NWGA'S PREMIER FEATURE MAGAZINE / MARCH 2015
HAROLD MORGAN, OF UNCLE JOHN’S BARBEQUE, FEEDS US THE STORY OF HOW HE TURNED A FAMILY PASTIME INTO THE WOOD FIRED SAUCY TREATS THAT HIS COMMUNITY GOES CRAZY FOR.
They take a hike
dance â€˜til dawn
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move you in a new direction
Your legs never let you down, so give them the love they deserve just in time for summer!
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Sometimes we need to be reminded that things are not always as they seem, and HOLLY LYNCH suggests we look to our special needs children as an example of how to clean our sometimes corrupt mental hardrives.
J. BRYANT STEELE gives some of
his bold predictions, and considering his track record concerning the recent Super Bowl, maybe Coke should employ his crystal ball to forecast profit margins.
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V3 Magazine’s Ian Griffin has a little frontman-to-frontman with one of Rome’s leaders, SAMMY RICH, and we get to be the fly on the wall.
SUMMIT MIST VAPORS owner Ken Callaway breaks down why he intends to provide smokers who are struggling to quit with an alternative that blows the competition away.
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The “Maple Street” mainstay that is UNCLE JOHN’S BARBEQUE is as much about family as it is about food and Harold Morgan tells all, except the secrets to his sauce. The time of year to gear-up and jamout is upon us. COUNTERPOINT MUSIC FESTIVAL is a few months away and will likely drop a little “coin” along with the bass.
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… good or bad it is a part of our lives. Those periods where we can do no wrong are awesome, but what I have noticed is that life has a way to balance things out in the end. Sure some people just can’t buy a break while others seem to get them all, but most of us fall in the middle somewhere with streaks of both. If you truly believe in luck, then you are a superstitious person like myself. If I spill salt, I throw a pinch over my shoulder. If I ever make a statement about something bad not happening to my loved ones or me, I knock on wood… the list goes ever on. When it comes to sports, I even have methods to improve my chances. One such method is buying a new jersey or shirt for my favorite teams each season. If they have a good year, I retire the shirt and that way if I ever need it, I have luck stashed away in the closet. It’s worked for me (in my head of course) on several occasions, but the plan does back fire occasionally. I’m not exactly my 18-year-old self, so I couldn’t quite squeeze into my John Elway jersey during Denver’s 2011 Tim
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Mag Art & Design Ellie Borromeo
Editorial Manager Oliver Robbins
Contributing Editor Tannika Wester
Writers J. Bryant Steele, Oliver Robbins, Erin deMesquita, Holly Lynch
Executive Photographer Derek Bell, MFA 706.936.0407
Tebow-led playoff run. And to think most of you thought that 45-10 drubbing by the New England Patriots was a product of Tebow’s poor quarterbacking skills. Then there is the financial side of luck. It seems like every time I come into some unexpected money, an unexpected expense arrives shortly thereafter. It’s to the point now where if I do run into extra funds, I just set them aside and wait for the other foot to drop. While that may be considered bad luck by some, I see the good side in that situation. It’s better to already have the extra money you need, so it feels as if someone is looking out for me. With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, luck may be on our minds more than usual. Shamrocks and leprechauns are the symbols of a holiday that Americans use as an excuse to drink too much and pinch people who don’t wear green. I feel lucky those days are behind me to be perfectly honest, but I’ll wear green to avoid getting pinched regardless. If I have to break it down and count all my blessings, I’d have to consider myself a very lucky man. I won’t list all the reasons I believe that because of my superstition that writing them might curse me in some way, but there are a lot of them. One that I’m willing to share is how lucky I am to do what I do and that I have the privilege to share it with all of you. Enjoy the issue and my luck be ever on your side. Ian Griffin, Owner
Contributing Photographer Christian David Turner
Ad Sales & Client Relations Chris Forino, Arion Bass, Lauren Winters, Shadae Yancey-Warren
Ad Design & Marketing Concepts Ellie Borromeo, Christian David Turner
Publisher V3 Publications, LLC
Contact One West Fourth Avenue Rome, Ga. 30161 Office Phone 706.235.0748 email@example.com
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Another Space TRENDS & TRADITIONS WITH HOLLY LYNCH 12 v3 magazine
ears ago, I worked for a super-fun lady, who is still my good friend today, and she would share all these wonderful stories about her grandmother. One of my favorites, which I think of anytime I’m in a parking lot (basically everyday) is the story she told of driving her grandmother to the grocery store. Grandmother was infirm, and had a handicapped endorsement on her license tag. My friend would drive her to the store, only to find non-endorsed cars in the handicapped-marked spaces. But instead of getting frustrated and angry, my friend would drop her grandmother off at the door, park, and then go stand by the offending vehicle. And wait. When the driver would reappear, my friend would say to him or her, “I am so sorry for your affliction. Here’s information on how to get a handicapped endorsed license plate, like my grandmother has. Unfortunately, we couldn’t park in this space today, but I’m glad you were able to.”
Yep, the perfect combination of guilt-inducing helpfulness with a satisfactory side of snarky. Maybe her comment wasn’t ideal or motivated by pure helpfulness (or maybe it was). The point is, however, that the world is a very different and difficult place for those who do not have typical skills and abilities. [I will not use the word normal – let’s face it – none of us are normal.] For those of us who can walk, drive, read, speak, hear, see, eat, etc., it’s time to be more sensitive to those who do not share that same skillset. We’ve come a long way in this regard, but I think there’s still room to improve, particularly when it comes to children. I see this lack of sensitivity when I hang out with my 12-year old nephew. I know I’ve mentioned him before in this column, but for new readers here’s the recap: my nephew was born extremely premature—14 weeks early—and weighed just 1.5 pounds. Collin is our little miracle boy, and we love him dearly. He has some “issues”. While I won’t bore you with the official medical diagnoses, some of which I don’t entirely understand, just know that he is on the autism spectrum (more about that in a minute). He also has some eating/digestive concerns, and is fairly small for his age. He’s also charming as can be, has a quirky sense of humor and really enjoys spending time with his friends. Once, when meeting a petite female co-worker of mine, he asked her for a kiss, which he got on the cheek, of course. When I asked him why he kissed “A” and not the other ladies, he said, “She was the cutest.” So, here’s the crux of this entire column. His world is totally different than mine. Or yours. He calls it like he sees it. Life is not full of gray area for him. He doesn’t filter his opinion through a veil of political correctness. Lots of kids are
like that, but when you are special and have an “affliction”, that black and white doesn’t really change as you get older. Instead, he tries to learn the social “rules”. For some reason, fictional character Sheldon Cooper of the hit television show “The Big Bang Theory” and his offer of a hot beverage comes to mind right now. Medical diagnoses are not always black and white. A spectrum disorder like autism may mean that some skills Collin has other children on the spectrum do not have. Collin can talk. And he likes to talk. A lot. Many children on the spectrum do not talk. My nephew knows this; he knows that some kids have the same diagnosis as him, but do things differently. That gray area can be very confusing for him. If Collin saw a car parked in the handicapped space that wasn’t properly marked, he would not understand why someone broke the rules. And he would want to know what the punishment is for breaking the rule. Knowing my nephew, he would also memorize the color, make and model of the vehicle, and make a mental note of the tag number. And, possibly ask people on the way into the store if that was their car. Once inside the store, however, all bets are off. Bright lights, lots of noise, the squeaking wheel on the shopping cart, the smells of produce, fried chicken, or someone’s perfume, the bright colors of the packaging, the low hum of the background music and the jarring interruption of the announcements of the loudspeaker will all contribute to a major sensory overload for Collin. And his behavior will change because things are not orderly and there are very few rules. We can block the distractions out. We have that skill. Collin does not. And many other children do not. We no longer send kids to institutions when
they do not develop the same as the majority. We don’t leave them home. They are part of our world. Seeing a child in a wheelchair or with visible physical differences immediately triggers our sense of empathy. Children with mental and social challenges are not as easy to spot. Much like the person parked in the handicapped space without the proper tag, maybe there’s something more than meets the eye. So when you see a screaming child in the produce section of the store, take just a minute to consider if this is someone who needs a few minutes to adjust to the chaos before assuming that bad parenting is the culprit. I’m not saying that children sometime just need some discipline. In fact, many times they do! But pause, just for a second, and consider the larger space where you are standing. Count the smells, sounds, lights and colors. If your mind worked differently, would those things be overwhelming? If you didn’t have an understanding of the social rules on how to communicate that overwhelming feeling, would screaming seem like the right response? There was a day not long ago when the world was just too much for my nephew and he put his hands over his ears. My sister asked him what was wrong. He responded, “I’m rebooting.” Now don’t you just want to stand in the corner, scream for a moment, put your hands over your ears, and reboot?
