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NWGA's Premier Feature Magazine / June 2014

Red House OverYonder A summer stroll at Cloudland Station yields this charmingly reimagined sweets shop, among other super-sweet surprises


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JUNE2014

OPINIONS 15 SHOOT FIRST, P R AY L A T E R J. BRYANT STEELE RIFFS ON THE STUPIDITY OF GUNS IN CHURCH

17 YOU CAN'T LOSE. LITERALLY. KENT HOWARD DELIVERS SOME BAD NEWS: YOU'RE NOT A WINNER IF YOU DIDN'T ACTUALLY WIN

18 RIMES AND REASON MISS CONGENIALITY, HOLLY LYNCH, TELLS US HOW TO KEEP THOSE TWEETS SHORT AND SWEET

FEATURES 22 ROLLING ON A RIVER IN A TOWN FROCKED BY OLD-SCHOOL SENSIBILITIES, RIVER CITY BANK PREVAILS WITH TECH-TUNED SMARTS

26 TATUM'S OPUS WELCOME TO ONE ATLANTA-BASED DEVELOPER'S DREAM VILLAGE IN THE SKY—A.K.A. CLOUDLAND STATION

32 ICKY THUMP THE FIRST KINGSTON DOWNS INSTALLMENT OF COUNTERPOINT MUSIC FESTIVAL DELIVERS ON ITS PROMISE OF A MAJOR CASH INJECTION FOR NWGA

43 TRI HARD HOW R.A.C.E. ROME'S TRI FOR THE SHELTER SPRINT TRIATHLON IS BRINGING COMPETITORS FROM ACROSS THE REGION RIGHT OUT OF THE WOODWORK


urn back the clock about 12 years, and you would find myself and V3 Creative Partner/Editor-in-Chief, Neal Howard, as 20-something roommates living in a three-bedroom beach house on James Island, S.C, just across the Ashley River from Charleston. We called it “Oz” due to it’s canary-yellow exterior and glistening, emerald-green shingles. It was nicely situated on a dead-end street, had an enormous front yard, and was surrounded by forest, which allowed us to enjoy our friends as loudly as we liked without disturbing the neighbors. We lived with a young couple, also from Rome, who were longtime friends of ours from high school, and for a house hosting four total roommates and an anxious little dog, we got along pretty well. We were both 21 at the time, unmarried, just a short drive from the beach, and our monthly rent was only $250 per person. (It’d be an understatement to say these were simpler times.) As a transfer student from hardnosed Georgia Tech to the liberal-arts bonanza that is the College of Charleston, he was determined to get back to doing what he was meant to. So, when he wasn’t busy studying or hanging out with his rowdy housemates, he was in his room writing fiction. Eventually, the members of our merry little band went their separate ways. Neal moved downtown to be closer to school, and I ran off to the beach to be closer to the beach. Just before we moved out of that house on Hale Street, however, my best friend and the future creator of this very magazine allowed me to lay eyes on an unfinished piece of literature I have never forgotIan Griffin ten. It was only four chapters long, but I remember being sucked MANAGING PARTNER+ headfirst into a gritty, coming-of-age story involving the son of HEAD OF ADVERTISING a grandeur-deluded Georgia pastor. It grabbed me instantly and wouldn’t let go. I remember handing those pages back to him with pride, certain that one day I’d be pulling a published copy of his first New York Times bestseller off the shelf and beaming with pride in light of my friend’s success. As fate would have it, Neal moved back to Rome after graduation, while I remained in Charleston. Thankfully, returning home later led him to the idea for V3 Magazine. For the last eight years, he has put nearly all of his personal art aside (minus producing four, full-length instrumental albums in his home recording studio) and thrust all his energy into crafting our flagship publication. Aside from writing, editing and designing the layout for each issue, he was also an indispensible teacher for our staff, constantly working to mold young writers with little to no experience in the feature realm. This allowed Neal Howard countless local voices to cut their artistic teeth in a market newly CREATIVE PARTNER+EDITORestablished by the very company he recruited Anthony Barba IN-CHIEF+V3 MAG DESIGN and myself to help him cofound. In all that time of transferring his expertise, though, the only minor gripe he had with his job was the fact that it left him no time or mental energy to use it for his own writing. He was consumed by dedicating his skillset to working with others, and, in turn, he was forced to leave his fiction on the shelf altogether. It was a major score for V3, of course, but a sacrifice that, deep down, we knew couldn’t stand forever. And so, after editing, conceptualizing and designing 101 monthly issues, as well as six specialedition “Wedding Compendiums”, Neal has come to the decision that it’s time to pursue what those of us who know him believe is his true calling. Regretfully, it will require that he step down as editor and devote 100 percent of his efforts to a new, equally worthy cause. It isn’t an easy move for any of us, but it’s the right move. With the beginnings of at least one surefire bestseller already somewhere tucked away in a desk drawer, I expect nothing but greatness from Mr. Howard. He created something I already love in V3, and after he completes his final mag design for our upcoming 2014 Wedding Compendium, our staff will carry on his vision for the magazine going forward until we can become fans of his work as an author. Thanks for eight fantastic years, Neal. See you on the other side of your next big success, and hopefully by my poolside sometime this summer.

