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Northwest Georgia’s Premier Feature Reader / September 2012


Hot on the Trail

According to alternative transportation activists like Trey Smith, owner of downtown Romeʼs


Therapy the Road to the future is a bit narrower than you might have expected




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vini vidi vici / v3 magazine

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Features+Faces 16 Blu is the New Black Stella Blu upgrades your game-face, minus the horror of metro traffic

22 Born on the Bayou

If it’s good enough for Gump, it’s good enough for Curlee’s Fish House & Oyster Bar

30 Happier Trails

Cycle Therapy and fellow trail enthusiasts make their case for a more bipedal Rome-Floyd

38 A Legacy of Their Own

How the Sklars & Crandall Allmon made “changing” an off-Horseleg gem feel a lot like home

47 Facetime vs. Facebook

Get up, get out and get something with the gogetters at Network Day Service Center

Columns+Opinions 20 Cents+Sensibility

Augusta National joins the 21st century with a nod to Condie Rice

36 Trends+Traditions

Pro planner Holly Lynch offers some last-days-of-summer “staycation” ideas

53 Take on Health

Dr. Todd Kelley wards off despair with some childhood obesity prevention tips

When it comes to the hottest new lines and products for Fall 2012, Stella Blu licensed esthetician/ veteran makeup artist/partner

Vannah Kitchens



knows just the thing for your unique complexion.


he 2012-13 school year is back in full swing, and now that September is here, many local parents have settled into their school-day routines well enough to shave that morning caffeine injection to just one cup of joe, down from the triple-shot needed to make it through those first few weeks. Although it’s hard to believe, I had the pleasure/heartbreak of watching my children trot off to middle school and kindergarten this August, which really did a number this time on the telepatchic-like parental psyche I share with my wife. I mean, wow. No, really. Wooooow. Crazy to think that by the end of this year, my son will be reading Dr. Seuss to me, and my daughter will most likely have developed a full-on case of boy fever. (I say again, wow.) But while I still enjoy a well-voiced reading of Green Eggs & Ham as much as any 32-year-old, I can’t quite decide how to approach the dreaded “Age of Boyfriends” in the Griffin household. Don’t forget: I am a man. And not one so far removed from the hormone-driven days of my adolescence that any little Jonas Brother who trots into my home should be mistaken: I am not a man to be toyed with. To be quite honest, I don’t care if the kid is a perfect gentleman with a straight-A report card and shows up wearing a Boy Scouts uniform with every last merit badge, when it comes to dating my Marley, everyone with a wee-wee is an enemy of the state. The sad thing about my worry over this matter is that my daughter will be mortified to learn I’m writing this. Mostly because she claims to have Managing Partner/ no interest in boys at this juncture, and now she'll Chief of Advertising probably be afraid to bring them home when she does

Ian Griffin

publishers’ note

date. My reply to this? FANTASTIC! I hope my concerns regarding all future gentleman callers will instill a strong sense of self-respect in her, and, facilitated by my running interference, the bad apples will be weeded out before they make it to the front door. All I can do is wait and see if my strategy produces the desired affect. Now, moving beyond my obsession over things I can’t control, allow me to say that I’m always extremely pumped this time of year, as fall ushers in a slew of my favorite annual events across the Greater Rome-Floyd area. In the month of September alone, in Creative Partner/ fact, there’s the Rome International Film Festival, the Editor-in-Chief Rome Area Council for the Arts’ Rome Beer Fest, and the Connections Club’s Saturday in the Park. And just to hammer home the point, two of these events actually take place on the same day (Beer Fest and Saturday in the Park, both Sept. 15). Make it a good month. Get out there and mingle. My business partner (the nice gentleman pictured above) and I hope to shake your hand. And for the fathers out there who have little girls approaching the same life changes as my own, you might notice that this issue of V3 can also be rolled up and used as a beatdown stick to ward off any ruffians. It isn’t as intimidating as a shotgun, but it’ll get the message across.

