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A Publication of The Newnan Times-Herald


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William W. Thomasson Marianne C. Thomasson C. Clayton Neely and Elizabeth C. Neely Jackie Kennedy Sandy Hiser, Sonya Studt Debby Dye Sarah Campbell

Susan Mayer Davis

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FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION call 770.253.1576 or email colleen@newnan.com Newnan-Coweta Magazine is published bi-monthly by The Newnan Times-Herald, Inc., 16 Jefferson Street, Newnan, GA 30263. Subscriptions: Newnan-Coweta Magazine is distributed in home-delivery copies of The Newnan Times-Herald and at businesses and offices throughout Coweta County. Individual subscriptions are also available for $30.00. To subscribe, call 770.304.3373. On the Web: newnancowetamag.com © 2018 by The Newnan Times-Herald, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.

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CONTENTS thisissue





15 | Southern Poet Kimberly Simms turned a program requirement for her master’s thesis into a book of poetry that captures life in the early Southern textile era. By Annie Singh-Quern

19 | Journaling the Experience

Newnan resident Danny Allen kept a journal while in prison and now uses the experience in his ministry to others. By Susan Mayer Davis

24 | Write from His Heart Newnan singer-songwriter Daniel Toole pens and performs his own songs. By Robin Stewart

36 | Tribe of Scribes Coweta County authors talk about their writing lives and share tips on the process of putting thoughts in print. By Susan Mayer Davis

53 | Boosting Literacy in Coweta Programs aimed at improving literacy among both adults and children in Coweta County are explored. By Jeffrey Ward 10 | www.newnancowetamag.com


57 | Meeting to Write

Members of area writing groups draw inspiration from each other as they work to perfect their craft. By Neil Monroe

62 | Book Club Across Coweta County, readers of various genres routinely meet to critique books and socialize. By Ana Gascon Ivey


69 | Columnists Talk their Craft

Columnists for the Newnan Times-

Herald share thoughts on writing and tips of the trade. By Jackie Kennedy

in this issue


12 | Roll Call 14 | From the Editor 20 | Coweta Sports 28 | Non-Profit Spotlight 31 | Coweta Cooks! 42 | Closer Look 44 | Coweta Home 49 | Before & After 74 | Coweta History


76 | Coweta to Me 78 | Coweta Garden 80 | Coweta VIP 81 | Book Review 82 | Coweta Calendar 86 | Blacktop 88 | Coweta Scene 90 | Index of Advertisers 90 | What’s Next

on the cover

Lola the Literacy Dog bonds with Kimberlee Neill, 7, of Newnan. CAREing Paws is one of several programs aimed at boosting local literacy. ➤ When Kids Read to Dogs, page 42 ➤ Boosting Literacy in Coweta County,

page 53 Photo by Beth Neely


Roll Call Kelley Pittman has lived in Coweta County for 18 years. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Scott, and their four-legged children — two dogs, a cat and a parrot that talks a lot. Her creative outlets include photography, jewelry making and shopping at thrift stores.

“Since starting the Georgia Dual Enrollment program for the first time with Brewton-Parker, I have thoroughly enjoyed it and am currently in my fifth semester. The professors are amazing and so kind, and I love the fact that they add Christian aspects to the class and learning. I can tell that they not only care about my education but also me as a person. They truly want to see me succeed in my classes and are always very encouraging. I could not have chosen a better place to begin my college career.” – Lindsey McLendon

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Neil Monroe is a retired corporate communicator whose career included positions with The Southern Company, Norfolk Southern Corporation, Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola Enterprises. His roots are in community journalism, having worked 10 years with local newspapers in the South Metro area. He and his wife, Rayleen, live in Sharpsburg where they enjoy tennis, golf and grandchildren.

Annie Singh-Quern has traveled to 30 countries on five continents and has learned that universal truths transcend cultures over land and ocean. She lives in Peachtree City with her young children, both of whom were born overseas.

Ana Gascon Ivey meets with the amazing women of the ABC book club every month to discuss great reads. Some of their favorite titles include, “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero, “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance, and “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” by Maria Semple.

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Tim Hammett thammett@bpc.edu Lana Mobley lmobley1@bpc.edu Brewton-Parker College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Brewton-Parker College.

Jeffrey Ward describes himself as an “old retired guy” who loves Zumba and pickleball. He’s a native San Franciscan, Vietnam vet and University of Washington communications grad with a 50-year career in aviation. He’s been married 46 years, has two adult children and six grandchildren, and is a foodie and Facebook junkie.


Susan Mayer Davis lives with husband Larry and golden retriever King Charles V (Charlie). “Have computer, will write” is her motto. 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.”

Helen Petre is a freelance writer, instructor and editor. She works full-time for the United States Department of Agriculture. In her spare time, she attends UGA Master Gardeners Backyard Association meetings and spends weekends gardening with her family.

Sarah Faye Campbell has been a writer for The Newnan Times-Herald for 18 years and has met many great people and had a few adventures as a writer and photographer for Newnan-Coweta Magazine.

Scott Ludwig is the author of 13 books, including nine about running. His most recent, “Running Out of Gas: A Lifetime Runner’s Take on Slowing Down,” was published by Meyer and Meyer. He lives, runs and writes in Senoia with his wife Cindy and their three cats.

from our readers... Our very special day

I just wanted to touch base and say how touched we

W. Winston Skinner spends most days planning what will be in the next issue of The Newnan Times-Herald. Since coming to the paper in 1978 as an intern, he has seen many changes in The TimesHerald and in Coweta County in the intervening years. “I’m always thinking about stories–except when I’m playing with my grandchildren,” he says. Robin Stewart is a volunteer and board member with the NewnanCoweta Humane Society and, along with her artist husband, active in the local art scene as a member of the Newnan Coweta Art Association. 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.

are by the article in the (March/April 2018) Newnan-

Coweta Magazine about Abby and the Rainbow Run. Robin Stewart did a beautiful job describing Abby’s

personality and energy along with the work we strive to do in her memory.

Thank you for providing information about our one

very special day that makes all of the work possible. We have had several people comment on what a

wonderful article it is. Thank you for sharing Abby and Abby’s Angels Foundation in such an eloquent way with your readers.

Gratefully, Natalie Bacho

Let Us Hear From You... Send thoughts, ideas and suggestions to magazine@newnan.com


The Editor

The Books that Bind


For as long as I can remember, books have bound me to loved ones.

My first memories include Daddy holding me in his lap, rocking as he read me Little Golden Books. My favorite was an alphabet book I’d have today if he and Mama hadn’t allowed me to cut up the pages and make my own ABC book. God love ’em for letting me do that. I was 9 when Mama took me for a haircut and I whimpered all the way through it. The hairdresser assumed out loud that I evidently didn’t want short hair. My mother unapologetically informed her, “No, she finished reading ‘Sounder’ in the car just before we got here.” When I was a freshman in high school, my parents gave me a “blank book,” a hardcover book with nothing inside. No words, not even lines. They told me to fill it up, and I did, with poems and prose and a couple of country songs. I took it to school and my friends passed it around. They were kind, generous; they thought I could write. Last year, I discovered that 40-something-year-old book in a box of memorabilia. While turning pages, I imagined a gold nugget or two, although the bulk was obviously a heap of coal. But just as the ABC book and “Sounder” bring back precious memories that bind me to my parents, that no-longer-blank book reminds me of old friends who Kennedy inherited her satiated my desire to be read. love of the written word God love ’em for doing that. from her parents, shown in Reading and writing, framed photos. at their best, bring about community. Beginning in our parents’ laps, we feel loved as they read to us. Sitting crisscross-applesauce in elementary school, we take turns reading, and we become friends. We grow up and share ideas about what we’ve read and what we’ll read next, or what we’ve written and what we’ll write next.

14 | www.newnancowetamag.com

In honor of those who first read to us, our MayJune issue celebrates Mother’s Day and Father’s Day by focusing on The Writing Life here in Coweta County. We introduce you to local authors, some you’ve heard of and some you haven’t. They share tips of the trade, including thoughts on writing styles and routines. You’ll also learn about area book clubs and writers groups, along with local efforts to promote literacy, including one that partners dogs with children to make reading a happy routine. We also introduce a new feature, a routine book review penned by a local reader. Plus, our own Newnan Times-Herald’s Winston Skinner shares memories of three Cowetans—Lewis Grizzard, Margaret Anne Barnes and Erskine Caldwell— whose writing reached far beyond county lines to entertain, inspire and sometimes provoke readers. Speaking of county lines, our pullout section is a musthave to keep around this summer with 50 options for fun in Coweta and 12 day trips to nearby locales. Our hope is that your future day trips prove as memorable as one I made to Newnan in 1990: My mother’s favorite writer was Celestine Sibley. We lived in LaGrange, and when we heard that the beloved Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist would be signing books at Scott’s Bookstore, I promised to take Mama. The day came and after waiting in a long line, Mama finally met Celestine. As the two women chatted, the famous writer seemed genuinely happy to meet her admirer. She signed my mother’s copy of “Tokens of Myself” and they hugged after Mama read what Celestine had written to her. I held Mama’s hand to tether her to the sidewalk as she floated out the door at Scott’s. When we got to the car, she showed me the inscription: To Elaine — a kindred spirit. Blessings on you! Celestine Sibley. No wonder Mama walked on air along South Court Square that day. Celestine could not have written words more special. God love her for doing that. Happy Mother’s Day, Happy Father’s Day, and thank you for reading Newnan-Coweta Magazine.

Jackie Kennedy, Editor magazine@newnan.com

Poetic Justice: Kimberly Simms,

Southern Poet Written by ANNIE SINGH-QUERN

Newnan resident and poet Kimberly Simms’ life has been steeped in history and creativity since childhood. The textile industry drew her parents from England in the late 1960s to seek the American Dream in the South. Nurtured by a mother who was an accomplished painter, young Kimberly grew up in Greenville, S.C. Drawn to the arts, she landed lead roles in plays during high school. Her talent soon translated to creating poems and reciting the written word at weekly open-mic sessions in front of poetry enthusiasts. She was 19 years old when her first poem was published in American

Photographed by BETH NEELY

Intercultural Magazine in Chicago. To her, it was great encouragement to be awarded $3.85 for her writing. “Even as a teenager, lines of poetry would come to me as I moved through my days,” she says. “Writing poems was as natural to me as breathing air.” After completing her bachelor’s degree, she moved to England to experience the ways of her British heritage. For three years, she worked as a technical writer and an event coordinator at the British Film Institute in London and, in her free time, wrote and performed poetry. This cultural and creative journey abroad sensitized her perception of life and elevated her relationship with poetry. For many years, Simms has written persona poems from the point of view of an imagined or historical character, threading her own experiences and emotions into the life and psyche of her fictional characters. “When I begin to write, I imagine a character in a specific setting in a specific moment in time,” she says. “I write from the heart of that moment.” The first-generation American of English ancestry possesses a deep love for history, especially what she calls “forgotten history.” She will spend hours scouting the pages of history books for ideas for her next creation of poems. This tenderness

for the past, the everyday life of citizens, and for women’s issues poised her, unintentionally, to write “Lindy Lee, Songs on Mill Hill,” published in 2017. Simms initially created “Lindy Lee” as a program requirement for her master’s thesis in British and American literature at Clemson University; she earned her bachelor’s of English degree at Furman. Her thesis poems weave the striking tale of a young girl named Lindy Lee who begins spinning at a mill at age 10 as her family battles poverty in the early Southern textile era. Lindy Lee is a character whose story echoes the lives of thousands of women who were part of the textile industry in the South from the 1920s to 1940s. With tenacity, she overcomes almost unbearable workplace situations, hunger and sexual assault to discover love, joy and redemption. Many of the Lindy Lee poems are lyrical with references to folk songs and hymns from the time period, hence, “Songs on Mill Hill.” The poetry portrays the complex intertwining of the Southern industrial revolution, the Great Depression and the textile industry. The stories also depict the strong sense of community that prevailed despite the hardships endured among the working class. Simms wrote 35 poems for her thesis over a span of 18 months in 2005 and 2006. “Blue Panes” was her favorite. Almost a decade later, after hard work, may/june 2018 | 15

perseverance and a strong sense of belief in her art, Simms was selected as the 2016 Carl Sandburg NHS Writer-InResidence for “Lindy Lee, Songs on Mill Hill.” While living at the Carl Sandburg house, she drew inspiration; Sandburg was a major influence on her writing due to his love of celebrating the working class and creating awareness for workers’ rights, according to Simms. During her residency, she rewrote many of the poems in her thesis and, over the next year, created another 14

poems. In January 2017, she was offered a publishing contract with Finishing Line Press in Kentucky. She was hailed as a semifinalist for the North Carolina Review 2017 James Applewhite Poetry Prize, and she also was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her book was published in late 2017. “I hope this book will raise awareness for the struggles of workers in the past and for workers today,” says the author. These days, Simms channels her love and passion for history, drama and

Blue Panes By Kimberly Simms

Indigo, cobalt, azure. Protection from the evil eye or wandering ghouls. Cool icy streams. The color of heaven. Jesus’ robes. Hyacinth blooms.

I always loved those windows, twenty years those blue eyes met mine, a window to the soul. Mr. Stephenson sent the boys up on ladders, smashing laughing with each rain of blue tears. Blue tick. Bluebird. Blueberry. Shards settled in the grass and shone in the streaming sun like a thousand eyes. Who knew mortar could be spread so fast? By day end we stood in the fluorescent lights, surrounded on all sides by endless brick. But the debris called to us like jewels to crows. We couldn’t help but pick up the shards, filling our aprons with textured glass then stringing our porches with their blue song.

16 | www.newnancowetamag.com

creative writing to help people personally connect with the past and to express themselves through the written word. She travels the Carolinas and Georgia, reciting history and poetry at libraries and community events. As a teaching artist and educator, she offers creative writing, poetry slam and theater at local schools. In the pipeline, she says, there’s another collection of poetry and a debut of young adult fantasy fiction. NCM

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Journaling the

Experience Written by SUSAN MAYER DAVIS Photographed by SUSAN CRUTCHFIELD

18 | www.newnancowetamag.com


ome 10 years ago, Danny R. Allen sat in a prison cell waiting for justice to be served. At the time, he held a doctor of divinity degree from the University of Ramona in California and was a member of the Nurses Advisory Board at Olympic College in Bremerton, Washington. He had served as a police chaplain, pastor of a church in Washington, and host of a community access TV and radio show. Allen says he was trying to live a godly life before he inadvertently became tangled in the things of man— and became an unwitting participant in a $5 billion international scam targeting pastors and U.S. senators. After being duped into cashing a check that was part of the scam, according to Allen, he was sentenced to nine months at the Milwaukee House of Corrections, in Franklin, Wis., where he found himself sleeping on a bed with an inch-and-a-half-thick mattress and three feet of space to the next bunk. The experience led to his first book, aptly titled “An Inch and a Half Mattress and Three Feet of Privacy: Journaling the Experience.” It details every day he spent in the facility. “God led me to start a journal and I wrote down everything that happened during that time,” says Allen. “Now, I fall back on those notes and that experience to help my prison ministry. The act of journaling was necessary for me to maintain mental stability as a husband, father and educator, and it informs who I am today.” Allen, who lives in Newnan with his wife Mary, continues to journal almost every day and works to prepare prisoners for re-entry into mainstream society through his Returning Citizen’s Ministry. “God has a unique way of bringing a great revival out of deep disaster,” reads one of his journal entries from his time at Milwaukee. Others include: “Favor isn’t fair even in the midst of suffering.” “It’s now about 4:10 and this pastor finally crawled out of bed. The cold goes from dry to phlegm and back to dry. Strange.” “Night and day, I dream of building transitional housing for the homeless.” While incarcerated, Allen worked in the law library and helped other men fight their cases. “I began a Bible study and prayed openly for the men in my dorm,” he recalls. “I felt that God had placed a supportive correction officer and the librarian to protect me as I witnessed and prepared my cellmates for re-entering society.” Today, Allen serves as director of Prison Ministry, part of the

: g n i al Journ

r ou Y g n i Putt t n i r P n i Voice

Photo courtesy of Danny R. Allen

Written by er Davis y a M n a s Su

Newnan resident Danny R. Allen used journaling as a means to cope with incarceration.