Holly Lynch is the owner of The Season Events, a full service catering, event planning, and design company located at 250 Broad Street in Rome.
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Gordon Hospital was honored with an “A” grade in the Hospital Safety Score, which rates how well hospitals protect patients from errors, injuries, and infections. The Hospital Safety Score is compiled under the guidance of the nation’s leading experts on patient safety and is administered by The Leapfrog Group (Leapfrog), an independent industry watchdog. More than 2,500 U.S. general hospitals were assigned scores in the latest ratings with about 31-percent receiving an “A” grade. We are proud to be part of this 31-percent and of the work that our physicians and staff do daily for our patients and their families.
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am not Nostradamus, the 16th century seer whose predictions were so sufficiently vague that events centuries later are cited by mystics as proof of the Frenchman’s prophetic prowess. I’m not even close. I’m the guy who, when a fledgling cable TV anomaly called ESPN debuted, said, “Yeah, right. How can anyone watch sports, especially bowling and golf tournaments no one’s ever heard of, 24/7?” I didn’t take into account what males will use as an excuse to buy a case of beer and massive quantities of pork rinds. I also scoffed at the concept of CNN and
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round-the-clock “news.” Some 20 years later, I was being interviewed on CNN, which would sort of make my point – that they had to scrape the bottom of the barrel – except that I was a minor sidebar to the 1996 bombing at the Atlanta Olympic Games. I also am not a groundhog. Last month, apparently quickly bored with the greatest Super Bowl ever played, we turned our attention to the predictions of introverted, burrow-dwelling, mute mammals to inform us how much longer winter would last. Different groundhogs (there used to be just one, Punxsutawney Phil) saw different
enlightenment. That has led me to the conclusion that those who discuss economic trends on multiple 24/7 news channels are groundhogs. But let us get back to the Super Bowl and predictions. Friends and other readers know that I am derisive of the Super Bowl, both as a contest and as entertainment. A friend asked me the morning of the Super Bowl for my prediction. I really wasn’t in the mood, but to humor the guy, I said, “It will go down to the final seconds. Patriots win, 24-20.” You know by now the Patriots won in the final seconds. The score was 28-24. If you did better with your prediction, I’ll buy you a beer. I did even better in my unwavering prediction that the Super Bowl halftime show would suck eggs. But that’s like predicting Caesar is dead. Thus emboldened, here are some predictions that you should not take to the bank. The next 12 months will not be a good time for start-ups. Why? Darlings fascinate only for so long, and their time is fading. People are still shell-shocked by The Great Recession, and the ranks of risk-takers have dwindled. Banks, too, are still shell-shocked, and still less apt to lend to an entrepreneur. People instead are going to cling to security. Baby boomers are retiring, not risking their savings accounts and stock investments, where happiness is never more than spitting distance away. On a higher plane, I predict the word decency will replace the word morality in the human lexicon of how we should treat one another. I think that’s what we’ve really meant all along. Morality is an ambiguous word, at least as we’ve squished it to justify our decisions and applied indeterminate measuring sticks to it. But you and I both know when someone’s been decent to us, and when we’ve been decent to others, without ambiguity.
if you pay close attention to overhead directional signs and voice-of-God directions (if God were a woman who grew up in Kansas). There will be oodles of brand-name kiosks distracting you for overpriced, useless oddities. But where you would expect runways to appear, instead there’s a football arena. The cost of the new facility is $1.4 billion, and a big chunk of that is taxpayer money.
Falcon’s current home, which cost a mere $130 million only three decades ago). “They’re pricing the average fan out of attending a game.” Here’s a perspective: With the money you’d spend on PSLs, then tickets, parking, concessions and souvenirs, you could instead spend your fall sailing a tropical sea, sipping wine at various ports with a woman you love, or one you pick up at the first port.
CENTS & SENSIBILITY WITH J. BRYANT STEELE No ambiguity – a concept that would have dumbfounded Nostradamus.
Mercedes-Benz will move its U.S. headquarters from New Jersey (which lags the nation’s economic recovery) to metro Atlanta. Not a great number of jobs – 1,000 tops – but Georgia (which also lags the nation’s economic recovery) is touting it as a jewel in its recruiting efforts. Meanwhile, Coke has announced layoffs. This was the top story two days running in some news outlets. Some people have never grasped that Coke, while a brand behemoth, has never been Atlanta’s top employer. That’s not to diminish its importance to Atlanta’s (and Georgia’s) economy and culture, but over stretches of time a company headquartered elsewhere (like GM or AT&T) actually provides more jobs in Atlanta than Coke – or Delta, as long as we’re on the subject of icons. So let this sink in: The top employer in Atlanta, and most major cites, in terms of number of jobs created, is a ridiculed and reviled entity – the federal government. Next is state government. Now, you can talk about bureaucratic inefficiency, or inability to adapt to change, and mind-numbing, soul-killing jobs. But that’s another discussion. For decades, and perhaps still, the dream of masses was to get a government job and lead lives of quiet but secure desperation. The Atlanta Falcons have released a video of a virtual tour of their new stadium, set to open in 2017. The video’s not hard to find online. As I watched, it reminded me most of Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, in that it’s navigable
But the Falcons are having trouble early on selling personal seat licenses for a stadium that hasn’t been built. Duh. PSLs, which can go for $10,000, give you the privilege to later purchase actual tickets to actual games. The Falcons’ marketing goobers phrase it differently, but I come from a branch of the citizenry that likes to call a ripoff a ripoff. No other Atlanta pro sports team peddles personal seat licenses. The reaction on social media to the video was predictable. “A waste of money.” “There’s nothing wrong with the Georgia Dome” (the
But … if you haven’t been able to follow me so far, I have a deal for you: For $100, you can have the privilege to buy me dinner at La Scala later. And for only $75, breakfast at Troy’s.
