NWGA'S PREMIER FEATURE MAGAZINE / FEBRUARY 2017
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February 2017 Columns
J. BRYANT STEELE gives us some numbers associated with the Valentine holiday, and throws in a few fun facts that are hard not to love.
HIGH ROAD CRAFT ICE CREAM is going old school with a sweet treat that is perfect for sharing.
There are a few things many of us would like to see left in 2016, and HOLLY LYNCH has her personal list ready to go.
What started as a local sandwich shop was transformed by a man with a vision to bring his community together. All are welcome at CLOUD SPRINGS DELI.
Everyone loves victory, but JIM ALRED asks us to consider the tough lessons learned when a loss temporarily puts us down for the count.
This month, couples scramble to find the best expression of love. FLOYD COUNTYâ€™S FOSTER CARE partners are in the business of connecting children to families with loving homes, all year long.
In an effort to teach kids about writing and telling stories, Terrell Shaw and his troupe of STORYTELLERS are recalling their tallest tales for our local schools.
HIGH ROAD CRAFT STRAWBERRY VANILLA ICE CREAM
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â€œWorking at Renaissance Marquis is such an honor. Each day, I get the opportunity to serve the greatest generation of Americans with honor, respect, faith and integrity. I can proudly say that the people of Renaissance have become like family. Each resident and each team member takes a part in making Renaissance a place to call home.â€?
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Ian Griffin Owner and CEO
SO THE ONE -YEAR JOURNEY from my daughter learning to drive to being a legal driver is officially over. At the time we went to press, she had yet to take her exam, but I have a pretty good feeling that she is going to nail it. There are two sides to this benchmark in her life for her mother and I. However, it’s hard to decide if convenience or worry will win. I’ll start with the convenience of a licensed teenaged driver and go from there. The thought of not having to rush around to pick up every child in the Griffin clan and accommodate her extracurricular activities is a blissful subtraction from the
Publisher’s Note daily grind. The Rome High Band is serious business and eliminating that practice schedule alone from our routine turns the hourglass over. That injection of time back into the day will be welcome. It also means the guilt trips when opportunities arise to go out and do things that don’t mix with our schedule will be a relic of the past. Hell hath no fury like the scorn of a teenaged girl unable to hang out with her friends! This is another check in the box for convenience. While there will be certain situations that get shut down by proper parenting, the simple get together for coffee, studying, shopping and so on will get the green light and save us the dramatics. Next, there is freedom. Herein lies the glue between the pros and cons. If managed well, time can now be an ally to my ambitious daughter. Instead of waiting on mom and dad, she can leave school immediately and allow herself more time to study for her self-selected, AP heavy curriculum. On the other hand, she could go burn time with her buddies and find herself in the same sleep deprived state she is currently in…only time will tell how that plays out. For the cons, it’s pretty simple. The current state of drivers is terrifying. The next time you make your commute to work, take a look around and see how many people have their phone in their hand while behind the wheel. I’m not trying to be high and mighty here. I pick mine up at red lights to pass the time and shouldn’t do that, but to see someone taking a selfie and posting it to social media while weaving in and out of their lane is a somewhat common occurrence now. It’s easy to make a mistake behind the wheel without all the gadgets, so the level of distractions certainly makes the roads a more dangerous place, especially for young drivers. Mix that in with the tailgating speed demons who leave no room for error (a.k.a. bad drivers), and it’s hard for a parent not to worry about a young driver on the roads. In the end I subscribe to the train of thought that living your life in fear isn’t truly living. So, even with all the dangers of driving, I can’t help but be extremely excited for a kid who deserves the privilege of being a licensed driver getting to be one. It was the most exciting birthday of my life and I hope she enjoys it as much as I did. I’ve tried to teach her to leave enough room for the morons to be morons and no matter how much I think she has retained that, I’d be lying if I said I won’t be nervous every time she pulls out of the driveway. The freedom outweighs the fear, the freedom outweighs the fear, the freedom outweighs the fear…
Ian Griffin, Owner
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OWNER & CEO Ian Griffin
EDITORIAL MANAGER Oliver Robbins
MAG ART & DESIGN Ellie Borromeo
WRITERS J. Bryant Steele, Oliver Robbins, Erin deMesquita, Holly Lynch Tripp Durden, Greg Howard, Lauren Jones-Hillman, Jim Alred
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CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Caleb Timmerman Ellie Borromeo
AD SALES & CLIENT RELATIONS Chris Forino
AD DESIGN Laura Allshouse Ellie Borromeo
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CONTACT One West Fourth Avenue Rome, Ga. 30161 Office Phone 706.235.0748 email@example.com
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As a Flatter of Fact Cents & Sensibility with J. Bryant Steele 10 v3 magazine
ERE’S A HELPFUL HINT from the romance department for all you guys and (particularly) gals out there: If you’re with your beloved, sitting around with friends, and someone asks what was your favorite Valentine’s Day ever, your answer should be “my last one with (whomever you’re with at the moment.)” Don’t get starry-eyed and, with a catch in your voice, start recalling the time that Steve the tycoon took you to Monte Carlo on his private jet and taught you how to win at blackjack. Or the time Maggie took you out by the docks, scooped oysters from the surf and pried them open with her long red fingernails, and taught you to kiss with your eyes open.
No, the best Valentine’s Day you ever had was last year at Longhorn, when the two of you split the bill over a baked potato. It comes down to not wallowing in the past, but, rather, living for now. Greeting cards, after all, say, “Wish you were here”, not “Wish you were her.” But let’s get to the Cents of Valentine’s Day. (I’m not making this up; it’s all on the trustworthy internet) SEVENTY-THREE PERCENT of the people who buy flowers on Valentine’s Day are men. THREE PERCENT of pet owners will give Valentine’s Day gifts to their pets. That means 97 percent of pet owners lead normal, productive lives.
