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NWGA'S PREMIER FEATURE MAGAZINE / MAY 2015

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opinions 12 16

Grab your box of tissues, because this month HOLLY LYNCH’S story of unconditional love is sure to wet the page and give those spring wedding couples the staying power needed to endure a lifetime.

Sparks are sure to fly, when the Georgia General Assembly, most likely, takes another look at the religious liberty bill in 2016. J. BRYANT STEELE invites us all to pick up some freshly-minted Georgia fireworks to celebrate why we are all proud to be Americans and stay away from those über-dangerous sparklers.

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Spanning over a half-century, HENDERSON AND SON’S FUNERAL HOME founders tell the story of how they have been

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Alice Towe, a horticulture student at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, is right on time for spring as she paints

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helping Northwest Georgians cope with loss, just as they would for family.

THE GARDENS OF NEELY HILL with pretty petals and a garden for “tea”.

Following the blueprint laid out by YOUNG LIFE founder Jim Rayburn, Dave Mahon and his crew of college kids are using quality time to keep our high school students on the straight and narrow. A candid conversation with the COOSA RIVER CHUMBAGS reveals the truth about the monsters that prowl the murky channels of our waterways, and gives us a rare look inside their fisherman’s frat.

2015


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W

hen I was a kid, I would rise early on Saturday mornings to catch the unbelievable lineup of cartoons on TV. Saturdays were special at our house. My mother always cooked up a wonderful breakfast and we could remain in our pajamas until the cartoons were over and the outdoors called us out to play. My sister and I would sit with our eyes glued to the screen and biscuit crumbs glued to our fingers while our favorite characters entertained us to no end. VCRs were all the rage and the thought of pausing, rewinding, and fast forwarding live TV was something that only happened in the “Back to the Future” movies. Speaking of Michael J. Fox, I remember my mother coming home one particular Saturday from Gas TV with a rented VCR

Owner&CEO Ian Griffin

Mag Art & Design Ellie Borromeo

Editorial Manager Ian Griffin

OWNER+CEO

publisher’s note

and a VHS of the movie “Teen Wolf.” I think my sister and I watched that tape 20 times – in awe of this new and wonderful technology – before my mother returned it the following Monday. I remember telling my mother how cool it was to watch an entire movie at home without watching commercials. Oh how times have changed, but good advertising campaigns still manage to break through our “have it your way, right away” society. One of those aforementioned Saturday mornings, during a commercial break between “He-Man” and “The Snorks,” I remember hearing the sound of a tuba blowing a lumpy melody while three old ladies stared at an oversized hamburger bun. They complimented the bun for its fluffy nature, but eventually the shortest of the three posed the question, in a raspy voice, “Where’s the beef?” It was instant gold in the Griffin household. My sister and I ran it in to the ground by bedtime that night, and the catch phrase remained in regular rotation for a good portion of my childhood. Looking back, I have to wonder how much of a role that ad campaign had on Wendy’s being my favorite place to get a hamburger as a child. (And on the rare occasion I eat fast food today, it is still one of my favorites.) Not to discredit the taste of a Wendy’s burger, but it had to have some sort of influence, right? I recently read that Direct TV is pulling their ad campaign in which Rob Lowe plays himself and a much more undesirable version of himself, such as Super Creepy Rob Lowe, Scrawny Arms Robe Lowe and Broken-down Less Attractive Robe Lowe, in order to depict why Direct TV is superior to their cable competitor, Comcast. Even in an age where viewers can skip through commercials, this campaign was so well done that you all know exactly what I’m talking about. So why would Direct TV pull it? In the quarter following the campaign’s debut, they gained over 50,000 more new subscribers than they had in the previous quarter, and its popularity is a water-cooler topic of conversation in offices across the country. While there is something to be said about a campaign or series going out on a high note (sorry “Sopranos,” you went one season too long), it wasn’t exactly Direct TV’s choice to shut down Mr. Lowe’s successful pitch to the masses. It was, in fact, the result of a ruling passed down from The National Advertising Division, which is a unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Charged with reviewing ads for truthfulness and accuracy, the NAD sided with complaints filed by Comcast stating that there was no evidence that Direct TV had greater signal reliability, better picture and sound quality, and shorter customer service wait times than cable. I would imagine that the NAD could come to that ruling on just about every advertising campaign trying to one up the competition, but then again I don’t know their process and it’s only fair to assume they know what they are doing. Even the “Where’s the beef?” ads from my childhood featured a narrator’s soothing voice assuring us all that the Wendy’s “single” had more beef than both the Big Mac and Whopper. Wendy’s actually revisited this campaign back in 2012, so based on the NAD’s Direct TV ruling, Wendy’s must really have the beef. Here’s hoping they don’t have Scrawny Arms Rob Lowe in the back attempting to open their mayo jars. And now back to your regularly scheduled programming!

Oliver Robbins

Contributing Editor Tannika Wester

Writers J. Bryant Steele, Oliver Robbins, Erin deMesquita, Holly Lynch

Executive Photographer Derek Bell, MFA 706.936.0407

Contributing Photographers Christian David Turner Cameron Flaisch

Ad Sales & Client Relations Chris Forino,Shadae Yancey-Warren,

Ad Design & Marketing Concepts Ellie Borromeo, Christian David Turner

Publisher V3 Publications, LLC

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

Creator Neal Howard

v3magazine.com Ian Griffin, Owner

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Even In Tough Situations, Doug Shows Always Makes The Right Call. Many sports fans across the nation know Doug Shows. He’s among the most highly respected officials in college basketball, a reputation based on his keen eyes and thorough understanding of the game. He’s also a Vice President at Heritage First Bank, managing our Investments and Insurance Department, making the right calls for his clients; clients who are planning for the future through the wide array of services Doug provides:

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M

y mother’s mother was a short, feisty woman, born in 1908. She was the first generation American born to Italian parents. She had 2 sisters (one of whom is still living and just turned 102!) and grew up in Italian neighborhoods in southern Connecticut. Being Italian was as much a definition of who she was as

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being named Angelina or being the daughter of Ferdinando. As a child, my Nonny (as we called her), loved my sister and I fiercely. She was already widowed by the time we came along, and she lived with my aunt, sewed wonderfully and made the best chicken soup you’d ever eat. Food was a big deal for my grandmother; there wasn’t any

ailment that couldn’t be cured by a hearty meal or a hot cup of tea. She was Nonny—a grandmother in every sense of the word—complete with white hair and wrinkles, sagging stockings and sensible shoes. As my sister and I became teens, Nonny would tell us tales of her younger days, sneaking out of her home in the middle of the night to meet her boyfriend. I’m sure she must’ve followed up these stories with admonishments to my sister and I not to repeat these deeds, but the stories were so astonishing. My 80-year-old granny would sneak out? My sweet, old grandmother was once a brazen lovesick girl? That can’t possibly be right. But she told us tales of how she’d stuff clothes into the bed and mound up the blankets and pillows to appear as though she was still sleeping. Her sisters either never knew or never told. She’d meet her boyfriend on the drawbridge in town. This all would have taken place in the early 1930s, a time when the economy was bad, women were barely earning the right to vote, and your family is who you lived with until you married. Nonny also told us tales of learning to sew to make a living, and playing baseball on an all-girls team. She once chased a boy who had stolen her purse with a vinegar bottle on her walk from the grocery store (my grandfather taught her to drive after that). However, the point of Nonny’s sneaking out story was never to shock my sister or me, but to conclude the story by telling us how her father had caught her, followed her to the drawbridge one night, and insisted the boy come home to meet the family properly. He wasn’t Italian, which is why she was meeting him secretly. But that French-Canadian man eventually became my grandfather – a man I never met but felt like I knew. Even Ferdinando came to approve of him, although he never got over the fact that he wasn’t Italian. To think of these clandestine meetings during the wee hours, with my immature teen brain, was to think of my grandmother as having two lives; one defined by crocheting and family meals, and one that didn’t seem real at all, a past life. I was reminded of Nonny’s secret life recently when we were asked to cater a little luncheon for a senior adult who was about to marry. She had been widowed for a number of years, but here she was at 70-something years old, about to marry again. So often, I see young brides with their whole lives before them, taking a chance on love and faith and making a commitment. To think of this older woman taking that same hopeful leap was startling, but also so very delightful. As I’m rooted here at the beginning of middle-date, and not an inexperienced teen, I’m learning the lesson that age is immaterial when it comes to love and passion.


LOVE springs

eternal Trends & Traditions with Holly Lynch You see, love can find you at any age. My grandmother, in telling me her story, was reminding me how much she loved, really loved, my grandfather – enough to risk her family’s approval, her reputation, and possibly her own neck on that drawbridge. She was also telling

me that even though she was older and widowed that she had loved fervently. And here was a new woman in my life, showing me again that love does not know age. She was also risking her family’s approval and her reputation to follow the dream of marriage.

In the midst of the plans for this luncheon, the hostess (also a senior adult) confessed to me that in helping her friend plan the wedding, it made her think of her own husband in a new light. The wedding reminded her of when she married her own fellow, so many years ago. She was reminded why she fell in love with him and why she loved him still. In my business, getting married is very much about gowns and centerpieces and good food and a great band. While I value those things, and I firmly believe that the first day of married life should be a wonderful celebration, I pray each of my brides remember the reasons they take those vows and that the celebration should last long after the guests have left and the honeymoon has ended. I pray they each fall in love with their husbands a bit more every day. And in their senior years, God willing, I hope they want to marry the same man all over again. Or at least that love will still find them with a hopeful heart. Nonny was widowed for almost as long as she was married. She never dated anyone else, but she was loved by my sister and me. In her final months, she would look toward the sky and say “Slim, I don’t know why I’m still here, but I swear I’m coming to meet you.” She was probably just trying to find enough blankets to stuff in the bed.

Holly Lynch is the owner of The Season Events, a full service catering, event planning, and design company located at 250 Broad Street in Rome.

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NOSHOES NOSHIRT NOSPARKLERS? Cents&Sensibility with J. Bryant Steele

T

he Constitution of the United States is a masterpiece. James Madison and his pals were visionaries. But even the most radical Founding Fathers, like John Adams, didn’t envision that they were laying the foundation for women and descendants of black slaves to become their legal equals someday. I think they must have had at least a gnawing notion that a basic phrase like “freedom of religion” would set the stage for populism run amok. All they had to do was look around: A number of those who came to these shores fleeing religious persecution were, once established, pioneering a new persecution, conceived in hellfire and brimstone and convinced of self-righteousness. It lives with us 224 years later. It seems like only yesterday – certainly within my lifetime – that, if you were just minding your own business and someone tapped you on the shoulder to ask if you supported religious freedom, you would have just nodded and said, “Absolutely.” All Americans – and 80 percent of the world – support religious freedom. There is, of course, that mention of it in the First Amendment, which I and maybe you memorized in the seventh grade. It harmonized with the anti-tyranny pitch in the shaping of the first democracy. But sometimes, noddingly agreeable shorthand makes it easier to divide than to unite. So it was that Georgia lawmakers more than batted their eyelashes at SB 129, the so-called “religious liberty” bill, in this past legislative session. Perhaps the fact that in the waning days