Neal Howard

Ian Griffin, Managing Partner

M AG A Z I N E Northwest Georgia’s Premier Feature Reader / September 2012


Hot Trail

on the According to alternative transportation activists like Trey Smith, owner of downtown Romeʼs




the Road to the future is a bit narrower than you might have expected


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF + PRODUCTION MANAGER + ART&DESIGN neal howard STAFF WRITERS bryant steele, holly lynch, nicole nesmith, luke chaffin, robb raymond III PHOTOGRAPHY derek bell, MFA 706.936.0407 CHIEF OF ADVERTISING + OFFICE MANAGER/SALES DIRECTOR ian griffin AD SALES + CLIENT RELATIONS chris forino, shadae yancey-warren AD DESIGN + CREATIVE ENGINEERING ellie barromeo PUBLISHER v3 publications, llc CONTACT one west fourth avenue, rome, ga 30161 phone: 706.235.0748 email: 8

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Vannah & Emily Kitchens

For the motherdaughter duo behind Rome’s only high-end cosmetics boutique,

Stella Blu


beautifying the women of Northwest Georgia is second nature. After all, they’ve been working both sides of the industry for decades.

Text by Katie Floyd Photos by Derek Bell

Backin Blu

xposed brick and vanity mirrors are the first thing you notice when walking into Stella Blu. Cosmetics are displayed vanity style, and fresh-cut flowers decorate the tables. But this is no ordinary cosmetics store. “We have something for everyone, no matter what the age,” touts owner Emily Kitchens. Emily and her daughter, Vannah, faced quite the undertaking when they decided to purchase Stella Blu from its previous owners. Nestled at 200 Broad Street in downtown Rome, on the corner of Broad and Second Avenue, the store boasts an “Under New Ownership” sign. Since buying the store, the ladies have consistently introduced the hottest top-end cosmetic lines no one else north of Cobb County carries, including Smashbox, Philosophy and O.P.I., just to name a few. Still, this was no easy feat, as the two women had to be thoroughly vetted by each company in order to carry these reputable brands in their store. Other chic brand names available at Stella Blu include Bare Minerals, Jack Black, Xen-Tan, Cargo, Paula Dorf and Murad. The Kitchens girls are also in the process of securing additional—and similarly exclusive—lines by the time the 2012 Christmas shopping season gets underway. “...The one thing that really sets us apart is that we have hard-to-find items that women used to have to go to

Atlanta for,” Emily says. “Dr. Murad won’t even let us carry his products without an esthetician on file, and 85 percent of the time we have a makeup artist in the store.” Perhaps what further sets the store apart, however, is the ladies’ unique backgrounds relative to the beauty industry. Emily

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started in Tupelo, Miss. as owner of a modeling agency. A former model herself, she spent years flying models all over the country; booking clients for magazine and catalog covers like Italian Vogue and JC Penney; and even finding kids work in feature films such as the 1994 Kevin Costner/Elijah Wood hit, The War. It was no surprise, then, that at just 6 years of age Vannah began her own modeling career and, later, competed in pageants. She continues to do makeup for pageants today. Mother and daughter both also serve on the board overseeing the Miss Rome Pageant, and Emily served as executive director for a time before stepping down to commit to Stella Blu. They still help with the Miss Rome Pageant each January, the Coosa Valley Fair Pageant each September, and then go on to help with cosmetic expertise at Miss Georgia each June. And whether or not they have a client competing each January in Las Vegas at the Miss America Pageant, they make the trip each year just to stay in the loop and sharpen their palates. After earning her esthetician license from Atlanta’s International School of Skin Care, followed by a business degree from Georgia Highlands College, Vannah spent the next two years honing her skillset as an esthetician with Barnsley Gardens’ five-star spa. She then worked at Stella Blu for three years under its previous ownership. When the store came up for sale, Emily says, “It just seemed like a perfect match.” Because she is a licensed esthetician and makeup artist, Vannah adds a unique


vini vidi vici / v3 magazine

knowledgeability to Stella Blu that many other retailers of its kind lack. She offers client services (by appointment) for everything from waxing to microdermabrasion to makeup lessons—and all at competitive prices. Vannah’s makeup lessons are as hands-on as they are educational. She does half of a client’s face while explaining to her/him in “how-to” fashion, then has them complete the other half of the face under her guidance. It seems not only can you buy makeup at Stella Blu; you can also learn how to best use it while receive