FIFTEEN PERCENT of women send flowers to themselves on Valentine’s Day. That means 82 percent of women don’t own pets and lead normal, productive lives. Wait ... that can’t be right. Most of the roses sold around Valentine’s Day, approximately 110 MILLION, are imported. School teachers receive more Valentine’s Day cards than any other segment of the population. SIXTY-FOUR PERCENT of American men do not plan ahead for a romantic Valentine’s Day with their sweethearts. Valentine's Day is big business. Consumers will spend an AVERAGE OF $77.43 on Valentine's Day gifts this year. E-commerce retailers expect to rack up about $650 million in sales of food, candy, flowers, and other Valentine's Day gifts. Of that amount about $350 million will be for gifts and flowers and another $45 million will be spent on food (including chocolate) and wine. About 1 BILLION Valentine’s Day cards will be exchanged this month, second only to Christmas in card giving. Hallmark alone has more than 1,330 Valentine’s Day cards to choose from. Chocolate manufacturers use 40 PERCENT of the world's almonds and 20 percent of the world's peanuts. If you have really good recall of elementary school history classes, you know it was 1876 when Alexander Graham Bell applied for his patent on the telephone. He called it “Improvement in Telegraphy,” since the telegraph was the means of “instant” communication back then. What you may not have learned in class is that the patent application was made on Valentine’s Day. Even so, the day is well down the list of holiday calling volume. (Mother’s Day generally takes the top spot.) Only the U.S., Canada, Mexico, France, Australia and the U.K. celebrate Valentine's Day. Early last century, Sir Alexander Fleming, a young bacteriologist, accidentally left a plate of staphylococcus bacteria uncovered. Fleming noticed that a mold that had fallen on the culture had killed many of the bacteria. He identified the mold as penicillium notatum, similar to the kind found on bread. On Feb. 14, 1929, Fleming introduced his mold by-product called penicillin to cure bacterial infections. Some people used to believe that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a millionaire. During the late 1800s, postage rates around the world dropped, and obscene Valentine’s Day cards became popular. But it was the prudish Victorian Era, and some countries banned exchanging Valentine’s Day cards altogether.
Pardon me if I’ve said this before, but my best Valentine’s Day gift ever was the birth of my daughter 22 years ago. So happy Valentine’s Day and happy birthday, Katy Beth. Finally, the record for using the phrase “Valentine’s Day” in a single column … well, you may be holding it in your hands right now.
BizBits Downtown Rome is trying to blend bicycles in with its automotive traffic via shared lanes. It will take some getting used to, but it’s worth the attempt, especially if it gets bicycles off the sidewalks (where they’re not supposed to be anyway). I walk all over downtown, and I have had more close calls with bikes on sidewalks than cars in crosswalks. Presidential inaugurations are generally not controversial, and as I type this Donald Trump’s inauguration is still hours away. But the guessing leading up was how many Radio City Rockettes will show up. Reportedly, a majority of the 100 dancers
are so offended by Trump’s comments they will boycott the ceremony – at the risk of losing their jobs. “This is an issue of … sexism, something that’s much bigger than politics,” one dancer said. If there’s irony here, it’s that some extreme feminists consider the bare-legged, high-kicking Rockettes to be an emblem of sexism. Atlanta is famous for its strip clubs. Neither City Hall nor the Chamber of Commerce will admit this, but the fact that beautiful women will take off all their clothes right in front of you and your buddies is a major lure in the convention biz. The Cheetah in Midtown has a reputation as the top strip club in Atlanta. Now six former Cheetah strippers are alleging sexual assault that included inappropriate touching, assault and in one case, rape. There are separate but similar lawsuits against the strip club. It’s complicated, but if the allegations are true, I hope the women are well-rewarded. J. Bryant Steele has won awards for business reporting, feature writing and opinion columns, and is based in Rome. *The views expressed in this column are those of the writer, and do not represent the opinions of V3 Magazine.
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v3 magazine 11
“I HAD A HEADACHE AND A TOOTHACHE.” For my heart, I choose Redmond.
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Portia never suspected a toothache and a headache could be symptoms of a heart attack. When she also began to sweat and have chest pains, she decided it was time to go to the ER. The emergency team at Redmond quickly diagnosed her two arterial blockages that required a cardiac stent. After her procedure and cardiac rehab, Portia is feeling better than ever and using her story to inspire others at church and at work.
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Trends & Traditions with Holly Lynch
other than canning pickles and jams should have pretty much faded away by now. I know my mom pulled out some Mason jars for us to drink from back in my high school days, and with the rise of Mason jars as everything from candle holders to vases at weddings, I’m just about over the use of them. The trend to use Mason jars and burlap at weddings became really popular around 10 years ago. Can we all agree that it’s run its course? I would love to see the "rustic" look embrace a few more elements than these two. I would suggest vintage glassware instead of Mason jars, and calico prints or traditional flax-colored linen for table linens. Use quilts and enamelware plates. I think there are many more ways to have a country, casual event without having to introduce a tired Mason jar or itchy burlap. There, I said it.
GENDER REVEAL PARTIES Here is where I may lose some additional readers. We’ve discussed gender reveal parties in this column before, and I conceded by saying that any cause for celebration is a good celebration. I may be wrong. After talking with many who’ve attended these parties, it seems a baby shower is a much better celebration for the new life that is coming. I’ve known three couples in the last year alone who were told the baby would be one gender only to find out in a subsequent doctor visit that, in fact, the baby (babies, in one case) is an entirely alternate gender. From what I’m hearing, only the grandparents are really that thrilled about coming, and my experience with the generation above me is that they really just want you to cut to the chase. Phone up your family and say, “We’re having a ____!” and be done with it, or send a cute email or simply post a photo of something pink or blue. We get it. And please consider what you’re putting the ultrasound technician through. There’s a lot of pressure to get the prognostication right when there’s so much riding on the big gender reveal party. Ease up on the poor tech, they have about 20 more scans to do before going home for the day.
