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NWGA's Premier Feature Magazine / January 2017

where the

wild things are

Hear the story behind one of the most diverse group of animals in Northwest Georgia, at RUNNIN’ WILD FARM. v3 magazine 1


C RE 4

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Columns 10

J. BRYANT STEELE skips the resolutions and reflects on the moments that mean the most.


Pantone’s new color of the year is Greenery, a shade that HOLLY LYNCH says is perfect for moving forward and new beginnings.

Features 18

Two friends walk into a bar, and quickly realize that this place is no joke. Welcome to THE FOUNDRY.


Inspired by the Christmas wish of a child, RUNNIN’ WILD FARM has become an empire built on a passion for the extraordinary.


Trainers and clients who have found a gym home at ROME ATHLETIC CLUB recall what has made them all RAC strong.


Jim Alred takes a break from his monthly column to document the resurgence of a ROMAN FOOTBALL LEGACY, and to celebrate the pack who brought the title back.

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I have worked in Rome for the past 15 years and have met some amazing people along the way. I am going on my 5th year as the dietary director here at Renaissance Marquis and The Harbor. I cannot begin to tell you how rewarding it is to be a part of such a wonderful and loving group of people. I'm excited to see what 2017 brings to our Renaissance and Harbor Family!"

- Mary Wilbanks Dietary Director


3126 Cedartown Hwy SW, Rome, GA 30161-4314

www.RenaissanceMarquis.com v3 magazine 5

OWNER & CEO Ian Griffin


MAG ART & DESIGN Ellie Borromeo


Ian Griffin Owner and CEO

Publisher’s Note

So it’s been about a month, but I still can’t stop smiling when I think about Rome High School’s historic win over Buford in the Class 5A State Championship game back on Dec. 9 at the Georgia Dome. It was such an achievement on so many different levels and a night that Romans will be talking about for a long, long time. When East and West Rome High Schools joined to form Rome, they were expected to be a powerhouse in football and basketball. While they had some early success on the hardcourt, it just wasn’t coming together on the gridiron for one reason or another. As a graduate of the class of 1998, I was a member of the first class to attend grades 7-12 at Rome Middle and High Schools, and I can attest to the fact that it was a transition period. It wasn’t until my senior year that true school spirit started to take hold and we watched a group of players, coached by Sam Pickett, who played under the moniker “30 deep” – a play on the size of the roster – win the first two playoff games in school history before eventually losing 17-10 to Marist in the quarterfinal round. At that time, the final four games were all played at the Georgia Dome, so that loss left them one win away from playing at the Dome, a fate the Marist helped seal again in a heartbreaking 19-17 loss in 2008. By that time, the kids going to school at Rome had grown up on Wolves football, and they had seen a good deal of success under coaches David Humphreys and Sid Fritts. Both of those coaches had great teams that lost close games to eventual state champions, which is further testament to just how hard it is to win one. On Dec. 9, all of those close calls were laid to rest. I ran into people from every class at Rome from my freshman to senior years and witnessed a celebration that united East, West, and Rome High graduates under the same banner for the first time and the rest of time. I grew up a Gladiator and graduated a Wolf, while many of my best friends were raised Chieftains and graduated Wolves. By no means am I saying it meant more to those of us that went to Rome during the transition years, but it is certainly a unique perspective. On that night, Coach John Reid and his players brought peace to Chieftains, Gladiators, and Wolves alike. It was a moment we will never forget and the beginning of a new era in Roman football lore. While I sat with my wife and a few dear friends, we were surrounded by thousands who felt the same joy. We came, we saw, we conquered … We are Rome. Ian Griffin, Owner

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J. Bryant Steele, Oliver Robbins, Erin deMesquita, Holly Lynch Corinna Underwood, Tripp Durden, Greg Howard, Lauren Jones-Hillman, Jim Alred





Laura Allshouse Ellie Borromeo


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One West Fourth Avenue Rome, Ga. 30161 Office Phone 706.235.0748 v3publications@gmail.com


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Year in the Rearview 10 v3 magazine

Cents & Sensibility with J. Bryant Steele IT’S THE TIME OF YEAR when many columnists take sort of a breather from deep thought and write about their New Year’s resolutions. I don’t do that. A couple of decades ago, in another publication, I resolved not to make New Year’s resolutions. My reasoning was: “If you don’t make ‘em, you won’t break ‘em.” I remember the exercise in elementary school, when resolutions were vacuous things like “be nice to others.” And later, with adolescent angst, when resolutions couldn’t have been accomplished without a support group. No, I prefer just to reflect on the past year, and what it brought. I have spent a year in a new apartment on Broad Street that is far superior to my previous abode. The kitchen alone is a serious upgrade, and I have started cooking again, and eating out less. As a result, I have lost a little weight. I marked two years with the most special woman I have ever known. The biggest and most recent thing in my life, though, is that my son got married. Two days before Christmas, and out of state! (That’s the part I’m going to hold over his head one day.) But I have a beautiful new daughter-in-law. At one point after the ceremony I needed to rest, so I found an overstuffed chair and collapsed into it. My kids – my son and brand-new daughter-in-law, my daughter and son-in-law – dragged up folding chairs and sat in a semi-circle around me. We told stories and laughed. I felt patriarchal and realized that’s different from feeling parental. I’ve felt the latter since Aug. 5, 1992, when my son was born. I’m not sure he even knows this, but he was an emergency C-section. I remember one nurse yelling, “His vitals are dropping!” Another yelled, “We’ve got to take him.” I was scared, even though the nurses reassured me all would be okay. A couple of hours later, I was holding him, tears on my cheeks. I have a touching photograph the anesthesiologist took. So now both my children are married. I resolve to take a deep breath.