J. Bryant Steele has won awards for business writing, feature writing and opinion columns, and is based in Rome.
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“For my hEart, I choosE rEdmond.” Elsie
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“I felt so good when I got out of the hospital. I felt wonderful and I couldn’t wait to go to rehab. The staff there was incredible.” Elsie had already had one heart attack, so she knew the symptoms and knew she needed to get to Redmond immediately. At Redmond’s ER, she got the fast treatment she needed. The physician confirmed that she had experienced a second heart attack and needed a stent. The experienced heart team at Redmond treated more than 5,000 patients last year, providing a full range of services. Redmond is an accredited Chest Pain Center and the only hospital in Northwest Georgia providing open heart surgery. Comprehensive services even include Cardiac Rehab to get you back on your feet.
Elsie is just one of many stories at Redmond Regional Medical Center. Tell us your Redmond story at
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et ready for the rare opportunity to really get inside the workings of your local government.
NEWLY APPOINTED CITY MANAGER, SAMMY RICH,
has fallen in love with our beautiful city, and he is excited about all the new things we will be able to enjoy in our own backyard. With plans to expand our city’s revenue reach, it’s easy to see why he is preparing to brighten up Broad Street and keep our cash registers full of dollars, courtesy of the good folks who don’t call Rome home. Lucky for us, he says that the locals will get to play in the sandbox too. V3: So give me a brief history on the man, the myth the legend, Sammy R ich. Where did you grow up, go to school?
SR: I’m originally from Chatsworth and I grew up in Murray County. I had a great American childhood up in the mountains before I moved off to go to West Georgia College in Carrollton, where I received a bachelor’s degree in geography and planning. I decided to stick around and go to graduate school. I took a year off from college before I went back to West Georgia to get my MPA. After that, I worked for the Georgia Department of Transportation. From there, I became the county planner for Carroll County. I moved to Rome back in 2002 to be the assistant county manager. I spent some time as the county manager and moved over here in 2006 to be the assistant city manager after my predecessor, Jim Dixon, retired. Seven years later John Bennett retired. Since July 1, 2014, I have had the privilege of being the city manager. That’s it in a nutshell. What did you aspire to do when you first started college and when did it become apparent that your current career path was indeed your calling?
SR: It’s funny that you should ask that because in high school my superlative was “most artistic,” so what are you going to do and how are you going to make a living? Originally, I thought maybe landscape architecture. Didn’t know if I would stay at West Georgia because I kind of grew up a Bulldog and always thought I would end up in Athens, but just as luck would have it I wound up in the planning program and really fell in love 22 v3 magazine
with that. My first job, which really finished my degree because it was an internship/job, was working in the planning department for Coweta County in Newnan, and I fell in love with local government. That was the first exposure to what it’s all about. It really becomes a calling because, you know, I tell folks this is where the rubber meets the road. It’s one thing for you to be mad at your congressman, mad at your president but it is easy to get down to city hall. You can physically come down here. If you have a problem, you can come tell us; you can pick up the phone and talk. It’s really that first line of defense. The beauty of this business is you never know what the day will hold. Day by day, you are always going to do something new, a challenge when people walk in the door or pick up the telephone.
Was there a specific moment at that first position where you said to yourself, “This is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life?”
SR: I don’t think it was that divine. I will tell you it was sort of the evolution. As I was finishing my degree and driving to Newnan, I got that exposure to local government, going to commission meetings and just dealing with the day-to-day interactions. I think the big thing is you are like, “Wow, I get to help people.” In the government business, you are looking for a reason to say no, and some of these communities want to regulate. You can regulate your community into obscurity. I take the position that we’re here to make the community thrive. I see my role as figuring out what else we can do to build a cool place so that entrepreneurs can come here and be successful. So you look at Broad Street and to me it’s a great incubator. You put a little public money, public investment and you let the private investment follow it. I think that’s exactly what we have here. So we try to balance that. Of course, we are going to do all the things, we are going to keep you safe, we are going to have to put fires out when things are burning, we are going to arrest the bad guys. But what else do you do? What about those quality of life things like the Town Green or the Urban River Walk-type things that make a difference in just an okay community and a real community you want to be a part of? One that you want to move your business to and you want to raise your family in? I’m all about let’s build a real community; let’s build the real stuff. Tell our readers about the road to Rome, Ga., and your first impressions of our fine city.
Never really being a Roman, other than just driving through, you definitely get a different
impression. I have told people in Atlanta that say, “I took my daughter to Berry” that you have to come downtown to really get the essence of what our community is about. You really have to feel the downtown experience. So, Rome is kind of a different story. It’s sort of two worlds, the urbanized area and then you have the outlying areas. So it really is two worlds because if I’m up at The Pocket I may as well be in Bozeman, Mont., or somewhere remote because it kind of feels like you’re in another world. And so, it’s unique. The thing that strikes me about Rome is we feel like a bigger city than we really are, and we are a small town. But we are not constrained, if you will, by thoughts of, “Oh, we are just a small town.” We are ambitious in developing our urban areas, but Rome wouldn’t have the same charm without all Floyd County has to offer.
In your time here, what have been the greatest advancements in our community?
When I got here, State Mutual Stadium was under construction. So it was a county SPLOST-funded project at the time. For the new guy, that was a really cool project and it was on the downhill side of completion. We were just starting to dream up the Armuchee connector at that time, and then the Tennis Center of Georgia became a focal point shortly after that. You know, a lot of folks think the time of government just moves so slowly and that’s true in the sense that to go from the conceptual process to having boots on the ground does take a while. The whole idea of the Town Green, bridge to West 3rd, parking deck, all that stuff were just sketches at the time I arrived in Rome. Just in my time of being here, now there is a 380-space deck, there is a Town Green, and there is the John Ross Pedestrian Bridge. And so, those things are coming to fruition. The whole idea of growing toward West 3rd was really the essence of that plan. Broad Street is doing ok. How do you get over there? How do you go to the front door of Floyd Medical Center? So, these are just a few of the pieces we must work to put together.
What can you share with us about West 3rd development and what do you believe that area will provide to the downtown area?
SR: Good question. From my perspective, you end up with something that is similar to what we have on Broad Street, but yet its own unique identity. So point being as it is now, what’s over there? You’ve got the first anchor, which was the old Rome Seed and Feed store that is now River City Bank. So huge investment on the corner. We reinvested in Barron Stadium. Then you start
RICH BEYOND MEASURE
INTERVIEW: IAN GRIFFIN PHOTOS: DEREK BELL
v3 magazine 23
getting in to some half-hazard development. Obviously, Marriott by Courtyard is a huge dominant for that whole area. What’s that going to look like? Then you got these old warehouse places. One of the things, if you follow along with our most recent Downtown Development Authority (DDA) planning effort, is this idea of an arts district. How does that all tie together? What I envision is two thriving urbanized areas connected by the 2nd Avenue Bridge, Pedestrian Bridge and the 5th Avenue Bridge all working together.