E SPEND TIME IN this column discussing trends and traditions. Trends are events or behaviors that seem to be more common occurrences, which were not part of events or behaviors of the past. Traditions are events and occasions, and details within those occasions, which have historic relevance in that they do not change over time or change very slowly. I notice trends that are wonderful. We discuss trends that are fun and unique. This column is not about those trends. This column is about trends that have become so common and so overdone in the last few years that I would really love to see them fade away. Good trends should stick around and become traditions. Other trends need to go the way of big hair and legwarmers.
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MASON JARS AND BURLAP Whew. I’m just not sure where to start here, and I know I’m offending some of my readers. But, Mason jars for any purpose
POSTING THE REPOSTED POST OF A POST THAT WAS POSTED THREE YEARS AGO For many, this comment may make you think of “fake” news or even old news. And that’s part of what I think could stop. If you’re using social media, try to come up with something unique or clever to post, instead of someone else’s unique and clever post. Not to say that an educational article, from a reputable source which is current both in its original publication and current to the issues of our day, should not be re-shared. It should. Just try to be selective. And be a sleuth. Before reposting anything, check the source and the date of original publication. This becomes particularly critical when sharing a post of a missing person or pet. Fake stories resurface every few years (no, Apple is not giving away a laptop) and really junk up the place. Everyone should take responsibly for cleaning up the social networks by ceasing the reposted posts of yesterday. Be unique, be yourself, or spend time doing something else. I do wonder if we will even still have Facebook or Twitter 20 years from today.
SELFIES Really? Just hand the phone to someone and ask them to take your photo. That’s what we did in the old days, and we rarely had anyone run off with our cameras. If you’re that concerned that you don’t want to hand the phone to someone, then at least get one of those selfie sticks so your shoulder doesn’t ruin every shot. And if your selfie is a photo of just yourself, then check your motives. If you want to show off a great new haircut, then ask your stylist to join you in the photo, and ask someone at the salon to capture the moment. I’m all for a little promotion of businesses and persons you love, but make the story about the business or event and less about yourself.
THE BACHELOR/BACHELORETTE TELEVISION PROGRAMS Haven’t we proved by now that this is not a reality show, but a scripted piece of entertainment? Does real love start with a contest between really pretty people on national television where everyone takes an extraordinary amount of time off of their “real” jobs and lives in a mansion? In the 30-plus seasons between the two shows, only five have ended in an actual marriage. There’s never been an overweight contestant and only one contestant with any type of disability. Even the creators now say that the contestants become characters and follow the direction of the producers to create drama. Please don’t get me started on the “overnight dates” that are filmed and televised (and edited). If my precious Italian-Catholic grandmother were alive today, she would say, “Turn that off and go find something better to do with your time.” Listen to Nonny. She was wise.
Here’s to 2017 and the opportunity for new trends to push their way through!
Holly Lynch is the owner of The Season Events, a full service catering, event planning and design company located at 300 Glenn Milner Blvd. in Rome. *The views expressed in this column are those of the writer, and do not represent the opinions of V3 Magazine.
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ROLL with the PUNCHES For the Love of the Game with Jim Alred
“IT’S AWFULLY IMPORTANT TO win with humility. It’s also important to lose. I hate to lose worse than anyone, but if you never lose you won’t know how to act. If you lose with humility, then you can come back.” As confetti rained down at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa in the wee hours of January 10, 2017, I thought about the above quote and smiled. If you’re a fan of college football in the South you already know who said it. If not, then wait, because I will revisit it before I’m done. The scoreboard read Clemson 35, Alabama 31 and orange-clad supporters were experiencing ecstasy and the school’s first football national championship since 1981. A lot has been written about Alabama and the dynasty but few pundits, bloggers or writers presented what stands as one of the more interesting facts about the Crimson Tide’s success on the gridiron. Alabama won every national title game it played in from 1978 until 2017. Those games included Bear Bryant’s final two titles in 1978 and 1979, Gene Stallings only title in an upset win over Miami in
1992, and Nick Saban’s four titles at the Capstone in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2015. The last Tide loss in a national championship game, or a game that determined the national champion, came against Notre Dame in the 1973 Sugar Bowl. Don’t forget Alabama still finished atop the coach’s poll that season, because the final poll came out before bowl games. Dynasties come and go (as do coaches and players) but for everyone in the Crimson Tide’s fan base under the age of 40, the result from the 2017 national championship game came as culture shock. Yes, Alabama had lost key games either during the regular season or even in the SEC Championship, but the Tide hadn’t lost the national title on the field since Richard Nixon was president. A generation of Alabama fans, alumni, players and more could count on getting the win once the Tide reached the title game. Flip to the opposite sideline where Clemson fans reveled in the first football national title for their beloved Tigers since 1981. A year earlier, these same Tigers fell a few points shy against Alabama and this time the undercats refused to lose.
If you’re going to dethrone the champ, might as well do it in style. When Alabama freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts rushed into the end zone taking Alabama to a four-point lead with 2:01 remaining in the contest, Clemson’s ever unflappable quarterback Deshaun Watson huddled with his teammates and offered the following tidbit. "We're going to get this touchdown. We're going to win this national championship." Ten plays, about two minutes and 68 yards later, Watson tossed the game-winning touchdown making his words from a few minutes earlier prophetic and forever chiseling his name among the great national championship game heroes. National title games tend to have controversy and plenty of fans on both sides were pointing to helmet-to-helmet hits that went uncalled and unflagged, and two touchdown passes on apparent pick plays that also went unflagged. But at the end of the day, both teams have to play by the rules and uncalled penalties are just that. We won’t know for a while if Alabama’s loss is the end of a dynasty. Three years from now, it could be nothing more than a bump on the road, if Alabama players hoist more national title trophies. Or maybe it ushers in a newfound confidence and other conferences outside the Deep South find ways to emulate Clemson, ending the stranglehold the SEC once held on the national title. And don’t forget the Tigers. Although they will lose several major players to the NFL, including Watson, they return a lot of talent and won’t be easy to dethrone. Also, don’t write off the Tide yet. Two years ago, Ohio State upended Alabama in the national semifinals and many pundits declared Bama’s reign over. The 2015 title proved them wrong. After the game Saban praised Clemson and the job the Tigers did to rally and win the contest, but he also left a piece of wisdom Alabama fans and opponents alike should take into consideration. “One game doesn’t define who you are,” he said. It's only fitting that the quote beginning this piece comes from the legendary coach who roamed Alabama’s sidelines for those national titles in 1978 and 1979, Paul Bryant. Coach Bryant knew a lot more about winning than he did about losing. But, he also knew how important rebounding from those rare losses was. And now we wait and see if the process at Alabama reasserts itself or if the shockwaves reverberating through college football lead to even more national championship surprises in the next few years. *The views expressed in this column are those of the writer, and do not represent the opinions of V3 Magazine.
v3 magazine 17
CREAM OF THE CROP Made by Chefs in ATl.