of Georgia’s lawmaking session Indiana and its governor came under national scrutiny and ridicule for similar legislation influenced our own elected representatives to backpedal and not pass the religious liberty bill. (Since then, Arkansas and its governor have, likewise, taken flak over a religious liberty bill.) Let’s be blunt: This is not about religion or freedom and liberty. It is about persecution based on sexual orientation. The people who choose to subscribe to this bill have a strict definition of what is morally acceptable sexual activity, and it is the missionary position between a legally married man and woman. Georgia’s old sodomy law, which was finally struck down several years ago, was also aimed at citizens who are not heterosexual. But under strict interpretation, it would have included certain pleasures between a husband and wife in the privacy of their bedroom. The religious liberty bill, which will almost certainly be resurrected in Atlanta next year, leaves out the privacy of the bedroom – I guess that’s a small step toward progress – but it gives legal protection to marketplace discrimination based on religious beliefs or, more accurately, phobia-fueled bias. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal cannot seek another term, yet nonetheless has tried to waddle a vague middle ground, giving a nod toward SB 129 but expressing concern about backlash from potential corporate expansions or relocations (like Volvo, to cite a player currently in the mix). SB 129 is prejudice. And corporations have learned, often the hard way on previous issues like race and gender, that prejudice is bad for business. No surprise there – poll after poll shows that heterosexual Americans are increasingly tolerant toward gays and lesbians and supportive of same-sex unions. So it has come to this: The moral high ground has been seized from those who cry for righteousness by pragmatists, whose first allegiance is to the bottom line. James Madison might delight in the irony.

Biz Bits

For most of my life in Georgia, you couldn’t buy firecrackers because they weren’t safe. But you could buy sparklers because they were non-explosive. Yet as a child, I wound up in an emergency room with third-degree burns because of a sparkler. The bigger reason, though, was that there was no such thing as flame-retardant clothing. From a little spark from my little brother’s sparkler, my shirt lit up like pine straw in a drought. I still remember the pain and panic of being on fire.

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Now there is a push to make fireworks legal in Georgia. The ban hasn’t stopped people from driving across state lines to purchase fireworks, so why not keep an economic playing card, even a low-volume one, at home? It wasn’t big-bang firecrackers that burned me as a child. And no ban would have saved me. You might as well ban candles. An ideal solution would have been flame-retardant clothing, which was mandated for infants and children by the time I became a father. A textbook example, I think, of how bans and knee-jerk reactions aren’t usually the ideal resolution. The answer might just be in the proverbial Big Picture. The Atlanta Falcons have been punished by the National Football League for piping in fake crowd noise at their home games. The team must pay a $350,000 fine. Memo to the NFL: Owner Arthur Blank has that much in lost change under his sofa cushions. Also, Team President Rich McKay has been suspended from the league’s competition committee. How that punishes the Falcons is unclear. And last, the Falcons lost a fifth-round draft pick. Quick: Name the last fifth-round draft pick who changed a football team’s fortunes, other than the anomaly that is Tom Brady. For all the hue and cry and headlines, it seems the NFL looks at fake crowd noise as mere hijinks, not to be punished severely.

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The subject line in an online news service warned: “Study: Americans Crave Sleep More than Sex.” I read on to find a serious article on the detrimental health effects of not getting enough sleep. The sex part came later in the story. It seems some people, and not just the passive partner, actually fall asleep during sex due to sleep deprivation. Well, maybe its nature’s way of selective reproduction. Speaking of such … we will breathlessly await details from a lawsuit against a Georgia sperm bank. A Canadian couple is suing Xytex Corp. of Augusta, alleging the company falsified the credentials of their sperm donor, hid his criminal past and his mental illness, and touched up his photo. Xytex denies it all. Let’s hope this is one of those cases that isn’t settled out of court and hushed up. There are too many important issues – and potential punch lines – at stake.

J. Bryant Steele has won awards for business writing, feature writing and opinion columns, and is based in Rome. v3 magazine 17


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Carryhome me With a $5,000 start, the Henderson Family has built a service that has proven priceless in often very trying times. TEXT IAN GRIFFIN PHOTOS DEREK BELL

W

ith $5,000 in his pocket and zero experience in the funeral business, Paul Henderson took a leap of faith that now spans three generations. In 1961, Paul took his savings and bought into Landers-Frazier Funeral Home in South Lindale, creating Henderson & Frazier Funeral Home and the culture of caring that is carried on by his children and grandchildren to this very day. By the mid-80s, Paul’s son, Barry, had joined his father, and Henderson & Sons was born. Now, with 54 years of service to Rome and Floyd County under its belt, it seems that a Henderson will always be there for the Enchanted Land’s citizens in their time of need. When Barry made the decision to join the family business, he jumped in with both feet, dedicating himself to a calling that is now echoed by his two sons, Garrett and Wesley. He was so dedicated, in fact, that he dropped to one

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knee and proposed to his wife, Nancy, at the funeral home. “I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Nancy and I knew my life’s work was going to be in the funeral industry,” says Barry, who serves as president and CEO. “That meant we would spend more time at the funeral home than our own home, so I felt it was appropriate and honest for me to ask for her hand in marriage in a place where I would invest so much of my time. Some might call it a creepy proposal, but she said yes anyway.” After Nancy said, “I do,” the foundation of Henderson & Sons’ future was set. She stayed at home while Barry worked in order to tend to the needs of their children. Both Garrett and Wesley excelled in school academically, athletically and artistically, but only time would tell if the boys would seek a different path than the one their father on earth and their father in heaven had laid before them.