P u b l i s h e rs' N o t e

Ian Griffin, V3 Managing Partner

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF + PRODUCTION MANAGER + MAG ART & DESIGN Neal Howard WRITERS J. Bryant Steele, Luke Chaffin, Oliver Robbins, Holly Lynch, Kent Howard, Neal Howard, Ian Griffin, Matt Davis PHOTOGRAPHY Derek Bell, MFA 706.936.0407 CHIEF OF ADVERTISING + OFFICE MANAGER + SALES DIRECTOR Ian Griffin AD SALES + CLIENT RELATIONS Shadae Yancey-Warren, Chris Forino 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>v3publications @gmail.com

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I

’ll admit that when I was being brought up in a conservative, country church, there were times I thought the kinetic, brow-mopping preacher needed to be shot—but not right there on the spot. There’s a time and place for everything, and I’m on record as saying Georgia’s new law legalizing the carry of guns in such places as bars, public schools, government buildings and churches is illogical. But who am I to say? No less impartial a judge than the National Rifle Association (of which I used to be a member) is having wet dreams that Georgia’s new law could be emulated elsewhere. And let’s face it—you do need a gun to defend yourself against people you might disagree with—like that drunk at the end of the bar who keeps playing Miley Cyrus on the jukebox. Polls show a majority of Georgians favor gun rights, but not the new expanded gun law. In the minority, then, is the yahoo in Ellijay, where Gov. Nathan Deal signed the bill into law, who said, “We believe in two things in Ellijay, religion and guns.” That’s also, more or less, what extremists in the Middle East say. In turn, it is heartening to see clergy taking a stand to counteract the well-funded Gunsmoke crowd and the lawmakers who blindly follow them, regardless of the citizenry’s wishes. The first out of the gate was the Right Rev. Robert C. Wright, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, who used his ecclesiastical authority and judgment to say the diocese, which includes North Georgia churches, would not permit guns in its churches or on church property, with an exception made for on-duty law enforcement officers. Also quick to assume a simi-

Cents& Sensibilty with J.Bryant Steele

him right. This is the type of code-speak used by the blindly self-assured. If you don’t agree with them, it’s because you’re not “diligent.”

Biz Bits

A quick couple of things related to our country’s First Amendment: Donald Sterling is a senile, racist philanderer, and his mistress is ugly. I could say those things even if they weren’t true, backed by numerous judicial rulings over the centuries giving liberal protections to free speech. Now, in case you’ve been living in a cave, Donald Sterling is the 80-year-old, married billionaire owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers who was secretly recorded making racist remarks by his 31-year-old mistress. The mistress gave the tape to the media; now Sterling has been banned from the NBA for life, fined $2.5 million (a pittance for a billionaire), and could be forced to sell his team (at what will be a tidy profit). If not for the personal humiliation, the punishment wouldn’t be adequate. If he were to attend church in Georgia, we could shoot him. Incredibly, some are outraged because Sterling thought he was engaged in a private conversation and that his trust has been violated. I’ll share something with you, buckaroos, that journalists learn early on: A conversation is private only as long as all parties keep it private. A mistress, almost by definition, is probably the last person you want to confide in. Also incredibly, some are saying that the First Amendment protects Sterling’s speech. Yes, that’s correct, he’s free to share racist rants.

Packin' Heat @ the Pulpit

Let's focus far more on our caliber of worship; far less on the caliber of our sidearms lar stance was Central Presbyterian, which sits in the shadow of the Gold Dome and prides itself on a policy of inclusion. Its current stance is that gun owners are welcome; guns are not. Then there’s the Georgia Baptist Convention, which will not issue an overarching directive, but instead leave such decisions to individual churches, citing its belief in the autonomy of its member institutions. Funny how this treasured autonomy was shoved to the back seat when the GBC dictated a moral behavior code to Shorter University instructors and students, forcing them to sign a “personal lifestyle” statement—or else. A Baptist preacher in Social Circle, Ga., near where I grew up, wrote in defense of

the GBC and the wisdom of allowing guns in churches. He cited, of all people, Jesus Christ—you know, the one who commanded Peter to put away his sword at precisely the moment Christ could have most used an armed defender. The preacher took issue with those who “pick and choose” Scripture to suit their purposes, but that’s precisely what he was doing. It is, frankly, what all of us do. The Bible has been used to defend opposing views since its inception, and early Christian leaders couldn’t agree on what to include in the Good Book. (The Gospel of John almost wound up on the cutting room floor, for example.) Nevertheless, the good preacher claimed that a “diligent” reading of Scripture proves

Continued on pg. 20 >>> vini vidi vici / v3 magazine 15


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Touching theLine

A

debate more intense than abortion or gay marriage lurks in the shadows of every community, and affects more people than either of these two issues combined. It quietly slinks around dinner table conversations, ball fields, gyms, and competitive events all over our great nation each day; it rears its ugly head when our emotions are at their most high. Should all kids who participate on a team get a trophy, metal, or award? Recently, my 8-year-old daughter was involved in a fierce spelling-bee battle among second-grade scholars. She was one of 14 individual, class-winning contestants who were vying for the chance to be crowned overall champion of the second grade. My wife mentioned to me several times how nervous she was for all of the participants, especially our daughter. As I looked around the room, I could

with Kent Howard

Rediscovering the Beautiful Struggle

ness decisions, and various life decisions have treated many of you unkindly over the years. How about you folks who played sports? Did you ever lose? I know I did, and those losing moments of my life were arguably the most valuable teaching moments of my life. When we win, we bring home a trophy, bragging rights, and a palpable feeling of accomplishment. But when we lose, we can still win. As a matter of fact, losing can, oftentimes, teach us more about winning than actually winning. Please understand that I am not encouraging anyone to enjoy losing. Instead, I am suggesting that we accept the reality of loss and allow its pain to foster self-improvement. If we allow ourselves to be taught through the pain of losing, then we ultimately win. Losing shows us how to improve, how to arrive better prepared the next time, and can reveal our true character in the way we choose to handle ourselves. It can even tell us how to approach the competition differently from that point forward. In the case of my daughter’s spelling bee, she later asked if her mother and I would still