The low down on High Road’s process is much simpler than you’d think. Quality first, and building ice cream from the ground up.
// T E X T G R E G H O WA R D
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// P H OTO S C A M E R O N F L A I S C H
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there are people who say you can’t buy happiness, but they probably haven’t bought a carton of mint chocolate chip ice cream and scraped the bottom after a long day. Through thick and thin, ice cream has always been there for us. It's a compliment to your favorite soda, a loyal attendee at every birthday party, a therapist after a breakup. For ages, ice cream has been the top selling dessert in the country next to cookies. Many of us have noticed that these two dessert powerhouses are known to be thrown together every now and then. Origins of ice cream have been traced back as far as 2nd century B.C. Where once it was a dessert for only the elite members of society, now everyone can enjoy the creamy, lucious goodness of a scoop of Moose Tracks. However, as time passed, as with most things, we began to cut a few corners and skimp on the ice cream recipe. Yes, you can still buy your specialty flavor from Ben and Jerry. Or, you can tell yourself that Haagen-Dazs is real, imported Danish ice cream (plot twist, the founder made up this word as a marketing ploy), but is this what ice cream is really meant to be?
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The time has come to discover a new age of ice cream in a place where a small business, scooping up a new “super-premium” brand of flavors, hopes to let everyone get a taste of what this cold treat can do in the hands of skilled artisans. Just inside the small office front of their much larger ice cream manufacturing facility in Marietta, Georgia, lies the original pasteurizer that High Road founder Keith Schroeder used to make his first batches of gourmet ice cream. Though the contraption may seem out of place, looking more like a piece off of the Starship Enterprise than a simple pasteurizer, this is truly where High Road Craft Ice Cream was born. Schroeder began work using this machine in the company’s first facility in Chamblee, Georgia, when the enterprise was taking its first steps producing gourmet, handmade ice cream. In 2010, High Road opened the door to its first facility with a simple premise of producing handmade, high quality-food service ice cream by chefs, and for chefs. But why is a small pasteurizer important in the first place? In a way, it represents the company’s founding belief. Schroeder knew that to truly take the high road, his ice cream would be made by not cutting corners.
As you make your way further back into the High Road complex, past the scribbled chalk boards and offices, you’ll soon step into the heart of Schroeder’s dream. When the company reached a demand for their product that their small facility couldn't maintain, it was time for a move and a big step forward. They would also need to hire a few extra imaginative chefs with a real sweet-tooth. The money was raised to build a substantially larger facility in Marietta, Georgia, with brand new machines and a gigantic commercial kitchen that would allow the growing team of culinary artists to begin fully taking advantage of High Road’s potential. This is when Christian Rodriguez, one of High Road’s leading chefs, joined the cause. Rodriguez can attest to the uniqueness and the need for a company such as High Road, because as a chef in his former job, he was an early customer of the company.
“There was really a void in the industry for having super-premium quality ice cream in restaurants; it's the last thing that chefs think about. As a chef, I’ve ordered for restaurants before where the main focus is meat, fish and center of the plate items, but nobody really remembers the ice cream which was a common problem. This is how I became a High Road customer,” Rodriguez explains. “Creating a super-premium brand where ice cream can now be the center of the plate as the desert is special. It can not only be the focal point, but maybe even the meal. Having that super luscious, super rich, made from scratch taste, all made in Atlanta has been our goal. That’s what is really putting us on the map.” Here, Rodriguez stops to look back at a large window where inside busy hands are working in a beautiful new commercial kitchen, and he takes note of a smell. “What you smell now is poblano peppers and ancho chilies. We’re making a chile jam that will go over a chile pepper ice cream for tomorrow,” Rodriguez smiles. “We now can make the ice cream in massive amounts, hundreds and hundreds of gallons at a time!” ”Having that super luscious, super rich, made from scratch taste, all made in Atlanta has been our goal. That’s what is really putting us on the map.”
The process for making such a product is one that is a labor of love. The first stop is the “raw room”, where Rodriguez points out the thousands of pounds of raw ingredients being stored in a enormous cooler, waiting to be turned into a mix to make the ice cream. In the room stands a liquefier, which serves as a giant blender, along with a scale to measure out the tested and proven recipes. Here is where High Road stores their shipments of milk and cream, which they receive 300 gallons of each at once. This shipment of milk and cream will only last the company about five days, but will (along with the other various ingredients) yield over 800 gallons of custom ice cream mix. Once various ingredients are weighed and mixed according to the unique formula pertinent to a particular batch, then the cream is added. Next, Rodriguez points to a large pasteurizer, one that makes High Road’s first pasteurizer in comparison look like a Ford Model T parked next to the latest Mercedes Benz. However, though they have upgraded, the company still uses a method of pasteurization called “kettle cooked vat pasteurization”, an old world method—French in origin—which according to Rodriguez is “the way chef ’s intended for ice cream to be made.” This is but one of the elements that makes High Road such a rare company, using methods such as this pasteurization technique that has long since been compromised by the industry. This method is one of the elements that allows High Road to make a product high in butterfat, and rich in flavor, capturing the true essence of what handcrafted ice cream used to be.