International Sunday School University for the Church of God in Christ headquartered in Memphis, Tenn. He also serves as chaplain of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6449 in Fairburn. A highly regarded historian, he spoke at the Carnegie Library in February for Black History Month, impressing the crowd with his wealth of knowledge on the subject of General William T. Sherman’s burning of Atlanta and subsequent March to the Sea along with the historical heritage of slaves. Allen describes himself as a griot, a person from West Africa who preserves the historical narratives of his people by presenting their history using poetry, music and storytelling. He routinely seeks out opportunities to pass on his knowledge of the African experience in America, as well as his knowledge of the Bible and the history surrounding it. One way he shares his love for the lessons of the Bible is in his second book, “Stone of Help,” a work of historical fiction based on 1 Samuel 7:12: “Samuel took a stone and … named it Ebenezer.” Ebenezer means “stone of help” in Hebrew. In addition to being a pastor and author, Allen is a certified Paracletos counselor. Paracletos is a Christianbased counseling method that combines faith-based biblical principles with evidenced-based therapies, including psychosocial rehabilitation, cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing. The word “paraclete” is defined as advocate or comforter and refers to the Holy Spirit. NCM

The day before she committed suicide in 1941, author Virginia Woolf wrote in her diary about Dr. Octavia Wilberforce: “She had a nose like the Duke of Wellington and great horse teeth and cold, prominent eyes… Sitting there I tried to coin a few compliments. But they perished in the icy sea between us. And then there was nothing.” The journal entry provides a hint of the anguished mind of Woolf, one of America’s most famous writers, who was said to suffer from bipolar disorder. Diaries and journals reportedly began as far back as Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius who, in the second century AD, journaled: “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” People keep diaries and journals for a variety of reasons: to record daily events and reaction to them, share thoughts with others, record scientific data, or set a record for posterity. They are sometimes compared to blogging; however, there are differences. Blogging is meant to reach others on the web to impart information or share stories. Journals are often meant to be private. In 1862, Amanda Akin, a nurse in the Armory Square Hospital in Washington, D.C., wrote a journal of her Civil War experiences: “I meekly followed [the nurse] through the long ward, unable to return the gaze of the occupants of the 26 beds… and with a sinking heart watched her raise the head of a poor fellow in the last stages of typhoid, to give him a soothing draught. Could I ever do that? For once my courage failed.” Her words put readers in her shoes during the bloodiest war in American history. Not every journal records tragedy. At 9, Ernest Hemingway penned his first diary entry: “I was born on July 21, 1899. My favourite authors are Kipling, O. Henry and Steuart Edward White. My favourite flower is Lady Slipper and Tiger Lily. My favourite sports are trout fishing, hiking, shooting, football and boxing. My favourite studies are English, zoology and chemistry. I intend to travel and write.” And that, he certainly did. It’s difficult to mention diaries without recognizing arguably the most well-known diary, that of young Anne Frank who, with her family, hid from the Nazis in an attic for two years. Her heartwrenching diary awoke the world to the atrocities of the Holocaust. Not everyone who writes a diary or journal will be famous, but everyone has a voice and a point of view. Writing down thoughts, feelings, ideas and plans is a universal act whether done on paper, computer, envelopes or Post It notes. If you have considered starting a diary or journal, start now. And remember, journals aren’t only about writing; they make for good reading as well. In “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Oscar Wilde said it best: “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.” may/june 2018 | 19


20 | www.newnancowetamag.com

ING START Written by SCOTT LUDWIG | Photographed by BETH NEELY


s newlywed husbands are prone to do, I put on a few pounds once Cindy and I got married after graduating from the University of Florida. Fortunately for me, my graduate school advisor, Thomas Jefferson Saine III, was an avid runner who encouraged me to run. It wasn’t long before I laced up my first pair of running shoes and shed the 30 pounds I gained after our wedding day—and 20 more on top of that for good measure. I started running near the end of the “running boom” in the 1970s. I ran alone back then until I decided to meet up with the Florida Track Club at the university library for their weekly 3-mile Tuesday night run. I quickly learned the runners fell into three distinct categories: fast, very fast and me. I was so slow I lost sight of every other runner in the first mile. I could have been the poster boy for the “loneliness of the long-distance runner.” That was then. Forty years later I’m still running, and over that time I’ve had the pleasure of running with others of all shapes and sizes—and speeds. These days if I want to run alone it’s because I choose to, not because

Coweta’s growing running scene seems to dispel the notion that the loneliness of the long-distance runner ever existed.

Paige Chatham and Dee Glazier run for fun and health.

may/june 2018 | 21

Local running enthusiasts meet twice a week downtown to get their run on. Preparing for a late afternoon run are, from left, Matt Bryan, Dustin Shelley, Ella James, Connor Cody, Clay Hildebrand, John Perkerson, Paige Chatham, Dee and Ted Glazier, Elizabeth and Jack Homer, and Kevin Wilkins.

there’s no one willing to run at my speed. The loneliness of the long-distance runner is no more.

You need never run alone Dee Glazier, an avid runner who opened Dragonfly Running Company in downtown Newnan almost three years ago, gives multiple reasons to run: • To stay healthy and maintain an active lifestyle. • To increase cardiovascular activity; running offers one of the simplest options. • To lose weight and achieve physical fitness. • To train for a particular race and achieve the desired result. • To enjoy the social aspects of running with a group of people.

For beginning runners hesitating to step out for that first run, she reminds that a slow mile and a fast mile are still a mile. “It doesn’t matter how fast,” she says. 22 | www.newnancowetamag.com

“What matters is taking the first step.” Multiple runners have taken that first step from the front door of her store, according to Glazier, who hosts group runs every Tuesday night (three miles starting at 6:30 p.m.) and Saturday morning, three or six miles beginning at 7 a.m. Many runners arrive early to socialize before pounding the pavement. “All you have to do is show up and come ready to run,” says Glazier. The runs are free, and while the pace typically ranges between seven and 15 minutes per mile, all paces are welcome. “Participants tell me they are much faster now by running with the group than they ever were on their own,” says Glazier, noting that some in the group have gone from beginning runs to running longer distances, including half and even full marathons. Ben Brown, of Franklin, is one of them. “I started running to lose weight about three years ago,” says Brown. Today he’s 100 pounds lighter and recently completed his first marathon.

Brown enjoys group running because it keeps him motivated, and “there’s always someone to run that extra mile or two” when training for a specific race, he says. His future aspirations include a 35-miler this fall, a 50-miler early next year and ultimately a 100-mile run. Coweta’s growing running scene seems to dispel the notion that the loneliness of the long-distance runner ever existed.

a few races in

coweta county... february

Run for Angels 10K/5K – theangelshouse.org march

NJSL ShamRock Run 10K/5K – njslserves.org

In the long run When I started running in 1978, my mentor told me about the Peachtree Road Race. I couldn’t believe it when he told me it attracted more than 6,000 runners. In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t imagine a race of that magnitude. This coming Fourth of July, I will run my 40th consecutive Peachtree Road Race, an event that has grown to attract 60,000 runners. There is no doubt in my mind that many of them will be my neighbors from Coweta County. Later this year I will run my 150,000th lifetime mile. I can’t imagine my last 40 years without running. My hope is that my encouragement will have the same effect on you that Thomas Jefferson Saine III had on me a long time ago by instilling the desire to lace up a pair of shoes and go for a run. My hope is that you will take my advice—and run with it.



Abby's Angels Rainbow Run 5K – abbysangelsfoundation.org May

Race for Orphans 5K – racefortheorphans.org Soles for Cole 5K – solesforcole.com Student VetConnect Veteran's Relief Fund 5K – cowetaschools.org Keris Kares Royal Princess Run 5K – facebook.com/keriskares/ september

Sunrise on the Square 5K/10K – sunriseonthesquare5k10k.itsyourrace.com october

Autumn Chase 15K/5K Trail Run – piedmont.org



Coweta County

(770) 253-3649 19 Bullsboro Dr. Newnan, GA 30263



Parts and Accessories of

172 Temple Avenue • Newnan, GA 770-253-7996


may/june 2018 | 23

24 | www.newnancowetamag.com


write from his heart Written by ROBIN STEWART Photographed by CHRIS MARTIN

e has a baby face with an old soul. That’s one way to describe Daniel Toole. At a glance, the singer-songwriter could be mistaken for a 20-something, and that’s one of the reasons the 34-year-old Newnan resident grew a beard. Toole’s voice is an intriguing mix of an earnest Southern sound and a throaty growl with a vibrato that comes through now and again. He can belt out hits from most any decade. He deftly covers artists such as Bob Dylan, Bob Seger, Tom Petty and John Mellencamp and even does justice to a Prince hit and to Duran Duran’s “Who Do You Love?” As a performer, Toole says he’s aware that his audience might have “a 19-year-old up front and a 48-year-old sitting in the back.” So if people want to hear something from the 1970s through modern day, Toole does it. He takes requests by the decade and renders an authentic performance of the song—no small feat for a singer who, in many cases, was either not yet born or too young to have known the song in its heyday. Toole’s eagerness to entertain is evident. He engages the crowd with introductions to songs, particularly those he’s penned. As a songwriter, he draws inspiration from simple, everyday themes: small towns, home, friends and family. The singer-songwriter grew up in Millen, a small city between Augusta and Savannah, and still exudes the small town manners and mannerisms he learned there. In an era when performers have egos bigger than their limousines, Toole is the polar opposite. Cleancut and courteous, he’s content to play and sing, to perform, to share his music. The tattoo on his bicep, peeking out from his short sleeve shirt, is the only outward trace of “rock-n-roll” to be found.

a great performer

During a break in his set, Toole works the room, meeting and greeting, shaking hands and thanking those who came out to hear him. His humble, honest approach resonates with his audience and those who hire him to play. “He’s a great performer,” says Joe Rizzo, owner of RPM Full Service Patio Pub & Grill, in downtown Newnan, where Toole played his may/june 2018 | 25

nal,” according Song writing is “situatio y. Pla e songs in as few as Spotify and Google to Toole. He pens som n. tow to on t g roi vin ad mo is er he , aft require hours. A first local gig A self-taught musician minutes while others he 10 se cau be t no him is for s ich itar, wh “Ever ybody cheer d lyrics fuels him his acoustic-electric gu love of poetr y, music an ar, music they to he to ach nt pro wa ap y his the at en wh giv plays really surprising to write. notes that Toole, a st, the music heart—and like,” says Rizzo, who riting. W hat comes fir gw son o “I sing and play with my wh y gu e cer sin a is , M RP ng from that,” regular now at or the lyrics? y some things come alo pra ple eo “P . wd s cro say the st,” es fir is comfortable with “Usually the music com he says. od time. go a it’s d an want to say t, u tha yo at on pick up ole. “You feel wh To e y’r the e lik him, it’s Everybody who meets through the music.” the gift of song ers with stic ou “ac as nre ge his ve oth es old friends.” He defin W hile he seeks to mo gle to make such ug s str Hi ers k.” rm roc rfo ve pe ati y ern an M t moves him is alternative or alt his talent, one thing tha . ms to come ses see Ro it , N’ ole ns To r Gu is Fo . te on ori through his a connecti personal musical fav his abilit y to help others about for art in his xl” “A ed d rsu me pu na ’s is tis for various naturally. He Even his dog, a boxer, sic. Toole performs gra mu his ng rki wo t se. no Ro ’s l ger Ax le functions. four years. W hen he tribute to GNR lead sin fundraisers and charitab Peachtree City, ole in To , use ist ho art d ak ste she a pli at om hometown hosted day job Like every acc W hen a family from his rform. His pe to te ch sta Ea . the ily g da sin ft of a sick son, Toole he’s crisscros devotes time to his cra a fundraiser on behalf ach Pe the , nd urs yo ho be ee thr him to ts to the cause. music is tak ing morning for 30 minutes ted his time and talen na do in s gig g yin to pla e be tim ion and LaGrange family. State, too; soon he’ll he engages daily reflect He did the same for a ee. ess is nn on Te ati d pir an ins ina es, rol tim others has become a South Ca write songs. Some Using his gifts to help mits ad ole To r’s er, me rm rea rfo “D pe ote wr a performer. An outgoing simple and direct. He part of what he does as ” big es, dg bri s ild e bu Th . sic ing mu vel d tra e the Rain” to that he’s shy. “But Town” while on the roa Toole wrote “Welcom man to others is easier the up of ing se en mp op gli d st an ne s, Rose, who passed he say song offers an ear honor his late mother, . in: sic pla ex mu is ics ic lyr s top . She never saw her when the behind the guitar. Hi away in 20 09 at age 46 my e lik l fee to t ed his writing Ooh, I’d give my all jus perform but always lov son cs ri ly e day. writing th his poetr y. She words might make your and was a huge fan of of 11 songs , n am tio dre lec r col you a , in l CD tal t st fee fir His inspiration. I’d swear I’m ten continues to ser ve as an d out of sol ” se, rpo Pu ay? d an yw e er as a titled “Puls but who’s measuring an “She always used weath on. He’s busy mes, eti som lies ’d say, er he nev “S e its initial 2016 producti . ris The sun metaphor,” says Toole album, an EP titled d e. on tru sec it’s his ow on kn ng en all s rki y wh the sun’s wo and the cloud ‘Everyone can be happ about six e er’s tur am fea dre s ll wi thi t in n tha e” dow “Keepsak happy when When the sun goes shining. If you can be by Toole. ed . rm too , rfo you pe d for an ing en am itt songs, all wr town, just know I’m dre on iTunes, Amazon, His music is available

26 | www.newnancowetamag.com

a bigger it’s raining, you’ll have life’s about.’” understanding of what etr y Toole comes by his po mother’s his in g honestly. The son : ics honor features the lyr the cold, Stay true to you, shake off

know the nay-say. Find hands to hold. don’t Know your worth, but note, bite the hand and note for follow the plan. cloud. Silver linings, follow the it out loud. Steal the sunshine, sing vain, so kiss Rock solid, nothing’s in the rain. the thunder and welcome the last be t W hile humility migh m someone quality you’d expect fro stage and bold enough to take the angers, Toole perform in front of str s he’s honored has it in spades. He say thing about to play and sing. Every ht down to his him says the same, rig lyrics for “Be Me.” hotshot I’ll never be a Motown or a Nashville zero. dslide I’ll never be an LA lan or a hometown hero. ra I never wanted to pay ext e. fre s when ordinary’ I’ll always be me. NCM


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Nonprofit Spotlight

Habitat for Humanity: Building Homes and Hope in Coweta County


Girl Scouts volunteer with Habitat to place sod for newly landscaped beds at the Department of Family and Children Services. A group of Habitat volunteers lift a wall for a newly constructed home.

For the past quarter century,

or renovate houses in order to provide

Habitat maintains its philosophy of

Newnan-Coweta Habitat for Humanity

affordable housing while helping families

providing a “hand up” rather than a “hand

has brought people together to build

break the cycle of poverty. Habitat


homes and hope throughout Coweta

utilizes volunteer labor and tax deductible

While constructing houses is the

donations of money and materials to

foundation on which Habitat for

build homes in partnership with future

Humanity was built, the local affiliate

An affiliate of Habitat for Humanity

homeowners who help build their own

also does home repairs and helps provide

International, the local Habitat operates

home and purchase it with a 20-year,

used appliances to families in dire need,

as other affiliates do by helping to build

interest-free mortgage. In this way,

according to Cristina Bowerman, Newnan


28 | www.newnancowetamag.com

Coweta Habitat for Humanity’s executive director. Founded in 1993, the local Habitat will undertake one of its biggest projects to date this spring when it starts construction on East Broad Estates, a subdivision on East Broad Street near Greison Trail in Newnan. The affordable housing subdivision will be home to 11 families in 1,200-square-foot townhomes and promises to be a comfortable and welcoming community for future residents, according to Bowerman. Less extensive projects include work Habitat does with other community agencies, like last March when Habitat partnered with Meals on Wheels of Coweta County to assist a client in need. These acts may be smaller in scale, but they are just as meaningful to the people they touch. “The Newnan ReStore donated an electric dryer for a Meals on Wheels client who has multiple sclerosis,” Bowerman says, adding that Habitat partners with other agencies by providing assistance through its Brush with Kindness program. Children enjoy the Little Free Library (LFL) Through Brush with Kindness, Habitat recently gave to the Department of Family and Children Services. It’s the largest LFL in Habitat has partnered with Coweta Coweta County. CASA to renovate old office space by painting the entire space and installing new carpet; DFCS to donate a Little Free Library, paint offices and install new landscaping; and Brewton-Parker College to paint classrooms. This spring, Habitat plans to work with Main Street Newnan and Keep Newnan Beautiful to build pollinator planters for six downtown Newnan businesses. Other recent Brush with Kindness projects involved repairing a porch for a single mom and repairing the structural foundation of an elderly gentleman’s home. The single mom and her two children couldn’t utilize the porch because it was structurally unsafe. Habitat volunteers rebuilt the porch, repaired a portion of the roof, repaired a water heater and inspected the HVAC. “She’d been told it had to be replaced, but we found that the system works just fine,” says Bowerman. “It turned out that she needed a new thermostat, so we installed a new digital thermostat and her family has been living comfortably in the house since the repairs were made.” The older gentleman’s home had been sinking over the years and the foundation needed attention. Habitat will repair and install new frames for some doors in his home, repair drywall cracks to his ceiling, remove wood siding and install durable vinyl siding to his home, according to Bowerman, who says the structural damage will cost $5,000 to repair. “Habitat is able to complete this much-needed repair with the help of a grant obtained through the Coweta Community Foundation,” she adds. “And the remaining funds are being secured by a Wells Fargo grant.” Throughout the year, the Newnan ReStore—recently moved to its new location at Shenandoah Plaza, on Bullsboro Drive—provides home furnishings plus invaluable support to the local Habitat affiliate. Like all Habitat for Humanity ReStores, the local shop is a non-profit home improvement

TOP LEFT A group of teenagers volunteers at the ReStore. CENTER LEFT Two Habitat volunteers move furniture at the ReStore. BOTTOM LEFT Newnan-Coweta Habitat for Humanity volunteers take pride in the work they did through Habitat’s Brush with Kindness program to help with painting at Brewton Parker College.

may/june 2018 | 29


Nonprofit Spotlight

Townhomes to be constructed by Habitat for Humanity as East Broad Estates will follow this design.