veteran advice as to what products are specifically right for you. “Vannah spent most of her childhood on a stool watching makeup artists [at my agency],” Emily explains. And so, it comes as no surprise that the young skin-care professional has been acting on a passion for making women feel gorgeous ever since. Unlike any place of its kind you might patronize in a bustling metropolitan area, Stella Blu, being in Rome, is afforded the opportunity to service clients with far greater personal attention. They offer everything from pageant and wedding makeup to cosmetically minded, coming-of-age birthday parties where girls 13-and-under are taught to do their own makeup and receive mini-facials. A subsequent goal, says Stella Blu’s eager new proprietors, is to better find out exactly what their customers want while, simultaneously, offering them the best cosmetic services available in Northwest Georgia. Since the store’s grand re-opening Aug. 4, 2012, the Stella sisters have intensified their campaign to become more visible to customers who’ve been traveling up to 90 minutes out of their way for makeup and skin-care products they didn't know they could buy in town. “There’s something about a little bit of makeup that makes us all feel better,” says Emily. Now Northwest Georgia’s most fashionable know precisely where to turn. VVV

"...The one thing that really sets us apart is that we have hard-tofind items that women used to have to go to Atlanta for." vini vidi vici / v3 magazine


Cents& Sensibility . with J Bryant Steele


here is something positive to be said for drought and unemployment. They gave enduring words, after all, to writers such as John Steinbeck and Woody Guthrie, who poignantly described the frustration of common folk and the frequent failure of politics. But those words are about the extent to which we can reach, because now we have to listen to words from politicians about how the other guy can’t find an answer to our slow economic recovery. You almost expect any day to hear one blame another for the drought, which is driving up your air-conditioning bill, and the outlook for your grocery bill doesn’t look good going into next year. Local growers at farmers’ markets say it’s been tough, and they’re feeling it deeply in the fields and at their produce stands. Yet, people still come out once or twice a week to get fresh produce. Agriculture is not a big factor in Floyd County’s economy, but it is important to the area, especially to the north and west of Rome. “The drought has not really affected us here in our end of the state. It came on early and messed up some of the corn and soybean plantings that I drive by in my meanderings,” says landscaper John Schulz, known to many as John “The Plant Man”. “The big thing for us this time is that we have had no water restrictions. “Four years ago, we had a more severe drought in the Southeast, and there were water restrictions,” Schulz adds. “People had to haul water in from elsewhere to fill their pools. No irrigation, no fountains running, no car washing, etc.” Well, how much better—or less worse— is it in 2012? “It was interesting, in that previous drought, how provisions were made for businesses that were water-related,” Schulz said. “A commercial car wash would be allowed to operate, for instance. Any plant-


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ing jobs that I was working on could be irrigated for six weeks, I think, without restriction, but I had to get certification and permission. I had a friend in the irrigation supply business who went bankrupt. “[That drought] put many nurseries out of business, also,” Schultz said. “Not because the growers could not water, but because the customers were afraid that they wouldn’t be able to water if they bought plants.” There was a small spike in the sale of rain barrels to use for watering plants about four years ago, but like most conservation efforts it was short lived. (We prefer just to turn on a tap.) The economy doldrums as a whole have no end in sight, either. Unemployment is

going down, but not steadily. In the latest figures from the Georgia Department of Labor, the preliminary unemployment rate in Northwest Georgia is back to double digits, 10.1 percent, up from 9.7 percent in June. But at least that’s down from 10.6 percent just a year ago. From another source, the Bureau of Labor Statistics attests that two Georgia metro areas, Dalton and Augusta, led the nation in unemployment from June 2011 to June 2012. Dalton, the self-proclaimed “Carpet Capital of the World”, has been hard hit by the housing bust, and if you’re a fan of trickle-down economics, there’s a perfect example thrown in reverse. Housing slump, carpet manufacturing slump, big layoffs, people not eating out or going to

movies or buying clothes or that new car. There’s a lot to be addressed here. Unfortunately, in this election year, we’re getting short shrift from candidates on specifics. Mr. Steinbeck, Mr. Guthrie, we miss you.


Steele's Biz Bits

’m still waiting for my invitation to become a member at Augusta National. Including me would be groundbreaking for the country club in a number of ways. One, I don’t have a lot of money. Two, I don’t have a lot of influence. Three, I don’t play golf. I am, however, willing to take up wellaged brandy and fine cigars. Imagine the headlines: “Ne’er-do-well first to join Augusta; already owns thrift-store green jacket.” Funny thing is, I had a sort of premonition during the London Olympics that the good-old-boys’ club was about to admit its first woman (women, as it turned out). It happened while reading a reflection in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Billy Payne and his seemingly quixotic quest to bring the 1996 Games to Atlanta. I thought, hey, Billy Payne, now chairman of Augusta National, is the sort of guy who will work