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Another unique aspect of High Road is their policy on inclusions, which simply put, is all the rest of the delicious ingredients that make up your favorite flavor besides the ice cream itself. Whether it is a Fresh Mint Chip, Aztec Chocolate, or their signature (and my personal favorite) Bourbon Burnt Sugar, made with Kentucky bourbon and sorghum, High Road bakes, slices, grinds, and chops up locally sourced, premium ingredients to make their flavors. Because of this, a lot of the ice cream produced is seasonal. “Last strawberry season we spent over 4 days just tipping strawberries to use,” laughs Rodriguez. “We make a lot [of the inclusions] by hand. We make everything from brownies, to chocolate chunk, to shortbread, to pralines, really anything that can be made in-house is produced here.”
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All of these ingredients are then stored and refrigerated until they are ready to be included in the next batch of ice cream. All in all, there is a precise science behind the making of ice cream. Ice cream artisans have to ensure they are following strict formulas, controlling the levels of steam during pasteurization, and dedicate the copious amounts of time needed to produce their final product. After the process is complete, the ice cream is then stored at a frigid -20 degrees, until it is ready to be shipped. Just like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, which honestly isn’t such a bad comparison to the facilities at High Road, the facility selectively opens its doors to the general public and allows them to taste the latest batch of fresh ice cream. However, here you don’t have to have a golden ticket; you simply have to keep an eye on their Facebook page for their next “scoop shop” day.
The company values the feedback from the general public. So, they’ve actually built a small scoop shop onto the side of their facilities to be open on select days. However, if you can’t make it to a scoop day, you can find the BLVD Line of High Road Ice Cream in Whole Foods, one of the first major partners to take on High Road’s product. For being a six-year-old company, one that started off simply as a college MBA project, High Road is expanding to reach the shelves of retailers across the country, to give everyone a chance to taste real ice cream. Looking forward, High Road has a goal of playing alongside such ice cream barons as Ben and Jerry, all the while maintaining those special elements that make their ice cream a truly unique culinary experience. So, is it time for a cheat day on that New Year's resolution diet? For the love of ice cream, and all things good in this world, have a scoop for us.
For ordering information call 678-701-7623 or find your flavor online at highroadcraft.com.
Image by Lindsey LaRue Photography lindseylarue.com
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THE DELI LAMA // T E X T TRIP P DURDE N
// P H OTO S C A M E R O N F L A I S C H
This haven for artists, seniors and wrestlers is proof that a good sub sandwich bridges all cultural gaps.
ART IMITATES LIFE” is a phrase that is used to explain why our art looks, sounds and reads the way that it does. The idea is a simple one. Art is created using our recollection and perception gained from personal experiences. While it is not hard to see this in most artwork, it may be easier to recognize this philosophy at work in the stories we tell. For years, authors have used similar characters within their work. We are all familiar with a damsel in distress. She is beautiful, frail and in need of a savior. Now, picture the bad guys. They are often characterized as dark and mysterious foes whose sole purpose is to cause as much heartache as possible, and are usually motivated by a tormented past of their own. There are numerous character archetypes that are easily recognizable in many storytelling mediums. These characters are used so often because they are mirrors of ourselves and our neighbors. They imitate the people and personalities that we come in contact with every day. Perhaps this is why we can watch and read stories about these characters and relate strongly to their plight. We even label the people we know as “characters” when their personalities take on a fictitious feel. Oftentimes, we pull the people we know into the stories we tell.
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We want our events to benefit our neighbors as well. We want to help them put on events and to reach people, too. That’s what it is about.”
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Those of us in North Georgia do not have to go far to meet a man who seems to have been drawn straight from a Netflix original series. After a short drive north on I-75 and left off of exit 353, you will find yourself within a stone’s throw of Cloud Springs Deli (4097 Cloud Springs Rd., Ringgold) or “The Deli” as it’s known by its regular customers. What looks like a normal hometown deli, tucked in the center of a strip mall, is a book filled with stories from a plethora of performers. As you walk into The Deli, you will likely see a vast array of artistic expressions, depending on what day of the week it is. If it’s a Monday night, you’re guaranteed to hear old hymns and feel the Spirit move due to the weekly gospel singing that is hosted there and now in its 5th year. On other nights of the week, you may hear loud metal music and see young people thrashing about in a mosh pit near
the back. Some nights are reserved for hearing the call of a bingo announcer yelling, “B-31!” to tables full of senior citizens. In the past, there has even been an independent professional wrestling company putting on a show in the back for a full house. Regardless of the variety of activities, you are guaranteed to see a man wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers hat who is hard at work behind the counter. That man is George Lepre and he is most certainly a character with a heck of a story. Lepre and his Aunt Carol opened Cloud Springs Deli five years ago, and they had been there less than a year when he asked his landlord if they could host live music. “She said that as long as no one complained about the noise, we could do whatever we liked,” says Lepre when asked about how live entertainment started at The Deli. Soon, it was not just run-of-the-mill cover bands who were playing The Deli. Heavy metal, punk and hardcore bands from across the United States have made The Deli a regular stop on their tours. “I grew up a heavy metal-hard rocker. So, I love that young people come here and play the music they want to play. I’m not sure Carol enjoyed it at first,” Lepre explains with a laugh. The proof is in the pastrami. When he gets a break from filling orders for meatball subs and hoagies, Lepre often finds his way over to the pit to enjoy the music. He says he loves the atmosphere during shows. It was during one of these performances that a man approached him about having wrestling matches at the restaurant. “I couldn’t believe it. He told me if I let him put a wrestling ring in here then he would pack the place out. And, he did.” Although the wrestling ring is no longer in The Deli, it is still a conversation starter. According to Lepre, people loved it and he saw many customers come through his doors because they “wanted to see the ring.” He has since replaced the wrestling ring with pool tables and claw machines. It is clear that he and Carol do not want to simply serve food. They want The Deli to be a place where you can explore what makes you happy, and, of course, enjoy a great meal. When asked about how many events The Deli currently has a week, Lepre’s reply was, “not enough.” He says that he and his business partner Carol will do anything as long as it works for them and their customers. Lepre is not shy about admitting that his main motivation is good business but he also values his customers and wants them to feel at home in his establishment.
