Formwalt since 2016

UN-VALENTINE PIN CUSHION DOLL Grab and Go art kits were available at the Carnegie Library in February. Free to kids ages 11-18, they provided materials to make a pin cushion doll out of felt, buttons and thread.

The Trusted Source For Taking Care of Your Loved Ones

MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 73


Whether we realize it or not, art of all kinds surrounds us on a daily basis. “The Arts” is one of the reasons many of us are getting through difficult times. Listen to some calming music, watch an incredible dance film, appreciate virtual art shows in our community, or get elbow deep in paint and canvas to let go of your emotions. The following are a few organizations we recommend to get the art in you flowing. Some offer classes, some need volunteers or donations, and some are there simply for you to enjoy.

Backstreet Community Arts

19-B 1st Avenue, Newnan, GA 30263 • 706.940.2787 • Backstreet Community Arts exists to provide a safe, welcoming, creative environment to anyone who may benefit from the healing powers of art and community. Study after study proves that art has a positive effect on the mind, body and soul. Backstreet Arts reaches out to adults who may not be aware of or have access to the proven healing power of art: those who have experienced trauma, illness, or grief; veterans; homeless and limited-income individuals who cannot afford art classes, and anyone who wants to practice art in a comfortable, non-intimidating, inclusive atmosphere. Backstreet is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that believes Art Saves Lives.

Artisans Heritage Guild

The Artisans Heritage Guild of Newnan-Coweta works to create a spirit of revival that seeks to reclaim the artistic traditions once common and reconnect us with our natural, inherent ability. Artisans Heritage Guild is a group of artisans bound by the common belief that mastery of one’s art carries with it the responsibility to share with others the skills, knowledge and perspective that only years of practice can give. The Guild's artisans carry on a long tradition of teaching in order to honor those who taught us. They teach to pay respect to those artisans who came before, and to recognize their contributions to the act of inspired creation.

Senoia Arts Collective

Join them on facebook for more information This group is for local artists and supporters of the Arts in Senoia. The group of local artists works together to highlight the Arts in Senoia. Meeting since January 2018, the group welcomes new members to be a part of its growth and development.

Newnan Coweta Art Association

Harriet Alexander Art House, 31 Hospital Road, Newnan, GA 30263 The Newnan-Coweta Art Association, Inc. (NCAA) was incorporated June 18, 1968. It is a 501(c)(3) domestic nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to: • Encourage and aid artists to produce original works of art of every type and character, including but not limited to painting, sculpture, ceramics, wood craft, drawing and metal crafts; • Furnish the auspices for the display of such works in Coweta County and elsewhere; • Foster education and instruction in the creation and appreciation of works of art. The association supports the arts in Coweta schools through donations and scholarships to high school students pursuing art in college.

Newnan Art Rez

Email for more information Newnan Art Rez was founded to support visual, musical and literary artists in creative residencies and to nurture an appreciation for the arts. The Newnan Art Rez program offers emerging and mid-career artists a retreat where they can pursue visual, literary and musical projects away from everyday pressures; offers the community opportunities to engage with artists; and supports creating art and art experiences that will enrich Newnan and Coweta County’s cultural environment. The program works with partnering organizations to offer residencies to artists in various disciplines in order to give them space and time to create/ develop their work. In return, artists are expected to interact with the community through demonstrations, workshops and/or performances/art shows. 74 | WWW.NEWNANCOWETAMAGAZINE.COM

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Coweta Prose & Poetry By a Hair, On a Feather and a Thread By Gerald M. Homminga It had been a long season. None of it with the mayfly, caddis, or stone. Just a long season of illness and weariness. Two, companions holding on to hope and faith. By a hair…

Gerald M. Homminga


erald M. Homminga is a watercolor artist living in Newnan. He is a member of the Newnan-Coweta Artist Association and Georgia Watercolor Society and has written poetry throughout his lifetime.

As he entered the stream, the rhythm of the flow seemed to be a different cadence. Tempos came where there were none before. The “song” was not familiar. The orchestra’s pit was repositioned, trees lay where clear ripples once flowed. He stood in early morning light finding all reference to his past and this place a fog of mystery. Deep pools were now filled with sand and gravel, firm bottom land was now a deep solstice pool of loneliness. Only the rhythm of his cast and a hawk called him back. His favorite stream – changed forevermore. It was still his home, just a different time. A former of “all familiar” was yet some upstream short to find. As for himself, he waited for the musical “note” yet to be, his one note… on a chime. An emptiness took over, a chill touched his cheek. He remembered her and moisture trickled and seeped. She was with him still. Another cast, the rhythm lifted his “dry,” lifted more, as sun broke. It was then, in the haze, as the dry met water and sky, A rush took his fly and muscled down below. Grief was gone… for now, moments of joy took hold. She was with him still. Transcending from grief to contentment: a muddy muddled journey of awkwardness, of twisted solitude and aloneness. Never quite reaching the tree line of hopelessness. Leaving what was and secure… on some fragile strength, by a hair, on a feather and a thread. 76 | WWW.NEWNANCOWETAMAGAZINE.COM



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Samantha Sastre


hen Samantha Sastre is not outside hiking, camping or kayaking, you can find her at her little blue house in Newnan with a delightfully fluffy cat. There, she is likely cooking while enjoying an Old Fashioned. She wishes she wrote more often.