When everyone gets a trophy, no one truly wins see and smell the tension among parents as they panned the stage to size up the competition. I thought to myself, Wow, this is a really big deal to these people. As the bee progressed, these characters didn’t disappoint. Their claps grew louder with each correctly spelled word, as did the groans

with each misspelled word. My daughter was eliminated after round three, but my wife and I were nonetheless proud. Sure, we would have loved to bring home some hardware, but it didn’t happen this time. And that’s real life, isn’t it? We tend to lose more than we win. Let’s face it: Those state lottery tickets, school fundraiser raffles, busi-

Continued on pg. 20 >>>

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#keepitsimple Why tweeting smarter beats tweeting harder

A

s a child, I would spend part of my Sundays reading the color comic pages my dad referred to as the “funnies.” This weekly ritual taught me many lessons: how to follow a map (Family Circus), how to make a sandwich (Dagwood), and how to swear in print (‘@#!%,’ á la Sarge). In the year 2014, that same series of symbols, when mixed with a

Trends& Traditions

example, when I want to make sure that Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy, sees my tweet to her, I make sure to address her handle in my tweet, using her user name. I must make sure that the name used after the @ is correct, or I might be tagging someone else. You have probably seen users include the word ‘real’ in their Twitter (or Instagram) handle, to differentiate the person (usually a celebrity) from someone who has the same name (or thinks they do). Businesses run into trouble with this frequently, so when you use the @ symbol, make sure you are directing your message to the right user. Conversely, the hashtag prompts a whole other set of issues, which I personally discovered during the Casey Anthony trial. If I wanted to know how things had gone that day, I simply typed “#CaseyAnthony” into Twitter, and anyone who had anything to say or report about the trial would come up in the feed, with the most recent posted at the top. I could scan quickly for news sources who had tweeted, but I’d often read the snarky comments posted by the random public. TV shows and political campaigns want to control this trend, to some degree, by suggesting the hashtag to use if you want to connect to that topic. Grey’s Anatomy, for instance, uses #Greys. The benefit to everyone using the same hashtag to connect to a topic is that we can share and connect in one place, no matter our geographic location. Most people have no idea how to connect to a trend. They simply use the hashtag as a cute, sarcastic, or poignant punchline. (I’ve done it myself.) But using the hashtag in this way doesn’t connect you to anyone. Let’s say you’ve just had a baby and now

w i t h H o l l y Ly n c h

few words, is called tweeting. Reading an article online or skimming social media outlets is now filled with visual interruptions to sentences and thoughts, all in the form of @ and # symbols. The @ symbol was formerly used as a replacement of the word “at” for mathematical calculations (10 items @ $1 each). The symbol wasn’t widely used, which is how the inventors of the early Internet decided to use it for creating email addresses. Later, Twitter adopted the symbol for their “handles”—i.e. the names of their members. The symbol can also be used to tag individuals and other users on various socialmedia sites, like Instagram and Facebook. The other comic swear letter, the hashtag, is formally known as the pound symbol or the number symbol. In the social-media world, however, it is called a hashtag, and is used to identify a trend or to connect a user’s comment to other comments regarding the same topic. You can discover what’s ‘trending’ via what hashtag words are used most frequently on social-media sites. But how do we use these symbols correctly? How do we make sure we communicate our messages the right way? We all pretty much use the @ correctly—to connect an email address, to tag a user. For

you are using your baby’s name as the hashtag in your post. When you search by that hashtag, what do you find? Other people who have that same name? If that’s what you intended, then your hashtag worked. If you mean to simply punctuate your sentence with the reveal of the baby’s name, then you can skip the #. Perhaps the better hashtag would be #Newmom, so you can connect to other new moms to trade tips and give each other support. A great way to decide if your hashtag is going to connect to the world is to search the hashtag first. What if you named your baby girl #Ariel on the same day #Ariel Castro was arrested? Do you want your baby’s birth announcement lumped into the same category as that monster? Probably not. You may wonder, what’s the point of using a hashtag to connect? Why can’t I just put a hashtag on my post that means something to me? Of course you can, but skip the symbol. If posting something that is only meaningful to you is your purpose, the symbol isn’t necessary. I once used #partyforaliving as my hashtag. Many event planners use that phrase, but, as it turns out, drug dealers also use that phrase. Lesson learned. You want to be on-trend. You want to make sure that your posts are meaningful and connect to the right places. You want them to reach the right people. So, keep your hashtags short. Make them more like keywords than specific phrases. If you like to cook and just created a great recipe, use a key ingredient from the recipe as your hashtag. Then, when the world is looking for a recipe for something similar, they’ll find your post. Most videos and photos that become trends