Community leaders talk a lot about keeping our local talent here and creating jobs for the next generation of Romans. For kids that are about to go off to school or are attending one of our many institutions of higher learning, what is your message to encourage them to live and work in Rome?
SR: You hit the nail on the head. We are talking about millennials specifically. Where do millennials want to live? From what I keep reading/
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hearing, they want to be in an urban area, they want to be in a walkable community, they want to have access to amenities. They probably want to have access to the amenities of larger cities like Atlanta, Chattanooga, Birmingham, but maybe want to live in a simple place like Rome so long as they are comfortable. So where do you live? If you want to live downtown, your options are pretty limited. And so that’s where I believe we need to evolve. We spend a lot of time talking about the upper story. Upper story is really starting to take off. There are a couple of projects now that folks are working on to develop more downtown units, but they’re higher end and I don’t see that as being a millennial target. Part of me thinks that as we move across the bridge you’re going to have more of those targets. And I think, you know, it’s one of those things where there is no magic answer of when. Is it next year, is it 10 years? I don’t know. I do think Marriott is going to be a huge key to send a signal. Once that building is out of the ground, I think all that other stuff over there is going to get gobbled up very quickly. Folks want to do some kind of speculation whether it’s restaurants or roof-top bars. Personally, I would like to see a brewery. I think in a river town it’s a shame that we don’t go down there and see the big brewery infrastructure. I think that’s an opportunity waiting to happen.
So to say we “need” a brewery—is that something you try to go out and attract?
SR: A lot of what I do as city manager is work on economic development. The Chamber is our official economic development forum, and we typically do it as a team. One of the things we’ve done as a community is work as a team. Whether it’s the Lowe’s [Distribution Center] project, even if it’s in the county, the city and county managers are at the table with the Chamber staff. We focus on the jobs that are advanced manufacturing, healthcare related. The retail side of that has never been our focus of the economic development strategy. But in a lot of communities, that’s
not the case. In a lot of places, the Chamber themselves will go and recruit. Oh you don’t have a Target, well we’re going to work on it. Some states, such as Alabama, offer incentives for retail but we don’t do that. We are very focused on the manufacturing sector. So in our model, what’s typically the case is a lot of the things that people want, Target, Publix, those things, they chase the rooftops. It’s a simple equation of population. I think when the demographics there, they want to come join. My theory is you keep putting the pieces of the puzzle together so that other folks can come be successful and set up shop. What do we do to make the environment? Things like opportunity zone, where it’s a tax-driven incentive. Let’s develop census tracks so you are receiving job tax credits. Our job is to make the environment fruitful so someone can come in and take advantage.
So what are the steps you take to get there?
SR: We have to set up, have the wherewithal to be thinking far enough to get them here. For instance, Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital was a big loss to the community – 500 jobs gone. Vital services gone. That’s a huge hole in our community; it’s also a huge opportunity. So, as you may know, we have an option on that property with the State Properties Commission. We are just now sifting through proposal to find a land planner who can help us as. Someone who can come in say here is this site; here’s where it is in the greater context, across the road from Berry, down the street from Harbin and Redmond. Help us dream up what this might become. What kind of incubator space, what kind of industrial site, what kind of mixed-use community? We don’t know, so the sky is the limit. That’s the kind of thing we are trying to do now. So it’s not “let’s sit back and see what happens,” but “how can we be proactive?” Can we make a biotech park? Maybe we can facilitate that. So that when Al Hodge [CEO of the Chamber] is down at The Capitol, he can preach to the world, “We have the perfect 130 acres, so come to Rome. We’ve got something to offer.” Our approach is: how do we take a bite of the elephant? A little here, a little there. No one silver bullet. Recruitment is ongoing; it never ends. It is always there.
I know you talk about connecting the dots downtown, but what about the gateways that lead to the heart of Rome. It seems like a natural progression for the revitalization of downtown to extend out to the airport and Tennis Center, but what about West Rome and North Broad?
SR: I live in West Rome and I think there is a lot of density in West Rome. Part of it is a cycle. Here is the reality – Rome was established in 1834; we are an older community. As part of that, you have old early successes, textile miles, General Electric. So part of our reality is that we have an older housing stock and, in many cases, that older housing stock leads to some opportunities for decline. So it’s one of those to where it’s kind of a delicate balance. The beauty of Rome is that it has been slow and steady, unlike the interstate communities. They look like everywhere else, tons of people moved in when things were going good. It busts, economy goes bad and everything dies. We’ve never really been that community. Rome has always been pretty much stable. Even with our bumps, it’s still stable. So part of our goals and strategies concern paying attention to our portals. What’s your impression going down Riverside Parkway? It’s a different impression than going down North Broad or some other parts of the community. To start that process, to start thinking and inviting the community, to think about it and have that sense of pride is important. In our bigger context is redevelopment like what we have done with South Rome. We have a lot of lessons learned there and we are trying to apply that to other parts of town. That is an ongoing challenge. You mentioned the Tennis Center and the Armuchee connector. Specifically in this case, the connector created a 78-acre parcel and 39 of that is dedicated to tennis, so as you know it’s a partnership. We have community SPLOST dollars to build the facility and an independent community board made of different individuals. It’s not so much about tennis as economic development. The beauty of Tennis Center of Georgia is that it allows us to facilitate larger tennis tournaments, which produces economic impact. So when your hotels are full, your restaurants are full, and people are out and about shopping, it is good for everyone. It is definitely good for the community. In addition to that, what does the Tennis Center attract to the adjacent properties? What is it going to do for the mall? You can envision a walking path to the mall, a hotel/conference center being adjacent. A lot of what we have talked about is the village concept. Some people ask, “Why did they put it so far out there?” But when I jump in my car and take the Armuchee connector, it’s like three miles. So, it’s really not that far. I guess it’s just a perception, but I expect great things to spring from the Tennis Center.
outstanding culture of cooperation in Rome and Floyd County. Please share your thoughts and experiences with this and tell our readers how it contributes to the greater good of the community as a whole.