New Year’s Day By Samantha Sastre In the middle, at the beginning, somewhere between the simmer and the frozen (in time) was summer again at midnight, all warmth and skin, then the depths of winter as you watched me go, but we started … yes, love, we began. It’s 24 degrees and falling and I’m still falling and you always catch my eye, like the plastic glasses caught champagne while smoke drifted up like a prayer; we were dizzy with it, enraptured and overflowing, fireworks bursting – all light and heat and reminders to live in the moment, to cherish the time, to savor and burst and renew.

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Painting by David Boyd, Jr.

Creating Beauty. Preserving Memories.

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(770) 683-3463 • 10 E Broad St, Newnan, GA 30263

Open every first Friday & Saturday of the month For our special event schedule visit: 14 East Washington Street • 678.361.8909

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Blacktop Photo by Ron ve The sun sets o


ty. r Coweta Coun

Photo by Chance Mirabile Siblings Dominic and Maria Victoria Poncini, of New stroll along the trail at Summergrove. “I caught nan, them holding hands and I saw the perfect pictu re opportunity,” says their photographer.


oto by Ke Shelby Pre lly Presto n the springston’s mom, Kelly, c rain at the ir home inaught her having fu n downtown

submit your


Email us your photos of life in and around Coweta County and we may choose yours for a future edition of Blacktop!

Photos must be original, high-resolution (300 DPI) digital photos in .jpg format, at least 3”x 5” size.

h Photo by C

ile ance Mirab

ers at e in the flowwnan. c n a d y rfl e A Butt enue Park in Ne First Av

Please include your name so that we can give you credit for your photo in the magazine! Email your photos with the subject “Blacktop” to the address below.

is n a n New n w o t Down Photo by Colby Finley Dennis and Cheryl Williams of rural Cow eta County submitted this photo of their great-gr and Reagan Finley, and her best friend, Bec daughter, k the dog. Reagan is the daughter of Colby and Kara Finley, of Paulding County.



Photo by Beth Neely A native bloodroot grows in Arnco.

Photo by S a

lly Ray Sun rays po int to a tree Moreland p ’s reflection on a ond.

Check out our website for a list of businesses! MARCH/APRIL 2021 | 81


Technology on the Oregon Trail I try to end each edition of Newnan-Coweta Magazine by sticking to the theme of that particular issue. I like to think I can come up with something to talk about on any subject. When I learned the March-April issue would be about technology and art, I knew I would be going rogue on this one. My wife is an amazing artist. She’s drawn many a picture for friends and family over the years. Most have been of either a newborn or a child for new parents. A few have been portraits of a recently deceased person for their loved one left behind. My children both inherited the art gene from their mother. I know this to be true because they can draw great while I’m stuck at the stick figure level and not really making much headway with that. My brain can’t wrap around how someone can take a two-dimensional surface and put something threedimensional on it. I’m equal parts fascinated and jealous. Every artist featured in this issue has a skill I wish I had. As far as technology goes, I jumped off that train somewhere around seventh grade. I remember going to the computer lab at Camp Creek Middle School maybe one hour a week. I would always try to rush in so I could get one of the few copies of “The Oregon Trail.” If I was lucky enough to get that treasured floppy disc, I’d immediately set off on conquering the wild frontier. It was serious business getting my band of settlers from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Any technological advancement since the graphics and theme of that game has left me scratching my head. If I’m being honest, I think technology reached its peak out there on the trail, probably somewhere around Snake River. Everything since has been unnecessary. I have a phone I don’t know how to use. I have laptops full of programs I can’t successfully find. The only nonspam emails I ever get are password recovery links because I can’t remember a password for more than two weeks. You didn’t need a password to jump on the Oregon Trail. You just had to worry about things like dysentery and whether or not you had enough spare parts for the wagon. It was a simpler time back then, I tell ya. I mean, me playing the game in middle school. I wouldn’t have lasted more than three hours on the actual Oregon Trail. The animals moved way too fast and took terrible angles when you were trying to hunt them. At least with the artists, I’m jealous. I wish I could draw or paint or put any picture from my mind out on a piece of paper. With technology, I’m fine being off that train. Or wagon, if you will. It seems like every year or two, whatever you have that’s still practically brand new has to be replaced or updated anyway. I have two kids. They’re my computer techs. NCM

Southern-born and Southern-bred, Toby Nix is a local writer who works in law enforcement.




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