Continued on pg. 20 >>> vini vidi vici / v3 magazine 19


From pg. 15,"Packin' " >>> But there’s nothing in the First Amendment that shields a jackass from the consequences of his words. The NBA is right to mete out its punishment. Every time I think Georgia is the laughing stock of the nation with things like our new gun law, one of our neighbors reminds me they are always in contention. If you want to move to Alabama, for instance, you’d better have your New Testament credentials in order before opening your mouth or penning your viewpoint in a letter to the editor. Roy Moore, who is chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, has declared that the First Amendment applies only to Christians. Moore was speaking at an event called the Pastor Life Luncheon, which was sponsored by Pro-Life Mississippi. “Buddha didn’t create us, Mohammed didn’t create us, it was the God of the Holy Scriptures,” he said. (Wouldn’t that mean Jews, not just Christians, are protected by the First Amendment?) Moore continued, “They didn’t bring the Koran over on the Pilgrim ship. Let’s get real, let’s go back and learn our history.” Let’s do, Mr. Moore. Let’s also require that you reread the First Amendment diligently. VVV

J. Bryant Steele is an awardwinning journalist and feature

writer based in Rome, Ga.

From pg. 17,"Struggle" >>> get her a medal for doing a great job. The hair on my neck stood up. “No,” I said. “You don’t need a medal to know that you are great. Your mommy and I are proud of you because you did your best. Winning is nice, but winning doesn’t make you a winner. How you respond to winning and losing is what will determine that.” Isabelle paused. “That’s great, Dad, but I still want a medal.” Oh. Well, at least I had gotten it off my chest. We went on to emphasize to her that what mattered most was her months of tireless preparation to do her best, and that her graciousness in defeat—the clapping for and fist-bumping of her classmates still in the fight—would speak volumes about the caliber of person she is. Although predicated on a noble idea—i.e. making kids feel good about themselves—the doctrine of giving every child participant a trophy, medal or award simply doesn’t mirror real life. Be it sports or business, people lose. It is how they respond to loss that will determine whether or not they are winners. Winners prepare with hard work. Winners learn from failure. Winners yearn to satisfy an aching in their hearts for greatness, not to place

another meaningless symbol over the mantle. VVV

Kent Howard is a veteran former basketball coach and current educator/mentor at Adairsville High School.

From pg. 19,"#keep..." >>> large enough to be covered by the Orange Room on The Today Show have hashtags that are simple and straightforward. Posts that are successfully trending also use the symbols intelligently and don’t overdue it. One or two hashtags is plenty. This should have been my most recent post to Shonda @Shondarhimes: ‘Thank you for not killing off #CristinaYang on #Greys.’ I didn’t need to add something too personal or annoying, like #greysismyfavoriteshow. #Ivemademypoint. VVV

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River Deep, Mountain High

Text Ian Griffin Photos Derek Bell

j

ust across from the levy, on the corner of Second Avenue and West Third Street in downtown Rome, sits a structure that has become a staple of the community. Looking more like a prestigious lodge than a financial institution, River City Bank’s centrally located hub serves the people of Rome and Floyd County as both a bank and community partner. From River City's inception, its mission was to not only provide banking services, but to better the area in which it chose to plant its roots. This was a vision shared collectively by both the bankers and board members involved in the startup process. “When the bank opened its doors in May of 2006, we started with a group of hand-picked individuals with a common goal,” CEO Roger 22

vini vidi vici / v3 magazine

River City Bank

Smith explains. “We wanted to start a community bank that would help Rome and Floyd County grow and prosper. With the experience and ability of the staff we put together, accomplishing that goal was simply a matter of investing ourselves in the community from the very beginning.”

With a strong foundation of philanthropic board members and dedicated community leaders steering the ship, RCB raised $18 million in startup capital exclusively from local investors. Its leadership and funding now in place, the time had come to execute the vision for RCB.


or quickly put them in front of someone who can. This method requires significant crosstraining and a “team first" mentality, which is exactly what defines dialogue banking and, thus, exactly what the bank looks for when hiring new employees. “The bottom line is that banking doesn’t need to interrupt someone’s life,” says Williams. “We understand that people are being pulled in a million different directions and that they need to stop in, cash their check or make their deposit, and be on their way. We consider our service technology-driven, and while that may sound like it lacks the human element, it’s actually the opposite. We invested in technology that makes the focus not about the transaction, but the interaction and expertise a banker can provide.” The tech doesn’t stop at the front door, either. Actually, it starts at the drive-thru, where four digital monitors await patrons with scrolling special offers and a real-time video greeting from their friendly customer-service rep. This efficient style of drive-thru banking has customers zipping in and out in a flash. But for those who have even less time to enjoy their banking experience, RCB offers full-service online and mobile banking, as well.