SR: I will tell you it’s unique. We often tell folks, specifically in the government side – outside of the communities that are consolidated like Athens/Clark County and Columbus/Muskogee County – that we are probably more inter-governmental with Rome-Floyd than any other community in the state. It really does make a difference. And again, what’s my job? How do we do this efficiently? Building inspection, planning department, zoning, we do that. City employees, we provide that service county wide.
the urbanized area and you have the fringe. A lot of folks don’t want services. “I choose to move out to the periphery and I don’t want my garbage picked up. If I need government, I will call you; otherwise, leave me alone.” I understand that. I think that permeates into some of the mentality of SPLOST. Why would I vote to tax myself? I am not going to benefit from it. But as a community, to me, the advantage of SPLOST is pretty simple. Everyone pays, not just everyone here. Forty percent comes from folks that don’t even live here – the folks that have no vested interest in our community, but who are investing in it just by passing through. I don’t know how you can pass that up. When you look at what we have done through SPLOST, and the project list is long, they are things that otherwise we would not have been able to take advantage of without increases in property tax. Taxes in general create a negative connotation for virtually everyone. But we still want the police to show up when we call them, we still want the firemen to come put out the fire, you don’t want to drive on a bad road, and you want water to come out of the spicket when you turn it on. So, essentially, we want but we don’t want to pay for it. The reality for us is we have to balance the budget. How does this $30,000,000 general fund operation look and work. My goal is to provide services as efficiently as we can and I think we do a pretty good job of that. But to deliver capital projects, that’s the struggle. Where do you come up with that money without SPLOST? I think SPLOST has made a world of difference in what Rome is today. Not saying we wouldn’t have done it some other way, but not to the extent to what we have done today.
Taxes in general create a negative connotation for virtually everyone. But, you know, we still want the police to show up when we call them, we still want the fireman to come and put out the fire and you don’t want to drive on a bad road and you want water to come out of the spicket when you turn it on.
From law enforcement to medical facilities, those in the know speak of the
We think that’s most efficient way to do it. We have a consolidated fire department. They are city employees; it’s jointly funded. We split the difference, city and county. If you are county resident, you pay an unincorporated tax rate. If you are in the city, we use part of the general fund. So we split that $12,000,000 budget. It is one set of chiefs, one set of rules. We think it’s a very efficient way to do it. When you’re at the table recruiting, you are working with a potential company to have a one-stop shop. We eliminate the issues of having to talk to multiple people in different departments. It’s how we do business and I think it makes Rome unique.
The SPLOST has contributed so much to the betterment of our community. What are your thoughts on past SPLOSTs and SPLOSTs of the future?
SPLOST in this particular community has always been a tough sell. When you look at votes and the precincts, the city voters always vote yes and the county voters always vote no. You have
What are some of the exciting projects on the horizon and what are some of your goals over the next 5-10 years for Rome?
SR: We work in a glass house; there are really no secrets. A lot of things we have already talked about. What’s the evolution, what happens when you add the hotel, what happens when 5th Avenue takes off if we do end up with the redevelopment? That’s very exciting to me. The Regional Hospital – that’s a huge bucket of possibilities. That site in the center of this community, all the utilities are already there. When you think about all the possibilities that’s extremely exciting. The pieces of the puzzle are in place, now let’s see what happens. VVV
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Celebrating 50 Years at the
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in the clouds
A growing population of â€œvaping citizensâ€? may mean a much more pleasant atmosphere for us all and longer lifespans for smokers. Text: Oliver Robbins Photos: Derek Bell
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Micah Pullen, Ken Callaway, Dillon Reddish ome of us have habits we loathe which are so much a part of our everyday routine that they become almost impossible to curb and later quit altogether. One of those said habits currently under fire by every healthcare professional who has spoken to patients about the topic is smoking. The trail of physical dangers caused by smoking is a mile long, and recently, the socially unacceptable implications are gaining ground. No one wants to cut their time with loved ones short and many, who don’t partake in a puff or two on occasion, don’t want to see or smell the remnants of someone taking valuable years from their lives. Nowadays, there is an alternative to lighting up which does not include a package of tasteless gum or a patch that delivers teeth-chattering doses of nicotine directly through the skin of a smoker hoping to kick the stinky little monkey from their back. Electronic cigarettes, also known as vapes, vapors, e-cigarettes or other new terms that may be as foreign to us as the device itself, are popping up all around us as folks trade their pack and lighter for tiny bottles of liquid and curious-looking handhelds. One downtown business owner was once perplexed with the new fad but after smoking for almost 20 years, he found that cigarettes were literally stifling his outdoor lifestyle and “vaping” gave him the
needed wiggle room to escape from underneath the thumb of tobacco. Ken Callaway, lifelong Roman and owner of Summit Mist Vapors (522 Broad Street, Rome), saw the need to remove cigarettes from his life when he would begin to lose his breath while doing what he loves, mountain climbing. “I’m an explorer at heart. I really love the fire and the drive of life. It’s a beautiful thing,” he says. “But, I smoked for 19 years and one day while at the top of a mountain I lit a cigarette. I found that moment to be very counterproductive, you know, to be at the top of a mountain smoking a cigarette. “I started feeling the realities associated with smoking. I was in my early 30s with a smokers cough and I got tired prematurely,” Callaway continues. “I had tried a couple of cheaper (cessation) kits with no success in quitting, so I generalized the entire market as ineffective and gimmicky.” While working as a manager for a chemical lawn care company, Callaway noticed one of his clients puffing away on a strange-looking contraption. And being a smoker who had a burning desire to quit, he was naturally curious about what this gentleman was inhaling. “He had this weird-looking device and he kept talking to me about it. He had bought extras for his friends and family and he sold me on it. I paid $30 for it along with the only flavor he
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had, which was pina colada. So, I thought here is another $30 wasted,” Callaway recalls. “But I never looked back after that and it surprised me because I wasn’t even looking for an alternative at that point. I had tried everything, or so I had thought, but it really changed my life.” With a new-found method to quitting his pack-a-day addiction, Callaway started to explore new flavors and technology in the e-cigarette arena but his knowledge of grass, and different ways to make a lawn beautiful, was propelling him up the management chain of the lawn care company he worked for. Still, Callaway continued to research his new found passion until he could no longer keep it under wraps. “I decided to open Summit Mist Vapors in October of 2013 inside a closet at a friend’s salon called Wiyanna’s Salon. I am forever grateful to her for letting me impose on her like that,” he says. “If she had not allowed me to open there first, I really couldn’t have done it.” Now, his business has gained traction, allowing him to find his permanent home.