Biz Bits

There are too many college football bowl games I don’t know how they all make money. Massive egos, mainly, in the form of corporate sponsorships, TV rights, and advertisers. But I

think it’s ridiculous when even mediocre teams are playing in bowls. The Georgia General Assembly is in session, and it’s the time of year when many pundits trot out well-worn wisecracks about our esteemed assemblage. I like to think I’m above that. There are serious things to consider this session. For example, Gov. Nathan Deal’s thinly disguised attempt to off load failing schools via constitutional amendment failed spectacularly at the ballot box in November, so will he try again, in another guise, during this legislative session? Will the bill to encourage guns on school campuses be revived? Will the “religious liberty” crowd try again to pass laws that in no way resemble liberty? And then there’s the important issue of underskirting (I always thought that word meant petticoats and such, or had something to do with laminated flooring. It turns out there’s a new menace in society: guys using smart phone cameras to take pictures under women’s skirts. I will acknowledge this upfront: I like what is under women’s skirts. But I always buy dinner and whisper sweet nothings first. Smart phone

cameras have changed that. Men are actually using them to surreptitiously take pictures under women’s skirts. The Peeping Tom laws that are already on the books don’t address it. I don’t want to trivialize an act that is seriously demeaning to our society, especially to women. But I can’t help but think that passing any law just might give the idea to more perverts. Groundbreaking on The Lofts on Broad Street by developer Ira Levy is set for this year after years of planning. It will be the biggest boost to downtown Rome since Ann Arnold became director of the Downtown Development Authority 16 years ago. Arnold retired at the end of 2016. On a personal note, I just want to add that when I first started covering business in Rome, back in 2007, “Downtown Annie,” as she’s known, was extremely helpful, both knowledgeable and accessible. She will be missed. 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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Trends & Traditions with Holly Lynch GREEN. OH, HOW I LOVE THE COLOR. If you know me, you know that’s MY color. My house is a shade of sage green. My former – but favorite – car was a shade called Oasis Green Pearl. My company logo is a beautiful green hue, Pantone 369 to be exact. As I write this, I’m even wearing green pants. So, yes, when Pantone announced the color of the year, Greenery, I pretty much squealed with glee. Pantone is an international color standardization organization that also predicts and promotes color trends. This year, they saw many fashion influences that included this vibrant shade of natural, grassy green, so the powers that be chose Greenery as the color of the year for 2017. Greenery is, in my opinion, leaf green. Sort of yellow, but mostly green. The color of spring buds and certain winter evergreens. It’s the color of the stem of an orchid plant and a granny smith apple. With the announcement of Pantone’s color of the year, there’s an expectation of trends that are coming. In Pantone’s press release, they use adjectives like fresh, revitalizing, refreshing and even zesty! That must mean we’re looking forward to a new energy in the coming year, an appreciation of nature, and the promise of new beginnings. Isn’t that just what we need? Some years, when the color has been

announced, I’ve been bitterly disappointed. Last year, Pantone selected a blend of two different shades, and I couldn’t have been more disenchanted. The colors were Serenity (baby blue/ periwinkle) and Rose Quartz (baby pink). When a disappointing color comes along, and you start seeing it genuinely come up in your business, you have to at least acknowledge that the colors must have appealed to the wider population. So, if you don’t like Greenery, don’t be surprised when you see it in more places than you expected! Over the last several years, I’ve been pleased to see how those knowledgeable trendsetters at Pantone who choose the color of the year really do have their eye on the ball for what is coming. When Emerald Green was announced in 2013 (when I first started writing about the color of the year), I was ecstatic since I deeply love any shade of green. And in due course, we’ve seen Emerald Green bridesmaid dresses and even an “Emerald City” theme party. But even 2012’s Tangerine Tango (a tad darker than OSHA orange) turned out to be surprisingly popular. It sure did pair well with the mason jars and burlap that were popular at the time, and paired with bright pink for a really vibrant color scheme. With this year’s Greenery selection, I actually feel like one of those trendsetters. Several of my graphic design friends even texted me on the day of the color announcement and said, “It’s Season Events green!” We’ve had the color for our logo for nearly 10 years, and the selected shade of Greenery is extremely similar, really

only five shades different. Dating back even further, while working for a former employer, my coworker and I shared an office and had one accent wall painted a shade of green very close to Greenery. My bosses pretty much hated that wall, which made me love the color even more! In a world of concern, confusion, change and wariness, Greenery is a great contrast. Green means go. It has meant go from the time when railroads ruled the world of transportation, and green was the natural contrast to red, which obviously meant stop. So, if green means go, what do you plan on doing in 2017? What do you need to “go” and do? In 2016, we lost far too many actors and musicians, so in 2017 we need to go and cultivate the young generation of talent. If 2016 brought an election whose result you didn’t like, then go out and show interest in the candidates and causes that will need your extra support in the coming years. If 2016 saw you in a job you hate or in a hurtful relationship, GO. Go somewhere else and try something new. Taking risks is scary – trust me, I know! But maybe a fresh coat of green paint or a new pair of green pants will give you just the boost of confidence you need. Happy New Year. Make it a great one (or a green one)! 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.

v3 magazine 15

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CRAFTING PERFECTION For beer enthusiasts, this establishment is all about setting the bar. / / TEX T T R I P P D U R D E N / / PH OTO S C A M E R O N F L A I S C H

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WHEN YOU THINK OF A BAR, what comes to mind? Do you picture a smoky room with pool tables in the back? Are there surly men at the bar, neon signs in the windows and peanut shells on the floor? But what if a bar was designed to be more than just a place to have a few drinks? What if its atmosphere was carefully cultivated and crafted? What if it was built on passion and community? A bar like that might not look like the bars we are used to. Instead, it might look like Rome’s newest craft beer establishment. That bar would look a lot like The Foundry. Designed to feel more like a coffee shop than a bar, The Foundry features handmade tables and a beautiful wooden bar built by owner Gorg Hubenthal, who also loves woodworking. “We want people to come here and work on their computers and relax,” he says. The bottoms of the tables are large gears Hubenthal salvaged from an old building on Broad Street, creating a purposeful balance between the newness of The Foundry and the history of Rome. “My wife and I love Rome,”