“Carol and I work hard but it is our customers that keep us going. We do these events to make money but they are also for you guys,” says Lepre. When asked if there was something he would not do to create business his answer was immediate. “Alcohol. We won’t serve alcohol because we want the shows here to be for all ages.” Lepre has been known to chase away those patrons who try to drink alcohol in the parking lot. He uses a bullhorn and yells at them about how he could lose his business and how he will have to quit hosting shows. For him, drinking alcohol at The Deli is no laughing matter. “We want people to feel safe and protected. So, I enforce the rules,” he says with a serious look in his eyes. He talks about his customers and his family but he also talks about the other businesses in the strip mall. “We want our events to benefit our neighbors as well. We want to help them put on events and to reach people, too. That’s what it is about,” he says genuinely. While his personality and willingness to host almost any event at his business make him interesting, (he is currently planning a gun show), the real story of Lepre and The Deli is in the community that exists there. On an almost
weekly basis, there is a hardcore punk show at The Deli. These shows are often headlined by touring bands but are opened by bands made up of local kids. It is at these shows that you are able to see what The Deli has done for people. Adults and teenagers alike flock to the shows for entertainment and to spend time with one another. They see The Deli as their second home; a place where they can be themselves without fear of being ridiculed. These kids and bands, who are often covered with tattoos and dressed in a peculiar way, sometimes bump into Lepre’s other customers as they arrive for dinner before the show. They visit the other stores in the mall. They pass by the gospel singing group and the women who play bingo. Their favorite place to eat and hang out has formed a symbiotic existence due to their collective love for The Deli. “That is really what Carol and I want. We want to be a place where our regulars can feel comfortable. We want to have friendships and relationships with them. We want the community to know we are here and that we want them here as well,” he explains. Through his events and ideas, Lepre is bringing people together at The Deli.
“I am just extremely proud and honored that people want to be at my restaurant. It means the world to me,” he adds with a satisfied smile. Lepre’s approach to business is seen in many local eateries, shops and bars that make up our small business community. He manages to keep what is important in perspective. For him, the people in his deli are worth more than the money they spend in his establishment. Thank goodness for local businesses who give us all a story to tell.
For booking info or a schedule of upcoming shows, call Cloud Springs Deli at 706-956-8128. You can also find a menu and a calendar of events online at cloudspringsdeli.com.
v3 magazine 31
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Open Mon. - Fri. 7:00am - 6:00pm (706) 234-0800 • 62 Wax Road Silver Creek, GA 30173 v3 magazine 34
FosteringH pe Few things are nobler than being the positive difference in the life of a child.
// T E X T E R I N D E M E S Q U I TA
// P H OTO S C A M E R O N F L A I S C H
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OLORFUL CITYSCAPES of oversized Legos cast playful shadows on the swirls and scribbles of a jumbo dry erase board, and beneath the kaleidoscopic peak of Monopoly-like games, five tiny faces are ablush with bliss. In this particular house, energy is constant, sharing is inescapable, and the door is always open; metaphorically of course. Since February of 2015, Rachel Puryear and her husband Kevin have opened their home to, at least, 37 children in need. The minute they became foster parents, Rachel said, they never looked back. “About 9:30 p.m.,” she recalls the night she took in her first foster children, “I got a phone call asking me if I could take some siblings; of course, I said yes. We got them about 11:30 p.m. on Friday the 13th and the case worker left a little after midnight on Valentine’s Day.” Rachel says the timing was completely symbolic, “Friday the thirteenth and then Valentine’s Day...all the downfalls and all the love, all mixed up in one. For me, the timing was just amazing.” Director for Floyd County Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), Lindsey Jacobs Howerton, says that parents like Rachel are absolutely imperative to the foster care system. “She’s the reason that this group (of children) has been able to return to the Floyd County community,” Howerton explains. “She’s actually
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helped work with the biological parent directly, as well; so few of our families are able to do that. She’s a very special kind of person.” Rachel’s motivation to foster was inspired by the love and selfless action of a lady she once called Mom; someone who embraced her in an influential time in her life. “She was structure,” Rachel recalls. “She was nonjudgmental, she loved without boundaries. There were never any strings attached and no matter what you did, she loved you...and she let you know she loved you. It was that unconditional love...” An unconditional love that Rachel has passed on to, not only her two grown children, but to 37 others that needed her. According to gacasa.org, 19,466 children came through the foster care system for Georgia’s fiscal year 2016, and on any given day, there are 12,700 children within the system. For Floyd County, itself, numbers have seemed a bit more promising within the last several years. “This is actually the first time, since 2009, that we’ve seen a significant decline in our foster care population,” Howerton explains. “We are down to 376 children in foster care; it’s pretty significant for us because, at one point, within the last two years, our high was 443.” The majority of Rachel’s foster children have been emergency placements; children that needed somewhere to go between being removed from
their homes and awaiting a court’s decision to either return home or enter into care. She says that sometimes the call from DFCS may come at 2:00 a.m.; she has never turned down a child in Floyd County. “We hover around 30 to 31% of our children being placed locally,” Howerton explains. She says that this lower percentage of local placements continues to be a struggle because it affects everything from visitation with birth parents, to pulling the children away from all of their familiar comforts. “That can actually lengthen the time that it takes for a parent to reunify with their child,” Howerton continues. “So, more foster homes and more children placed locally can actually improve the likelihood of reunification and decrease the amount of time it takes to get there.” Echoed sentiments from various agencies, foster care professionals and even Floyd County Juvenile Court Judge, Greg Price, say that one of the most pressing issues associated with the local foster care system is a great need for more Floyd County foster families. As Howerton mentioned, placing a child out of county has many setbacks. Judge Price affirms that children have had to be placed as far away as Brunswick, Ga. “That’s traumatic,” he asserts. “Number one, it’s traumatic to remove them from their families, no matter how bad the families may be...kids
It’s hard to provide services to a child for your county when they're across the state. It’s hard to arrange for visitation that costs money.