front door of a restaurant and take a table. Other critics have said the two women are just tokens. Duh. The first people to break any sort of social barrier are, by definition, tokens. They’re also the washing out of the tide, so to speak, which occurs just before a tsunami of inevitable, sweeping, glorious change crashes ashore—which is far more important. Changing a hidebound tradition doesn’t happen quickly. Billy Payne is to be applauded—again. Which somehow leads me to the debate over the definition of traditional marriage and the remarks made by Chik-fil-A president, Dan Cathy, as well as how businesses should handle such controversies. The wisdom generally taught by PR consultants—not always followed by businesses and seldom followed by politicians—is to go public, apologize, and explain corrective measures. The other, less-recommended method is to lay

hack brand of science that says women usually don’t get pregnant from rape. Cathy’s conviction involving gay men and women is a product of pure ignorance; Akins’ is as sincere—and devoid of science—as it is sad. Finally, this: Ga. Sen. Dan Balfour, a Republican from Snellville, has been among those who’ve taken an arrogant posture with regard to limiting gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers, even ensuring such proposals would not come up for a vote. Now Balfour, a Waffle House executive, has been fined $5,000 by the Senate Ethics Committee and has to repay about $350 to

It's long overdue that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her fellow, groundbreaking, female inductees should be invited to sip brandy and chief Cubans with the dinosaurs who dole out golf's legendary "Green Jacket", but trust me, allowing yours truly into the world's most change-resistant good-old-boys' club would really obliterate the status quo

Augusta National Could Use a Dude Like Me

quietly behind the scenes, build consensus, and invite women into the club. Just days later, the news came that Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State, and Darla Moore, a South Carolina financier, would join the club. Generally viewed as positive, a handful of critics cried out that the change was too long in coming. Hey, it came at warp speed compared to how long it took before black men or women could walk through the

low and let the storm blow over. But in the case of Chick-fil-A, that appears to be the method they are choosing to follow. (Man, if ever there was a tempest in a teapot...) I have interviewed Dan Cathy a couple of times. Not about gay unions, but about business/philanthropic issues. His comments, as a business leader, were ill advised, but Cathy is not a lunk-head like Todd Akins, the would-be U.S. senator from Missouri, who spoke of “legitimate rape” and some

the state for, to quote the committee report, “failure to maintain accurate records of his travel and (submitting) inaccurate vouchers to the Legislative Fiscal Office.” Balfour, the committee found, billed the state for mileage on trips already funded by lobbyists. Balfour called it an inadvertent mistake. What I call it can’t be printed in a familyfriendly publication. I’ve written before about the need to limit lobbyists’ gifts to legislators, and will again before the General Assembly reconvenes under the Gold Dome in January. For now at least, there’s some solace. Five thousand dollars is not a lot of money under the circumstances, but it’s a start. VVV

J. Bryant Steele is an awardwinning business journalist and feature writer based in Rome. vini vidi vici / v3 magazine


Broad Bayou la

Text by Ian Griffin Photos by Derek Bell


here is something special about the beach. The smell of salt air and sand, palm trees, flip-flops, swim trunks and, most importantly, fresh seafood. Most families have the pleasure of vacationing at the beach, which often makes for special memories that resurrect the carefree feelings that come with time away from everyday life. It is likely there is some favorite restaurant on your favorite beach somewhere, a place where you once shared good food, laughter, and wished upon leaving that you could pack it up in your trunk and transport it back to your hometown. Charles Curlee decided to make that dream a reality for land-locked Romans this July, by opening Curlee’s Fish House & Oyster Bar in downtown Rome.


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The latest addition to Rome’s Broad Street dining scene is still in its infancy, but has already developed a loyal base looking to enjoy a beachside restaurant atmosphere complete with fresh seafood and libations. In fact, it’s difficult to resist the urge to dust the sand from your shoes when walking through the front door; nevermind looking over your shoulder to see if a Jimmy Buffet tribute band is playing in the corner. This well-executed concept, pulled off in a region located several hours from the nearest stretch of coastline, certainly suggests that a business-

savvy person is at the helm, and owner/operator Charles Curlee certainly meets those criteria. “I didn’t start my career in the food and beverage industry,” Curlee explains. “I was originally in retail at the senior management level for a Fortune 500 company. After 12 years, I was asked to move my family and open a new region. My wife and I enjoyed living here and didn’t want to uproot our family, so we invested in the lot by the Rome Braves Stadium before it was constructed and bought into the Fuddruckers franchise. I figured if I could sell auto parts, I could certainly sell food.” For a town the size of Rome, dining options are quite plentiful, but that’s not to say there aren’t some holes in the batting

Finally! (Sigh of relief.) A Rome restaurateur who noted the complete absence of seafood on the downtown dining scene and decided to do something about it. But can the man behind

Curlee始s Fish House & Oyster Bar make a seemingly obvious winner sail for the long haul in a market where the bold are quick to fold?