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Gorg and Mindy Hubenthal

he says. “We hear people from bigger cities ragging Rome and we don’t understand where that comes from.” Hubenthal wants The Foundry to be a place for community, relaxation and even education. “I want people to come here and really learn about beer,” he says. Based on the size of the selection at The Foundry – with more than 250 individual beers available – there is plenty of opportunity for the casual craft beer drinker to learn and explore. The Foundry also offers growlers, a method of transporting beer that is over a century old. Growlers, or larger containers that can be filled from your favorite tap, originated in the late 1800s. Pub owners would fill small galvanized pails with fresh beer for patrons to carry home. As the suds sloshed about

“...with more than 250 individual beers available – there is plenty of opportunity for the casual craft beer drinker to learn and explore.”

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“Some have not had good beer; they have had mass-produced domestic beer, which values quantity over quality.We carry beers that are about quality, not quantity.” in the container, the CO2 would seep from the lid, creating a growling sound. So, the name was coined. The Foundry has growlers for sale, or locals can bring in their own containers to be filled from one of their 30 taps. If the draft variety isn’t your flavor, there are also over 225 varieties of bottled beer available in store. For Hubenthal, it is all about helping people discover the joy and passion he feels; he aims to show his customers “how vast and wide beer truly is.” “People don’t realize that they like beer,” he says. “Some have not had good beer; they have had mass-produced domestic beer, which values quantity over quality. We carry beers that are about quality, not quantity.” The Foundry even has craft root beer on tap for kids who may come in with their parents. “I love kids,” he says. “I want them to be able to come in with their parents and not feel out of place.” The owner’s goal is threefold: to get people to open themselves up to new experiences with new people, to educate the community about beer, and to facilitate a culture of relaxation and fun in Rome. Hubenthal has big plans for The Foundry,

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including holding festivals during the spring and summer to engage the community. “We will rope off the parking lot and have music and games,” he says. “We will bring out food vendors that pair well with our beer.” And The Foundry does not plan on stopping at beer. Hubenthal already has a walk-in humidor for cigars and plans on adding wine very soon.

Just like many of the establishments in our growing food and beverage scene, Hubenthal hopes to elevate the level of products and services in our fair town. With his family-friendly plan, chances are good that he’ll fit right in. For a list of services and store hours visit "The Foundry Growler Station" on Facebook or call them at 706-528-4699.

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Where The Sidewalk Ends When the pavement and concrete fades away, there are no barriers for creating your wildest dreams. // T EX T L A U R E N J O N E S -H I L L M A N // PH OTOS C A M E R O N F L A I S C H

YOU CAN NEVER TELL what lies around the bend of a two lane in the Georgia countryside. Countless musicians have penned songs about country roads and special finds discovered among split-rail fences and brush-covered ditches. Filmmakers have woven into their movies the allure of finding treasures at the end of the path less traveled. “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994) comes to mind; Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), after chipping away at freedom from prison, leaves a package for his friend Red (Morgan Freeman) inside a rock wall, just off a lonely stretch of road. Our corner of the state is no different. A day of riding through the gorgeous hills and valleys often leads to finding our own magic, planted in the country by folks who have the means and space to follow their dreams. The owners of Runnin’ Wild Farm in Silver Creek, Ga., mesmerize passersby with the animals that call their pastures home. When their son Gardner was 3 years old, he told Andrew and Mary Helen Heaner that he wanted Santa to bring him a buffalo for Christmas. The idea seems farfetched for many, but the Heaners are no ordinary farm

owners. They found a way to make it happen. “(Gardner) was obsessed with animals, and we got our first buffalo when he was 12,” says Mary Helen, grinning at the memory. “I was like, ‘Gardner, if Santa could see you now!’” Now, the Heaners have a slew of exotic and unique animals. What started out as a couple of donkeys evolved into emus, ostriches, Clydesdale horses and more. “We didn’t wake up one day and say, ‘Oh, my dream is to have an exotic animal farm!’” says Mary Helen. “It just kind of happened.” And happen it did. Runnin’ Wild is home to about 200 exotic animals. Those animals include camels, zebras, Ibex goats, ostriches, emus, Boer goats, donkeys, pot-bellied pigs and llamas. The main dwelling of the property sits high on the hillside overlooking the farm. Two barns near the front gate are adorned with quirky keepsakes and serve as home to some of Runnin’ Wild’s youngest residents. Inside one of the stalls is a calf with warm eyes and a twitchy tail. Its floppy ears wave and greet those who come inside to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and a sausage ball. Just past the cutest cow ever is a baby camel. It leans its head around the stall door in search

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the fence. As Mary Helen approaches with a basket of veggies and fruits, she gives an apple to one of the smallest members of the group. “Hold your hand really flat,” says Mary Helen as she instructs the young visitor. With its lips, the camel gently plucks the apple from the child’s hand and grunts with delight. Mary Helen flashes a satisfied smile, one she has surely worn throughout the years while watching her son with the animals they love. Runnin’ Wild, which spans 1,200 acres, has been in operation for 12 years. But the

of affection. As a crowd gathers, the small camel hams it up, honking and nibbling at the shoulders of onlookers. “This is one of our newest babies,” says Mary Helen. “She just loves the attention.” “We also have a herd of American Bison, and we recently started a herd of White Buffalo, which are very rare,” Andrew adds. “We have Zebu cows from India and they’re miniature,” says Mary Helen. “We have Watusi Cows and they have beautiful long horns. They’re native to Africa.” The Heaners also have Highland Cows of Scotland, Clydesdale Horses, Belgian Horses and mules. As the Heaners lead a scheduled tour around the property, it becomes apparent that they are in love with what they do. In a rear pasture, two adult camels gallop in front of