I smoked for 19 years and one day while at the top of a mountain I lit a cigarette. I found that moment to be
very counterproductive, you know, to be at the top of a mountain smoking a cigarette To grow his client base and provide smokers with an effective way to quit, Callaway started his outreach on Facebook. Soon, he found he was spending more and more time researching products and finding the safest stock for his customers. “I was watching videos, reading tutorials and doing a lot of investigating on the juices and what was in them,” he says. Callaway goes on to explain the process by which the vapor is emitted from the devices he sells. He fits smokers with a “kit” which includes a battery base, a tank to hold the flavoring or juice, an atomizer which heats the liquid and a tip used to inhale the vapor. It is important to note that he likes to have a consultation with his customers to find out how much they smoke
and what brand they prefer to provide them with the most compatible setup. And with over 60 flavors available, he is confident he can meet he preference of any brand of cigarettes one may enjoy. Smokeless tobacco users can be happy to know that vaping can help them find a way to lay down their unwanted habit as well. Since the end goal is to quit smoking all together, there are some enlightening facts he would like to share with those who are struggling to kick the butts and why vaping is far less harmful than tobacco products. “Cigarettes are all proven to be very harmful. Once you light it, upon combustion, over 7,000 chemicals become present,” Callaway explains. “At least 11 of those chemicals have been added for addictive purposes. Then you have lots of
carcinogens, carbon monoxide, tar and finally, nicotine. Nicotine, categorically, is no different than caffeine. It is an addictive stimulant. Nicotine is not exclusive to tobacco. It is also found in eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, cauliflower and other vegetables. So, you can be exposed to nicotine in other places other than a cigarette or an e-cigarette. “But, the vapor or juice has only four ingredients,” he continues. “It has propylene glycol, which is used in any breathing treatments you may get from the medical field. It is found in many aspects of the food industry and has been FDA approved for many years. Next, there is vegetable glycerin which people use topically as a skin moisturizer and is used in foods as well. Then there is flavoring and nicotine.” The option to gradually taper down the milligrams of nicotine in the juices provides an avenue to completely remove the addictive qualities, hopefully leaving the urge to smoke in the dust. “You can essentially entertain the habit of just puffing something without the addictive
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qualities of nicotine because we offer juices with zero nicotine concentrations,” he explains. “At the same time you can get rid of thousands of chemicals you might not know are even in the cigarettes you smoke.” At Summit Mist Vapors, Callaway continues to look for ways to provide a safer alternative to smoking and he believes in taking steps to keep his products on the cutting edge of the industry. “We chose not to mix juices in house. From a sanitary standpoint, without a few hundred thousand dollars, we are not able to able to have the adequate clean room necessary to produce a high level juice,” he says. “So, we contract laboratories with graduated chemists and master food practitioners who are experiences and certified.
They also use FDA-certified pharmaceutical ingredients. It is all organic or high level ingredients. We don’t just go with the cheapest one because you get what you pay for. It also lasts longer and burns slower. “There have been a few ingredients found to be carcinogenic, which still pale in comparison to any tobacco product, but the cool thing about the vaping industry that product is immediately pulled to keep the industry as safe as possible all the time,” Callaway adds. “All of our juices have had the ingredients found to be potentially harmful removed from them. However, there have been over 100,000 tests done on e-cigarettes, and so far, they have determined they are at least one-one thousandth as dangerous as a cigarette
can be,” he explains. He has plans to host public discussions where he is able to bring together providers of e-cigarette products, putting some of the myths floating around his products to bed. For those smokers who are pinching pennies, Callaway is also happy to report most smokers can expect to spend up to a quarter of the money they once used for cigarettes. A welcome boost to the bottom line is certainly helpful. He shares the experience of one of his customers who was faced with the harsh realities of smoking when he was diagnosed with the early stages of COPD. After vaping for about a year, leaving smoking nearly three packs a day for 50 years behind, his lungs have begun to return to normal functioning according to his doctor. The Summit Mist Vapors owner even convinced his mother, who wheezed and experienced complications while sleeping, to try the vapes. She, too, has felt the positive effects of switching to the electronic alternative, as she no longer experiences the breathing issues stemming from her cigarette smoking habit. Roughly 80 percent of folks who come through his door find a way stop smoking, according to Callaway, and for some the habit is too hard to quit. He suggests incorporating the e-cigarette into a long-term plan, with advice from a physician or cessation counselor, if you are having difficulty quitting. And since the places where smoking anything at all are dwindling every day, he has developed an environment that is welcoming to those who want to vape. His lounge is has a bar, complete with comfy stools, where customers are welcome to sit and try out the newest flavors available. And he has plans to invite local bands, poets or anyone who needs a place to stretch their creative wings a place to perform. Low-sitting leather chairs invite patrons for a seat in the rear of the shop. Furthermore, it’s nice to leave the building smelling of butterscotch or bubblegum, and not the stale stench of ashtrays. A valid ID proving you are at least 18 years of age is also required to protect the younger citizens, keeping the business on the legal side of all laws and ordinances. “I want it to be a positive place that is welcoming, where you don’t feel the need to buy something because you have been here three hours,” Callaway laughs. “Loitering is encouraged.” Maybe we can all appreciate his clearing the air with a little Vaping 101. V VV
For more information about e-cigarettes call Summit Mist Vapors at 706-331-9824 or like them on Facebook for special deals and new stock. 32 v3 magazine
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s the birds start to chirp, the trees begin to bud and fields of brown gather steam and green-up, we are reminded that Old Man Winter is relinquishing his cold grip on the South, returning us to the warm and inviting arms of spring. And when we pack away our winter wears, we roll out all the things associated with being outdoors and sharing family time together beneath a canopy of blue skies and cotton ball clouds. For many in Northwest Georgia, the only proper thing to do is grab a bag of charcoal, put a flame to our favorite meats, line the table with trimmings and start the season off right. Well, if old-fashioned barbeque is what defines the beginning of summer for you, grab your shorts and shades when you visit Uncle John’s Barbeque because it’s sunny there all year long. Harold Morgan, owner of Uncle John’s Barbeque (1901 Maple Ave., Rome) and lifetime Roman, spent much of his professional career
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learning to serve the public in a restaurant setting. However, it was his time growing up in East Rome that shaped his approach to running a successful business that is 14 years old this month. Being a part of a large family often meant everyone had to chip in to prepare the meals at the Morgan home. “I have 14 brothers and sisters. I was the tenth child born. So, I would always help my mama and daddy cook. And I remember my daddy, Alfred Morgan, would always make his own barbeque sauce,” Morgan recalls. “My brother, Jewell Morgan, was the kind of person who could take a recipe and enhance it. He is just that good, you know. He always had a talent for taking things that were bland and making them taste really good. Weather it was chili, sauces or anything else; he knew how to use seasonings. He really has a gift. I found out later it was his use of seasonings that could really sell food.” Feeding such a large family was a challenge for the Morgans, and nearly all of his meals as a
child were cooked at the family stove. He learned how to not only make food that was tasty, but also how to create food that brought families together and create memories. “Back then, cooking was our No. 1 pastime,” he says. “If we wanted beans, we had to cook them. There was no pre-sweetened cereal, we had to add the flavor. Back then, I thought it was bad but now I understand it was all things that were good, and good for you, because we prepared the meals ourselves; we prepared them together. “Jennel, my mother, she could cook,” he continues. “Fannie Lee, her sister, could cook as well. My grandmother was a great cook and the recipes you would gather from one, you gathered from them all because it was handed down.” Being armed with a plethora of methods to prepare home-cooked meals would later come into play after Morgan attended Mary T. Banks primary school, graduated from West Rome High in 1972, and later finished his studies at Shorter
FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF HIS UNCLE JOHN MORGAN, HAROLD MORGAN HAS BUILT A BUSINESS AROUND PROVIDING LOCALS WITH BARBEQUE THAT
IS GOOD TO THE BONE. TEXT: OLIVER ROBBINS PHOTOS: DEREK BELL
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I have noticed that people may not drive to save a few bucks, but they WILL GO OUT OF THEIR WAY TO GET GOOD FOOD. College with a bachelor’s degree business and economics in 1978. Being a family man with a strong work ethic drove him to seek a paycheck before pursuing his passions. “When I got out of school, I just started looking for ways to make money. I needed a 38 v3 magazine
check,” he laughs when speaking about his early career moves. “I did some substitute teaching for a while, and I did well. I also worked as a manager at Del Taco, but that store didn’t last long in Rome. One day, I saw a posting for a job at McDonalds. They were hiring managers. So, I
went down to the labor board – which was right next to the federal building downtown – and filled out an application. Soon they gave me a call for a job.” Morgan worked for McDonalds for nearly 20 years and he studied the reasons why the food industry giant was so successful. “They were always consistent,” he explains. “They really focused on three areas. Those areas were quality, service and cleanliness. I would love to have a person come back to my store and say how much they loved the food they had the last time they were here. “I would tell my employees, ‘Make sure you make that sandwich the same way you did last time.’ I would tell them to hold the ketchup the same way, stand in the same place as the last time they made the burger, and even to turn their hat just as they had the last time they made the burger,” he jokingly recalls.