“If there was going to be a son that followed in dad’s footsteps, it was going to be me,” says Garrett. “I’m just like my dad and remember my teachers telling me that when I was in school. They knew I would carry on the family business before I did, but I realized that this was my calling at an early age. And when God speaks to us, it’s our job to listen.” Eventually, Wesley would also find his way back to Rome and to the familiar confines of Henderson & Sons. “It all started when Wesley changed his major to psychology,” says Barry. “He wanted to help people and that change in direction made that apparent. What he realized during that process was that the funeral business offered him the opportunity to impact lives every day. That realization was a huge gain for our business, but most importantly our family.” Once Wesley joined the team, the core four of the Henderson family were now entrenched in the business, with both sons serving as apprentice funeral directors and Nancy filling the role of secretary and treasurer. While the boys’ titles are the same, their roles are very different. Garrett’s focus is on the “at need” side, where he addresses the immediate needs of the deceased’s family, while Wesley concentrates on after care, helping to facilitate counseling and provide resources that will help the family move forward. This attention to the specific stages of the grieving process gives clients the attention they deserve throughout the entire experience, which is a point of pride for the entire staff of Henderson & Sons. And with a burial site as scenic as Rome Memorial Park available, Henderson & Sons is truly a full-service experience.

“This business is now three generations strong,” says Barry. “We all grew up here and have been impacted by the people in this community. At some point, they are going to lose a loved one and it is our job to care for them during this devastating time in their lives. We invest ourselves into each and every person that needs our services, and the relationships we gain from these times are bonds that can’t be broken.” It is during Wesley’s after care program that clients begin to realize and appreciate the bond that has been formed with the Hendersons, and it’s easy to see why based on the amount of time they spend with each family they serve. After care begins with an introduction to the after-care minister and includes visitation and counseling via letter, phone calls and visits; assistance with

the filing of insurance claims and VA benefits; and the creation of special remembrances such as memorial DVDs, portraits and much more. “There is only one sure thing everyone needs after experiencing heartbreak and loss like our families do, and that’s love,” says Wesley. “People ask us all the time how we deal with all of the sadness that comes with death and, to be honest, it all goes back to our faith in the Lord. He has led us to this profession. Keeping families first is what we do here and as long as we focus on taking good care of each and every person that walks through our doors, everything else will fall into place.” Barry adds, “There are certainly times that we get overcome with grief, too. Sometimes we cry with families; sometimes we make it

Garrett Henderson, Wesley Henderson

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through the services or consultation and break down once the family has gone. Some things are just devastating and we wouldn’t be doing our job if we weren’t emotionally invested in people we serve. At the end of the day, however, we believe, as Christians, that we have a better place to go when we leave this earth, and that gives us all the strength we need to be strong for the families we serve.” Henderson & Sons also offers consultation and assistance to those who wish to plan ahead. A growing number of people are pre-planning their funeral arrangements, making the difficult decisions ahead of time in order to ease the stress on their loved ones at the time of their passing. “When families are coping with loss, many of them want to know how they can protect their families and make the process easier for everyone involved,” says Wesley. “We accomplish that through pre-planning, and lifting the burden of decision making from your loved ones at such a difficult time is a gift more and more people are wanting to give. Most parents would never let their children order for them at a restaurant, so why would you let them plan something as important as your funeral.” Barry has seen the value of pre-planning time and time again. “The mother of a dear friend of mine, who is a professor at Shorter University, pre-planned her funeral about two years before she passed,” he recalls. “She covered every detail and prepaid as well. I will never forget arriving at the church for his initial viewing of his mother. He walked up to me afterward and said that it was the greatest thing his mother could have ever done for him. He was allowed to focus on the celebration of her life and say his final goodbyes

Barry, Nancy, Wesley, Garrett

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without the pressure of crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s required by those who aren’t gifted with pre-planning.” While the benefits of pre-planning a funeral seem obvious once presented, it still isn’t the norm. But the attention to detail and full-service offerings at Henderson & Sons create an environment where making the many decisions that come with a funeral service easier to handle. They offer traditional and non-traditional services at their North or South Chapels in Rome and can easily accommodate off-site requests. With the only crematorium in Floyd County under their operation, clients can rest easy knowing that those who prefer to be cremated will be exclusively cared for by the staff at Henderson & Sons. “We have embraced cremation,” says Wesley. “Statistics show that half of America will choose cremation by 2017. We watched as funeral homes in the area sent loved ones as far as Chatsworth and Atlanta to receive those services. The need


We believe an auction isn’t a success if the buyer and seller don’t walk away with a smile on their face, and that’s what we strive to provide at each and every one of our auctions.

“ People ask us all the time how we deal

with all of the sadness that comes with death and, to be honest, it all goes back to our faith in the Lord. He has led us to this profession. Keeping families first is what we do here and as long as we focus on

TAKING GOOD CARE OF EACH AND EVERY PERSON THAT WALKS THROUGH OUR DOORS, everything else will fall into place. ”

was there and we wanted to address that, so in 2013 we began operating our crematorium in our North Chapel. We offer a great line of products for the remains, like jewelry, artwork and urns, just to name a few. “We are here to adhere to the wishes of the

families we serve and we find a way to work with any budget to achieve a memorial they can be proud of,” he continues. “The funeral business is not a job; it’s a lifestyle. We are on call 24/7. Weekends, holidays and in the middle of the night, we are always here to serve, and that is

something you have to embrace to be successful in this industry.” With four licensed funeral directors/embalmers and four licensed apprentices, the staff of Henderson & Sons is well equipped to handle any situation. “We have an outstanding team here,” says Barry. “From our custodians to our directors, we couldn’t ask to work with better people. Our 99 percent satisfaction rate is a direct result of their hard work and dedication.” So more than 50 years later, Paul Henderson can be proud that his $5,000 investment in 1961 has lived on in his memory thanks to a foundation that was built even stronger by his son and grandsons. “We have watched corporate entities buy out family-owned funeral homes time after time and had offers given to us many times over the years,” says Barry. “At the end of the day, we are following God’s calling and until he redirects our path, this is what we are going to do.” V  VV

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Alice Towe


Never mind what is falling down the rabbit hole. Soon, plants of every size, shape and color will rise from the dirt to adorn the gardens at the base of our historic Clocktower. T E X T E R I N D E M E S Q U I TA PHOTOS DEREK BELL