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Heaners own a total of 4,000 acres. “Originally, I wanted to get into the cattle business, but for various reasons I elected not to do that,” explains Andrew. “But we had this property, and we decided we weren’t going to get into the crop business. So, we thought we could use the land to raise rare animals.” As a family of avid animal lovers, Mary Helen says their journey to Runnin’ Wild began with Fred. “The first animal we got was a donkey named Fred,” she says. “It was very, very much an accident.” “We got a couple more donkeys, but being the person that I am, I can’t ever doing anything normal,” admits Andrew. “Our son said we needed to get some exotic animals, so we started off with a camel, sheep and zebras.” Gardner and Mary Helen became enamored with the idea of getting more unique species for their farm and started researching.

“(Gardner) really enjoyed it and still enjoys it, but then he went off to college and kind of left Mary Helen and me with it,” says Andrew. So, Runnin’ Wild shifted and became Mary Helen’s focus and responsibility. Andrew says he branched off and went into the commercial cattle business, while Mary Helen works with the staff and runs the exotic animal segment of the Heaner farms. With the types of licenses the Heaners must acquire and the regulations they have to adhere

“Gardner) was obsessed with animals, and we got our first buffalo when he was 12. I was like, ‘Gardner, if Santa could see you now!’”

to, they are required to give five farm tours annually. “We do have school groups, camps and special groups come through,” says Mary Helen. “We started doing that eight years ago. But unfortunately, except for those groups, we are not open to the public; we’re just not staffed and set up for that.” The Heaners don’t mind if curious people pull over as they pass by and take a picture from the road. They also said, for the school groups and camps that tour the farm, there is no charge. “It’s a free service for the kids and the day camps,” says Mary Helen. “We do it for the community.” There are some regular school groups that visit the farm, as well as the Kid vs Wild, a summer camp coordinated by Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation and the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office. “That’s been fun for us and it’s fun for the kids,” says Mary Helen. “We all laugh because I would say the majority of children have dogs, and when they come here to see all the exotic animals, they’re all enamored with the dogs.” Having to reapply for licenses for the animals annually, and all the rigorous paperwork that comes with having the types of species

Andrew and Mary Helen Heaner

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they own, the Heaners say the farm is a huge undertaking. “We go through the Department of Natural Resources, and we have to have a USDA license, also,” says Mary Helen. “They come and inspect at least once a year, but they can come at any time. We have to keep a lot of records for vaccinations and other medical records for the animals. It’s a lot of paperwork.” Vet advice and supervision, as well as the people from where they get the animals, all make sure they are cared for properly. “Nobody will send a baby camel without instructions,” says Mary Helen, laughing. Though Runnin’ Wild Farm is home to many unique animals, they’re treated like any others on the farm when it comes to environmental impacts. “Because they’ve all been born here and have been bred for generations here in the U.S., the environment is not a shock for them,” says Andrew. “They adapt well. In storms, they get shelter in the woods; all our pastures have woods. And also for heat, they get out of the extreme heat or wind.” Mary Helen adds that in the cold, the staff puts down extra hay to keep the animals warm. “But if a tornado came through, they’d be like us,” she says. “You just have to hunker down and hope for the best.” Both Heaners went into detail about the

munity in more ways than one. They are also owners of the Knucklehead Café and The Rock Café and Ice Cream Shop in Rockmart, Ga. Adding to the list of places where folks can calm their craving for delicious food is RW’s Snack Shack in Aragon, Ga. If the locals are looking for a service that specializes in bringing the food to you, Runnin’ Wild Catering Co. is now operational in Rome, and they are excited to bring their version of mouth-watering meals to events and get-togethers. Allstar Towing, Trucking and Tree Service rounds out the list of businesses the Heaners have developed to serve their Northwest Georgia neighbors. For folks as busy as them, a weekend at the farm has to be a welcome relief. Runnin’ Wild also has packaged their own brand of seasonings and specialty foods, like jerky. Having the farm has inspired the Heaners in more ways than one, but it seems their focus never waivers from the most important little citizens in our community. “It’s been wonderful for our kids because their friends are able to come here and enjoy it,” says Andrew. “It’s been a way for our family, friends and the community to benefit.” You never know what’s just down a country road.

extreme drought conditions the state has experienced and its effects on the farm. “We have to start feeding hay a lot earlier; the grass is so dry,” says Mary Helen. “We’ve had to start feeding hay in July when normally we won’t start until December. That’s a lot of hay. “Most of our ponds have dried up, so for watering, we’ve had to get extra troughs and it takes extra time because every trough has to be filled now,” she adds. “It’s not easy access in pastures we’ve depended on. They’re fine, they’re fed and watered, but they prefer grass over hay. I mean, who wouldn’t?” Locally, rumors fly about the types of animals at Runnin’ Wild, but Andrew and Mary Helen say many are false. “According to rumors, we’ve had every kind of animal in the world,” says Andrew. “We’ve supposedly had elephants, lions, tigers, monkeys… We tell people, if you haven't heard it from us, we don’t have it.” The Heaners, who live in Atlanta during the week, say a staff member is always on hand to look after their farm. Though it can be a lot of work, coming to their farm retreat, tending the animals and watching kids’ faces light up when they see the different unique animals makes it all worthwhile. However, this family serves their com-

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MUSCLE MEMORIES Whether it’s a workplace challenge or a passion since childhood, this gym has space for any person who wants to be healthy. / / TE X T G R E G H O WA R D / / PH OTO S C A M E R O N F L A I S C H LOCATED JUST OFF of Shorter Avenue on Center Street, stands the city’s first 24-hour, members-only gym. Housed in the renovated and repurposed Wheeler’s Building Supply warehouse, the Rome Athletic Club (RAC) is a multi-level space featuring two floors full of workout equipment, a quarter-mile track, five acres of space out back, and saunas. However, this is not your usual gym. This particular fitness club is made up of a dedicated group of trainers and members who, day in and day out, show what it means to be “RAC Strong.” Kelley Toles, general manager of the Rome Athletic Club, is no exception. Years ago, Toles was asked if she would be interested in helping to run the day-today operations at the RAC and she was intrigued.