love their parents. It’s hard to provide services to a child for your county when they're across the state. It’s hard to arrange for visitation that costs money.” There are many placing agencies that strive to address that very issue by actively recruiting foster families for Region 3 (Floyd, Polk, Paulding, Bartow, Haralson and Douglas), a
region that is known to have the most children living in the foster care system but the least amount of foster homes. Murphy-Harpst Children's Center (located in Polk County) offers residential and specialized foster care (SFC) services for children removed from parental custody. Director of SFC, Arleen Wallace has been with Murphy-Harpst for 11 years and one
of her largest focuses is matching a child to a suitable family. “There are so many kids with such tremendous potential. If we could only connect them with the right adults. I never do ‘head in a bed,’ I find it offensive. I would rather have a foster home without a child in it than to place a child with the wrong family.” Wallace expresses her respect for foster families as a tremendous
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v3 magazine 37
resource, asserting that the system can’t afford a family to become exhausted and withdraw the willingness to foster. Murphy-Harpst currently supervises 27 homes throughout the region and Wallace says it’s just not enough, “...if I could just have 50 more.” Lutheran Services of Georgia (LSGA) joins agencies like Murphy-Harpst in the mission to offer services that enhance the stability, wellness and safety of children and families. While LSGA’s services extend to refugees, disability services, and disaster relief, a large portion of their model covers adoption and foster care. The statewide organization currently supervises 93 foster homes throughout Georgia. The Rome office, managed by Micah Bennett Johnson, supervises 21 of those homes, three of which are in Floyd County specifically. Both Johnson and Jane Cavaness, the Supervisor for Specialized Foster Care for LSGA Rome, agree and understand that becoming a foster parent is no easy decision; it’s an unknown that can seem a bit intimidating. “Nobody would put someone in a job position without training,” Johnson says. “...and this is work.” No matter the agency a prospective foster family should partner with, training and support are built into the model. As part of foster preparation, LSGA requires a 24-hour pre-service training for new foster parents, called Impact that explores all the challenges a foster family may face. “It’s not lost on us, what these kids
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experience,” Johnson says. “And it’s certainly not lost on us what the foster parents experience.” Cavaness brings, to the LSGA table, her own foster parent experience, and remains in awe of the capacity of people to grow and change. “Some of these kids have been through horrible trauma, and they get up and they get out of bed every morning and push forward in their lives and look for love and look for a home.” She adds, “It’s a testimony, to me, of the resiliency of the human spirit.” Johnson says, that for her, this work has been nothing short of eye-opening, “Not only do these kids need help, but some of these parents really do, too. There are opportunities for the whole family to receive services so that they can heal and be a family again, that’s the ultimate goal.” There is certainly no lack of effort or compassion in the hands or hearts of the Rome community to ease the exigency endured by children and parents throughout the foster care process. In fact, Judge Price conveys much positivity when he speaks of the “massive ground swell” of knowledge and motivation that he’s witnessed surrounding this issue. One monolithic wave being that of Restoration Rome; an in-theworks resource hub for all things foster care, adoption, support and advocacy. Fueled by the efforts of Global Impact International, Jeff and Mary Margaret Mauer, and countless agencies and individuals in solidarity, Restoration Rome
has repurposed the former Southeast Elementary School building (1400 Crane Street.), with partnerships and provisions that include DFCS, various placing agencies, onsite medical assessment, substance abuse/mental health counseling, and a resource closet (food, clothes etc.), just to name a few. “The kids can come here and have a child friendly area,” Mary Margaret explains, “a caregiver who meets them at the door who stays with them through that process of getting the medical assessment, going and starting to talk about that psychological piece and assessing any developmental needs; all of those pieces. Just restoring a bit of control.” Jeff emphasizes the level of convenience and support, for all involved, that comes from all of these services being under one roof, “Instead of referring them somewhere and hoping they go, we can walk them right down the hall. There’s a lot to be said about having everybody on site.” Although Restoration Rome is already hosting parenting classes, after school programs and meetings, Jeff and Mary Margaret have set their sights on a soft opening for the larger pieces of the center by the start of summer. Sometimes the need is simply extra support; someone to aid in the necessary urgency for placement and permanency. Floyd County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are those very people. CASAs are trained and supervised
volunteers who speak on behalf of children involved in the juvenile court system for foster care. Once they undergo a criminal background check, fingerprinting, 40 hours of training and a swearing in by the juvenile court judge, they take a case and begin gathering information. Advocacy for a CASA involves communicating with the child about their situation, maintaining contact with individuals and professionals involved in the child’s life, preparing written reports for court hearings and keeping the court abreast of any changes in the child’s situation. “These children that are in the system,” explains Sue Lagermann, director of Floyd County CASA, “the majority of them, I’d say it’s at least two years that they go through so many different placements, and so many different caseworkers,
and they go from school to school.” Her voice softens as she adds that sometimes a CASA is the one constant in the child’s life; a consistent source of support and comfort. “One of the things they say at DFCS,” Rachel says, “is, ‘It takes a village.’ Well, Floyd County families...this is a village. We should be looking out for one another, and that’s all there is to it.” Mary Margaret points out that for every child in care, there should really be three foster home options. “I think people second guess themselves,” Rachel addresses what may lie in the way of more families fostering. “They think, ‘I don’t have the time, I don’t have the finances, my heart would break, I couldn’t take on somebody else’s children’...Yes, you could, you absolutely could.” Any individuals and families that have considered (or would just like more information on) fostering a child are encouraged to ask questions, attend information sessions, reach out to parents like Rachel through the Floyd County Foster Parent Association; whether the inquiry is received through DFCS directly, LSGA, Murphy-Harpst or Restoration Rome, the answers, the support and the training are available and eagerly await.