“We wanted to bring dialogue banking to Rome and Floyd County,” recalls CFO Connie Williams. “We were the first to do so, and are still the only bank—to my knowledge—that offers that kind of service.” This “dialogue banking" adds a much more personal touch to the customer-service side of the business equation. While the building itself removes the consumer from what may otherwise be considered a traditional banking experience, once RCB’s automated doubledoors part ways, the facility’s great aesthetic allure gives way instantly to the warmth of the staff on hand. That long walk to the teller is made far more pleasant, for instance, as each account-holder receives a greeting from any number of highly qualified staff members equipped to either handle their needs themselves

“We refer to our methods as high-tech, high-touch,” says River City CCO Grant Espy. “Some people are still warming up to banking online or on a smart phone, and those are [some of the people who] walk through our doors or pull through our drive-thru every day. Regardless of a person’s banking preference, we want there to be a personal touch. Most people associate high-tech with looking at more screens and less faces. We wanted to do something completely different and provide our clients with more technology along with the personal service people expect from a community bank.” Part of the formula for RCB’s success was a “back to basics” mentality implemented from the very start in 2006, and the philosophy rules to this day. It was this approach that also helped River City navigate the turbulence of the Great Recession and come out clean on the other side, all while enjoying more stability than most of their counterparts. After a strong 2012 and banner 2013, RCB is now intently focused on an even brighter future. Perhaps the only thing its higher-ups are more excited about is their continued role in strengthening the bank’s personal relationship with the RomeFloyd community. “As we put the

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“ Our board members are all business leaders in the community, and they deserve a lot of credit for what has been built here

banking, and their hard work and leadership have been a big key to our success.” Throughout it’s eightyear existence, River City Bank’s progressive approach to the RomeMiami Heat’s “Big Three”, the trust plans together for the building, we truly wantFloyd consumer’s everyestablished with their customers is ed it to not only be our home, but a gift to day banking experience second only to the personal serthe community as well,” says Espy. “We host has proven itself a recipe vice they provide. multiple nonprofit orgafor success. And while As with most nizations and corporate a dash of salt or pepper everything else at groups—at no charge—in may be added here or RCB, this was alour meeting rooms on a there, it’s a recipe they ways a part of the weekly basis.” intend to stick to for the larger game plan, From its greatly sucConnie Williams, CFO long haul. and CFO Williams cessful trust department “It’s all about how you is quick to point out to the fee-free checktreat your customers and the role the bank’s ing accounts still offered how we treat each other board has played in at RCB, staffers pride at the bank, internally,” themselves on offering laying the foundasays Smith. “If you treat tion for its stability. customers a full-service each other with integrity “Our board membank that can accommoand kindness and truthfulness, and you treat bers are all business leaders date just about any kind your customers the same way, it all feeds on in this community, and they of loan, line of credit, or itself. deserve a lot of credit for what financial advisory service Grant Espy, CCO “Our staff buys into the fact that all of the has been built here—and what to a growing and diverse jobs here are equally important, and we spend is being built here,” says Wilclient base. And with the a lot of time talking about that. The results liams. “They work hard every know-how and experiare in the relationships our staff members day and have served this bank ence of an all-star staff have with our customers, and we couldn’t be for eight years now. It’s been a that could be called the prouder of who we are as a bank.” VVV tough few years in community banking equivalent of the vini vidi vici / v3 magazine 25


Recently hailed a "Southern Living Inspired Community",

cloudland station delivers a captivating tribute to our most idyllic notions of American life

text oliver robbins photos derek bell

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a ribbon in the sky


a

s summer approaches and the days become long and lazy, families are able to enjoy the extra couple of hours of sunlight. There is no school to occupy the children, overcoats have been closeted for short sleeves, and many evenings are now spent catching up with loved ones on the events of a busy first half of the year. After a long week of work for mom and dad, parents are finding themselves tempted to pile the kids in the car for a weekend ride through the country, to admire all the new things Mother Nature has made. The road through the wilderness has no signs, and the only thing that propels the journey is the curiosity of what may lie just over the hill, down the off-road, or beyond the trees. Oftentimes, the simplest joys are the most gratifying. John Tatum, CEO of Cloudland Station real estate development (9832 GA Hwy. 193, Chickamauga, Ga.), knows these roads well. So well, in fact, that he decided to carve out a little piece of yesteryear’s pleasures to share with us all. Tatum, while living in metro Atlanta in 2003, always had a love for the outdoors. So, when the big-city lifestyle became too hectic at times, he would always retreat to the solace of the one place he knew to guarantee him peace of mind. “I had four small kids and my wife just needed a break on Saturdays,”

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Tatum says. “They were nipping at her heels all the time, so I got this crazy idea to take them out to the country and get them out of the city. I bought one of those Delorme Gazetteers. Every page was 30 square miles and it had all the dirt roads and nothing was labeled. We would spend all day seeing where these country roads would take us.” During these weekend trips, Tatum and the children would find themselves picnick-

ing alongside hidden creeks, or playing in the old bones of an abandoned church. Watching his children, he would reflect on boyhood days when he and his father shared similar moments. “I was romanticized by the South. My dad had taken me out on Sunday rides, and we would sit and have a Coke at the general store. I think that is what triggered this whole idea. I wanted to do that with my kids.” Returning to the times spent with his own, Ta-


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My dad had taken me out on Sunday rides, and we would sit and have a Coke at the general store.

tum adds, “The kids and I would leave and just keep going in different directions. One of the last areas I found was in Northwest Georgia, and I just fell in love with it.” Tatum wanted to share the newfound jewel of his eye with other families and nature lovers, people who longed to create the same types of memories that he was seeking to bestow upon his own children. The wheels started to turn.