He knew the business was making money, since he was responsible for making deposits, but he never paid much attention to his own 401k until one day he pealed back an envelope containing a statement claiming he had saved $21,000 through the company. “I said to myself, ‘Whoa, I need to pay more attention to this thing!’ When you didn’t specify where you wanted to put your money, the company would automatically put you into a program that had a low interest rate, but the money was secure. That was my incentive to just hang in there with the company for a while because this was alright.” Some years after opening that envelope, Morgan would eventually be able to put away $91,000 and his entrepreneurial wheels started to spin. “I started to think about what it would be like to own my own business. I would look at other independent places, like ol’ Bubba down at Bubba’s Barbeque or other places I would visit out of town, and I saw I had all the things to start a good restaurant. I had my brother Jewell, who could make all the sauces and recipes, and I knew how to make customers happy and run a business,” says Morgan. “So, I took that $91,000 and decided to start a barbeque place. That was back in 2001.” Morgan gives a huge amount of credit to the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce, where he would later become a part of the Board of Directors. “They really do a lot to enhance your business,” he says. “They gave me a lot of recognition; they would give me help if I needed it and I was able to network with a lot of really good people.” In 2004, Morgan was awarded a Rome Leadership Award; however, the community started to really take notice of the food being served out of his doors.
“I catered for St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Sherwin Williams Paint Store and I even catered the ropes course event for Leadership Rome for a few years,” he recalls. “I also have catered lunches for the employees at F&P. It was just amazing the way the Chamber helped me to build my business.”
And speaking of the food, Morgan keeps it simple, with his focus on the three things he learned from McDonalds during his years under their leadership. “It is important that the food looks good and tastes good. If you come to my restaurant and get a sandwich this month, you can come back
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dish that figuratively takes the cake. The half-a-cow-burger is eight pounds of ground beef, slow cooked for two hours on his smoker. If it sounds like enough to feed an army, you may be not be that far off base. “The baseball team from Shorter sometimes comes by with their coach and they will order two or three of them,” Morgan says. “I’m pretty sure they cut them up and ate them together.” And when he dresses the burger, his explanation of what is looks like is rather comical. “Let me tell you what I do. I take a five-inch bun with a little lettuce and I put it in the middle,” he laughs. “They always look at it and laugh. I think it looks like a man with a little hat and a great big head! Everyone thinks it is very unique, so they pull out their cell phones and start snapping pictures.” Plans for the future of Uncle John’s include finding a spot with a bigger dining area, and maybe opening at another location. Morgan does, however, hope to pass the business on to his family along with the recipe to his signature 13-ingredient sauce. He wants to continue to build the family legacy that has been so instrumental in his life thus far and one day bottle the backbone of his barbeque, the sauce. “I just enjoy doing something for the community that they enjoy. I see people in the line at Walmart who are upset with me because I had to close for a doctor’s appointment. It kind of makes me feel good to do something for my community that they appreciate so much,” Morgan says. “If you can make a little money, while doing what you love to do, you really can’t ask for much more.” V VV
Call Uncle John’s Barbeque at 706-266-9079 or drop by the Maple Avenue location to look over the menu. a year from now and get the same sandwich, just as you remember having it the first time,” he explains. “You know what, good food kind of makes people a little mentally unstable. They can get a hotdog at a hot dog stand miles from their home, and if it’s good, they will drive past 20 other hotdog stands to get that same hotdog again. I have noticed that people may not drive to save a few bucks, but they will go out of their way to get good food.” Concentrating on providing top-quality ingredients has made Uncle John’s one of the best places to get barbeque all year long, according to Morgan. And if he has to bump up his prices – which is rare – to meet the rising costs of goods, he never hears complaints. His rib sandwich, Brunswick stew and jumbo pork sandwiches are among his most requested items, not to mention his homemade desserts that often are carried off before the day is done. But he does have one 40 v3 magazine
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GET KIN DOWN 42 v3 magazine
NGSTON Grab your tents, coolers, and sunblock because this yearâ€™s CounterPoint Music Festival line-up promises to be hotter than last, and the MCP staff have made adjustments with our local governments to hopefully leave nothing but cash behind. Text: Erin deMesquita Photos: Derek Bell and MCP Presents
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I know theyâ€™re really excited about coming back and weâ€™re really excited about having them back. They definitely put Rome-Floyd County on the map as a great music venue
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ight now, there’s is a sweeping synchronicity of sheer anticipation transpiring in music lovers across oceans, borders and state lines. Thousands of daytime dancers and camping eccentrics are gearing up for a festival experience that has literally brought the bass to our very own backyard. The return of CounterPoint Music and Arts Festival, brought to us by MCP Presents, draws closer and closer as the chill in the air subsides and sandals, t-shirts and bare arms replace the bulk of winter boots and warm jackets. The rolling green hills of Kingston Downs will welcome back those sandaled footprints of festival-goers on Memorial Day Weekend, and officials of RomeFloyd County echo that embrace. “I know they’re really excited about coming back and we’re really excited about having them back. They definitely put Rome-Floyd County on the map as a great music venue,” says Lisa Smith, executive director of the Greater Rome Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. The festival last year flowed so smooth, in fact, that Rome City Manager, Sammy Rich, has nothing but words of affirmation for the successes of the first CounterPoint installation at Kingston Downs, “I don’t believe we had anything but a positive impact and positive results. The impact on local economy was simply phenomenal, and that’s a great example of the type of economic development that is so easy for the community and very little commitment for the community.” The event ushered in a myriad of fresh faces, eminently impressive revenues and quite possibly the most colorful scene that Kingston Downs has yet to entertain. Streaming rainbows of high flying flags danced across the blue North Georgia sky
while below, a sea of confetti swept across the grounds as fans and festival lovers became one organism in celebration of an environment that stimulates them and music that moves them. “Overall the event was a great success,” says Kevin Earle, marketing director for MCP, “Working with a new venue there will always be challenges and hiccups, but Kingston Downs is unique in that it has a 20 year track record (fully intended) of hosting large scale events. The infrastructure on site lent perfectly to what we wanted to accomplish and made our job relatively easy, thus allowing us to focus on providing the best fan experience possible.” Creating that unforgettable fan experience remains the perpetual pulse beneath MCP’s motivation. One thing that has rung true (and maintained its tone) is that they always listen;