store and donation center that sells used furniture, appliances and building materials at deeply discounted prices with proceeds supporting Habitat’s construction projects. In fact, a full 80 percent of the ReStore’s income supports new construction efforts in Coweta, repairs for existing homeowners, neighborhood revitalization efforts, homeowner education classes, and partnerships with local nonprofits. For those who wish to help with Habitat but don’t feel comfortable with hammer in hand, volunteering at the Newnan ReStore is a worthy option, according to Director of Retail Operations Rick Wingate. “Motivation is different for each volunteer,” says Wingate. “We have volunteers who enjoy doing one specific thing and volunteers that move between almost any function within the store. They learn about teamwork, standards, customer service and retail skills. We teach and train in a way that will transition easily into many future career choices.” For Wingate, working at the ReStore provides a sense of pride. “Knowing that the work we do in the ReStore makes a difference in our local community is so rewarding,” he says. “When you donate or shop at the ReStore, those dollars stay in Coweta County and support what we do here.” To support Newnan Coweta Habitat for Humanity or for more info, call 770.252.4061 or visit nchfh.org. To donate used appliances, furniture or building materials, contact Newnan ReStore at the same number and website, or visit Newnan-Coweta Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Facebook. NCM 30 | www.newnancowetamag.com

What can your gift purchase? $30 — Box of nails $60 — Shingles $70 — Toilet $100 — Sink $125 — Window $170 — Front door

$250 — Shower $500 — Siding $1000 — Wall board $2000 — Flooring $5000 — Roof

How long does a Habitat house take to build? New home construction typically takes 12 weeks, depending on weather . Here’s an example of a build schedule: Week 1 — Framing Week 2 — Framing/ Set Trusses Week 3 — Roofing/ Windows Week 4 — General Labor Day Week 5 — Siding/ Insulation Week 6 — Siding/ Interior Painting

Week 7 — Interior Painting Week 8 — Doors/ Finish Trim Week 9 — Doors/ Finish Trim Week 10 – L andscaping/ Punch List Week 11 – Punch List/ Clean Up Week 12 – Celebrate/ House Blessing

y b l o o C l o o P t he

CALM, COOL AND COLLECTED › Loads of ice in a very tall glass › Two parts lemonade with


› One part vodka

Mix ingredients. Float raspberries on top and garnish with a lemon slice. Variation: Use one part blueberry flavored vodka and two parts lemonade on loads of ice; float blueberries and garnish with lemon slice.

coweta cooks

e m i t r e m Sum s k n i r D Written and Photographed by JACKIE KENNEDY

— Lynn Horton Horton is a freelance editor and writes a column for Fayette County News.

may/june 2018 | 31



After a longer-than-usual winter,

the warm days of spring and summer are a welcome sight — and a cue that it’s time to consider cool, poolside drinks for when the dog days of summer get especially hot and sultry. Members of the Senoia Writing Group are not only good with words; they know their way around a beverage, too. The writing group gets together twice a month, once to discuss writing and again for a brown bag lunch. “The extra brown bag meeting started as a critique session, but now we just get along well and want to touch base more than once a month,” says Senoia author Kim Sullivan. “Writing is a solitary pursuit that can make you feel isolated, but most writers are not solitary people. We enjoy spending time with others who can identify with our experiences.” Being part of an active writers’ group is a great asset, according to the author. “Sometimes you will come to a meeting with a particular problem in a story and the group will brainstorm to solve it,” she says. “In my newest book, I was having a transportation issue because the main character couldn’t drive. One of the members helped me see outside of my narrow focus and that solved the problem.” Whether meeting to critique or encourage writing, share lunch or go for a swim, group members agree that summertime is a great time to write, to read and to share drinks by the pool.

e v o o r g on

Gargoyle gets his

32 | www.newnancowetamag.com

Author Kim Sullivan enjoys hosting the Senoia Writing Group at her backyard pool.


“Writing is a solitary pursuit that can make you feel isolated, but most writers are not solitary people.” ­— Kim Sullivan

"Cheers," says Senoia Writing Group's Fred Springer.


› Large iced tea glass filled


crushed ice. › One jigger bourbon › One jigger vodka › Lemonade

bourbon and To glass filled with ice, add vodka. lemonade. Fill remainder of glass with and rry che no chi ras Garnish with Ma to drink. w stra a Use on. lem of e slic small

— Lynn Horton



› 4 ounces Moscato wine

› Tonic

› 1 ounce apple puree or apple sauce, preferably Granny Smith

› Ice

› 1 ounce pineapple juice

› Lime or lemon

Mix ingredients thoroughly and pour over ice. Garnish with orange fruit slices and a cherry. It’s yummy.

Google “gin and tonic” and you will get more recipes than you can try out in one summer. Mix gin and tonic to taste in a glass of ice. Add a slice of lime or lemon. Enjoy.

— Sandra Cox

Cox is currently writing a middle grade novel about a time travelling kid.

Lynn Horton and Jason Goff enjoy summertime drinks by the pool.

“I like to use plastic cups for anything that I drink by the pool. There are some pretty nice plastic drink cups out there, and blood sloshing around in the pool is such a buzzkill.” — Fred Springer Springer writes fantasy short stories about swimming pools.

may/june 2018 | 33

cowetacooks! The Senoia Writing Group meets twice monthly, and sometimes that’s by the pool where they chat about writing projects while enjoying their favorite summertime beverages. Writers staying cool by the pool are, from left, Kim Sullivan, Lynn Horton, Lauren McGuire, Fred Springer, Jason Goff, Charles Bowen and Sandra Cox.

POOLSIDE MINT JULEP › 2 ounces bourbon › 1 tablespoon agave nectar › Club soda › Fresh mint leaves (washed and then muddled, torn or crushed to release flavor) › Ice

Pour bourbon and agave in a highball glass. Stir until combined and agave disappears. Fill glass with ice and add several mint leaves. Add club soda to taste. Stir and serve.

— K. Osborn Sullivan “This recipe was created by my husband, Chris Sullivan, and is the perfect spur-of-the-moment summer drink when friends drop by because it’s easy to keep all the ingredients on hand. A traditional mint julep calls for simple syrup, but that can be a hassle because it requires cooking and cooling. This poolside version uses agave nectar, which keeps for years in the cabinet. Mint leaves can grow in a small herb garden or a pot in the kitchen. They require no effort and come back year after year. This drink adds club soda to the traditional mint julep to create a better poolside choice; it quenches thirst while helping revelers stay hydrated.”


ttle red win e up triple se c › 1/2 c up peach sc hnapps › 2 can s or 1 liter S prite › 2 cup s cut up fru it , such strawberrie s, peaches, as apples or oranges › 1/2 c

Mix ingred ients, adjust ing flavors taste. Make to a few hours ahead to le fruit soak. t th


— Lauren M


34 | www.newnancowetamag.com

McGuire is cu rrently writing a fan tasy novel.

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Tribe of Scribes



The sky hasn’t yet changed from indigo to azure blue. The air is hushed, no wakeup calls of birds can be heard and the moon is low in the morning sky. And yet, in many homes around Coweta County, one might smell the enticing aroma of coffee and hear the faint sound of fingers on keyboards or the scratching of a pen on paper as local writers tenaciously steal a few quiet moments of solitude and silence as they oblige their passion by setting their thoughts on paper.

These intrepid folks usually have “real” jobs that they go to every day to make ends meet, so their precious morning hours are most often the time to write—every day. They are teachers, government workers, ministers, parents and students of all ages and backgrounds. One thing they have in common: They are driven to immortalize their ideas, their dreams, their fears, their knowledge, as well as their wit and humor by putting them in writing. They write for themselves, first, and their audience second, in most cases. If their work touches or educates or entertains others, that’s a bonus. These are brave folks who make themselves vulnerable, exposed and available to strangers because no matter what an author writes, he or she leaves a piece of themselves on the page, hidden between the words. Coweta County boasts a large writing community 36 | www.newnancowetamag.com

of established and upcoming writers in all genres and styles. Each one is different and yet they share common traits. Getting up before the family stirs is only one shared habit. One local author who commits to writing each day from 6 a.m. to noon is one of the most prolific current writers based in Newnan — Alex McRae, an awardwinning columnist perhaps best known locally for his work for The Newnan Times-Herald. McRae’s peers have recognized his talent, bestowing on him a Pulitzer Prize nomination and more than 30 awards from The Associated Press, Georgia Press Association and the Magazine Association of the Southeast. After retiring from the newspaper, McRae turned his talents to writing novels and nonfiction books, and he has a successful ghostwriting career. When asked his advice to young, aspiring writers he

Photo by Aaron Heidman

Alex McRae encourages would-be authors to write each day, even if they think there’s nothing to say.

says, “Just write. Dedicate an amount of time every day to write, even if you think you have nothing to say that day.” His first nonfiction book, “There Ain’t No Gentle Cycle on the Washing Machine of Love,” takes a humorous look at life through a collection of his award-winning columns. His first novel, “The Alpha Plague,” is expected on bookshelves this year. In the meantime, McRae focuses on a second novel, “The Least Likely Suspect.” You can follow him at alexmcraebooks.com. Another accomplished Coweta writer shares a home with McRae. Angela Webster McRae, Alex’s wife, has two nonfiction books, “Dainty Dining” and “A Year of Teatime Tales.” The former editor of Newnan-Coweta Magazine, Angela currently works as a fiction editor for a publisher in North Carolina while she works on two novels in progress. Keep up with her writing at teawithfriends. blogspot. Dale Lyles, of Newnan, describes himself as a permission-giver and teacher at heart. He’s been director of a church choir and a may/june 2018 | 37

Photo by Ginny Lyles


“Give yourself permission to do a terrible job and expect to abort or change your first attempt at some point and revisit the project again with fresh eyes and a new perspective.” ­— Dale Lyles

Dale Lyles tackles the topic of procrastination in “Lichtenbergianism,” his book published by Boll Weevil Press in Newnan.

come back to it later with fresh eyes than to produce an inferior product because we didn’t take the time to let the project marinate before we called it done.” Along with this is Lyles’ concept of “abortive attempt.” In other words, go into any creative project knowing that your first attempt will not be your best. “Give yourself permission to do a terrible job,” says the author, “and expect to abort or change your first attempt at some point and revisit the project again with fresh eyes and a new perspective.” Follow Lyles at dalelyles.com. Blue Cole has authored three successful novels and has a connection to Lyles.

“When you meet your goal, pat yourself on the back, pour a drink and start another idea. Just keep going.” ­— Blue Cole Blue Cole has written three novels and advises those who wish to write to “just keep going.” 38 | www.newnancowetamag.com

“He was the media specialist at my high school,” says Cole. “I loved reading even then. If you are going to be a writer, you’ve got to be a reader.” Cole lives with his wife and two young children on property in Sharpburg that’s been in the family for generations. His literary style is a mix of genres including sci-fi, fantasy, horror, suspense and historical fiction. “I just want to tell a good story, regardless of genre, with memorable characters and unique concepts in believable settings,” he says. Like many writers, Cole sets out to write an hour a day, five days a week, at least 300

Photo by Casey Green Photography

high school band, a composer and flute player, English teacher, media specialist, director of the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program, painter, costume and set designer, and he’s author of a book that may set working productivity guidelines on their heels. His book, “Lichtenbergianism,” named after a man notorious for procrastination, came about through his social group of working writers who struggled with their tendency to have many projects in the works but few completed. “I know it sounds counterintuitive,” Lyles says, “but most times, it’s more advisable to put a project on the shelf and


Photo by Rebecca Leftwich

Newnan’s Melissa Dixon Jackson focuses her writing on poetry.

words a day. His advice to others: “When you meet your goal, pat yourself on the back, pour a drink and start another idea. Just keep going.” “Ricochet,” a stand-alone short story, was published in “Night Gypsy,” an anthology of short stories. That was Cole’s first professional sale, while “Sleeping Sickness” was his first novel, followed by “Immediate Dead” and “Evil Upriver.” In speaking of his latest book, Cole says: “When you write a novel, all the different parts of the novel have to propel it forward. ‘Evil Upriver’ is the first one where I really feel like I pull off a full story.” Find out more at bluecole.com.

Not all local writers focus on prose or novels. Melissa Dixon Jackson represents a totally different style of writing — poetry. Jackson, her husband Dean, and four school-age children live in the home in which her husband grew up, near the center of historic Newnan. Although she has a degree in painting from the School of Visual Arts in New York and has a background in both music and journalism, she now focuses on her passion, which is poetry. “Surprisingly, I had a lot of success right off the bat,” says Jackson. “I began receiving invitations to submit manuscripts to small presses.”

As a teacher of English composition and American literature at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Jackson encourages aspiring poets to get their work out there for others to read. In 2013, Jackson published “Sweet Aegis, Medusa Poems.” In 2016, she rolled out a thoughtful collection of poems in the book “Cameo,” exploring images and impressions of the Civil War, but the sentiments can also apply to divorce or other situations of discord, she says. “We seek to share something that maybe isn’t easy to communicate through conventional spoken language,” Jackson says of poets. “So we share it through may/june 2018 | 39


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rhythm, images and musicality.” Her work can be found in a variety of poetry collections and magazines dedicated to the genre. See more at westga.edu/ administration/profile.

T.M. “Mike” Brown was nominated for best novel in the Georgia Author of the Year awards. Winners will be announced in June.

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Finally, local writer TM “Mike” Brown is making waves with his book “Sanctuary” which is set in the rural Georgia town of Shiloh, with a town square anchored by a historic courthouse, a general store where local men meet to gossip, and homes with wide front porches, rocking chairs and sweet tea. Brown published this Southern-set mystery in 2017 and launched the sequel, “Testament,” earlier this year. A third book is set to follow. A resident of Grantville, Brown admits that he’s always been in love with small towns. When he traveled for work, he’d steer off the highways and follow the backroads. “There is nothing like a lunch in a local cafe, experiencing sweet tea that the spoon will stand up in because it’s so sweet, and becoming a connoisseur of fried chicken and barbecue,” he says. Brown’s books are steeped in Southern charm, culture and intrigue and, due to his background in ministry, his writing often reflects his personal moral compass. He was nominated this year for Georgia Author of the Year by the Georgia Writer’s Association for best first novel. The winning author will be announced in June. Follow him at tmbrownauthor.com. Coweta County is blessed with a wealth of good writers who are willing to rise early, work late, and put in the hours it takes to share their thoughts with others. In many ways, they didn’t choose this avocation or profession; it chose them. To support our local authors, check out their websites. Drop them a line. Write a review. Most of all, keep reading what they write. NCM

Local ladies write local history


Beers introduces new book

Along with serving their community in various ways, Newnan’s Elizabeth Beers and Norma Haynes have contributed by penning local history into posterity with their books.

Historian Elizabeth Beers recently debuted her book, “History with Elizabeth At the Carnegie.” The book contains essays covering 41 of 85 programs Beers presented at the Carnegie in her series, “History with Elizabeth,” which ran from November 2009 to December 2016. The program helped kick off the reopening of the Carnegie as a library in September 2009 following 11 months of renovation. Each month for seven years, Beers’ program on second Wednesdays featured a different aspect of Coweta County history. Her first presentation was about replacing the city street lights with replicas of the R.D. Cole Company’s original design. After that, programs ranged from stories of deep-rooted Cowetan families and historic communities to the history of local landmarks like Dunaway Gardens and the University of West Georgia. A fourth-generation Cowetan, Beers worked as an executive secretary much of her life, retiring from NCR Corporation in Peachtree City. As a professional tour guide, she has created numerous brochures about the area, including pieces promoting Civil War sites in Coweta County, Newnan’s Victorian homes and Oak Hill Cemetery. A native of Newnan, Haynes pulled together memories of her hometown in her book, “Home is Where My Heart Is,” published in 2015. Haynes started writing while she was a student at Newnan High School in 1955. Her weekly reports on high school life were printed as a section of “Tiger Tracks” in The Newnan Times-Herald, which later published columns Haynes wrote as an adult. Her penchant for reporting never escaped Haynes, and her book shares stories of history and personal memories about the Newnan of days gone by. Chapters in her book reflect on holiday celebrations, Saturdays in town,

shopping in Newnan and local industries. One chapter compares buying an automobile tag “then and now” while another explores the details of Newnan’s 150th anniversary time capsule. Haynes was the first woman to serve as a bailiff for Coweta County’s Superior and State courts. About 17 years ago, she helped establish the local Public Safety Appreciation Lunch, an annual event honoring public safety employees. Beers and Haynes both are members of Central Baptist Church in Newnan. NCM may/june 2018 | 41


Sadie Brown Keith, 8, of Newnan reads “True... sort of” to Lola, whose listening skills encourage children to read.

When Kids Read to Dogs Written by JEFFREY WARD


Throughout history, dogs have played a

vital role in the improvement of our lives. For example, dogs enhance our lives by serving

as family pets, K-9 dogs for law enforcement, bomb and drug detection dogs, guides for

the blind, therapy companions for those with PTSD, behavioral or medical disorders, and therapy dogs for building literacy.