T

he showers have arrived. A springsoaked mist rests in the air and alluring green sprouts from soft terrain, blandishing brilliant flowerets from the comfort of delicate husks and setting the season ablaze with color so radiant, eyes can’t help but feast. We are a fortunate lot to live in an area where we needn’t go far to experience beauty in its most organic design. It’s no secret that the City of Rome takes an abundance of pride in the preservation and beautification of our natural and historical landscape. This spring, a floricultural renovation has been installed in the heart of downtown Rome, embracing our beloved Clocktower, paying homage to historic Bailey Park, shrouding Neely Hill in a horticultural bounty of appreciation. This springtide tribute spawned from a partnership between the City of Rome, Keep

Rome-Floyd Beautiful (KRFB) and the horticulture department at Georgia Northwestern Technical College that began this time last year. On the search for someone to beautify the grounds at Clocktower Hill, KRFB Director Mary Hardin Thornton reached out to her friend Shannen Ferry, director of horticulture at GNTC, who had just the right person in mind, 29-year-old horticulture student Alice Towe. On April 30, the renovation began and a landscape design, planned and created by Towe, was set into the soil of Clocktower Hill with the helping hands of her fellow students, friends, family and volunteers. Towe approached this project armed not only with knowledge and experience, but with a whole lot of heart. After all, this is not just any space. She knows as well as we that Clocktower Hill is a largely venerated, highly cherished landmark for Romans – portrayed with admiration

in paintings, on postcards and even in pendants of locally-crafted jewelry. “I took hundreds of pictures and tried to figure out what I wanted there, what kind of design needed to be there for the Clocktower,” smiles Towe, whose design was inspired by history and community. “I was thinking of the Clocktower and its historic meaning. It was built right after the Civil War, and we really needed water works in this town. It was even a political issue for a while because it was so expensive, but I think it’s a symbol of hope for the city.” For Towe and Romans alike, the structure on the hill stands today as a beacon of ambition and progression, reminding our fair city that even in turbulent times, and slight opposition, we can and will prevail in the name of prosperity. What better way to honor such a symbol than to allure wide eyes and open hearts to engage in its rich history and lustrous exhibition.

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Towe wants visitors of Clocktower Hill to really absorb and become interested in the beauty and function of the grounds, which is why she planned her landscape design with the community in mind. She wanted something educational, something to liven the senses. So the grounds now include an educational/edible garden that Towe nicknames a “tea garden” for the number of herbs it encompasses – catnip, lemon balm, spearmint, feverfew and hyssop, to name a few. “I call it educational, too, because we have plaques along with the different plants that show what the plant is and how you can use it,” she explains. “I also wanted to show that Rome is

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“ I also wanted to show that Rome is in the

know about some of the plants that are new to the horticulture industry, so I brought in

NEWER PLANTS THAT PEOPLE HAVEN’T SEEN BEFORE ”

in the know about some of the plants that are new to the horticulture industry, so I brought in newer plants that people haven’t seen before.” In the crisp air of our coming winter, and on to early spring, a bundled visit to the Clock-

tower will reveal the creamy-white clustered blooms of the exceptional, ‘Snow Fever’ Lenten rose, one of the new plants in the renovation. The wide oval leaves, dark green and speckled white (variegated), create a bit of a frosted look


and will remain an optic contrast in the garden year round. “You don’t see a lot of Lenten roses with variegated leaves,” Towe says. “It’s really beautiful and really striking.” Pulling into the parking lot at Bailey Park, Towe has arranged for four seasons of color to greet visitors, including red twig dogwoods, which offer white spring blossoms, bright green leaves in summer and fire-red spindles in winter. In addition, Clocktower Hill now holds in its earthen grasp the light, feathery foliage of ‘Soft Caress’ mahonia, a uniquely textured evergreen, showcasing sprigs of vibrant yellow flowers atop the deep green leaves. Towe’s original landscape design for Rome’s revered landmark on the hill was drawn entirely by hand. “This includes going out and measuring the beds and researching which plants to go where based on sun and water requirements,” she explains. “And this was a full semester before I ever took landscape design. I read the textbook and taught myself.” Hard work, passion and respect have permeated every phase of this project; this partnership. “Alice has been a great person to work with and has taken a lot of responsibility,” Thornton says. “She goes up there and weeds in her spare time and really seems to care about this as a project and as a career path.” Brick by brick, Towe, the 2015 GNTC GOAL Award winner, is building on that path. She has presented her landscape renovation for Clocktower Hill, along with its purpose and its impact, to the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). Now she awaits word from the

TCSG on whether or not her proposal, “Green Thumbs Re-gain Grounds at Historic Heart of Rome,” will be included in the 2015 World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Atlanta this November. With the glory of graduation this month comes the time for Towe’s GNTC horticulture counterparts to inherit the maintenance of her vision. Of course, she will, no doubt, be seen on the hill from time to time, pulling weeds and visiting plants. It is with the help of these counterparts that steps were installed last fall, where a worn muddy path once traveled up the south side of the hill. The steps offer accessibility and a less-harmful alternative to tearing grass and wearing terrain. Inching our way through the foliage of the GNTC greenhouse, Towe’s expertise and enthusiasm is evident in her informative words and her nurturing aura with the plants. Delicately rubbing the leaves, transferring scents to the fingertips, she engulfs the senses and translates the value of each herb and plant, explaining their healing characteristics, edible options and daily uses. It seems that the landscape of our lovely landmark is in good hands alongside her green thumb. Before the suns of a blazing summer send you sprinting to the shores of the nearest body of water, take a little time to stroll along the brick-inlaid pathways encircling this century-old stronghold of hope. Do a little daytime plaque reading in the educational garden; rub the leaves and awaken the senses. Share a picnic lunch with the lustrous green and cloud gaze with the roses, canna lilies and coreopsis. Pay a little homage to the alabaster memorial of Bailey Park,

where 19th century public school buildings once stood. Soak in the skyline of a city where pride, preservation, and progression reign, and take a moment to appreciate it all. V  VV