Toles had done it all. Her resume includes working at a bank, serving as an ophthalmologist’s assistant, earning her masters to become a school teacher, and motherhood. Today, Toles not only manages Rome Athletic Club, she is also a certified personal trainer who changes lives by showing her clients the benefit of living a healthy lifestyle. Her mission is to inspire everyone, regardless of their age, background or lifestyle, to join the strong community of the Rome Athletic Club. “RAC is not just a building with machines; it is a community of people who share a common goal of fitness and a general concern for others,” Toles explains. “A lot of people are intimidated the first time they come to the gym. However, at RAC you are greeted at the door and

made welcome by not only our amazing staff, but by all of the members as well.” The members-only facility offers many unique workout experiences. “(RAC) offers a wide variety of training opportunities and classes because we want to have something for everyone,” says Toles. “One of our missions is to provide people with a new way to work out, and not just use the standard machines. We want people to know that our goal is to help them become healthy and this can be achieved in many different ways. Being healthy is not about becoming obsessed with a number on the scale or putting on big muscles. We want our members to feel empowered, fulfilled and happy with themselves.” One of the ways RAC accomplishes this is by providing unconventional tools such as tires, bars, bags, ropes and sleds. Their

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hope is to keep workouts fresh and fun, so that their members never get bored with a routine. For Toles, the overall mission of RAC is simple. “We want to show our current and potential members that everybody can be strong in their own way,” she says. “It’s not just about lifting weights or trying to achieve a perfect body; it’s about feeling good about yourself and building a strong community.” Through a variety of classes, Rome Athletic Club seeks to engage members no matter where their talents or preferences lie. RAC offers unique workshops that range from kickboxing and self-defense to classes using ballet techniques and hip-hop dancing. One trainer who uses her talents to help others get in shape is RAC’s Amanda Dewitt. Exercising her own love of “dance fitness,” she instructs RAC’s hip hop cardio and street step classes. A former Zumba instructor, Dewitt noticed that her trainees became more excited when they danced to songs that were current and popular. So, she started her own dance fitness class that is similar in format to Zumba, but to the tune of today’s hits. “Fitness is essential to my happiness,” explains Dewitt. “The gym can easily become part of your everyday life. For me, my friends are there. You see these people every day and the gym becomes your social arena. It’s a wonderful way to relieve your stress and, overall, feel better about life in general.” But programming aside, the thing that is truly different about Rome Athletic Club is that the trainers seek to build more than just a gym; they build a family. According to Dewitt, RAC brings together people who may not have known each other in any other setting. “We all come from different backgrounds with different

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views and beliefs, but we all share this common ground with a love of fitness and we help to motivate one another,” she explains. Several of Dewitt’s trainees have lost over 100 pounds through her sessions and classes. “You just have to dance – you just go for it!” she exclaims. “I have people come in who are still in college along with people who are in their 60s. It’s such a great range of people to work with!” For RAC trainer Bob Moss, the career of a personal trainer is, simply put, all about people. However, if you’re Moss, those people may include NFL players and wrestling legends. Moss began his quest for fitness in the basement of his childhood home. He and his

friend, Marty Lundy, set up a small weight room in the basement of the Moss household – Bob aiming to gain weight while Marty sought to lose some. Many reps later, Moss would go on to start “Bob’s Body Shop” for athletic training, while Lundy went on to become “Arn Anderson,” a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Hall of Fame member. But “Arn” isn’t the only celebrity Moss has had the opportunity to help train. He also served as his high school football team’s co-captain alongside Ray Donaldson, who would go on to play for the Dallas Cowboys and become a Super Bowl champion. Moss takes pride in having helped train these legends, just as he does training anyone who wants to put on a little muscle. Whether it is bodybuilding, circuit training or specific athletic training, Moss knows the business. “My personal philosophy is that everybody is somebody,” says Moss. “I guarantee that if

‟RAC is not just a building with machines; it is a community of people who share a common goal of fitness.” you get in a gym and do it every day and do it right, you are going to see great results.” When fitness becomes a part of your everyday life, your world can change. A great testimony to this is the journey of Kim McAdams. A full-time registered nurse at Floyd Medical Center, McAdams realizes the impact physical fitness has on one’s own quality of life. “As a nurse, you know what you are supposed to do to be healthy – you learn in life what you should be doing – but as a wife, and a mom, and a full-time employee, life can get so busy,” she says.

Wanting to make a change in her own life, McAdams signed up for a fitness competition called “Floyd Fit,” hosted at the RAC, and started to put in the hard work. She and her partner in the competition worked with Toles three times a week and took advantage of full access to the facilities throughout the week. As the inches came off and the pounds dropped (over 70 between the two of them), McAdams and her partner quickly took first in the competition. But her journey didn’t stop there. Throughout the year-long “Floyd Fit” program and her continued training with Toles, McAdams began to see more results.