John began to envision a mountain village combining 21st-century comfort and early1900s style. Better still, he thought about not only embracing the look of the Appalachian Foothills, but also adopting some of the early customs of its people from a simpler time in the area’s history. He found a beautiful 450acre plot at the base of Lookout Mountain, sold his cooperate recruitment company and, literally, headed for the hills. “I enjoyed coming across these old crossroads,” Tatum says of his early vision for the Cloudland Station development, “so I came up with this concept called ‘crossroads ruralism.’ I wanted to build a crossroads village, and what comes with that is the province around it. The architecture would kind of change as you move from the village to the country, and ultimately into the mountains. Rather than have a homogeneous architecture, I wanted it to be more authentic.”

All structures featured at Cloudland Station today reflect Tatum’s visualization of his perfect country community. From the treehouse hanging over the pond (located in what he refers to as “Peacock Valley”) to the water wheel at his onsite candy shop. And leaving the “Sweet Shop” with your favorite treat in hand is only the beginning of his mountain masterpiece. Across the babbling brook is an area called “The Orchards”. Bocce and tetherball courts flank an enormous fire pit, complete with plenty of chairs for watching football on a cool, autumn afternoon. The flatscreen television is tucked inside the Sweet Shop, waiting for the next party to arrive. Around a bend in the road lies Firefly Cove. A hand-pegged, cypress wood pavilion sits at the base of Lookout Mountain, overlooking the adjacent baseball field. Just to the left is an old Cherokee cabin, in which Tatum plans to house the many arrowheads that have alvini vidi vici / v3 magazine 29


ready been found on the site. “We have found a few dozen Indian relics, so I want to make the cabin a community museum. Everyone will have their own little shelf,” he says. Farther up the road is Lantern Cove. Here, one can find ping-pong tables and other games housed in a circa-1850s barn that was moved to the property from the Chattanooga Valley. A volleyball court, basketball hoops, and a swimming hole appear as you move up the path. A rope swing dangles above the

spring-fed water, and the narrow beachfront bears the footprints of lasts season’s patrons. But perhaps one of the most impressive amenities Tatum offers to residents is Cloudland Station’s saline infinity pool (see pg. 26). The kidney-shaped basin is large and clear, lined with stones plucked from the surrounding countryside. Together, they form a two-tier deck that opens to a stunning view of Highpoint, the single highest elevation on Lookout Mountain.

one as you move through the province, and the other as you move through time."

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Other notable features to Tatum’s mountain include a wooden raft, aboard which children can use a pull-rope to scoot themselves across the pond. Waiting for them is a little schoolhouse. Also currently under construction is an Appalachian Opera House for onsite entertainment; recently finished, a succession of little rock bridges to arc the waterways that weave through “town.” There is even a lake near the village that is fully stocked with pan fish and bass—the perfect place for the entire family to cast a line, and perhaps bring in dinner the old-fashioned way. Tatum elaborates, “I wanted to give people the sense of our architecture changing on two vectors—one as you move through the province, and the other as you move through time. As you move away from the village, you will see buildings as they were built in the


1800s.” To keep in step with the theme of the development, Tatum does have plans for would-be owners to look over and customize to their likings. And because of his deep respect for the land surrounding Cloudland Station, he has carefully selected his materials to blend in with the beauty of the Northwest Georgia mountains. What’s even more exciting, though, is to listen to Tatum dream up future plans for Cloudland Station’s potential future owners. He muses, “I am planning on bringing in a chef who will cook with the residents and their children. Maybe we can do a movie night on the green, where everyone brings pizza toppings from their garden and cooks them with the chef in an outdoor pizza oven. “I also have a general store, which will have things like eggs, milk, and other supplies to hold you over for a weekend until

you could get to the market.” The good news is, Cloudland Station is only a few miles outside Chattanooga, so groceries are well within reach regardless. “I am not a developer,” Tatum confesses. “I don’t consider myself being in the development business; I am in the renewal business. The residents we have now are, primarily, secondary homeowners, but we are seeing some people who want to go ahead and build their primary residences here. Everyone, whether you are primary or secondary, enjoys the re-

newal of coming home for the day, or for the weekend, [to] an environment like Cloudland Station.” With families planted firmly at the center of his plans for the future of Cloudland Station, Tatum will continue to offer more opportunities for people to get together and enjoy being neighbors again. Phase one is rolling full steam ahead, and he hopes those neighbors who are interested in an ownership package opt to get in on the ground floor quickly. More importantly, he hopes that Northwest Georgians take advantage of this opportunity to reconnect with loved ones via his creation of a world filled with the simple pleasures of the past. VVV cloudlandstation.com.

youtube.com.

vini vidi vici / v3 magazine 31


pointnoted. Alas, the numbers from

counterpoint music festival 2014 are rolling in. And, trust us, they were well worth a little pesky late-night bass

text oliver robbins photos derek bell andre 3000 pic c/o mcp presents


vini vidi vici / v3 magazine 33


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K

ingston Downs has hosted the first round of a nineyear deal inked by local officials and MCP Presents, the promotions company responsible for the Counterpoint Music Festival, and both parties are relishing the sweet, sweet taste of victory. Crowds comprised of people from all around the globe converged on the rolling meadows of the newly christened festival site to hear world-class talent, and found themselves encapsulated in the most unique—and certainly the most diverse—concert environments Northwest Georgia has ever hosted. As ticketholders began rolling in for the April 25-27 event, some as early as Thursday afternoon (the 24th), the anticipation was evident on the faces of travelers from Cali to Connecticut. The night before the official opening of the gates, those who chose to hit the road ahead of time were treated to a bonfire/outdoor barbecue catered by Johnny Mitchell’s Smokehouse, located in nearby Euharlee, Ga. As the tents went up, more and more folks piled past the gates, filling the lot with excited music lovers. Early on, the stage was set for the biggest production ever amassed in this corner of the state.