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A

s “good ole boys” reclaimed their financial stability, city dwellers stopped having to camp in front of soup kitchens, and our nation staggered forward through war and prosperity, in tumbleweed country, a seminary student dreamed small. In Gainesville, Texas, the 30-year-old Jim Rayburn only planned to revitalize a local parish’s children’s ministry. His unconventional strategy exchanged formality in favor of authenticity. Believing that ministry should bore no one, Rayburn utilized music, skits and simple sermons to arouse the local youth. He avoided the confines of a church structure, preferring to engage the often-disinterested students in a neutral environment, the home. This alternative approach expanded the possibilities for Rayburn’s ministry. As attendance at the gatherings swelled, the once-small dream began to blossom into what is now a worldwide passion, Young Life. Seventy years have passed, and deep roots now exist where only a seed was before. There is still music, and volunteers still don costumes and perform skits to entertain and inform high school students about a life worth living. However, instead of home meetings with the kids from down the street, in Floyd County alone, over 300 students attend a Young Life meeting each year. The vision is simple – to give young people a reason to rejoice, to help them affirm their worth, and to host a party with a purpose.

Tamra Roland, Dave Mahon, Derek Hay

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Over a cup of coffee in her pottery studio filled with sunlight and afternoon conversations, Cabell Sweeny crafts a story of ministry, of community, and of love. “It takes a village to care for the high school kids of this community,” says Sweeny, an active member of the local Young Life branch in Floyd County. Sweeny has been connected with the organization since her own high school years and volunteered as a leader in the Athens area while attending the University of Georgia. “I became involved in Young Life when I was 16 years old, and even though on the outside you would think that I had it all together, my home life was hard and high school was hard,” she explains. As she began regularly attending Young Life, her passion for the organization grew. “For me, it was this place I could go and live life wide open,” she continues. “It was an adventure I had never been part of before, and it offered me life and adventure in a way that

“ It was an adventure I

had never been part of before, and it

OFFERED ME LIFE AND ADVENTURE

in a way that didn’t come with regret or scars ”

didn’t come with regret or scars.” Dave Mahon, director of Young Life in Rome, adds, “Our style is pretty slow, very relational, and we strive to be very respectful of the dignity of each kid. We will spend a lot of time to earn the right to be heard by them.” Similar to Sweeny, Mahon participated in Young Life throughout high school before


attending the University of Georgia and serving as a volunteer leader in the local school systems. After graduation, he joined the organization’s full-time staff in Thomasville, Ga. The ministry is international, reaching 2 million kids annually in all 50 states and in 94 countries, with directors just like Mahon from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to Moscow, Russia. So, just how did Young Life find a home in Rome, Ga.? “Families banded together, who had known

and been impacted by Young Life, and decided to bring the organization here,” Mahon explains. “And that’s how it comes to any new area. We get invited by people who live and work in the community.” Floyd County Young Life currently serves Rome, Darlington, Model and Armuchee high schools, relying on the generosity of college students from Berry College and Shorter University who invest 10 to 15 hours volunteering each week. They show up at school plays, help

with athletic practices and find other creative ways to connect with high school students. “Some might say we are wasting our time playing Xbox and pick-up basketball games, but we really value being friends with them,” Mahon says. “Sometimes you’ll know a kid for two years before they come to any Young Life events, but we are okay with that and we actually like it. As a Young Life volunteer, we get to dream, ‘What adventure could I go have with a high school kid?’”

At Model High School, Berry College senior Olivia Donnelly volunteers with the track team, using that as an avenue for building relationships and, ultimately, for earning the right to be heard. “Young Life has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in college, just because it is something so much bigger than yourself,” says the Young Life volunteer leader. Unlike Sweeny and Mahon, her involvement with the organization did not begin until her sophomore year of college, but it was Mahon’s passion for the ministry that captured her heart. “I met Dave Mahon and thought he was the coolest man to ever bless the earth,” Donnelly recalls. She describes her development as a Young Life leader as challenging and life shaping. “I think you think you’re going to walk into a high school and instantly have 50 best friends, and you’re going to be that cool person that they all want to hang out with, but it’s not like that at all,” she says. Because the ministry’s focus is relationships with high school kids, Donnelly pursued opportunities to interact with students, but initially struggled to cultivate meaningful connections. “The first few months of being a Young Life leader, I cried more than I smiled,” she says. “I could not make friends easily. All the insecurities that you have in high school just come flooding back” So Donnelly, who ran track in high school, boldly approached the track coach to see if she

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could help with practices. “I discovered that if I am kind of good at something, they will listen, and once they listen to you about one thing, they are willing to talk to you about other things,” she says. “Eventually you become friends.” Initially, the student-athletes did not appreciate Donnelly’s instruction, such as her insistence that they “count their steps.” However, her strategy soon resulted in significant time reductions, and as they improved their overall

speed and won more races, she won their hearts. Mahon would like to see Floyd County Young Life expand to other local schools in the upcoming years. “It’s great that we have been able to get to four high schools so quickly, but we want to be there for every kid in the county,” he said. “So Pepperell and Coosa are what’s next. We want to be there soon.” Because the organization depends on the generosity of local families, the willingness of

college students, and the welcome of school administrators, the mission of reaching every student is a gradual endeavor, but worthwhile in the opinion of the volunteers. “I think the thing that I wanted the most in high school was to have a friend older than me who wasn’t an adult – someone who could just be there for the stupid decisions,” explains Donnelly. “And I thought, I could be that person. I could make a difference.” Sweeny adds, “We say that our desire is to reach every kid, and that every kid would know that they are unique and special and chosen, and that we would be the people who step outside of their high school value system to show them that every life is valuable.” This passion propels Young Life as they minister to the youth of Floyd County. Using the “it takes a village” philosophy, the supporters and volunteers are partnering with others in our community to raise up the next generation. Whether it be through morning meetings with chicken biscuits, afternoon coffee runs, or evenings at high school events, Young Life leaders invest hours because their sacrifice of time leads to life-changing friendships.