“I still go to the RAC today,” McAdams says. “Because of Kelley and all of the encouragement, I’ve lost over 40 pounds. It’s not easy, but having those people by your side to help encourage you in such a friendly environment makes a real difference.” In the United States today, over 78.6 million adults are obese. To put that into perspective, obesity affects the life of every one in three Americans on average. Personal trainers and gym memberships can go beyond simply helping you work off those extra pounds. They can help you establish a fitness routine; keep you accountable; and give you new perspectives and ideas on health, nutrition, and fitness. McAdams attests to this in her own journey. “When I’m at the gym working out and it’s just me and my trainer, she treats me with respect and pushes me,” she explains. “For people that are overweight, often times you can feel out of place going to a gym, but at the RAC it doesn’t matter. Everyone makes you feel welcome and they know who you are.” Rome Athletic Club shows that a gym can be much more than a place to work out. Here, a gym is a community sharing a common goal, a group of people of every size and background helping to motivate one another, and a family. A gym is only as strong as its members, and at Rome Athletic Club their members are RAC Strong. For more information about available classes and membership benefits visit online at www.romeathleticclub.com or call at 706-295-3678.

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Happy New Year from the Family & Staff at Henderson & Sons Funeral Homes and Rome Memorial Park

“Rome’s Locally Owned Funeral Homes” Barry R. Henderson

Joe Paul Henderson (1919-2008)

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TEENWOLVES As chants of “Rome to the Dome” filled the air and the fronts of red t-shirts and hoodies, the hard work of coaches, parents, and players has once again elevated this city to high school football greatness.

// T EX T J I M A L R E D // PH OTOS C A M E R O N F L A I S C H

THE OPENING KICKOFF sailed high in the air of the Georgia Dome. Buford junior Anthony Grant moved to the five-yard line, snagged the kick and then exploded up the field, blazing past Rome defenders until being caught one yard shy of the end zone. On the next play, senior fullback TD Roof powered into the end zone, handing the most dominant football team in the State of Georgia over the past 15 years a 7-0 lead, momentum and a lead in winning the school’s 12th state title. The Buford Wolves’ legacy has shifted from good to almost mythic – maybe bordering on legendary. In the Deep South, where names like Herschel, Bo, Saban, Bear, Dooley, Spurrier and others bring warm thoughts to fans and abject hatred from foes, the word Buford now rings synonymous with winning. But this story involves another pack of Wolves, standing on the opposite sideline with 10,000-plus, red-clad fans filling the lower bowl of the Georgia Dome. And if the previous names mean great things to football

fans, the names Sharp, Kinnebrew, Tutt, McCluskey, Kent, Hodges, Green, and a long list of others make citizens from a small town nestled between three rivers and seven hills beam with pride. Those greats helped take East Rome and West Rome highs to seven state titles, including the Chieftains’ state record four-straight and the Gladiators’ back-to-back titles in 1977 and 1978. And don’t forget the 1965 West Rome squad, which entered the state playoffs with a losing record, but outworked and outfought the competition to win it all. With the merger of the schools in the fall of 1992 came visions of athletic greatness. But a quarter of a century later, those dreams remained just that. The Rome High trophy case displays the football from the school’s first victory. But a vacant spot remained where the ball from the first state title team should reside. The Wolves made several deep runs into the playoffs but close losses in the state quarterfinals derailed state title dreams in 1997,

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2002, 2004 and 2005. And, of course, the controversial ending in the semifinals against Marist in 2008 still brings rage in Rome supporters. Two years ago on a cold, windy February day, new football coach John Reid met the Rome faithful and talked about winning a state title. He preached hard work and togetherness and, maybe above all else, the need for a great defense. “Championships come from the defense, so we’re going to be very, very tough on defense,” he said. And on this cold, windy December day in the Georgia Dome, Reid’s defensive vision played out for all to see. As the first quarter rolled on, Rome’s defense showed why it ranked as the best in Class 5A all season. KJ Hicks, Ja’Quon Griffin, Trai Hodges, Malik Davis, Adam Anderson, and others harassed, hit and stymied Buford’s offense, holding the Wolves to minimal yards and keeping their green-clad foes from adding to the seven-point lead. As the first quarter shifted to the second, a sense of urgency began to fill the Rome fans and the sidelines. Four possessions provided Rome with five yards of offense, no first downs and a turnover. While Rome’s defense ranked first, Buford refused to allow the Rome sidelines to forget they ranked second in defense. With less than 10 minutes remaining before halftime and still hunting its initial first down of the game, Rome took over at its own 14-yard line. Rome’s offense needed a spark and a pair of sophomores stepped up to the task. Tailback Jamious Griffin ripped off a six-yard run and quarterback Knox Kadum added 12 more on the next play, giving Rome a first down and bringing the Rome faithful to their feet.

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“All I was thinking was one more play – give it all I’ve got. He ran across my facemask, and I had to do it. There was no doubt in my mind when I grabbed him. I knew I was going to stop him.”

Two more Griffin runs, along with a short jaunt from Xavier Roberts, handed the Wolves another first down. Then Kadum rolled right and connected with receiver Jordan Watkins for the third first down of the drive, placing Rome at midfield. Kadum hit Watkins for a 26-yard gain, and the Wolves added some trickeration to the mix on third and long as four different Wolves lateraled the ball to each other before Kadum snagged it and gained eight yards. While the play left fans breathless, it also left Rome two yards shy of a first down at Buford’s 17-yard line. Every great team overcomes obstacles and on this day Rome faced several, including four key fourth-down plays. Great teams deliver on most of their chances, but legendary teams find ways to deliver on all of them. This time Jamious Griffin took the handoff and mashed his way for a first down, but the Wolves’ tailback lay on the field after the play.