42 | www.newnancowetamag.com

Photographed by BETH NEELY

Wait a minute. Literacy? A dog can’t read a bedtime story, but as CAREing Paws® has discovered, they are great listeners. CAREing Paws is a registered affiliate of Reading Education Assistance Dogs® (R.E.A.D.), a program of Intermountain Therapy Animals, Inc., based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Their motto says it all: Enriching the lives of others by embracing the power of the human-animal bond. In this case, that bond works wonders with the mere presence of dogs encouraging and enabling children to read. Melissa Saul has served as a passionate volunteer and advocate for CAREing Paws since the 1990s. Almost every CAREing Paws activity throughout the Central Georgia area is funneled locally through Saul, who serves as regional president of the


reading as a chore. Children find reading to an animal less intimidating, a special time that is both helpful and fun, and a positive environment in which learning is facilitated. In the library and bookstore setting, the goal of the program is to reach as many children as possible to help them develop a love of reading and to have fun. The program is open to all readers, including those who need specialized help and those who do not. In the school systems, all children’s reading levels are determined at both the beginning and the end of the school year. The data is indisputable: reading levels improve dramatically when a CAREing Paws R.E.A.D. Team is involved with the child. Sometimes they go up whole grade levels, according to Saul. Currently, there are approximately 100 dogs and partners active throughout the north and central Georgia region. That may seem like enough dog/ partner teams to go around, but Saul voices the oftheard mantra of many volunteer organizations: the waiting list for CAREing Paws appointments always outstrips the availability of volunteer dog/partner teams. “The growth of CAREing Paws continues, as does the growing need for support of our children’s literacy skills,” she concludes. “The need is ever evident and grows more critical with each passing school year. We are always looking for more volunteers.” NCM   For more information or to volunteer, visit CAREingPaws.org.

Photo courtesy of CAREing Paws

organization. Her partner in this activity is an English Labrador retriever named Annie, a therapy dog that lends both her ears to help children by listening as they read. “Children improve their reading skills in a unique, fun and safe environment,” says Saul. “When a CAREing Paws dog is listening, the environment is transformed, a child’s dread is replaced by eager anticipation, and learning occurs. The handler is a skilled facilitator, too, shifting performance pressure off the child and providing support, while the child gets the supervised reading practice necessary to build vocabulary, increase understanding of the material, and gain fluency as a reader.” A CAREing Paws dog and handler don’t just show up at an event and jump right in. Preliminary work is required. The therapy dog must be healthy, clean and carefully groomed. All CAREing Paws therapy dogs and their handlers must be fully trained for literacy activities. The Alliance for Therapy Dogs provides the insurance and registration process. What breed makes a good therapy dog? Almost all of them. The list of volunteer dogs runs the gamut from tiny to huge. The prime attributes are a sweet disposition, obedience, gentleness, patience and an eagerness to please. Because of the often sensitive nature of the child reader, only the dog, facilitator and reader are permitted inside the reading room. Saul practically glows when she describes the interaction between the dog, facilitator and child. “A lot of the magic in this program revolves around letting the child focus on the dog,” she says. “When a child thinks he or she is helping the dog understand the words and the story, the child gets the empowering feeling of being the helper and teacher rather than having the whole experience focus on the child’s lack of skill. This critical shift in focus makes an incredible difference in the flow of the child’s learning processes.” Most children who are struggling readers are often the target of some embarrassment, or a teacher might even point them out, according to Saul. “Sometimes parents do it, and they often don’t realize they’re the reason for their child’s anxiety,” she adds. “With CAREing Paws, there’s a shift from the target to the tutor. It builds the child’s confidence and that is probably the biggest benefit of the program – the confidence it gives children.” In the school system, these therapy dogs and their handlers work individually with children who test below their peers in reading skills, have low self-esteem, and view

Melissa Sauls and her CAREing Paws dog, Annie, help children build reading skills.

may/june 2018 | 43



Summer in the Sun at

YOUR own

Pool Swimming

Written by NEIL MONROE Photographed by BETH NEELY

It’s a hot summer day, traffic has been tough,

your boss has been a bear, life is simply full of stress, and you need to relax.

For many Cowetans, the source of that relaxation will come from a dip in their own backyard swimming pool. From self-installed above-ground pools to customdesigned masterpieces, pools are a regular part of life in parts of Coweta County. And according to Jeff Holloway and Shane Carr, Coweta natives who have owned and operated Boscoe’s

44 | www.newnancowetamag.com

Pools for more than 20 years, the trend toward pool ownership is accelerating locally. “The environment for home swimming pools has changed substantially in Coweta since we’ve been in the business,” says Holloway. “We’ve seen a surge in interest in pools, in general, and there’s a much broader spectrum of what people expect.” Carr notes that more and more people want customdesigned pools with shape, design, and landscaping all integrated. “This is part of a trend toward more outdoor living,

ABOVE Whether or not the kids are splashing in it, the Strains’ swimming pool is an appealing addition to their backyard landscape. RIGHT Michael and Pat Strain look forward to summer at their backyard pool in downtown Newnan.

may/june 2018 | 45


and people now want to incorporate kitchens, cabanas and fire pits to create sort of an escape in their backyard,” says Carr. “It’s cheaper than a beach house, and people are willing to invest in their backyard,” Holloway adds.

Options for Construction That investment will come with three basic choices of pool types: fiberglass, vinyl and concrete. Each has advantages and disadvantages, both in cost and design flexibility. Fiberglass pools, for example, have limited design capability. If you’re looking for a deep pool or a pool customfit for your own backyard, fiberglass may not be a good option. But because they are sold as single, prefabricated units and then installed in-ground, installation can be done quickly; the project may be completed in less than a month. Longterm maintenance costs are likely to be lower as well. Vinyl pools offer design flexibility and 46 | www.newnancowetamag.com

utilize an in-ground frame with a vinyl liner. These pools offer lower initial cost and faster installation than concrete, with many projects completed in less than two months. Maintenance may be a factor, however, as the liners generally need replacement in 10 years or less. Concrete pools offer maximum design flexibility and can be adapted easily to unique contours and landscapes. They also are built to last with low long-term maintenance requirements to the pool itself. Building costs are higher, day-today maintenance may be higher, and the construction process can take as much as six months. Still, concrete pools, using branded materials such as Gunite or Shotcrete, continue to hold consumer perception as the best long-term pool option. “In many Coweta households, people expect a concrete pool and the longer life that it offers,” says Holloway. “But buyers have a wide range of options to be sure, though nearly all of our construction now is concrete.”

The Value of a Pool Carr adds, however, that anyone wanting a swimming pool should be aware of a key fact about building one: You most likely will not get all of your investment back if you sell your house. “Building a pool absolutely adds value to your home, without question,” Carr says. “But are you going to get all your money back in a higher sale price? Not likely.” Carr advises that a percentage of one’s investment in a pool is simply a quality of life decision. “You’re going to love it, enjoy it, and that’s a critical part of the value a pool creates,” he says. When Dr. Michael Strain and his wife Pat moved from south Fayette County to downtown Newnan, they knew a pool was a necessity, even as they renovated their home that was built around 1855. “A pool has always been an important part of our life,” says Dr. Strain. “Our three sons enjoyed our pool before, and

Photo by Neil Monroe

“You’re going to love it, enjoy it, and that’s a critical part of the value a pool creates.” ­— Shane Carr

LEFT Touches like this fountain add interest to pool sites. TOP Covered areas near the pool allow shade lovers to enjoy the spot just as much as sunbathers. ABOVE Cats and water typically don’t mix, but Michael and Pat Strain’s pet enjoys hanging out by the pool.

may/june 2018 | 47

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focus of Holloway and Carr for more than 20 years. They

purchased Boscoe’s Pools from its original owner, Boscoe Wolf, more than two decades ago. Despite being in their

early 20s, the pair made the leap into business ownership and remain friends and business partners today.

“I was 23, and when I told my parents that we were

buying the company, they just said no,” Holloway recalls. “But I persisted, and Shane and I bought it on our own, thank goodness.”

Together, they’ve grown the company into a multi-


million-dollar small business with nearly a dozen employees.

“I grew up in the pool business,” says Carr. “Jeff and I

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the local market from the ground up. Thankfully, we’ve

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Even though they are the bosses today, that doesn’t mean

they won’t get their hands dirty.

“We know how to put on our work belts and go build

a pool,” says Carr. “That knowledge has helped us keep moving our business forward.”


Plan Ahead If you plan to build a pool, one key point of advice from


Holloway and Carr: Move quickly. After you’ve picked a builder, you will have to work with the schedule of

that builder and then wait through a sometimes-lengthy

construction process. If you start now, there’s a good chance your pool can be ready for the start of the 2019 swimming season.

“Most builders are working on pools now that were

contracted in 2017,” says Holloway. “Everyone has a lead time. If we have a fall start, it’s a race to be ready for the

spring of the following year. I’d advise anyone to keep that

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Start now with a vision, share it with your family and

then a local pool contractor, and look forward to spending hot days next summer at your own backyard pool. NCM

before & after

Losing old weight, gaining new life Written and Photographed by SARAH CAMPBELL


Few personal transformations are as visible and public as dramatic weight loss. For Cowetans James Sennett and Priscilla Espinoza, their significant recent weight loss only came after many years of gaining, losing, and gaining it all back—and then some. “I was always very good at losing weight,” says Espinoza. “I had no problem going to the weight loss doctor.” She’d get a prescription for an appetite suppressant, restrict herself to 1,000 calories a day, and the pounds would fall off. “Of course you’re going to lose weight,” she says. “You eat next to nothing. But you stop taking that medicine, and you’re hungry. You lose 40 pounds and gain 50, or lose 50 and gain 60.”

BEFORE: Below, James Sennett poses with his wife, Carolyn, before his transformation. AFTER: At right, Sennett is healthier and more energetic after meeting his weight loss goal.

Photo submitted

may/june 2018 | 49

before & after

When Sennett remarried in 2008, he was 52 years old. He thought that with being married, especially to a thin and active woman, he’d naturally start losing weight. It didn’t work out that way. He joined Weight Watchers and lost 60 pounds in the first 18 months, “then I spent the next six or seven years gaining it all back with interest,” says Sennett. “I had periods where I would lose 20 or 30 pounds, but inevitably I would start gaining again and the overall curve was always up.” Two years ago, Sennett weighed 20 pounds more than when he first joined Weight Watchers. But things finally clicked. “For some people, it takes eight months for it to kick in; some people, it takes eight weeks,” says Sennett. “I took eight years.”

“For some people, it takes eight months for it to kick in; some people, it takes eight weeks. I took eight years.” ­— James Sennett

In his weight loss program, “they talk about the why. The how doesn’t matter so much,” Sennett says. “Every fat person in the world knows how to lose weight. Like every fat person, I’ve been in and out of every diet plan in the world.” For Sennett, his why was he wanted “the world to fit.” “When you’re morbidly obese like I was for so long, you get used to having to make adjustments,” he says. He couldn’t ride most amusement park rides and had to ask for seat belt extensions on planes. He didn’t like being able to shop for clothes only at certain places — and having to settle for 50 | www.newnancowetamag.com

whatever they had. He was afraid to sit in a booth at restaurants. He recalls a time in his life when he would pick up a dozen donuts and a bottle of milk and eat the entire dozen in the car before he got home. “It scares me now to think of the way I used to eat,” he says. From his high of 367 pounds, Sennett was down to 242 in early March. He’s still got about 40 more pounds to go to reach his goal weight. As he started to pare down, the first major change Sennett noticed was being able to cross his legs at the knees. “I started to notice the world is starting to fit,” he said. And his “why” became: “I like the way the world is fitting. And there are more fits to come.” Recently, Sennett stopped by the Weight Watchers office to have a meeting with the leader. He was dressed in normal clothes, not his usual weigh-in outfits. At weigh-in, most people wear the lightest-weight clothes they have, “and you take off whatever won’t get you arrested,” Sennett joked. The weight loss leader remarked on how good he looked: “You walked in and I hardly recognized you. You look normal.” That meant the world to Sennett. “All my life I have felt conspicuous,” he says. “When you’re grossly obese, that is the way you feel all the time. You stand out wherever you are — and not in a good way.” And now, that’s his why. “I like not standing out,” he says. “I’m just like everybody else.”

would fade away. As she got older, losing the weight got harder, and she always gained it back. Espinoza began to research bariatric surgery for weight loss and found that studies show a lifetime of gaining and losing “kills your metabolism” and makes future weight loss more difficult. She started following people’s weight loss journeys on Instagram and asked one woman how she had managed to lose so much weight. That woman talked to her about the difference in motivation and discipline: “You’ll be motivated many, many times through your life, but it comes and goes. Once you are disciplined to a point where you eat correctly and exercise, it becomes a lifestyle as opposed to ‘Oh, I’m motivated right now.’” Espinoza started looking more closely at the Instagram photos of another woman who had gotten bariatric surgery, and she made an appointment to start the process. It was one of those moments of motivation. “I was like, I’m going to call Monday, I’m going to do this, I’m tired of being fat, I’m tired of being unhealthy,” she recalls. She had been researching

Espinoza’s Story Always on the heavy side, Espinoza says that, through the years, she would have “great moments of motivation” in her weight loss and exercise regimen. “I would buy every healthy food I could imagine, new workout clothes, new shoes, got to the gym every day for a week, make healthy choices,” she recalls. “But pretty soon, I’m like, this isn’t fun anymore.” And the motivation

Photo submitted

Sennett’s Story

BEFORE: Above, Priscilla Espinoza tried different ways to lose weight. AFTER: At right, undergoing bariatric surgery and maintaining a healthy lifestyle helped Espinoza meet her weight goal.

“Of course you’re going to lose weight. You eat next to nothing. But you stop taking that medicine, and you’re hungry. You lose 40 pounds and gain 50, or lose 50 and gain 60.” ­— Priscilla Espinoza

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bariatric surgery for a long time, but there was something about seeing another’s success that made her feel she could accomplish the same. She chose the gastric sleeve type of bariatric surgery. “They take your stomach from the size of a football to the size of a banana,” she explains, noting that gastric sleeve is different from a gastric bypass surgery, which creates a stomach pouch and reattaches the intestines, bypassing most of the stomach. With gastric sleeve, the stomach’s connections to the esophagus and intestines are not affected. As part of her insurance requirements, Espinoza underwent tests and three months of a surgeon-supervised weight loss program. A psychological exam also was required with an evaluation to consider whether a client is psychologically prepared for the changes that come after surgery. “They want to make sure that you don’t have the mindset that every single thing that is wrong in your life is because you’re overweight, and they want to make sure that whatever is causing you to overeat, you have it under control,” says Espinoza. Because while the surgery makes it easier to lose weight, it’s not magic, according to Espinoza, who started changing her diet as her surgery neared. In her research, she found that people who didn’t make changes beforehand would end up shell-shocked after the surgery. “I cut out chips and soda and sweet tea,” she says. “I started cutting out carbs.” She didn’t change the way she cooked for her family but changed the way she ate. If she made tacos, she skipped the shell. For spaghetti, she ate the sauce with meat but not the noodles. Cutting out sweet tea was the hardest. “I grew up in a household were we had two gallons of sweet tea in the fridge at all times,” she recalls. These days, Espinoza eats just about whatever she wants – but not much of it. “The more slowly I eat, the faster I fill up and the less I can eat,” she says. “They tell you that you’ve got to learn to eat slowly. It really is about eating until you’re full and not overeating.” Since her surgery in November 2016, Espinoza has lost 92 pounds. She likes being able to go to a clothing store and know the shirt she picks out will fit. For her, the biggest difference is when she walks up to a building with glass windows and sees her reflection. “Sometimes I don’t even recognize that’s me because I’m so used to my reflection, my shadow on the ground being this big person,” she says. “There are still days that I feel like the girl that weighs almost 300 pounds. I still have to remind myself that I’m not that 300-pound person. I’m nowhere near that anymore.” NCM

52 | www.newnancowetamag.com



Literacy in Coweta County Photo by Susan Crutchfield


Elizabeth Chambers and her son, Case, read together during preschool storytime at the Carnegie Library.


A young mother reads softly to

her baby, knowing how pleasant

this interaction is for both of them.

And so begins the fragile and often

misunderstood development of literacy. The mother knows what gives her the enjoyment in this activity, but her baby benefits in ways of which the mother may not be aware.

Multiple studies prove most infants who are read to at an early age acquire more sophisticated literacy skills and tend to be more successful in life-coping skills. But what about the child who is deprived of this intimate activity? Many children are born into poverty, single parent families or limited social circumstances which deny them the early acquisition of literacy skills. Let’s get the bad news out of the way. There are alarming and universally acknowledged statistics regarding the failure of children to achieve literacy at an early age. The most recent study on Georgia literacy, compiled in 2017 by the Deloitte Research Group, shows one in six adults are at or below the low-literacy level. The same research shows that 65 percent of third-grade students cannot read or write may/june 2018 | 53


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proficiently; this is a common benchmark for literacy difficulties throughout life. Children of low-literacy parents have a 72 percent chance of ending up functionally illiterate, according to Deloitte, which cites the poverty rate for high school dropouts is twice that of high school graduates and projects that, by 2018, as many as 88 percent of all Georgia jobs will require a high school diploma. The Deloitte study goes on to state that half of all teen mothers never graduate from high school, 70 percent of Georgia inmates do not have a high school diploma, and 66 percent of incarcerated adults are considered functionally illiterate. And, in order to enlist in the U.S. military, a prospect now must have a high school diploma. The cumulative result of all this is a $1.26 billion dollar drain in lost tax revenue and increased social services costs, not to mention the misery of those caught up in these statistics. Now for the good news. Coweta County school students are performing above the national and Georgia average on the reading and writing portions of both the SAT and ACT. The entire county’s cumulative literacy level is at or above both the nation and Georgia. Is there room for improvement? Always. Several organizations here in Coweta County think so and are making strides to improve the literacy rates while often flying under the radar of public awareness.