To learn more about the ministry and how to participate, visit FloydCounty. YoungLife.org. 38

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Gordon Hospital was honored with an “A” grade in the Hospital Safety Score, which rates how well hospitals protect patients from errors, injuries, and infections. The Hospital Safety Score is compiled under the guidance of the nation’s leading experts on patient safety and is administered by The Leapfrog Group (Leapfrog), an independent industry watchdog. More than 2,500 U.S. general hospitals were assigned scores in the latest ratings with about 31-percent receiving an “A” grade. We are proud to be part of this 31-percent and of the work that our physicians and staff do daily for our patients and their families.

A Fall 2014

HOSPITAL SAFETY SCORE SM

www.gordonhospital.com


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Grab your cast net and buckle up, because hitting the water with these gentlemen will surely end in one heck of a fight.

T

ufts of smoke escape the cigarette that hangs slanted from Jedd Lovel’s lips as he relieves a wide, round hook from the defeated mouth of a small-scale catfish. ”That’s eatin’ size right there,” he smiles. This particular trip, the bow of Lovel’s camouflaged boat cut through the lazy morning fog still hovering above the murky green, but dusk is when the Coosa River Chumbags usually break water. A group of friends who live on and take pride in the rivers of Rome, the Chumbags approach the waters with unbridled banter, true sailor-style vernacular, and a hell of a love for the catch. Lovel (Capt. Quest), Zack Williams (Capt. Chumbag), Anthony Johnson (First Mate Cutbait), Miles Threadgill (Threadfin), Sarah McAbee, Luke Allmon (Deckhand Luke) and Evan Mather make up the current crew. Any chance they get, they ride the waters and wrestle the fish for the thrill of it – all willing to get wet, get dirty, and receive high levels of mockery. For some, like 18-year-old, Threadgill, and 31-year-old Williams, fishing has been a way of life since childhood. “I don’t remember when I didn’t fish,” Wil-

liams says. “My dad and my great-grandmother used to take me every weekend; I would trade bass lures with my little cousin instead of baseball cards.” It comes as no surprise that, for Williams, the boat came before the car. When the thirst for bigger fish washed over him, Williams ventured down the rivers on his own accord, reading about the catch, researching the banks and literally testing the waters to find out how to catch one of those “Volkswagen-sized” catfish he heard so many stories about. “I’ve got stacks of books from just trying to figure out how to get to ’em, how to meet one of ’em, you know,” he grins. “I wanted to hold one of ’em.” Through work at Harvest Moon in downtown Rome, Williams and Johnson connected five years back, each wanting to introduce the other to their catch of choice – the former fancying catfishing and the latter, a bass fisherman. The first time they hit the river together, not 20 minutes passed before they’d wrestled and caught a big, slimy 40-pound catfish. “Before I met Zack, I never knew that a

T E X T E R I N D E M E S Q U I TA PHOTOS DEREK BELL AND CAMERON FLAISCH

catfish that big existed,” Johnson says. He was hooked and so began his shift from avid bass fisherman to hunter of monsters. Lovel was reeled in on the hunt shortly after and, together, these three Chumbags have run the waters of the Coosa ever since. Weaving through the channel markers of Brushy Branch at 9 a.m., Lovel and Threadgill are tossing their cast net, hunting for bait, preferably shad (small fish in the herring family). “When it’s hot outside, you’ll see ’em flipping on top of the water,” Lovel says, gesturing toward the river. “A lot of it’s just looking out for ’em and trying to anticipate their next move. We might throw this thing in the water 30 times and get three fish. The bait is everything. Big bait, big fish.” While he attests to using everything from shad to skipjack to chicken liver, he usually sticks to what the fish know and want. “I personally like to use what they eat every day,” he says. And in the waters of the Coosa, the shad run rampant; the perfect grub for what Lovel likes to call “big ol’ nasty catfish.” The Chumbags get their kicks from catching flathead catfish, gar and striped bass (stripers).

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Armed with ‘no roll’ weights, three-way swivels, 30-pound braided line, round hooks, and a cast net, they board their boats for river monster battles that last from the bottom of the river to the hull of the boat. For these guys, it’s all about the pursuit. “You can catch a big bass and it’ll put up a really good fight. But, when you catch a 40-pound catfish, you can feel it on the bottom shaking its head and running you under the boat. You’re fighting it!” Johnson exclaims. The fight becomes a contest of strength, a give and take between man and monstrosity. “They’re gonna pull, you’re gonna reel and pull back slowly … then reel on your way down and pull back,” Lovel says. “That’s how I do it. Let ’em wear themselves out; don’t get in a hurry.” The gar, however, challenge the Chumbags to an egregious, aquatic game of cat and mouse. “If you target gar, you’re not going to be sitting on anchor, throwing a rod out and waiting. You’re going to be standing at the front of the boat, going in circles, looking for ’em,” Williams explains. “Instead of waiting on the fish to come to you, you’re actively hunting these.” For gar, the Chumbags make their own rope lures, braided and frayed to catch and tangle in the primitive fish’s sharp teeth. An encounter between Johnson and a threeand-a-half-foot-long gar nearly gave Lovel his

first overboard experience. After the fight, Johnson grasped his prized catch with gloved hands and posed for a picture. “I snapped the picture,” Lovel recalls. “... and right after that moment, that gar jumped

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and when it twisted, it went with some fury. It landed just inches from my bare feet.” Given the jagged, armored, plate-like scales of the gar, from which the guys have gotten many a gash, Williams relates a loose gar to dropping a saw in the middle of the boat. Meanwhile, Lovel’s failed attempt to take refuge up on the seat of the boat sent him falling toward the waters from which they retrieved the monster – saved in the last second by Johnson grabbing the back of his britches. That day, the guys quickly learned that gar won’t stick around for the photo op. The guys admit there’s no secret to making that big catch and it’s really just trial and error.