Emanuel Gonzalez delivered a picture-perfect, 24-yard field goal, cutting Buford’s lead to 7-3 with 3:36 remaining before halftime. The drive covered 79 yards over 15 plays and milked more than six minutes from the clock. It re-energized the sidelines and the crowd and gave notice to Buford that state title No. 12 wouldn’t come easy. After a promising, late Rome drive ended with an interception in the end zone, the two teams left for the locker rooms. Rome proved they could kick a field goal, but the Wolves now needed to reach the end zone. Buford’s defense again rose to the occasion as Rome took the ball to start the second half, forcing the Wolves into a third and long situation from the 23-yard line. Kadum dropped back, looking for a receiver, hesitated a few seconds, and then took off up the middle, streaking past Buford defenders for a 43-yard run. “That was a do-or-die situation,” Kadum says. “Coach said ‘read the situation.’ They brought a blitz from the weak side and they left it wide open. It was a big run because it gave us a lot of momentum and got the crowd excited, and then we kept driving.” Two runs from junior back Marquez Kirby brought the Wolves to the 28-yard line but two yards shy of a first down. Facing another big fourth down, the Wolves dialed up a play for Kadum. The signal caller took the snap, waited a second, then rolled right, cut inside and found

the same thing, and it led to the touchdown.” A wall of noise descended onto the turf and reverberated from the rafters. Rome players celebrated in the end zone, Rome coaches jumped and cheered on the sidelines, and Rome fans exploded with the force fueled by a quarter-century of anticipation. After Gonzalez drilled the extra point, Rome held its first lead of the game at 10-7. For the next 23 minutes, both fan bases sat on the edge of their seats. Rome’s defense proved more than capable of stopping Buford, allowing the Wolves only two threatening drives, which both ended at Rome’s 38-yard line. Buford’s defense returned the favor as Rome also found the going tough and could get no closer than Buford’s 44-yard line. But time stood on Rome’s side, and a big special teams play put Buford in a hole. Rome punter John Cromer uncorked his best punt of the game, perhaps the best of the season. The punt flew straight down the middle of the field, bounced inside the 10-yard line and three hops later was downed at the one. With less than five minutes on the clock and facing a defense that had allowed them only three second-half first downs, Buford faced a 99-yard journey to the end zone. Buford answered with a big first-down pass. On the ensuing first down, Chris Turner blew past the line and gained nine yards before Anderson spun him to the ground. With two big plays back to back, Buford’s fans grew louder and the players fed off the energy.

Griffin’s leg failed him, and the sophomore back half limped to the sidelines. Rome, already playing without the services of injured 1,000-yard rusher Jalynn Sykes, now faced almost three quarters without their other 1,000-yard rusher. Freshman back Nick Burge reeled off a fiveyard and one-yard run, but an incomplete pass left Rome short of the end zone. Junior kicker

a seam to the Buford three-yard line, where a defender grabbed him. But the tall, lanky Kadum refused to go down easy. With a final surge of momentum, he stretched the ball into the end zone. “Buford’s defense was doing something different, and we realized we could take advantage of it,” Kadum says. “On the next run they did

After an incomplete pass on second down, Grant took the handoff and ran into a brick wall of Davis and Ja’Quon Griffin. The two Rome defenders fought and grabbed, smacking the runner to the turf and bringing the officials out to measure. After two measurements showed Buford was short of the first down, Rome faced its third

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pivotal fourth-down play of the game. Buford back Chris Turner took the ball, and Ja’Quon Griffin steamrolled into him with the force of a Mack truck, robbing the junior of any and all momentum and slammed him into the turf. No measurement was needed. “All I was thinking was one more play – give it all I got,” Griffin says. “He ran across my facemask, and I had to do it. There was no doubt in my mind when I grabbed him. I knew I was going to stop him.” “Buford’s been in this dome 10 years in

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a row, and they needed an inch,” Reid says. “We didn’t give it to them. That’s probably as big a play that there has ever been in Rome football history.” Rome’s sidelines and fans exploded. The red-clad Wolves owned the ball at Buford’s 26-yard line, and a mere 1:44 remained on the clock. Three rushing plays and three Buford timeouts left Rome with yet another fourth down-situation, this time with 1:20 remaining. After a timeout that seemed to last about three days, the sophomore signal caller ran a

new play, faking out the Buford defense and half of the stadium, and sprinted into the end zone untouched. “That was an adjustment on the timeout. We had never had that play put in, but it sure worked,” Kadum says. “It was a big-time moment, and we were just planning on one yard. It ended up being a touchdown.” The scoreboard flipped to Rome 16, Buford 7, and the smiles and hugs and screams grew even louder from the Rome faithful. Buford tried to answer, but back-to-back sacks from Ja’Quon Griffin and Anderson put an exclamation point on a night in which the Rome defense held its opponent to 112 total yards and a paltry 61 rushing yards.

“We are the best defensive line in the state. Nobody can stop us on defense,” Griffin says. “We shut them down.” The next 15 minutes brought a whirlwind of excitement and emotion. Players and coaches streamed onto the field and celebrated as they held aloft the state title trophy. Reid pointed to the stands and praised the fans. “We have a plan, and our theme this week was to trust the plan. Being down 7-3 was part of the plan,” Reid says. “We didn’t want to be down 7-3, but it was close enough to where we knew they were going to get tired. Our defense just turned up the notch on them. It’s an incredible feeling.” As the last few Rome players left the field, Kadum continued to jog the sidelines slapping hands with fans and getting words of encouragement. “I don’t think winning the state title has really hit me yet. This is the greatest feeling,” he says. “I just knew I needed to come out here and do whatever I had to do for my team. This is overwhelming.” Kadum slapped hands with a few more fans and jogged into the tunnel and into the waiting arms of teammates and coaches cheering and celebrating. That celebration followed the team home from Atlanta, down Broad Street, and back to the high school, where fans, players, coaches, and more reveled until the wee hours of the night. Mythology tells us Romulus and Remus helped found the ancient city of Rome. A statue sits on our Rome, Georgia’s Broad Street, celebrating it. The history of Rome High tells us a group of Chieftains and a group of Gladiators joined to become a giant pack of Wolves. On the 25th year since the merger, a shiny, polished trophy helps celebrate the silver anniversary of the school. It’s the first state title in school history. It has taken far longer than anticipated for the Wolves to add to the long history of winning they inherited. But all stories have to start somewhere and the legend of Rome High is just getting started.