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order when it comes to variety. This was a major point of focus for Charles and his team of brainstormers as they tried to find the right concept for the Rome market. The only certainty was that they wanted to be a part of the downtown restaurant community, though it didn’t take long to find out what the people here wanted most. “A lot of research went into the decision to open a fish house and oyster bar,” says Curlee. “We tried to find the void in this market, and the answer we landed on through demographics and personal opinions was seafood. It’s not that there weren’t seafood options, but what we provide is the middle ground, where you can come get fresh seafood, steaks, chicken and sides in a casual, laid-back environment. “Our family always vacations in the Seaside/Rosemary Beach area of Florida Highway 30-A, between Destin and Panama City Florida,” Curlee adds. “A lot of our ideas for Curlee’s came from the restaurants we frequented there, simply because that’s what we are familiar with. My wife and sister-in-law were very instrumental in creating the décor…so I would have to give them all the props on that end. We wanted to create the feel of a beachside restaurant

“We choose to go with the oysters out of Bayou La Batre due to the size and flavor. ...We have been very pleased with what we are getting.” that was bright and vibrant, and I think we accomplished that.” With the look and feel of the restaurant having been executed to Curlee’s satisfaction, all that was left to shore up was the most important component of any seafood establishment: the seafood itself. Curlee’s has several sources that literally, overnight, deliver its fish straight from the catch to the table. This allows Curlee to feature on his menu the world's freshest fish and shellfish in a small, somewhat out-of-theway town located no less than five hours from the ocean.


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The oysters served at Curlee’s, for one, are delivered fresh daily from Bayou La Batre, La., a city made famous for its bountiful shrimp harvest in the 1994 Tom Hanks film, Forrest Gump. R&A Oysters, the company that catches Curlee’s oysters, has been in business for over 300 years. Another company the restaurant uses, Sea to Table, allows Curlee’s to purchase fish in real time as the fisherman are reeling it in, and as soon as the order comes in to port, it is immediately packaged and overnighted to Rome. “We choose to go with the oysters out of Bayou La Batre due to the size and flavor,” says Curlee. “That doesn’t mean we will always go with that product…but we have been very pleased with what we are getting. “Sea to Table is an online company that gives us the opportunity to bring in a wide variety of fresh fish from all over the world on a daily basis, which really allows us to

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provide a great variety of specials for our customers. I know where and when the fish was caught, the vessel it was caught on, and the captain who caught it. It is really an amazing service that has only been around for a few months, and I would encourage anyone who’s interested to check it out online ( to see what a unique process it is.” With the proper channels for receiving product firmly established, menu planning was the next step in the startup process. Now two months into doing business downtown, new specials are available daily


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at Curlee’s, but the staple dishes haven’t taken long to establish themselves among patrons. Any diner who bellies up to the table here will quickly become acquainted with a sauce simply known as, I'm not joking here, “Crack-a-lacka”. It’s an option for any dish served at the restaurant, though it has a permanent home on the appetizer menu via a dish titled “Crack-a-lacka Shrimp”. This sweet and savory sauce was named for a term used by the zebra character in the Madagascar movies, played by comedian Chris Rock, who famously states that everything good is “Crack-a-lackin!” Be assured this sauce lives up to its name, as it goes well with just about anything. Other items with which diners can’t go wrong with are the Ahi tuna (also available in a slider), the “Curlee Fingers”, and for those looking to marry land and sea, the surf and turf dish. From its renovation to its greatly suc-

cessful early run, a lot of thought and hard work has gone into downtown Rome’s only true seafood restaurant. Curlee’s location at 227 Broad Street had been vacant for quite some time, so a complete gutting of the building was required, along with all of the equipment installation needed to meet Georgia safety regulations. The result is a seafood dining experience that captures the essence of a night on the beach, only it’s found right here in the foothills of Appalachia. From the cuisine itself to the one-of a kind paintings that dawn the walls (a donation from Curlee’s mother-in-law, Gayle Hoyt), Curlee’s Fish House & Oyster Bar delivers a “staycation” delight for anyone in Northwest Georgia who digs a change of pace. And with only a couple of months in operation under its belt, this newcomer should only get better with age. “We want to provide consistency in our product and presentation, consistency in our service, and consistency with the expectations of our guests,” says Curlee. “Nobody is perfect, but our goal is to get better at what we do everyday. And if we do that, the people who dine here will continue to dine here, which is the highest compliment a customer can give us.” VVV