“You can catch a big

bass and it’ll put up a really good fight. But, when you catch a 40-pound catfish, you can feel it on the bottom

SHAKING ITS HEAD AND RUNNING YOU UNDER THE BOAT. You’re fighting it! ” “Fish move; they don’t stay in one spot forever,” Lovel says. “So, if you’ve had good luck in one place one day, there’s absolutely no guarantee that you’ll catch another one there.” What they do know is that they have the best luck during the magic hour – one hour after daylight and one hour before dark. You may catch the Chumbags roaming Brushy Branch in the early morning or scouring the channel of the Coosa in the evening, and almost every year they’re out at Brushy for the Coosa River Catfish Tournament. On April 26, the Chumbags hit this year’s catfish tourney with a centrifugal force split between two vessels. In one boat, Lovel, Threadgill and Mathers proudly took fourth place, and in the other, Williams, Johnson and Allmon left the Coosa with the gold, their catch clocking in at just under 30 pounds. All of the Chumbags have their reasons for rolling on the river and reeling in the big ones. “It’s my therapy,” Johnson says. “Some of the best views of Rome are on the river.” Lovel recalls a 4th of July on the river, four poles in the water, watching the sparkle and glow of the fireworks under the black night sky. “It teaches me patience,” he says.

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Family is important to the Chumbags; they see each other through the good and the bad. When Johnson lost his home and his boat in a tragic fire, he was met with complete support and compassion from his fishing community. Threadgill reached out to Johnson and offered some of his own fishing equipment (the Chumbags’ first encounter with Jr.) and Lovel supplied his buddy with a new rod and reel and some tackle. In the time these guys have been hunting river monsters together, they have definitely racked up their share of stories; learning the hard way is a common theme. Straight from the Chumbags, a few dos and don’ts: good fisherman’s etiquette says that if you see somebody’s fishing

They all agree that being on the water is better than a lazy day in front of the TV; they’re in it for the big fish, the peace and the pursuit. “It’s quality over quantity,” Johnson says. “I will sit all day on the bank, staring up at four fishing poles not moving, to wait for that one big fish.” And sometimes they don’t catch anything – enjoying every minute of it, just hanging out with friends on the river.

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“We tend not to go without each other,” Williams says. “If we go fishing, we’re gonna call the other ones and at least offer because nobody likes to be left on the bank.” In fact, the Chumbags added their newest family member in October last year when Williams and McAbee welcomed their baby girl, Amelia. There is no doubt that this little girl will be out on the water alongside her parents very soon.


Coosa Valley Home Health Care, an Amedisys company, is in the business of helping our patients maintain and improve their quality of life-at home. Home is the place where family, friends and familiar surroundings make patients feel most comfortable - and recover faster. With more than two decades of experience in the health care industry, we understand the importance of delivering high-quality services to patients in their homes. Choose Coosa Valley for all your home care needs. jug bobbing against the bank, don’t ever, ever mess with it. If you do mess with it, be prepared with an EpiPen because karma is going to run you straight into a nest full of wasps (take this as literally as you like). If you decide to floor it up a river you don’t usually run, do stay in the river’s channel. And if your buddy is driving his boat and hits a concrete block at 45 miles per hour, do laugh at your own risk. Forthright, yet warm, Williams adds, “I’d much rather be on the boat with these knuckleheads, not catching fish, than be sitting at home.” For updates and pictures of “big ol’ nasty” river monsters and Chumbag shenanigans, visit facebook.com/coosariverchumbags.VVV

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The Dish 100 Covered Bridge Road Euharlee, GA

PH: 700-383-3383 www.johnnymitchells.com Open everyday from 11am-9pm Johnny Mitchell’s has hand-cut steaks, fesh seafood selections and authentic barbecue slow-smoked over cherry and hickory wood. Come experience the fusion of Southern hospitality and fine dining.

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WOW strives to serve the highest quality of food with the freshest ingredients. You will leave saying “WOW! What a Place!” Famous for: Wings and over 17 signature sauces to choose from!

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300 Broad Street Rome, GA 30161

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Schroeder’s menu includes sandwiches, calzones, soups, salads, potato skins, nachos, wings, and more. And don’t forget our pizza!

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www.lascalaromega.com 413 Broad Street Rome, GA 30161

PH: 706-238-9000 Hours: Mon - Sat: 6:00pm-10:00pm 400 Block Bar & Lounge: 4:00pm-1:30am Live music each weekend.

La Scala offers both first-rate service and terrific Italian Cuisine in an upscale casual atmosphere. 50% off cafe menu from 4:00-6:00 p.m.

3401 Martha Berry Hwy Rome, GA 30165

PH: 706-291-1881 Hours: Sun -Thu: 11:00am-10:00pm

Fri - Sat: 11:00am-11:00pm Dine in, Take out, or delivery... Authentic Italian is what we do! We have enjoyed great success by providing our guests with a casual, friendly atmosphere and excellent service. In addition to the healthy portions of our food, you will see our entrees range from homemade sandwiches, pizzas and calzones to pastas, chicken, veal and seafood dishes. www.romamiagrill.com

Make it a meal worth remembering. Where to eat in Northwest Georgia. v3 magazine 47


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V3 May 2015  

V3 May 2015