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PH: 706-233-9960 you feed just about any size group, Hours: Sun -Thu: PH: 706-233-9960 Hours: Sun -Thu:11:00am-9:00pm 11:00am-9:00pm FriFri - Sat: 11:00am-10:00pm anytime, anywhere. Our menu will Hours: Sun -Thu: 11:00am-9:00pm - Sat: 11:00am-10:00pm Frithe - Sat: please most11:00am-10:00pm discerning tastes Fuddruckers catering cancan helphelp Fuddruckers catering andjust meet the high standards you you feed any group, Fuddruckers can help you feed justabout aboutcatering anysize size group,

We about know how tosize make anytime, anywhere. Our will yourequire. feed just any group, anytime, anywhere. Ourmenu menu will your event spectacular with the please the discerning tastes anytime, anywhere. Our menu will please themost most discerning tastes WORLD’S GREATEST CATERING. and meet the standards you tastes thehigh most discerning andplease meet the high standards you require. We know how to make and meet the high standards require. We know how to make you your event spectacular with to themake require. We know how your event spectacular with the WORLD’S GREATEST CATERING. your event spectacular with the WORLD’S GREATEST CATERING.


urlee urleess s urlee Fish House & Oyster Bar Bar FishFish House & Oyster Bar House &GAOyster Rome, Est. 2012

Rome, GA Est. GA 2012Est. 2012 Rome,

227 Broad Street 227 Broad Street 227 Broad Street 227 Broad Street Rome, Georgia 30161 Rome, Georgia 30161 Rome, GA 30161 Rome, Georgia 30161

PH:(706) (706) 204-8173 204-8173 PH: PH: 706-204-8173 PH: (706) 204-8173 www.curlees.com www.curlees.com www.curlees.com www.curlees.com

Hours:Mon-Thurs: Mon-Thurs: 11:00am-9:00pm 11:00am-9:00pm Hours: Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11:00am-9:00pm Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11:00am-9:00pm Fri-Sat: 11:00am-10:00pm Fri-Sat: 11:00am-10:00pm Fri-Sat: 11:00am-10:00pm Fri-Sat: Curlee’s offers casual11:00am-10:00pm dining, Curlee’s offers casual dining, Curlee’s offers casual dining, fresh fresh seafood, hand-cut steaks, Curlee’s offers casual dining, fresh seafood, hand-cut steaks,on chicken and more! It is located fresh hand-cut seafood, steaks, hand-cut steaks, seafood, chicken and chicken and more! Itcenter is located on Broad Street in the of the city,on chicken and more! It is Street located more! Ithas is located Broad Broad theoncenter of the city, and itStreet a in family-friendly atmoBroad Street in the center of the city, and it has a family-friendly insphere! the center of the city, and atmoit has a and it has a family-friendly atmosphere! Takes Reservations, Walk-Ins family-friendly atmo-sphere! sphere! Takes Reservations, Walk-Ins Welcome, Good For Kids, Take Takes Reservations, Walk-Ins Takes Reservations, Walk-Ins Out, Catering Waiter Service Welcome, Goodand For Kids, Take Welcome, Good For Kids, Take Welcome, Good For Kids, Take Out, Catering andWaiter Waiter Service Out, Catering and Service Out, Catering and Waiter Service

3401 Martha Berry Hwy Rome, GA 30165

PH: 706-291-1881 Hours: Sun -Thu: 11:00am-10:00pm 3401 Martha Hwy Call or Text YourBerry Order to: Fri - 30165 Sat: 11:00am-11:00pm 3401GA Martha Berry Hwy Rome, PH: 706-237-8320. Dine in, Take out, or delivery... Rome, GA 30165

PH: 706-291-1881 Lunches: Wed/Thurs/Fri in Downtown Rome Authentic Italian is what we do! We PH: 706-291-1881 Hours: Sun -Thu: 11:00am-10:00pm Food Truck Friday: 11am-2:00pm have enjoyed great success by @ 2nd Hours: Sun -Thu: 11:00am-10:00pm Fri - Sat: 11:00am-11:00pm providing our guests a casual, Ave.with & 2nd Street Friout, - Sat: 11:00am-11:00pm Dine in, Take orand delivery... friendly atmosphere excellent Friday Nights @ River Dog Outpost Dine in, Take is out, or delivery... Authentic we do! We service. InItalian addition towhat the healthy Saturday Late Nights on Broad Street Authentic Italian is what we do! We have enjoyed great portions of our food,success you will by see our Delivery through Roman Food Delivery have enjoyed great success by providing our guests with a casual, entrees range from homemade Checkproviding out our full weekly schedule & our guests with a casual, sandwiches, pizzas and to friendly atmosphere and calzones excellent rotating menu at: eatspeakcheesey.com pastas, chicken, veal and seafood friendly atmosphere and excellent service. In addition to the healthy dishContact us about booking, catering, and es. www.romamiagrill.com service. In addition thesee healthy portions of our food, youtowill our private events at : hillery@speakcheesey.com portions offrom our food, you will see our entrees range homemade MULTIPLE GOOD EATS to entreesTRUCKS. range homemade sandwiches, pizzasfrom and calzones

sandwiches, pizzas and calzones to pastas, chicken, veal and seafood dishpastas, chicken, veal and seafood dishes. www.romamiagrill.com es. www.romamiagrill.com

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. Make it a meal worth remembering. Where to eat in Northwest Georgia.

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