Friday’s lineup ushered in top-notch acts like Deep Cotton, Big Gigantic, Schoolboy Q, and Mat Zo. The highlight of the evening, however, was found amidst the grooves of headliner Pretty Lights, whose set boasted hard-hitting break-beats coupled with live instruments. Synced with a killer light show hovering just over the heads of the pulsating crowd, the experience carried listeners headfirst into a weekend that only ascended from there, and commenced on Sunday evening with the much anticipated arrival of Atlanta-based hip-hop legends, Outkast. Saturday the 26th brought notable standouts such as Janelle Monae, St. Lucia, J. Cole, and Foster the People. Monae’s stage energy was contagious, so much so that her bandmates engaged in an onstage pillow fight; St. Lucia surfaced rhythms reminiscent of the (quality) ’80s; while

" It's a partnership for the long haul."

Foster the People drew large numbers with their characteristically catchy hooks. But as the third and final day of the Counterpoint 2014 celebration arrived, The Revivalists, Cashmere Cat, and GTA were but a few of the artists tasked with keeping the energy high for later acts Major Lazer, and, of course, Atlanta-based hip-hop legends and festival headliners, Outkast. In retrospect, the list of talent was lengthy, and each performance compelled showgoers to huddle around their respective stages and bounce to the rhythm. Somehow, V3 photographer Derek Bell was able to capture the incredible moments shown here for those who didn’t have the pleasure of witnessing Counterpoint firsthand. But, more importantly, cash registers across Floyd and Bartow Counties did some capturing of their own. According to numbers provided by MCP Presents festival operations director, Valerie Harris, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the vini vidi vici / v3 magazine 35


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" MCP proved that people will come [to Floyd-Bartow] from all over the U.S., and even from across the pond."


purported economic impact made by Counterpoint is quite impressive. Approximately 62,000 day-pass visitors found their way through the gates at Kingston Downs, and an estimated $3.66 million in revenue was generated across the neighboring host counties. Around 600 hotel rooms were booked for festival staffers alone between September 2013 and May 2014 ($79,200 in revenue), in addition to 600 rooms booked outside Rome for vendors. To boot, artists performing at Counterpoint booked an entire hotel in Rome. Only 50 premium concert packages—including hotel accommodations, three-day concert passes, transportation to and fro— were sold for the event this time around, though MCP execs believe they’ll see more interest in these packages in 2015. “All in all,” says Harris, “from the staff/[production] side, we were very lucky to have had so many hotels close to our festival site. We have learned this is a luxury, since some of our other sites are in very remote areas. We were happy that our staff hotels looked at it as we do: It’s a partnership for the long haul.” Still, MCP Presents duly delivered the regional cash injection promised upon pitching their master plan. According to Lisa Smith, executive director of the Greater Rome Conventions and Visitors Bureau (GRCVB), “In the conversations I have had with county manager Jamie McCord—and this was not really a formal meeting—for a first-time huge event in this town, it was very well-run. It was also very well-managed and orchestrated in all respects, and it was a real positive for this community. “Of course, there were some issues about sound (voiced by nearby residents). But in the big scheme of things, that was small. The production crew, once again, highlighted that Rome is really a phenomenal place to host events, have festivals, and is a place

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the people will come. MCP proved that people will come from all over the U.S., and even from across the pond.” Luke Chaffin, special projects coordinator/ marketing for GRCVB and part-time V3 staff writer, spoke to curious showgoers beforehand about what they expected to see when they purchased tickets. “Many people went to see what the site would look like, because they were so used to seeing the Atlanta Steeplechase there,” he says. “[MCP] was really able to show the versatility of the property and expand its use to more than just one weekend out of the year. “If the event stays on the same weekend, it will increase the demand for hotel rooms. But even if it is moved to earlier or later in the year, it will drive traffic during a slower period. So, from a tourism perspective, we can’t see anything bad coming out of this event.” “That was a lot of people to funnel into two roads,” Smith adds, extending her congratulations to public-safety officials on both sides of the Floyd-Bartow line. “Bartow and Floyd do work very well together. Both made a very wise decision to share the responsibility and the tax revenue. One of the residuals was showing that really great partnership.” And as for her perception of MCP’s experience, Smith says, “After their first time having the event here, they walked away saying, ‘Wow, we are coming back!’ That is what we always want to hear when we open up the

door for new business. We want to hear it is a positive experience for everyone.” As newfound, highly reliable business partners, Smith says she has been assured that sound engineers with MCP will properly address noise issues and better keep from disturbing residents late into the night. “…They have already formulated a plan … I think they are going to address adjusting the hours the music is played, but most events we have in Rome always produce noise complaints.” Whatever the proposed adjustments, MCP Presents’ Counterpoint staff is already headlong into making plans for next year’s massive congregation. Could 62,000 attendees/consumers grow to 80,000 by 2015, or maybe 100,000? And what high-profile artists will sign on to the lineup to be featured next year? In the afterglow of a stellar 2014 event, all signs point to a second run as exciting and successful as the first. VVV