whether it be to the voices of their fans or the community in which they hold an event. “They are very professional,” Smith says, “They’re really easy to work with and were very eager to see, how they will fit into the community, how they will become part of the fabric.” Smith adds that she appreciated and admired that, with MCP, there was no skirting around issues or monetary tunnel vision, instead they were all about accommodation, possibilities and problem solving. “These guys went out of their way to do a great job. They went out of their way for any concerns we had to address and I can’t compliment them enough on that,” says Jamie McCord, Floyd County Manager. It is with a solid foundation and dedicated participants that CounterPoint embarks on its second year of hosting an event in the Georgia Mountains; and with it, comes a mighty diverse lineup. Born with an EDM (electronic dance music) core, CounterPoint has expanded the brand of the bill to include an intermix of sounds while still maintaining those electro-roots. The 2015 headlining artists consist of the of the widely followed, Georgia-born, Widespread Panic, the fancentric jam-rock of Umphrey’s McGee, the EDM stylings of Knife Party, Dillon Francis and Zedd, and the envelope pushing hip-hop crew, The Roots. Further into the lineup, CounterPoint 2015 submits the funk/jazz/jam of Galactic, a hefty touch of brass infused with hip-hop, funk and R&B, compliments of The Soul Rebels, and the familiar “dub-step” rhythm of CounterPoint veteran, OTT. In tow with the sundry sounds of this year’s lineup, CounterPoint brings along its signature activities and amenities. “There are yard games, carnival rides, various workshops, morning yoga, meditation sessions, a non-profit village, arts and craft vendors from all over the world, food and
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beverage selections that rival Taste of Atlanta, national and local artists, a silent disco, bonfires, various types of camping and so much more,” Earle says. Also, available in each of the camping communities, there will be a BBQ grilling area, picnic tables and a “Hammock Zone” for resting the bones. “All of that will be there,” Earle adds, “but in the end it’s not about any of those individual elements. It’s about the culmination of all of those elements over one weekend that morphs into an experience. An experience that is the polar opposite of everyday life and one that won’t be easily forgotten.” To make sure that they deliver an experience that is as chill and as accommodating as possible, MCP has literally broken new ground this year in the area of convenience. “One thing that most will notice is the additional access road we have created on the west side of the property,” Earle says, “This will allow for faster entrance off the highway as well as expedited parking / camping once inside; all to get people settled and ready to enjoy the weekend quicker and minimize the impact on the local roadways and residents.” It’s significant to say, that this is not just a concert. These are the types of experiences that change us, that open our eyes, and introduce us to new faces and new horizons. The truth is, CounterPoint is doing that same thing for our community. “We spend so much time looking to recruit jobs and industry to the community,” Rich says, “So it’s amazing to have these types of events that not only add to the economic development and vitality of the community, but it adds to the quality of life.” With one more meeting between Rome-Floyd County officials and the reps of MCP, there may be a few details to hash out, but as of now, the motives and the mechanics are set and ready for a 2015 experience that fans will never forget; and that’s exactly the idea. No doubt, there will be some seasoned camping concert vets in the crowd this year, but no one could speak the words as vividly or as thoroughly as Earle when he prepares first-timers for a festival experience, Kingston Downs style, “Newbies should come with an open mind, but should come with the expectation that they will find a place where free thought and expression are welcome. A place where sleeping under the stars and making new friends is a way of life. A place where great music, art of all types and beautiful surroundings blend seamlessly into an experience that is capable of awakening parts of a person’s soul they thought was lost or that they never knew existed at all.” See you under the stars, my friends. V VV
For ticket info and a complete line-up for the weekend visit www.counterpointfestival.com. 46 v3 magazine
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The Dish 100 Covered Bridge Road Euharlee, GA
PH: 700-383-3383 www.johnnymitchells.com Open everyday from 11am-9pm Johnny Mitchell’s has hand-cut steaks, fesh seafood selections and authentic barbecue slow-smoked over cherry and hickory wood. Come experience the fusion of Southern hospitality and fine dining.
Whatever you are in the mood for, you’ll find a homemade meal at our Smokehouse that will bring you back again!
2817 Martha Berry Highway Rome, GA 30165
Hours: Mon -Thu: 11:00am- 10:00pm Fri - Sat: 11:00am-11:00pm Sun: 11:00am-9:00pm
WOW strives to serve the highest quality of food with the freshest ingredients. You will leave saying “WOW! What a Place!” Famous for: Wings and over 17 signature sauces to choose from!
www.schroedersnewdeli.com 406 Broad Street Rome, GA 30161
300 Broad Street Rome, GA 30161
PH: 706-235-0030 www.partridgerestaurant.com
Hours: Mon-Thur: 11:00am-10:00pm
Hours: Mon-Sat: 11:00am-8:30pm
It’s the best in town... Ain’t nothin’
The Partridge Restaurant is like stepping back in time when families gathered at the table with real plates and silverware. Each group of patrons are seated at their individual table and served family-style.
mellow about it! (Draft and Bottled
With our variety of meats and
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vegetables, you are bound to find a delicious dining experience with every visit!
Schroeder’s menu includes sandwiches, calzones, soups, salads, potato skins, nachos, wings, and more. And don’t forget our pizza!
Their Roast Beef Relief!
www.getjamwiched.com 510 Broad Street Rome, GA 30161
Like us on FACEBOOK Mon-Fri 11:00am-3:00pm
Jamwich - Serving distinctive sandwiches, salads, and soups. Sandwiches built with the finest ingredients: Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, Zelma’s Blue Ribbon Jams and Jellies, fresh sourdough bread, premium Boars Head thick cut bacon and farm-to-table produce.
595 Riverside Parkway Rome, GA 30161
PH: 706-233-9960 Hours: Sun -Thu: 11:00am-9:00pm
Fri - Sat: 11:00am-10:00pm
Fuddruckers catering can help you feed just about any size group, anytime, anywhere. Our menu will please the most discerning tastes and meet the high standards you require. We know how to make your event spectacular with the WORLD’S GREATEST CATERING.
www.lascalaromega.com 413 Broad Street Rome, GA 30161
PH: 706-238-9000 Hours: Mon - Sat: 6:00pm-10:00pm 400 Block Bar & Lounge: 4:00pm-1:30am Live music each weekend.
La Scala offers both first-rate service and terrific Italian Cuisine in an upscale casual atmosphere. 50% off cafe menu from 4:00-6:00 p.m.
3401 Martha Berry Hwy Rome, GA 30165
PH: 706-291-1881 Hours: Sun -Thu: 11:00am-10:00pm
Fri - Sat: 11:00am-11:00pm Dine in, Take out, or delivery... Authentic Italian is what we do! We have enjoyed great success by providing our guests with a casual, friendly atmosphere and excellent service. In addition to the healthy portions of our food, you will see our entrees range from homemade sandwiches, pizzas and calzones to pastas, chicken, veal and seafood dishes. www.romamiagrill.com
Make it a meal worth remembering. Where to eat in Northwest Georgia. v3 magazine 47
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