Puddle Jumpers Let’s begin with the most vulnerable group—children from ages 2 to 3. The Coweta County School System is keenly aware of the vital need to get children prepared for school at an earlier age. Puddle Jumpers is an early intervention program driven by teams of volunteer educators from the Coweta County School System and is the first connection to the school system for many parents. Puddle Jumpers encourages parents to interact with their children in a series of coordinated learning experiences. Executive Director Janie Cantrell says this is not an actual literacy program but serves as a solid foundation for literacy by the time a child enters the Coweta County School System.

Ferst Foundation The best bang for your buck, the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy seeks to place age-appropriate reading books in the home of every child in the county under five years of age. Chairperson Pat Tidwell and her small but intrepid band of volunteers have placed books in about 3,000 of the 8,000 Coweta County homes with children

54 | www.newnancowetamag.com

Photo by Susan Crutchfield

CLICK Certified Literate is Coweta’s Key, or CLICK, tackles adult literacy in the county. This organization, although multi-faceted, is primarily in the business of providing GEDs for Coweta residents. How successful are they? According to CLICK Educational Director Dianne McConnell, CLICK is No. 1 in the state at awarding general education diplomas (GEDs). The local nonprofit operates with a volunteer staff of 12 to 15 workers. McConnell says the primary focus for CLICK is shepherding adults from all backgrounds through the program in order to award GEDs. According to records compiled by the Coweta County School System, the local high school graduation rate has increased year-overyear from 78.6 percent in 2013 to 85.5 percent in 2017, which is five points higher than the cumulative Georgia rate of 80.5 percent. It is that stubborn last

ABOVE Preschool Storytime at the Carnegie is a joyful time for learning disguised as fun. BELOW Patrick Jackson participates in a storytime activity that brings books to life. Photo by Susan Crutchfield

under the age of five. Tidwell cites stats that reveal 61 percent of low-income families do not have a single age-appropriate book for young children in the household, a hard marker for future literacy difficulties in school. When asked what are the greatest needs for the local Ferst Foundation chapter, Tidwell is swift with her response. “We need more volunteers because none of us are getting any younger and we need to replace ourselves,” she says. “And we need funds to distribute books and organize our charitable community activities.” Having neither an office nor an address, this is a bare bones operation that relies totally on volunteer work. A donation of $36 places a book into a child’s home each month for one year.

Photo by Beth Neely

Photo by Beth Neely


English-as-Second Language teacher Victoria Reece, left, helps students Francisca Saray and Wei Wang build English literacy skills.

Ma del S. Mesa Rincón practices English literacy skills at CLICK classes.

“Adult education is just about the best investment a community can make for itself.” ­— Karen Kirchler

10 to 15 percent of the Coweta County dropout population that CLICK targets. Karen Kirchler, vice president of Adult Education at West Georgia Technical College, is concerned about public misperceptions of the high school dropout. “Most high school dropouts are essentially good, conscientious people who must leave school for valid and compelling needs,” says Kirchler. “Reasons vary, but many need to go to work to help support their family, attend to a chronically ill family member, or assist with other vital family issues.” West Georgia Tech offers English-asSecond-Language courses and partners with the Goodwill Center at Thomas Crossroads. “Adult education is just about the best investment a community can make for itself,” says Kirchler.

Photo by Beth Neely

Carnegie Library

Teacher Kathy Ellison, left, congratulates graduate Margie Hunt on completing her GED. 56 | www.newnancowetamag.com

Literacy programs at the Carnegie Library are beneficial for all ages. On the southwest corner of courthouse square in Newnan, the century-old building offers treasures for young and old. The library offers books, magazines, CDs and DVDs, which can be checked out on the honor system. Weekly literacy-related activities include preschool storytimes,

writing classes for children and adults, and once-monthly sessions where children can read to therapy dogs. Senior Carnegie Assistant Lonne Cumbie, who is in charge of preschool storytime activities, explains her hope in the program. “The goal of Story Time here at the Carnegie is to promote early literacy, but to then reach beyond that,” she says. “We want to instill a love of reading while also encouraging social interaction, creativity and listening skills.” Carnegie Librarian Susan Crutchfield voices an oft-heard plea of those who work tirelessly volunteering to improve literacy in the community. “I would love to see many more children and young adults take advantage of our programs,” says Crutchfield.

To Help Out If you’ve read this article with comprehension, you are plenty able to help others hone their reading skills. Whether you volunteer for a few hours each month, or offer a monetary contribution to any of these organizations, your input will help reap a harvest of incremental dividends for literacy in Coweta County.   Contact cowetaferst.org,

clickcoweta.org or newnancarnegie.com.

Putting words on paper is the goal of writers who encourage each other in their work.

For the Love of

Writing Written by NEIL MONROE | Photographed by BETH NEELY

f you think you may be the next great American novelist, short story writer, or poet — or simply want to improve the entries in your daily diary while engaging with highly creative people — Coweta County offers aspiring writers impressive avenues of learning, education and support. The idea of sharing your thoughts and work with others may be daunting, but with these groups, you’ll be among friends who share your creativity and interest in all forms of writing. In fact, the underlying theme of each group is to help each participant work through the sometimes-difficult process of writing, provide feedback at a level comfortable for each writer and, perhaps most importantly, have fun along the way.

At least three active writers groups currently meet in Coweta County. The Senoia Writing Group meets at the Senoia Library and often adds another monthly lunch meeting. In Roscoe, the writers group meets at Three Hearts Farm. The Georgia Writers’ Alliance meets at Newnan Health Mart and hosts author events. In addition, Alex McRae, an author and well-known columnist for The Newnan Time-Herald, has held free writer’s workshops at the Carnegie Library in Newnan, with a new series of workshops tentatively planned for later this year. “I would advise anyone who is serious about writing to meet other writers,” says McRae. “Talking to other writers on a regular basis and having them gently critique your work is a must for a may/june 2018 | 57

Senoia Writing Group

Senoia Writing Group Spans Genres Kim Sullivan, who started the Senoia Writing Group four years ago, says the members explore all avenues of writing, from nonfiction to fantasy to current events. “We have a very active, open group that is open to everyone with a passion for creativity,” says Sullivan. “We encourage anyone with an interest in writing to join us, if only for a single meeting. We sometimes will have a guest speaker, or a specific topic for discussion, but we’ll always discuss work that our members bring to the group.” That work spans a broad spectrum of genres. For example, Sullivan herself is a published novelist. She’s written romance and mystery novels, but her 58 | www.newnancowetamag.com

Photo by Lauren Maguire

writer who wants to get better, even if it means having your ego bruised from time to time.” McRae says he created the Carnegie classes in response to talented wouldbe writers who kept asking questions about how to write or how to get better at writing. “I’ve met some wonderful writers and hope I’ve helped smooth out the path for newer writers,” says McRae. “Best of all, I’m having a ball teaching the classes — and learning quite a bit, too.” For more information on McRae’s workshops, contact the Newnan Carnegie Library at 770.683.1347 or newnancarnegie.com. Members of the Senoia Writing Group recently celebrated each other’s writings with a drink by the pool. They are, from left, Sandra Cox, Jason Goff, Fred Springer, Lynn Horton, Kimberly Sullivan and Charles Bowen.

newest work, released in April, has an intriguing local theme. Titled “Bigfoot CSI,” it revolves around the investigation of the death of a legendary Bigfoot in, of all places, Senoia. Member Lauren McGuire is working on a fantasy trilogy. Jason Goff, who grew up in Germany, is writing about encounters he had with neo-Nazis while living in Germany. Lynn Horton is a columnist for a Fayette County newspaper, and Betsy Van der Hoek is working on a medieval murder mystery. Van der Hoek’s dad, Fred Springer, has written Twilight Zone-themed stories that, according to McGuire, are “crazy cool.” Ed Medlin, a retired police chief and attorney, says the writer’s group has greatly enhanced his hobby of writing short stories. “It’s a very supportive group,” says Medlin. “And the feedback, which will be as pointed as you want it to be, is helpful in getting through the actual process of writing.” Contact the Senoia Public Library at 770.599.3537 for info on the Senoia Writing Group, or visit Kim Sullivan’s website at kosbornsullivan.com to send her an email.

Three Hearts Farm

Sullivan Pens New Novel, “Bigfoot CSI”

Writers Share and Compare at Three Hearts Farm

When Meredith Wilson retired as a teacher at The Heritage School almost three years ago, she sought an outlet for what she calls her great love: writing. With a simple Facebook post, she attracted 12 people interested in creating a writer’s group. Eight stayed. “We clicked,” she says, and today they remain the core of the group that meets at Wilson’s Three Hearts Farm in Roscoe. Group member Martha Ann Parks believes part of the group’s success is the close bond of its members. “To read and share something can be very personal, and you have to trust the people who are hearing it,” says Parks. “We are together as a group, and I believe that is vital to our success.” A typical monthly meeting includes what Wilson calls “quick writes” centered on a topic chosen by the group in a prior meeting. Sometimes, they focus on various objects, such as a Graceland pencil or items members bring from home. The Three Hearts group has a diverse range of projects currently underway. Patti Willard is working on a memoir, Elsa Sibley is writing a children’s book, and Maureen Haley, a surgeon, is writing a medicalbased mystery. Going forward, Wilson believes there is opportunity to create writer’s workshops at Three Hearts Farm, along the lines of the art workshops conducted there by David Boyd Jr. “We believe hosting workshops here would be a great way for us to

Meredith Wilson and Trahlyta Miller share ideas on a topic at a recent group meeting in Roscoe.

Written by NEIL MONROE


im Sullivan, who founded the Senoia Writing Group about four years ago, is also a published author with a broad spectrum of titles to her credit. Holder of a Ph.D. in political science, Sullivan has authored nonfiction titles such as “Slobodan Milosevic’s Yugoslavia” and novels such as “Warning Signs,” an adult-themed suspense tale. But it’s her latest effort that likely will be near and dear to local Coweta residents. “Bigfoot CSI” is a young adult novel that centers on the death of a Bigfoot in Senoia and the effort to determine what happened. The book’s back cover carries this description: “If a Bigfoot dies in the forest, but no one is there to see, does it still leave a body?” “When 16-year-old Piper O’Connell moved with her family to the quaint town of Senoia, Georgia, she never expected to find a community of the legendary Bigfoot in her own backyard. Now, a few short months later, she is playing a vital role in keeping the creatures’ secret from human hunters who would expose them. Not that she wants the job. It’s dangerous, the hours stink, and Bigfoot look down on the “scrubs” who dispose of their dead.” “The job’s only perk is Sam, her tall, dark, handsome and genetically complicated partner. When someone close to Sam is murdered, Piper must find the killer before Piper herself becomes the next victim and the race of Bigfoot is discovered.” The book is available through most standard booksellers. Visit Sullivan’s website at kosbornsullivan.com. may/june 2018 | 59

Local ladies meet monthly at Three Hearts Farm in Roscoe to explore their writing talents. Preparing to get down to business are, from left, Patti Willard, Maureen Haley, Meredith Wilson, Trahlyta Miller, Elsa Sibley and Martha Ann Parks.

expand what we’re doing,” she says. “We’re going to work toward that goal in the coming year.” For notification of upcoming writing workshops at Three Hearts Farm, send contact information to Meredith Wilson at mwilsonster@gmail.com.

Writer’s group member Elsa Sibley is working on a children’s book.

The Georgia Writer’s Alliance, a group of local authors, meets monthly at the Newnan Health Mart on Baker Road; the pharmacy owners, Suzette and Jan Smit, host the group. “Suzette is an author as well. She and Jan are tremendous supporters,” says Alliance member and author Shanon Grey. The Alliance has several Meet the Authors events planned in 2018, sponsored by Moreland’s Cultural Arts Alliance. They will be held at Moreland’s welcome center, a gas station in the process of being restored on Highway 29. “When the welcome center is completed, it will be the location for local authors to assemble and meet readers, along with others interested in the art of creative writing,” says local author and historical researcher Sid Brown. Until then, he notes, the events will take place at the Moreland Hometown Heritage Museum. Authors at the Alliance events are local and mostly self-published, according to Brown, who says their varied backgrounds include technical editor, pilot, teachers, business owners, historical researchers, and a retired law 60 | www.newnancowetamag.com

Photo courtesy Georgia Writers’ Alliance

Georgia Writers' Alliance

The Georgia Writers’ Alliance meets monthly at Newnan Health Mart and has several Meet the Author events scheduled this year. Writers are seated, from left, Shanon Grey, Tamala Callaway and Suzette Smit and, standing, Sidney A. Brown.






enforcement professional.

Meet the Author events are set for July

4, Oct. 20 and Dec. 8. The July 4th event



coincides with the popular Independence Day BBQ , with times to be announced

soon. The October and December events start at 11 a.m.

For more about the Alliance or its

events, contact Brown at colsid@ numail.org.

A Brand New Group The area’s newest writers group, Tribe

of Scribes, kicked off with its first official meeting in April. The group is open to

writers of all genres and welcomes new members. They meet at the Carnegie

Library on first and third Wednesdays from 2:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. For info,

contact suedavis195@yahoo.com. NCM

www.TheBear925. com may/june 2018 | 61

BOOK CLUB: Connecting through the Written Word

Photographed by BETH NEELY

Photo courtesy Gayle Swafford


Guest author Beverly Pace, in white chair, traveled from Montgomery, Ala., to lead the book club discussion after the Page Turners read her book, “Song of Alabama.”


Janice Enlow is a founding member of Page Turners, a book club whose members all attend Newnan Church of Christ. She remembers how the book club started in 2009. “A woman at one of our church’s ladies retreats suggested we start a book club as a way to get to know one another better,” says Enlow, a Sharpsburg

62 | www.newnancowetamag.com

resident. “We’ve been going strong ever since.” The club’s 20 members take turns leading discussions and hosting meetings. “Each December we vote on the books for the whole next year,” says Enlow. “We read both fiction and nonfiction books and try to have a variety, some heavier and a couple more light-hearted.” Enlow typically orders the books in bulk to save money, although some club members use E-books or

Photo courtesy Page Turners

Members of Newnan’s Page Turners book club visited Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville after reading Tamara Alexander’s book, “To Whisper Her Name,” which was set at that location. Book club members are, from left, Helen White, Lynn Spake, Judy Vires, Cleo Young, Janice Enlow, Sheryl Reagan, Mickey Bailey and Gayle Swafford.

audiobooks or borrow from the library. What started as a way to get better acquainted has turned into so much more. The Page Turners travelled together to St. Simon’s Island after reading “The Lighthouse” by Eugenia Price and to the Swan Coach House in Atlanta after reading “The Swan House” by Elizabeth Musser. They have hosted five guest authors and took road trips to book signings by Charles Martin and Janisse Ray. Enlow says club member add “personal touches” to book club gatherings when possible. “For example, when we read ‘The Blue Bottle Club,’ the discussion leader brought a variety of blue bottles she’d collected over the years and let each of us take one home,” says Enlow. “When we read ‘The Girls of Atomic City,’ one of our members invited her sister to come from Tennessee and they showed photos from

their time growing up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.”

A Growing Trend There’s seems to be a burgeoning interest in book clubs in Coweta County where about a dozen groups currently meet and other clubs are forming. Some of the groups have been around longer than Enlow’s Page Turners, including the Senoia Literary Society which started meeting in 2003. Others are almost brand new, like the Monday Evening Book Club, which held its inaugural meeting March 12. Suzanne Helfman of the Senoia Literary Society, says their members have “the common interests of the love of reading and socializing with one another,” a quality that all the book clubs share. Like most of the local clubs, the Senoia group meets in members’ homes, sharing coffee and refreshments as they converse

about their latest read. The History Book Club meets at Powell Branch Library in Newnan and has read 24 books since forming six years ago, according to Powell Manager and club member Bill Skelton. “We generally talk about each book by discussing the author’s writing style and the readability of the book,” says Skelton. “I try to have a series of discussion questions prepared, however we don’t always adhere strictly to these.” Books the group has read include “Cleopatra” by Stacy Schiff and “John Adams” by David McCullough. Books on tap for 2018 are “Killing England” by Bill O’Reilly (July 12) and “The Coldest Winter” by David Halberstam (October 4). One of the area’s newest clubs, the Monday Evening Book Club, got started the way many do. “Two of us — new friends and each may/june 2018 | 63

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excited to find a kindred soul — thought this would be a wonderful way to spend more time together, talking about our favorite things: books,” says member Lynn Horton. A few clubs are co-ed such as the Newnan Carnegie Literary Circle and several Coweta County Public Library book clubs. But most are for women only with members bound by a common thread — the love of the written word and a story well told. It’s a sisterhood that embraces Mark Twain’s philosophy: “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: This is the ideal life.”