" B artow and Floyd do work very well together. Both made a very wise decision to share the responsibility and the tax revenue."

vini vidi vici / v3 magazine 39


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Tri for the Shelter Sprint Triathlon

f

rom the perspective of your average couch potato, triathletes seem superhuman, or perhaps more likely, just plain crazy. They certainly look it, all clad in wetsuits, goggles, and swim caps, waiting for the signal that means the next 90 or so minutes will be spent pushing their bodies to the limit. On June 21, novice and experienced triathletes from all over the region will gather at the Rocky Mountain Recreation Area in Rome for the Tri for the Shelter sprint triathlon, a challenging, long-distance race that requires competitors to swim, bike, and run the equivalent of 376 football fields. The competitors will plunge head-first into Keith

Lake, pushing, kicking, breathing, repeat, until they emerge dripping on the other side, still another 21.1 miles of rolling Georgia hills between them and the finish line. There are many victories but no true finish line for the people of local non-profit R.A.C.E.

text photos Rome, the organization that hosts the Tri for the Shelter event and many other races like it, from mountain biking to handcycling, 5Ks to indoor triathlons. R.A.C.E. Rome, which stands for Racing Awareness Charity Events of Rome, will host nine events this year, all in an effort to improve the Rome community through fundraising and health awareness. The group is only in its fourth year of existence, but in 2013 alone, they managed to raise more than $40,000 for several local charities and community projects, like the William S. Davies Homeless Shelter and the Boys and Girls Club of Rome, and to

purchase adaptive handcycles for youth with physical disabilities. This year, the group shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, they’ve added two events to the R.A.C.E. Rome schedule, doubled the number of local business sponsors, and expect to raise more money for more charities than ever before. “The majority of our sponsors have said this series is a great way for them to find one group, but to give back to a variety of different charitable organizations,” says R.A.C.E. Rome executive director Gwen Simans. “We have some great sponsors who are really selfless and have a desire to give back to the community. There’s some great businesses out there, trying to give back to Rome,” she said. R.A.C.E. Rome started with just one event —the Tri for the Kids Youth Triathlon. And it started with one question—Why not? In 2008, Beth Smith, a first grade teacher at Darlington School found herself driving to vini vidi vici / v3 magazine 43


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Atlanta and other cities to take her daughters to youth triathlons. “Why not do one in Rome? I approached Darlington, and we went for it. Probably had 150 kids the first year and raised $15,000 for the [Boys and Girls Club],” Smith says. The event grew every subsequent year. When local triathlete Bob Ledbetter suggested adding and adult race, Smith again thought, “Why not?” R.A.C.E. Rome was officially formed in 2011. Even with the adult races and other events added to the R.A.C.E. Rome schedule, there was still something missing for Smith. “Ever since we’ve done the Tri for the Kids race, I’ve wanted to put in a physically challenged category, and put in kids who think they wouldn’t ever be able to do something like that,” Smith says. She and the R.A.C.E. Rome team were able to add an adapted course for physically challenged participants, and the new component has become the biggest source of inspiration and motivation for all the partici-

I was doing the full thing." pants. “At the youth triathlon, when you see the physically challenged kids get to participate—that’s by far the most rewarding,” says triathlete and Floyd County director of public health, Michael Skeen. It’s even more personal for Sirmans, whose 8-year-old daughter Ivey is physically challenged and must use a wheelchair. But when Smith approached Sirmans about racing the triathlon with Ivey, something clicked. “Next thing I knew, I was doing the full thing,” says Sirmans. “Beth would swim and bike her, and I’d run her. She practiced by pulling a 30-pound-weight behind her.” Smith adds, “To get to do something for someone else. We’ve had a good time doing that.” R.A.C.E. Rome also currently sponsors the annual Clocktower Classic handcycling race.

Among the participants are disabled veterans and paralympians. “That is an amazing race,” Smith says. She’s taken her children every year for the past five years to watch the race and talk to the athletes. “Those guys and girls are just so generous. My kids don’t see any difference. They see the physical differences, but it doesn’t matter because they’re just great people and great athletes,” she says. The proceeds from Clocktower Classic go toward providing adaptive handcycles, which costs thousands of dollars, to children with physical challenges. Several handcycles have gone to Infinity Children’s Services, where they are used to build strength and coordination for children in physical therapy. “We’re so appreciative,” says Beth McRay, president of ICS. “[Handcycles] are so expensive, and it’s

not something we would be able to purchase.” After overhearing one mother discuss the possibility of purchasing one of the expensive handcycles for her 6-year-old son, McRay was able to offer one of the handcycles on indefinite loan. “It was the perfect size and type for that boy. I mean, it was meant to be,” McRay says. “She sent me a video of him on it, and it was so touching.” Stories like this one are just singular examples of the multitude of good that’s being done through the efforts of R.A.C.E. Rome. Each race weekend, of course, brings families and communities together as athletes, competitors, and supporters. But the work R.A.C.E. Rome does extends beyond a few weekends of fundraising. It’s changing peolives throughout the year. VVV vini vidi vici / v3 magazine 45


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V3 June 2014