Becoming a foster family is only one way to help children in care; adoption, donation (material or monetary), and Respite care (providing temporary care, to give foster parents a short beneficial break) are all options that assist tremendously. “I’ve seen so many people volunteer to help provide childcare for families in need, to help provide those one-time clothing donations or diaper donations,” Howerton explains. “It eases the everyday struggles that families have that, if not resolved or supported, can lead to children being maltreated...and it’s just that simple.” Although she remains steadfast in her decision to be a foster parent “as long as she can,” Rachel says it hasn’t necessarily been easy. Given her background working with children and owning her own home daycare, Rachel says that only prepared her so much; it was the emotional aspect of fostering children that she hadn’t been able to fully prepare herself for. “Some of these kids come in with a lot of hurts, not just physical, but also emotional.” Rachel says that, in her experience, an emotional response can never be predicted, sometimes very subtle things can extract a negative emotion for a foster child, like the sound of a TV show or the smell of a certain perfume. For example, she recalls, “We were in a store one time, and a cell phone went off. The child heard the ringtone and it triggered something inside that upset them, to the point that they ended up wetting themselves right in the middle of the store. You never know what will trigger a child.” A foster parent, however, is never left to deal with these hardships alone. All of the aforementioned agencies offer support services to their foster families. “We have continued training and social opportunities within Lutheran Services for our Rome families to get to together,” Cavaness explains. “We’ve got foster parents who are newer and foster parents who’ve been around a while, so it’s good for them to talk.” Foster parents like Rachel also derive support from therapy and the Floyd County Foster Parent Association that meets monthly. As Floyd County presses on in solidarity to strengthen family ties, and help foster children thrive, may the ground swell of compassion grow ever stronger. Like Rachel says, “You just take it one day at a time, sometimes one minute at a time.” For more information on these agencies and how you can help, visit: lsga.org dfcs.dhs.georgia.gov/foster-care floydcasa.org murphyharpst.org
v3 magazine 39
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42 v3 magazine
The Art of Storytellin’ If you pass a classroom and hear a voice promise they aren’t fibbing, they likely are. However, it’s all in good fun and education. // T E X T J . B RYA N T S T E E L E // P HOTO S C A M E R O N F L A I S C H
As our interview is wrapping up, Terrell Shaw says he has to get going because he has a turtle and a crocodile in his car. But that’s a story for another day, apparently. “Leave ‘em wanting more” could be the motto of a storyteller in any medium, from the written word to movie-making, but Shaw works in the world’s oldest format: standing in front of folks and regaling them with stories that may contain a grain or two of truth. He can coax a laugh from a child or jerk a tear from an adult (and on occasion throw in a good potluck supper). The only thing he can’t do is pat himself on the back. It’s the hallmark of a good leader not to hog the credit. In the case of the Ridge & Valley Storytellers Guild, led by Shaw, it would be outright fibbing. The group’s signature event, the Big Fibbers Festival, will run March 17-19. It is either the 3rd or the 241st festival, somewhere in that range. Ambiguity is the whole idea, after all. This much is certain: It will take place at Trinity United Methodist Church in Rome. There will be stories from local, regional and national tellers; a storytelling workshop (“this year aimed at
v3 magazine 43
There’s a lot of remembering personal tales. It’s the children’s idea to write it down.” teachers and pastors”); a contest for those 17 and under; and the highlight: the tall-tale contest for grown-ups. But even the latter have to keep it clean. (“No fussin’ or cussin’” is written in the rules.) An added program this year, “Nothing But the Truth,” features Anthony Vincent and Chetter Galloway. “Our stated goal is to promote storytelling,” Shaw says. “So many people are unaware of what professional storytelling is all about. We just try to be the group that promotes storytelling in this area.” Education then, perhaps not coincidentally, is the bedrock if not the spotlight of the group’s work. Shaw, Jane Cunningham (stage name: “Miss Jane”), Bob Harris and Mary Elena Kirk are all certified teachers. They take the Young Tales program into schools. “It’s really a writing program,” Shaw says. “As a school teacher, it’s the best writing program that I’ve used in my career. Pretty soon, they’re jotting down troubles they’ve had in telling their stories to each other and asking, ‘Could you tell me more?’ They have a ball telling each other’s stories.
44 v3 magazine
“There’s a lot of remembering personal tales. It’s the children’s idea to write it down.” Debby Brown gets general credit for the genesis of what’s now Big Fibbers and direct credit for hatching the Young Tales at Chieftans Museum. After she died three years ago, Shaw says, “We thought, if we’re going to keep this going, we will need to promote our own events, but we will not get in anybody else’s way,” referencing Rome Little Theatre and the annual Cave Scream Ghost Tours in Cave Spring as examples. In addition, the group puts on a “Tellebra-
tion” each November and performs on stage at Schroeder’s New Deli each summer and is apt to tell tales at any invitation. (Are you listening, civic clubs?) But it’s the Big Fibbers banners that will soon unfurl on Broad Street that tell the big story. The festival is special for “preachers, politicians and other provocateurs,” Shaw likes to say. Past events have featured national headliners including Bill Lepp and Andy Offutt Irwin. This year’s headliners will be Carol Cain, a rising star from LaGrange, and reigning Big Fibber champ Natalie Jones from Acworth. Sponsors include the Chiaha Guild, Berry College, the Sarah Hightower Regional Library, Coosa Valley Federal Credit Union, and the Greater Rome Convention and Visitors Bureau. Complete information, including times and tickets, is on the Big Fibbers Facebook page. There is an irony that Shaw and many in Ridge & Valley Storytellers are of a generation that used to chant, “Tell it like it is!” Now, their focus is on telling it like it isn’t.
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Make it a meal worth remembering. Where to eat in Northwest Georgia.
Make it a meal worth remembering. Where to eat in Northwest Georgia. Make it a meal worth remembering. Where to eat in Northwest Georgia. v3 magazine 47 Make it a meal worth remembering. Where to eat in Northwest Georgia.
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