Books and bougiE Nineteen women who call their group Books and Bougie just wrapped up their first year as a book club. Spearheaded by Ashley Getwan, the group started meeting in April 2017 to share a love of reading and to socialize. Members take turns hosting the meets in their homes. Books and Bougie members Haley Hood, Katie Hammond, Sydney Sherrod, Emily Gates and Getwan collaborated to answer NewnanCoweta Magazine’s questions about their club. Q. What type of books do you read? A. We read a variety of books across many genres. We tend to lean more towards thrillers with a female main character, but we select books based off member suggestions. Q. How are the discussions moderated? A. The host serves as the “literary referee.” Along with opening her home, she also is responsible for encouraging conversation and

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Meeting at the home of Emily Westergreen, members of Newnan book club Books and Bougie discuss their latest read, clockwise from left: Meredith Barron, Emily Gates, Jessica Cheever, Westergreen, Eileen Walls, Katie Hammond, Ashley Getwan, Katie Blount, Linzi Cochran, Meredith Brooks and Haley Hood.

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keeping everyone on topic. Members are encouraged to bring in questions, comments and thoughts they had while reading the book. Q. What have been some of your favorite titles and why? A. “Luckiest Girl Alive” was a favorite because of the plot twists. “Sharp Objects” was memorable because it was so disturbing. The first book we read was “The Woman in Cabin 10,” which was a page-turner and a great way to kick off our new club. Q. How about a title or two that some members liked while others did not? A. It seems like everyone enjoys reading something they haven’t read before, and there haven’t been many that anyone strongly disliked. If we had to choose one book, it would probably be “The Nest” because it was more anecdotal. The book for the month prior, “The Woman in Cabin 10,” was so intense. Q. How does your club operate as far as meetings? A. We use the Perfect Potluck website for members to sign up to bring a dish. The hostess often incorporates the book we are discussing by employing fun decorations or other special features, like food or drink names, centerpieces, etc., around her home for the meeting. We get there early and stay to clean up. It’s something we all look forward to each month. Q. Describe your club and its members?

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perspective each member brings to the group. We have a wide range of ages, early/mid-20s to late 30s, and professions — stay-at-home moms, real estate agents, teachers, flight attendants and more. Collectively, we are supportive, encouraging and love our community. Q. Is your club open to new members? A. Hosting 15-plus members in our homes requires some craftiness in terms of having enough space. We also have found that a relatively small group is more conducive to fostering thoughtful and deepdiving conversation. In order to keep our discussion on topic and give everyone the opportunity to express their opinions, we have reached our membership capacity.


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With new books published at rapidfire pace these days, thanks to selfpublishing methods and an increase in area publishing houses, the fodder for book club meetings should never go away, leaving book clubs here to stay for decades to come. But at least one local book club will trade its monthly book review for a movie in May when they visit an area theater to watch “Book Club.” Starring Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen, the comedy follows four book club members whose lives are turned upside down after reading “Fifty Shades of Grey.” According to the movie summary, “they inspire each other to make their next chapter the best chapter.” That could be said, too, of book clubs in Coweta County.


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One of the area’s newest book clubs is on air. Ryan O’Neal of Newnan radio station WQEE 99 Rock/The Key 99.1 FM calls the new radio show “Spilling the Beans.” The audio book club provides conversation about and recommendations for good books. On Mondays from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., Spilling the Beans features local author Lee St. John as host to guests of all ages and backgrounds who share their experience with a book through its plot and characters. Listeners get a live review of a book before buying it for their night table, Nook or Kindle. “We hope to encourage people to pick up a book rather than turning on the TV or noodling around on the Internet,” says O’Neal. St. John, a retired English teacher and published author of humorous essays, agrees. “The audience will enjoy the banter between guests and host over coffee,” she says, “and hopefully they will find that reading can be fun and informative.”

“We hope to encourage people to pick up a book rather than turning on the TV or noodling around on the Internet.” ­— Ryan O'Neal

An Afternoon




The Reading 6.




4. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP 1. Reading Circle member Ann Gilbert presents the April program on Colonial Williamsburg. 2. Betty Smith, in green, and Pat Farmer, right, engage in Reading Circle activities. 3. Melba Sport, 93, is the oldest and longest-standing member of the Reading Circle. 4. From left, Carol Harless, Courtenay Budd, Martha Ann Parks, Charlotte Harvey and Liz Camp attend a spring meeting. 5. Carol Harless absorbs information presented at a recent Reading Circle meeting. 6. Audrey Wright leads a discussion on “favorite things,” this year’s Reading Circle theme. 5.

may/june 2018 | 67

Coweta County Book and Literary Clubs ABC Book Club: Any genre, women only, times and dates vary, meets at member homes. Contact Ana Ivey, ana@ anascontentstudio.com. Barnes & Noble Book Club: Starting soon. Contact 770.304.2114. The Book Club: Any genre, women teachers, times and dates vary, meets at member homes. Contact Tina Marsh, tmar320@gmail.com. Books and Bougie: Any genre, women only, meets monthly at member homes. Currently filled to capacity. History Book Club: Historical nonfiction, co-ed, 6:30-7:45 p.m., meets the first Thursday of each quarter (Jan., April, July and Oct.) at Powell Library, Newnan. Contact Bill Skelton, 770.253.3625. Coweta County Library Inspirational Book Club: Fiction/nonfiction, co-ed, 6:30-7:30 p.m., second Tuesday, Central Library, Newnan. Contact Meg Clark, 770.683.2052. Coweta County Library Page Turners: Popular fiction and classics, co-ed, 6:30-7:30 p.m., third Thursday, Central Library, Newnan. Contact Machelle Hill, 770.683.2052. Monday Evening Book Club: Any genre, women only, meets 6:30 p.m. second Monday, Willow Dell subdivision, Senoia. Contact Lynn Horton, mizlynn00@ yahoo.com. Newnan Carnegie Literary Circle: Any genre, co-ed, 9:30-11 a.m., fourth Monday, Carnegie Library, Newnan. Contact Carnegie Library, 770.683.1347. Page Turners: Any genre, women only, times and dates vary, meets at member homes. Contact Janice Enlow, Janice_Enlow@fca.com. Senoia Literary Society: Any genre, women only, meets Tuesday mornings once a month at member homes. Currently filled to capacity. 68 | www.newnancowetamag.com


It’s 3:30 on a Thursday afternoon in March, and Audrey Wright has the floor in one of the meeting rooms at Wesley Woods. It’s her turn to deliver a program based on this year’s Reading Circle theme, “favorite things.” The Reading Circle was started by six Newnan women in 1909 as a ladies-only group. More than a century later, it’s as enmeshed in Coweta’s rich history as cotton mills and the Courthouse building. And it still meets once a month. The Reading Circle is not a traditional book club but more of a study group organized to stimulate women’s minds with presentations and discussions about current events. Their objective, stated in their original constitution, is for the “mutual improvement and pleasure of its members.” At the recent meeting, Wright shares stories, sketches and faded newspaper clippings of her family’s cabin on Lake Martin in Alabama. Her address is not only personal in nature; she also teaches lake history including tidbits of information about the Battle of Horseshoe Bend and the Trail of Tears. Melba Sport sits nearby, radiating her Southern grace and gentility like a magnolia in bloom. At 93, she’s the oldest member of The Reading Circle and the longest-standing member to date. She joined in 1981, 37 years ago. Charlotte Harvey, a Juilliard-trained pianist, isn’t too far behind. She’s 89 and has been a member since 1982. It’s one of the charms of this women’s group. When members get nominated in, they tend to stay for the long haul like live oaks rooted on a Southern plantation. Anyone who remains for 30 years or more becomes an honorary member. Wives of ministers from downtown Newnan churches also may join as honorary members. Otherwise, three members must nominate a prospective member, then the rest of the group votes. They limit their membership to 20. “Early on there was a waiting list,” says Rita Brown, a Coweta cattle farmer and Reading Circle member since 1989. “Early on” meaning the turn of the 20th century, back when women were fighting for the right to vote, educational opportunities, and careers beyond teaching, nursing and homemaking. “They really wanted to learn and share current events with each other,” says Brown. They still do. The Circle, as they like to call themselves, has no religious or political affiliation and their monthly programs steer clear of controversy. Each year, members decide on a theme like U.S. presidents, poetry or Southern literature. Each month, one member makes a presentation based on the theme and afterward the group discusses current events. These retired professionals, including former school teachers and principals, look forward to Circle meetings, not only to socialize but to strengthen their intellect, just as the group has done for the past 109 years.



Local Columnists share their writing experience and expertise Written by JACKIE KENNEDY

Columnists with The Newnan Times-Herald bring different strengths to the page. With varying backgrounds and careers, these men and women of words routinely share their thoughts and feelings with readers. While some of their columns are uplifting and humorous, others are thought-provoking and challenging. Either way, local newspaper columnists are well-read writers in Newnan and Coweta County and have tips to share with those looking to improve their writing or have their work published.

Winston Skinner

News editor for The Newnan-Times Herald, Winston Skinner has worked at the newspaper for almost four decades and started writing a regular column in 1982. His columns have been peppered with stories about his family, and readers often feel they know his wife and children. Today, Skinner and his wife, Lynn, live in Newnan’s CollegeTemple historic district, “close enough for me to walk to work if I’m not lazy,” says Skinner.

NCM: Where were you raised and when/how did you get to Coweta County? Skinner: I was born in Newnan and spent my early years in the country between Moreland and Luthersville. While I was growing up, my family lived in Athens, Brunswick, Colbert and Waverly Hall before moving back to Moreland. My wife and I married in college and lived in Colbert and Leesburg before coming back to Luthersville in 1982 and then Newnan in 1993. NCM: Have you published a book? Skinner: Yes. “Duty Patience and Endurance: The Trammells of Meriwether and Harris,” family history, 1977; “Wherein God Dwells,” church history, 1992; and “A Centennial History of Central Baptist Church,” 1997. NCM: When did you start writing? Skinner: Almost from the moment I could. I remember writing stories and putting together little books with construction paper covers in fourth grade. NCM: Describe your writing process. Skinner: After all these years, it’s almost automatic. Find a topic, write, edit.

Winston Skinner, right, chats with Times-Herald reporters, from left, Taylor Robins and Sarah Campbell.

may/june 2018 | 69

closerlook NCM: What would you say to encourage people who wish to be published in print? Skinner: Keep trying. There are more options than ever. If you are focused on getting paid, you will miss out on opportunities for experience and for learning how to write better.

Alex McRae

Alex McRae has been writing a regular column for The Newnan Times-Herald since 1994. It now appears in Sunday’s newspaper. Raised in Louisiana and Alabama, McRae moved to Newnan in 1978 to teach school. NCM: When did you start writing? McRae: High school.

NCM: What is your favorite thing you’ve written? Skinner: That’s almost like asking me which of my grandchildren I like best. I enjoy writing — period. I am probably most proud of the Central Baptist history and of several things I’ve written for The Times-Herald, including columns, history pieces and my school board coverage a few years ago.

NCM: Describe your writing process. McRae: Desperation comes before inspiration. Rewriting always takes more time than writing.

NCM: What is the most difficult thing about writing a routine newspaper column? Skinner: Finding the time.

NCM: What is your favorite thing you’ve written? McRae: Impossible to say.

NCM: Tell us something about writing that those who do not write might find surprising. Skinner: For newspaper folk, it is a craft. Sometimes, it rises to art, but you have to be prepared to write when you get to work. As my longtime co-worker, Angela McRae, put it, “Newspaper reporters don’t get writer’s block.”

NCM: What would you say to encourage people who wish to be published in print? McRae: Look for small publications to start with in order to build a resume of published clips.

NCM: What is the most difficult thing about writing a routine newspaper column? McRae: Thinking of something to write about. After more than 2,000 columns, it gets harder by the day. NCM: Tell us something about writing that those who do not write might find surprising. McRae: It’s very hard work.

Lee St. John

A member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the Atlanta Writers Club, Lee St. John started writing a column for The Newnan Times-Herald in January 2017. Her column appears on Wednesdays. She and her husband recently purchased a 1929 Tudor Revival in Newnan’s historic district. NCM: Have you published a book? St. John: Two years ago I self-published three books which are being turned into an updated traditionally published book. I just signed a contract with Bienvenue Press in Louisiana. This book will be titled, “She’s a Keeper! Cockamamie Memoirs from a Hot Southern Mess” and contains the best stories from the past two years and my Newnan Times-Herald published essays. I still self-publish “She’s a Keeper! Cracked Compositions from a Southern Girl’s Classroom.” NCM: When did you start writing? St. John: I started writing in 1970-1971. My hometown newspaper selected me as a high school senior representative to cover school news with a weekly column. In college, I majored in communications, which included all kinds of writing for the university, and when I came home for the summers from college, I continued writing for my hometown paper, The Rockdale Citizen. NCM: Describe your writing process. St. John: The inspiration for my nonfiction humor essays comes from ill-timed behaviors, practical jokes, inept verbiage, wild excursions and wacky real-life personalities. Then, I make myself notes about the situation and write about it as soon as possible while it’s fresh on my mind. NCM: What would you say to encourage people who wish to 70 | www.newnancowetamag.com

be published in print? St. John: My advice: a) to Indie or wanting-to-be-published authors? Tenacity. b) On writing? Write and read a lot. c) Marketing? Step out of your comfort zone if you are not one who likes to aggrandize and self-promote. It’s something you must do. NCM: What is your favorite thing you’ve written? St. John: I have two essays that still crack me up and that people, especially of my baby boomer generation, relate to. They are about two Georgia Southerners, Jimmy Carter and Lewis Grizzard. All my stories are true, but I change the names to protect the guilty. In these cases, I did not have to. NCM: What is the most difficult thing about writing a routine newspaper column? St. John: Writing fresh and comical material is sometimes hard. If I get writer’s block, all I have to do is visit with some of my girlfriends and ask them to help me remember something funny we did, or we might even do something crazy in that moment for me to write about the next day. Stay tuned! NCM: Tell us something about writing that those who don’t write might find surprising. St. John: Here’s a good quote I came across: “Writing is like homework, really hard homework every day for the rest of your life. You want glamorous? Throw glitter at the computer screen.”

Scott Ludwig

Senoia writer Scott Ludwig has been writing a column for The Newnan Times-Herald since December 2016; his column appears in Wednesday editions. He and his wife, Cindy, moved from Peachtree City to Senoia in 2014 and enjoy the clear nighttime skies and comfort that country living offers. NCM: Have you published a book? Ludwig: I’ve written 13 books. Nine were self-published and four were published by Meyer and Meyer Publishing. My latest, “Running Out of Gas: A Lifetime Runner’s Take on Slowing Down,” was published in January. NCM: When did you start writing? Ludwig: I started writing comic books when I was in high school. My first book was published in 2007. In addition to my books and my weekly column for The Newnan Times-Herald, I write monthly columns for The Running Journal. NCM: Describe your writing process. Ludwig: My first book, “Running through my Mind,” sums up the way I write: I write my stories in my head during my morning runs and then put the words on paper later on. The stories literally run through my mind while I’m running, thus the title of the book, which also happens to be the title of my weekly column for the Newnan Times-Herald. NCM: What would you say to encourage people who wish to be published in print? Ludwig: The great thing about writing is that once you’re gone, the words you leave behind will always be there for others to enjoy. NCM: What is your favorite thing you’ve written? Ludwig: The biography of my grandson, Krischan, which was published before he was 6 years old. The book, titled “A Gift to Imagine,” will remind him of the bond he and I formed in the first five years of his life. Besides, who else can boast of having a biography written about them before they started first grade?

Colleen Sprayberry/ Miss Pearl

The Newnan Times-Herald’s newest regular columnist, Colleen Sprayberry began writing as Miss Pearl in October 2017. Her “Ask Miss Pearl” columns appear in the Sunday edition. NCM: Where were you raised and when/how did you get to Coweta County? Pearl: I was raised below the gnat line in South Georgia. I got to Newnan because I accepted a teaching job here. I liked that Newnan was close to West Georgia so that I could go to graduate school. Being close to Atlanta is also a plus, but I am a small town girl at heart. NCM: Have you published a book? Pearl: Publishing a book is on my back burner. NCM: When did you start writing? Pearl: I don’t really think of myself as a writer. I have always enjoyed writing letters. Does that count? NCM: Describe your writing process. Pearl: I think it is important that all of the questions I address appeal to a large population as opposed to a select few. The beauty of Pearl is that she gets to say what other people think but don’t say out loud. NCM: What would you say to encourage people who wish to be published in print? Pearl: Be true to yourself; don’t write what you think others want to read.

NCM: What is the most difficult thing about writing a routine newspaper column? Ludwig: Trying to outdo the column you wrote the week before. It makes writing fun—and challenging.

NCM: What is your favorite thing you’ve written? Pearl: Probably some poems that I have written for friends or special occasions.

NCM: Tell us something about writing that those who do not write might find surprising. Ludwig: No matter how good you think something is the first time you write it, let it sit for a day or two and give it a second look. You’ll be surprised how much better you can make it the second or third time around.

NCM: What is the most difficult thing about writing a routine newspaper column? Pearl: The most difficult thing for me is keeping the column free of profanity. I have a pottymouth sometimes, especially when dealing with idiots and ignorance (said with love).

may/june 2018 | 71


“Being published in print is a lot like dating in high school: Get used to being rejected.”

­— Toby Nix

NCM: Where were you raised and when/how did you get to Coweta County? Nix: I was raised in Union City and moved to the west side of Coweta County for the school system when our oldest son was a baby, in the early 2000s. NCM: Have you published a book? Nix: I recently started my own publishing company and published my first book in April. Its title is “Columns I Wrote.” NCM: When did you start writing? Nix: I started writing a collection of essays about five years ago, which will be my second book, hopefully out by fall of this year. NCM: Describe your writing process. Nix: I write like I speak, which is a mix between country grammar and run-on sentences. After I have written something, I usually have to go back through and switch out a lot of commas for periods.

Toby Nix

Toby Nix started writing his Friday column for The Newnan Times-Herald in early 2017. He lives near Powers Crossroads, just over the Heard County line.

NCM: What would you say to encourage people who wish to be published in print? Nix: Being published in print is a lot like dating in high school: Get used

to being rejected. Most queries I sent out were never answered at all — not even a “no” response. Find your writing style and your audience and believe in both. NCM: What is your favorite thing you’ve written? Nix: A chapter about hallways in my second book. NCM: What is the most difficult thing about writing a routine newspaper column? Nix: Coming up with something new each week to write about, especially the week after I have written something I really like. I don’t think I’ve ever liked my columns two weeks in a row. NCM: Tell us something about writing that those who don’t write might find surprising. Nix: I do not like to read what I write. Because I write things that have really happened to me, I’ve already lived it once. Then I wrote about it. The last thing I want to do is read about it, too. Plus, I always find mistakes or see things I could have said better.


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W.J. Butcher

W.J. Butcher grew up in Miami and moved with his wife to Moreland in 1988 and to Newnan six years later. Now their home is “in a cow pasture” out in the county, according to Butcher. A retired Atlanta police officer, he has written columns for The Newnan Times-Herald since 2015 under the heading, “The Precinct Press.” NCM: Where do you live in Coweta County? Butcher: I live on 13 acres in the western part of Coweta County, still considered Newnan, and tell my friends, “We’re so far out in the country our zip code should be E, I, E, I, O.” I can relate when Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from her back door. I can see Heard County from my back door. NCM: Have you published a book? Butcher: The tentative title is, “That Reminds Me of the Time.” I have enough material for a volume one and two, but it has yet to be published despite encouragement from friends and strangers. It is mostly humorous stories from a 26-year career with the Atlanta Police Department (APD). It would be a great book to take on vacation or keep by the toilet. NCM: When did you start writing? Butcher: After 11 years on the road as a patrol officer knocking out narratives for police reports, I was assigned as a project manager to the major of Zone 6 Precinct, and then later as a project manager, policy writer and general Radar O’Riley to the deputy chief of support services. That forced me to develop ideas from conception to implementation, all from a blank sheet of paper. The more I wrote, the better I got and the easier it became. NCM: Describe your writing process. Butcher: I sit at a blank page and wait for the idea. When I provide statistical facts, repetitive editing and a humor-

ous twinge, I have a product worth consuming. NCM: What would you say to encourage people who wish to be published in print? Butcher: Persistence for newspaper publication is the way I did it, but most folks hunt-and-peck on those meaningless blogs. Twitter/Facebook ranting is the tinkling cymbals to the masses of surface thinkers. It takes hours to generate a 600-word article worth reading. Wordsmithing is hard to pound out but worth the artistry upon reflection. NCM: What is your favorite thing you’ve written? Butcher: My favorite things are left on the floor of editorial correction. And that editor is my wife. Everything I submit is filtered through her politically correct, big-picture eyes. NCM: What is the most difficult thing about writing a routine newspaper column? Butcher: Burnout and the lack of new ideas. NCM: Tell us something about writing that those who don’t write might find surprising. Butcher: The process of writing about difficult subjects causes me to relive those moments, like when I found a dead officer moments after a gunfight when I had only been at the APD for six months. I become very emotional. If reading an article doesn’t cause the reader to feel emotion (laughter, tears, anger, motivation), the writer has failed. Writing fluff is bad stuff. NCM

may/june 2018 | 73


Remembering Coweta’s




Margaret Anne



grew up in a house with books and with parents who were readers. I guess it’s not surprising that Coweta County’s three best known writers were part of the cultural stew in which I grew up. Erskine Caldwell was born just down the road from where my grandmother grew up. Granny’s unmarried sisters lived at the home place well into my adulthood, and I had learned as a middle schooler that the reference to “White Oak” in Erskine Caldwell’s encyclopedia biography was indeed the White Oak where Aunt Hettie and Aunt Ophelia lived. My mother taught high school English for a career, including teaching me for two years. When I was a toddler, she was teaching at Newnan High School. She was assigned the journalism class one year, and a firstyear student in her class was a fellow from Moreland named Lewis Grizzard. The Newnan Times-Herald, which has ended up being my place of work for the past 36 years, was always a backdrop in my early years. My parents, my grandparents, my grandfather’s bachelor brothers, those dear aunts—they all subscribed. It was seemingly in every home in those early childhood days and was part of my introduction to the worlds that reading could open. Margaret Anne Barnes twice was a staff member at the local newspaper, and Lewis spent several months working on The Newnan Times-Herald Centennial Magazine in 1965. I got him to autograph a copy for my mother during one of his visits to Scott’s Bookstore years later. When I was an intern at The Times-Herald in 1978, I interviewed Erskine Caldwell. The Internet was not even a fantasy. I went to the Carnegie Library, found Caldwell’s mailing address in “Who’s Who in America,” wrote him a letter and got one back,

and Lewis


Editor’s Note: Three writers from Coweta County gained national prominence in the past century. Erskine Caldwell (1903-1987) garnered critical acclaim, and criticism, for writing about Southern poverty and racism in “Tobacco Road,” “God’s Little Acre” and other novels. Margaret Anne Barnes (1927-2007) enjoyed national fame after her book, “Murder in Coweta County,” was made into a television movie starring Johnny Cash and Andy Griffith. Lewis Grizzard (1946-1994) penned a column for The Atlanta Constitution that was syndicated in 450 newspapers; his 25 books include collections of those columns and his memoirs. Newnan Times-Herald News Editor W. Winston Skinner had personal connections with—and has treasured memories of—each of these notable Coweta authors. 74 | www.newnancowetamag.com

Lewis Grizzard, left, and Margaret Anne Barnes, right, both worked for The Newnan Times-Herald before gaining fame for their writing.

The Newnan Times-Herald file photos

asking me to call—long distance, not something done without prior authorization at the newspaper in those days—at a certain day and time. Soon after I returned to work at The Times-Herald full-time in 1982, Caldwell was artist in residence at the DeKalb Library System. I went to hear him speak at the Stone Mountain library and introduced myself afterward to him and his wife, Virginia. Caldwell told me they had driven to Coweta County and had found White Oak Presbyterian Church, where his father had pastored, but could not find his birthplace. I offered to show him on his next visit. Photo courtesy of His health, however, was failing, and he never returned. Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance Virginia Caldwell did come back, and she helped the volunteers in Above: Erskine and Virginia Moreland who started a museum in the birthplace. In 1997, my wife Caldwell spent around six Lynn, our daughters Sallie and Jane and I visited with Virginia and months each year traveling during much of their 30Ralph Hibbs, whom she married a few years after Erskine died. She year marriage. remained a dear friend until her death last year, and there are times I still think, “I need to call Virginia” to tell her about Caldwellian goings At right: In the early on in Moreland. 1990s, Winston Skinner My mother’s parents knew Sheriff Lamar Potts and bought some shows Virginia Caldwell cows from the John Wallace place. My paternal grandfather went to see around the home where Mayhayley Lancaster when he lost a pistol. (She helped him find it.) So her husband was born. the protagonists in “Murder in Coweta County” were known to people The farmhouse has been moved to Moreland and is I knew growing up. “Murder in Coweta County” came along in 1976, now a museum. and Americans in that post-Watergate era were looking for heroes. The Newnan Times-Herald file photo Margaret Anne gave them one in Sheriff Potts. Margaret Anne had worked at The Newnan Times during the 1940s when the Wallace trial was taking place, and she came back for a second stint that ended not too long before my internship. Times-Herald staff members were proud of her success, and meeting her was a thrill. I interviewed her many times over the years, most often when she popped in for a book signing at Scott’s. Lynn and I went to a fancy Atlanta party in Margaret Anne’s honor when her Phenix City book was released, and I made the trek to Phenix City and to Montgomery for events where she was honored. I was always glad to pick up the phone and hear her voice—grit mixed with honey. Lewis Grizzard was also someone I interviewed several times. We were both Moreland people essentially, knowing many of the same families. When I have reflected about my interviews with Lewis, I am always struck by how professional – and easy – he was to interview. I think, having journalistic training, he understood what I needed and gave me the basics, along with a colorful enough quote to make the story pop. Neither Lewis nor Margaret Anne were fans of Erskine Caldwell’s work. Margaret Anne met Erskine and Virginia, and she was charmed by Virginia. Caldwell told a story that was not popular with many Southerners, but when I read “God’s Little Acre,” “Tobacco Road,” “A House in the Uplands” and “Miss Mama Aimee,” I saw people a lot like folks I know. I think I’m more of an optimist than Caldwell, but his brilliant writing told a story of people who had largely been invisible before he created the Lesters, the Waldens and the Mangrums. The John Wallace murder trial has been revisited by other authors, notably Dot Moore and Ivey Nance, since Margaret Anne’s book was published. Dot Moore wrote books about Mayhayley and about John Wallace and she paints a much more nuanced picture of him. I think the later books reflect our living in a more sophisticated time, when we don’t expect our heroes’ white hats to gleam quite as brightly. The Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance is still telling the stories of Lewis and Erskine, and visitors there often ask about the Sunset Tourist Court where part of the “Murder in Coweta” story took place. Erskine, Margaret Anne and Lewis have all left us, but their stories continue to make us think and laugh. When I read them, they also make me remember. NCM

may/june 2018 | 75

Coweta to Me

Calling Coweta Home by Scott Ludwig

My wife Cindy and I moved to Coweta County in the summer of 2014 after living in Peachtree City for 24 years. We bought what we believe will be our forever home in Senoia, the city known as “the perfect setting for life.” Our hope now is that Coweta County is the perfect setting for the rest of ours. Four years in, we’d have to say things are looking pretty good. When people ask me where we moved and I tell them Senoia, more often than not they give me an inquisitive look. It’s their way of acknowledging they have no idea where it is. I simply tell them Senoia is 10 miles – and 60 years – away from Peachtree City. Living in Senoia brings to mind a less complicated time when doors could be left unlocked, catching lightning bugs in a jar was an evening ritual, and sitting on the front porch constituted a night out. We easily transitioned from life in the city to good, old-fashioned country living. My appreciation for old cars kicked in immediately. I’m now the proud owner of a beautiful 1953 Packard Clipper named Maybelline. Some of you may have seen her car show debut last September in Senoia; she was the only one of her kind. Cindy and I are on a first-name basis with clerks at most of the antique stores within a 20-mile radius of our home. My affinity for the things I took for granted while growing up has taken on an entirely new meaning in my heart, not to mention an incredible amount of space in our home. Perhaps it’s because they remind me of the things that meant so much to me while growing up almost six decades ago. My family enjoys the country roads of Coweta. I love running on them, my grandson and I enjoy biking on them, and my wife and I enjoy driving on them. In any case, we appreciate their natural beauty and basking in the 76 | www.newnancowetamag.com

Photo courtesy Scott Ludwig

To me, Coweta is truly something special.

Senoia residents Cindy and Scott Ludwig travelled to Indio, Calif., in 2016 for Desert Trip, a three-day rock concert.

solitude and comfort they afford. The wonders of nature, most notably the starry, starry nights accompanied by the soundtrack created by the buzzing of the cicadas, are practically magical. I also should mention the fresh country air; it simply cannot be taken for granted. Living in Coweta reminds me of a time back before the onset of video games, social media and an overwhelming number of various iGadgets, a time when skinning my knee was a regular occurrence, eating mayonnaise sandwiches for lunch was the perfect midday treat, and the most trouble I ever got in was for getting

home after dark. Coweta also happens to be the home of Lewis Grizzard, one of my favorite authors of all time. Grizzard had a major influence on my style of writing; I hope some of you have noticed that in my weekly columns in The Newnan Times-Herald. I can’t begin to describe how honored I am to write for the same newspaper Grizzard wrote for at the beginning of his illustrious career. Also, Senoia plays host to “The Walking Dead,” one of my favorite television series of all time. For me, that’s icing on my Coweta cake. Most of all, it’s the people of Coweta who provide its heart and soul. They

represent a time when people enjoyed one another’s company and found joy in the simple pleasures of life, a time when hard work, strong values and clean living meant something. A time that many of us vividly remember although it was almost 60 years ago. In short, Coweta County offers the life Cindy and I have been wanting for a long, long time. As glad as we are that we’re living it now, we’re only sorry it didn’t happen sooner. We take a lot of pleasure and comfort knowing it can be that way in our twilight years. It just feels right. It feels like home. NCM


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may/june 2018 | 77


growing up A Look at Vertical Gardens


Written by HELEN PETRE

It’s getting to be such a craze now, growing a garden up instead of out, but is it really just a fad? Things have been growing up in nature as long as things have been growing. Everyone knows about climbing roses, clematis and honeysuckle. Cucumbers are trained to grow up so the fruits don’t sit on the ground. Why go vertical? Vertical gardens provide privacy and beauty to special spaces. A vertical garden uses space to maximum potential. Succulents such as echeveria, crassula and sedum are popular for vertical gardens. Tillandsias and other epiphytes that don’t need soil also adapt easily to vertical gardens. Ferns grow well and spread out quickly, and bromelids have shallow roots and need very little space. All of these are great starters for your own vertical garden. The idea of vertical gardens began in 1938 when Stanley White, at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, patented the “vegetation bearing architectonic structure and system.” The idea was popularized by Patrick Blanc, a French botanist and ecological engineer who worked at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, specializing on tropical forests. In 1988, Blanc installed a green wall at the Museum of Science and Industry in Paris. Since then, he has installed his green walls all

78 | www.newnancowetamag.com

over the world. His are closed systems in which nutrient-laden water is injected at the top, trickles down and is pumped back up again. This is expensive. We can do better. Home vertical gardens are nice, small spaces where plants can grow up on shelves, trellises, gutters or even ladders. Vertical gardens are pretty and some produce food. They can be creative spaces of art or small places to grow edibles, but not all plants adapt well to vertical gardening. Designing your space is an experiment in creativity. Use shelves, scaffolding, hanging baskets, bamboo poles, trellises or fences. There are plentiful assortments of do-it-yourself kits available for purchase online, or use your ingenuity and make your own. Simply create flat surfaces every so often along a vertical support, grow plants on the flat parts, and you have a vertical garden. Soil is important even though there isn’t much of it. Make sure you have peat moss, potting mix, compost or manure. If you use shelves, make sure you have slats for good air circulation and even sunlight. If you put your plants in containers on the shelves, make sure your containers have adequate drainage. When you water the plants on the top shelves, the excess water will drain down through the slats to the plants below. Hanging baskets are great for peppers, tomatoes and sweet potato vines. Keep them

Where we treat you like gold.

HANGING BASKETS ARE GREAT FOR PEPPERS, TOMATOES AND SWEET POTATO VINES. well-watered, as they dry out quickly. Trellises or fences are great for beans, peas, tomatoes and squash. You can even use sunflowers or corn as trellises and let plants grow up them. A makeshift trellis that works well for heavy vegetables like pumpkins is a step ladder. When the vegetables get heavy, just set them on the rungs. Ken Nowling, of New Leaf Community Garden, suggests using old rain gutters. “If they are slanted, you water the top row and let gravity trickle the water down to the other rows,” says Nowling. “With a catch container at the end, you then can reuse the water and any nutrients that are in it.” This is a great way to recycle as well, as it creates a beautiful place for edibles and flowers. The selection of appropriate plants is critical to the design and function of your garden. The first step is to determine the conditions in the place you want your vertical garden. The greatest factor is sunlight. As summer arrives with abundant sunlight, planting tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans or begonias “is a perfect start for your vertical garden,” according to Bob Lott of Southern Roots Nursery and Gardens in Newnan. The best thing about growing vertical: There’s no more squatting down to weed and harvest. This just might be the next great advance in gardening. NCM

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Alan Jackson


Honored for Songwriting Written by JACKIE KENNEDY


© Grand Ole Opry

80 | www.newnancowetamag.com

t an induction gala in New York City on June 14, country superstar Alan Jackson will join the Songwriters Hall of Fame as one of its 2018 inductees. To qualify for induction, songwriters must be published writers for at least 20 years with a notable collection of hit songs. Jackson’s been at it for almost 30 years and has 35 No. 1 hits to his credit. Considered one of the most successful singersongwriters in all genres, he joins Paul McCartney and John Lennon as songwriters who have both penned and performed more than 20 songs that reached No. 1 on the charts. The Newnan native’s impressive catalogue includes “Chattahoochee,” which sprang from his boyhood on the river in Coweta County; “Drive,” about his “Daddy Gene” teaching him to drive and then Jackson teaching his three daughters; “Remember When,” a love song with a video that features his wife and fellow Newnan native Denise; and “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” considered by many the most poignant song penned in response to the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001. Named to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017, the Newnan native has garnered more than 150 awards during his career, including the County Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year three times. In 2016, he was ranked by Billboard as one of the Top 10 Country Artists of All Time. He has sold almost 60 million albums worldwide and ranks as one of the 10 best-selling male vocalists of all time in all genres. Jackson’s Newnan roots are often reflected in his lyrics. “Your environment, especially your childhood, your younger years—you don’t realize it at the time, but it lays a lot of groundwork for how you perceive things, your creative side, how you write and see things,” he has said. “Definitely as far as country music and writing songs, it’s helped me connect with my fans, because so many from all across the country grew up or still live in a small town like Newnan.” His latest single, “The Older I Get,” features vintage Alan Jackson lyrics: The older I get, the more I think You only get a minute, better live while you’re in it ’Cause it’s gone in a blink. And the older I get, the truer it is It’s the people you love, not the money and stuff That makes you rich. NCM


Anthony Doerr’s


Upon completing “All the Light We Cannot See,” I had the conflicting emotions of joyful satisfaction mingled with a certain apprehension. Why? Because I began to wonder if I would ever read a better story in the time I have left here on this planet. While normally inappropriate to begin a book review with superlatives, I could not help myself. The majority of Anthony Doerr’s epic tale of World War II takes place from the invasion of Paris by the Nazis to the bombardment of ancient Saint Malo by the allies after the D-Day invasion. It follows the young girl Marie Laure, who has been blind since the age of 6, and her devoted father, master locksmith to the museum of natural history in Paris. They flee Paris for the supposed safety of Saint Malo to stay with her eccentric uncle. Simultaneously, the book follows an orphan boy, Werner, who lives in the coal mining center of Germany and is captivated with radios. When it’s discovered he has a brilliant mathematical and engineering mind, he is sent to Hitler’s youth camps for indoctrination and training and then sent into the teeth of the war to pinpoint and destroy resistance broadcasts. Over-arching the events surrounding these two principals is the prime center of the conflict and what the Nazis covet as the most dangerous artifact in the museum: an enormous cut blue diamond with a scarlet center known as the “Sea of Fire.” Legend has it that the very life of the recipient of this ancient stone would be protected against all harm, but misfortune would fall upon others within the possessor’s sphere. Has Marie Laure’s father fled Paris with this diamond and does she eventually

possess it? And so, the account of the lives of Marie Laure and Werner develop in parallel until their stories finally unite in the walled city of Saint Malo in the most unexpected way. The “Sea of Fire” threads its way throughout the story, teasing the reader with the sense of its supernatural power. The coincidences, along with the climax, are astonishing and this reader was thrown for a loop as the plot unfolded in a totally unexpected way. The author’s incredible mastery of detail, down to the minutiae of items or events, is not trivial in the least because virtually everything is pivotal to the outcome. The themes of what happens to ordinary people thrown into a terrible war — and how they cope with going from relative comfort to utter privation and near-death — are among the reasons this book is so captivating and compelling. There are moments of sheer and agonizing suspense and terror woven in among the acts of kindness shown by ordinary people under great stress. This is not a light read and it is advised to begin with a cup of coffee and the attitude to pay close attention from the start for the most satisfaction. The book’s format and structure are unlike any I’ve read. The chapters are times, dates and places that shuttle to and fro in no particular order, and the subchapters are brief, sometimes a single page, and ping-pong back and forth

between the principal characters of the story. Finally, is this book too complex in its structure to be made into a thrilling motion picture? To bring this masterpiece to the art of film would be the ultimate compliment, and 20th Century Fox must think so, too, because they have purchased the rights to produce the movie. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Andrew Carnegie medal, “All the Light We Cannot See” is available at Coweta County libraries; 545 pages, published 2014. 5 stars ★★★★★

Read a good book lately? Can’t wait to te somebody about it? ll

Share your favorite new read with Newnan-Coweta M agazine by writing a book review for po ssible publication in an upcoming issue . Whether it’s a book that’s been aro und awhile and you’re just getting to it, or if it’s a brand new publication that everyone’s talking about, we’d like to he ar your educated take on it. Keep your review at 50 0-60 0 words and please include th e author’s name, page count and date of publication as well as any awards th e book may have won. Be sure to give the bo ok your rating of 1 to 5 stars: 1=Yo u’ll never miss it; 2=Okay; 3=Pretty go od; 4=Read it; 5=Best. Book. Ever. Send your review wi th your contact information to maga zine@newnan.com or mail to Newnan-C oweta Magazine, 16 Jefferson Street, Newnan, Ga. 30263.

coweta calendar




Hats and Hooves Derby Affair

McRitchie-Hollis Museum, Newnan 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. | $75 The Hats and Hooves Derby Affair offers food, beverages and live music with the Kentucky Derby shown on big screen televisions throughout the gathering. The event raises money for Communities in Schools of Coweta County and includes live and silent auctions. For more, call 770.710.9540 or visit www.ciscoweta.org.

The Sixth Annual RACE for the Orphans 5K

Coweta County Fairgrounds | 7:30 a.m. Proceeds support local families in the process of adoption. Tot Trot begins at 8:15 a.m. followed by a 1-Mile Fun Run at 8:30. Starting at 9 a.m., the 5K course is USATFcertified and a Peachtree Road Race qualifier. Race registration fees after April 30 are: Tot Trot, $15, 1-Mile, $25, and 5K, $30. Race day registration and packet pickup begin at 7:30 a.m. at the Fairgrounds. For more, visit racefortheorphans.org.

Market Day


Courthouse Square, Newnan 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Hosted by Main Street Newnan, the market showcases handmade, homemade and homegrown products created by local artisans, artists and farmers with 50 booths offering locally grown produce, honey, jelly, salsa, baked goods, pottery, art, hand-woven baskets, leather products, handcrafted furniture and more. Pickin’ on the Square is held simultaneously during Market Day. Local musicians with acoustic instruments are invited to play around the courthouse. For more, visit mainstreetnewnan.com.

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Jaimee Paul

Nixon Centre, Newnan | 3 p.m. | $15-$20 Jaimee Paul and her husband/bandleader Leif Shires believe in the strength and beauty of the tunes that make up the Great American Songbook. They make these memorable melodies their own with a show that features everything from jazz standards of the 1930s to pop tunes of the ‘70s. For more, visit thenixoncentre.net.

Discover Hope Fundraising Gala/Silent Auction


Newnan Centre | 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. | $50 Coweta Pregnancy Services hosts this event as its annual fundraiser. This year’s keynote speaker is Rebecca Kiessling, see rebeccakiessling.com. For more, call 770.251.7158 or visit coweta-ps.org or facebook.com/ events/172955430002147.

10-13 17-20

‘Noises Off’

Newnan Theatre Company Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m. Sun., 3 p.m. | $10-$17 Called the funniest farce ever written, “Noises Off” presents a manic menagerie as a cast of itinerant actors rehearsing a flop called “Nothing’s On.” Doors slamming, intrigue and an errant herring all figure in the plot of this classically comic play. Murphy’s Law gets tested to the maximum in this hilarious show. For more, visit newnantheatre.org.

Tucked Away Music Festival


Downtown Newnan 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. | Free A variety of bands will perform different genres of music to kick off summer in downtown Newnan. (May 19 is the rain date.) For more, visit mainstreetnewnan.com or call 770.253.8283.


Soles for Cole 5K

Summer Grove Golf Club | Newnan 6 p.m. | $15-$30 A 5K and 1-mile Cole’s Dash bring out runners to support Breathing Easy Foundation, a local nonprofit founded by Cole Croteau, his sister Alexandra, and their friend Kyle Cole to support families dealing with cystic fibrosis. Funds go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for research to find a cure and to the local cystic fibrosis community. For more, visit solesforcole.com.

Student Vet Connect Veterans Relief Fund 5K

Newnan High School | 8 a.m. The annual run raises money for local veterans and connects Newnan High students to the community’s veterans. For more, visit cowetaschools.org.



Coweta County Cattlemen’s Association Rodeo

Coweta County Fairgrounds 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. The gates open at 6 p.m. with food, games, vendors and music. The rodeo kicks off at 8 p.m. with a grand entrance and the National Anthem. Friday, May 18, is Kid’s Night with children ages 4-12 admitted for half price ($5). Otherwise, tickets are $15, adults, and $10 for children. Saturday, May 19, is Tough Enough to Wear Pink night. For more, visit cowetacattlemens.com.

Keris Kares Royal Princess Run


Newnan Court Square | 6:30 a.m. $20-$25 The chip-timed 5K and 1-Mile Royal Dash bring families together to support a great cause: Keris Kares Inc. Their mission is to give hope to families dealing with a childhood cancer diagnosis by providing spiritual, emotional and financial support. For more, visit facebook.com/keriskares.

coweta calendar




VAAL Art Exhibit Opening Reception

Artisans on the Square, Greenville 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. A popular venue for area artists to display paintings, glasswork, signs, stained glass, sculpture, woodwork and more, Artisans on the Square hosts an opening reception for an exhibit by the Visual Artists Alliance of LaGrange (VAAL) on May 19 with the exhibit to run through June 16.

The 13th Annual Memorial Day Remembrance and Street Festival


Historic Downtown Senoia 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Senoia Downtown Development Authority hosts the event on Main Street. The event features food vendors, antiques, arts and crafts and children’s pony rides. Entertainment begins at noon with a guest speaker and Army band. The parade starts at 2 p.m. honoring veterans. Fireworks at sunset conclude the day at Marimac Lakes. For more, call 770.727.9173 or visit enjoysenoia.net or senoia.com.



Market Day

Courthouse Square, Newnan 10 a.m – 2 p.m. Hosted by Main Street Newnan, the market showcases handmade, homemade and homegrown products created by local artisans, artists and farmers with 50 booths offering locally grown produce, honey, jelly, salsa, baked goods, pottery, art, hand-woven baskets, leather products, handcrafted furniture and more. For more, visit mainstreetnewnan.com.

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Summer Wined-Up

Courthouse Square, Newnan 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. | $30 This downtown wine-tasting event invites guests to take part in a “wine walk” that moves through more than 25 downtown businesses with host merchants extending hours and serving hors d’oeuvres and a variety of whites, reds and specialty blend wines for sampling. Pick up your wine glass and goodie bag at the Carnegie and have fun. Main Street Newnan releases a limited number of Summer Wined-up tickets, which are available beginning May 8. For more, visit mainstreetnewnan.com or call 770.253.8283.

Summer NewnaNight


Greenville Street Park | 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Free Main Street Newnan hosts this monthly summer event series in Downtown Newnan featuring family friendly music, food trucks and entertainment. Vendor booths are set up and downtown businesses stay open late with specials and promotions for shoppers and guests. (June 21 is rain date.) For more, visit mainstreetnewnan.com or call 770.253.8283.


Rocky King & Jeff Foxworthy Celebrity Golf Tournament

Canongate 1 Golf Course, Sharpsburg 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. A benefit fundraiser for retired prowrestler Rocky King’s Body Slamm Hunger & Homeless Program, this annual event promises to be the most fun you can have on a golf course. King teams up with comedian Jeff Foxworthy for a day that features photos with Jeff and Ricky, celebrity pairings, live wrestling, live and silent auctions, antique auto display, comedy show, cigar bar, wine tasting and more. Plus, a hole-in-one wins an automobile. Cost is $300-$1,200. For more, call 770.310.7905 or visit bodyslammhungerandhomelessness.org.



July 4th Parade

Downtown Newnan | 9 a.m. Embrace and celebrate our nation’s independence. The parade in Newnan begins at Veteran’s Memorial Park and ends at Greenville Street Park within an hour. Meet at Veteran’s Memorial Park by 8:30 a.m. to participate. Registration isn’t required unless you intend to use a motorized vehicle to pull a float; if so, sign up with Main Street Newnan at least a week before the event. For more, call 770.253.8283 or visit mainstreetnewnan.com.

July 4th Festivities


Drake Stadium, Newnan | 5:30 p.m. Celebrate the Fourth with family fun and fireworks until dark. Admission is free and concessions will be available for purchase at 6 p.m. The fun includes musical entertainment, attractions for children, and free souvenirs for kids. Official sponsors for the event include the Rotary Club of Newnan, the City of Newnan, Coweta County and Coweta County Schools. For more, visit mainstreetnewnan.com.


Fourth of July Barbecue and Puckett Station Arts & Crafts Festival

Moreland | 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. The fun starts at 8 with a Kids Bike Parade and Pet Parade, complete with prizes for the best-decorated bike and best-dressed pet. Opening ceremonies are held at 8:30 when Puckett Station opens with arts and crafts, music and festivities throughout the day, including a Meet the Authors event hosted by the Georgia Writers’ Alliance. Starting at 11 a.m., the 72nd annual Fourth of July Barbecue serves up some of the area’s best Brunswick stew and ’que at Moreland Hometown Heritage Museum. Plates sell for $9 each and remaining ’que and stew are sold in bulk. Barbecue proceeds go to the three churches that cook the barbecue and stew, Moreland United Methodist Church, Moreland First Baptist Church and Bethlehem Baptist Church, while Puckett Station proceeds benefit the Moreland Cultural Alliance. For more, contact the Alliance at 678.492.3161.

Our Doctors Our Doctors George Ballantyne, M.D. George Ballantyne, M.D. Michael Cushing, M.D. Michael Gruber, Cushing,M.D. M.D. Michael Michael Gruber, M.D. David Heinsch, M.D. David Heinsch, M.D. Chad Kessler, M.D. Chad Kessler, M.D. Jayson McMath, M.D. Jayson McMath, M.D. Jack Powell, III, M.D. Jack Powell, III, M.D.

Our Physician Assistants

Our Physician Assistants Darron Baham, P.A.-C. Darron Baham, P.A.-C. Beth Fleming, P.A.-C. Beth Fleming, P.A.-C. Jared Shafer, P.A.-C. Jared Shafer, P.A.-C. Rusty Smith, P.A.-C. Rusty Smith, P.A.-C.


www.GeorgiaBoneandJoint.org www.GeorgiaBoneandJoint.org

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Ankle | Back | Elbow | Foot | Hand | Hip | Knee Joint Replacement | Neck Orthopaedics Ankle | Back | Elbow | Foot | Hand | Hip | Pediatric Joint Replacement | Knee | Neck

Ankle | Back | Elbow | Foot | Hand | Hip | Joint Replacement | Knee | Neck Shoulder | Spine | Sports Pediatric Orthopaedics | Shoulder | Spine |Medicine Sports Medicine|| |Wrist Wrist Pediatric Orthopaedics | Shoulder |may/june Spine | Sports2018 Medicine 85 | Wrist

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Mount Carmel communit A Japanese magnolia in the. reveals spring in full bloom

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.

Photo by Laurie Mattin

Please include your name so that we can give you credit for your photo in the magazine!


Newnan Patriotic pups Arwen and Str ide r sta nd proud by American flag to remind that Memo rial Day (May 28), Flag the and the Fourth of July are Day (June 14) coming soon.

Email your photos with the subject “Blacktop” to the address below.




1st Saturday April-December 10am-2pm

as, Photos by Angela Camb


g through day of spring by splashin d rain an Children enjoy the firstfor ots bo r be rub e. With rain from the night be rson Allen, Lillie Moeckel and Adan gear, from left, are Ca Hensley.

June 8th, 5pm-9pm

2nd Thursday June-August 6pm-8pm

July 4th, 9am

August 3rd, 8pm

Photo by Amanda Owenby, Newnan

16-year-old Newnan resident Evan Owe nby, a member of the Eagle's Nest Homeschool archery team, prac tices in preparation for his team going to State competition.

may/june 2018 | 87


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coweta scene

may/june 2018 | 89

INDEX OF ADVERTISERS 92.5 The Bear....................................................61 Arnall Grocery Company...............................64 Atlanta Gastroenterology................................ 9 Atlanta Market Furniture and Accessories.................................................... 17 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices..........92 Brewton-Parker College.................................12 Cancer Treatment Centers of America........................................................ 3 Carriage House................................................66 Charlie's Towing...............................................48 Charter Bank..................................................... 77 Christian Brothers Automotive....................54 Christian City.......................................................11 Coweta Cities & County Employees Federal Credit Union..................................48 Coweta-Fayette EMC......................................91 Cresswind Peachtree City...............................7 Digestive Healthcare of Georgia, P.C.......... 4 Double Bar H Stables.....................................72 Fine Lines Art & Framing...............................64 Georgia Bone & Joint.....................................85 Georgia Farm Bureau.....................................23 Historic Banning Mills.....................................52 Insignia Living of Georgia............................... 2 Jack Peek's Sales.............................................. 2 Kemp's Dalton West Flooring....................... 73 Lee-King Pharmacy........................................... 8 Main Street Newnan....................................... 87 McGuire's Buildings........................................ 79 The Newnan Centre.......................................35 Newnan Theatre Company........................... 17 North Georgia Turf..........................................35 NuWay Realty..................................................... 6 Real Talk on the Square.................................66 Schultz Family Dental...................................... 17 Sewell Marine...................................................23 Southern Crescent Women's Healthcare.....................................................40 Southern Roots................................................ 79 Stephanie Fagerstrom State Farm.............48 StoneBridge Early Learning Center............ 17 The Boyd Gallery............................................. 37 The Print Shop Gallery/ Artisan's on the Square..............................83 Treasures Old & New.....................................65 United Bank......................................................... 6 University of West Georgia...........................51 Wesley Woods.................................................... 9 West Georgia Technical College.................. 5 The Women's Specialists of Fayette.......... 27 Yellowstone Landscape................................48

july / august preview



Coweta County’s Art Scene Painters, sculptors, muralists and more

Newnan-Coweta Art Association hits 50! A half-century of promoting local art

The Best Meal You Ever Grilled Men share their skills at the grill


Magazine Advertising Deadline June 1, 2018

Next Publication Date: July 6, 2018

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ncm may june2018  

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