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oo Big to

If proponents of developing a more intricate network of biking/recreation/ commuter trails across Greater RomeFloyd are able to see one of their proposals through to fruition, people like

CycleTherapy owner Trey Smith (left) say they will be helping to give the region at large a major economic—not to mention, socially progressive—boost in the form of tourist dollars.Text by Luke

Chaffin.Photos by Derek Bell

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ome-Floyd County has been often hailed as one of Northwest Georgia’s go-to destinations for outdoor activity. And with its abundance of parks, trails and varying landscapes, it is no wonder that mountain biking has become a favorite pastime region-wide, particularly in Rome, where the Appalachians begin to rise from the earth. Our trail systems have come a long way, granted, doing much to connect different pockets of Rome-Floyd. But it has been argued that a few notes could be taken from our neighbors to the north. “Chattanooga is still leading the way in terms of outdoor ventures,” says Trey Smith, owner of Cycle Therapy, an all-things-cycling retailer at 608 Broad Street in Rome. Smith’s passion for the trails is obvious from his line of work, but his activism and advocacy for alternative methods of transportation further demonstrate his broader vision for the community. In discussing local trails and trail development, there are two different routes on which decision-makers and advocates focus: First, trail systems connecting neighborhoods, shops, schools and more, as well

“You see towns that have been in the dark for so many years; now they are shooting right past us.” as trail systems for recreation. Smith points out that Chattanooga has experimented and succeeded in doing both. With several large-scale, mountainbiking and hiking developments (each over 20 miles long), Chattanooga has done a commendable job of selling itself as a progressive, pedestrian, cyclist-friendly city. A focus on so-called “ecoadventures” has added another layer of appeal to Chattanooga,


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home of the Raccoon Mountain PumpedStorage Plant. Operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the plant features a network of trails on public land, a project that could feasibly be reproduced in north Floyd County. “Rocky Mountain [Recreational Area and it’s operator] Oglethorpe Power have a great opportunity to replicate what’s already been done. With a hydroelectric plant, the contract with the federal government states that there must be some kind of recreational area,” Smith explains. According to Smith, Rocky Mountain’s trails could be expanded and enhanced

City of Rome - Cave Spring Silver Comet Connection

Existing Trail System

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Existing Trail System



Potential Connection Silver Comet Trail

Norfolk Southern Rail

from the less than 10 miles to more closely mimic the 25-plus miles of recreational thoroughfare found at Raccoon Mountain. “If you want dedicated mountain-biking trails, you have to drive an hour away,” Smith says, also referring to parks like Blankets Creek in Canton. While Rome does have a gem in its lush, sprawling Berry College campus, as a hiking and biking destination on a comparable scale, the school has not traditionally been marketed as that sort of attraction. For the Canton trail hub, Smith says that most visitors to Blankets Creek come from at least 45 minutes away. He also points to communities like Walker County’s Villanow, and the nearby Dry Creek Trail, as ambassadors leading the charge for expanded trail systems. “You see towns that have been in the dark for so many years, and now they are shooting right past us.” Cycle Therapy’s Trey Smith and an increasing number of Romans envision the city’s trail systems expanding and, in time, bridging the gaps typically created by major highways. “Right now the holdup comes down to funding these projects,” Smith explains. Future plans

could include taking the Avenue A portion of the Rome-Floyd Heritage Trail System to the post office on Martha Berry Highway, then hopping it over to Summerville Park. The group supporting this expansion plan has access to $400,000 in grant money, and has already raised about half of the $100,000 required to secure the grant. If seen to fruition this project could, for one, provide a better link to downtown Rome for Berry College students looking for alternative ways of getting around town. Another recently discussed proposal for the Heritage Trail System would further develop an old railroad corridor as it meets the Kingfisher Trail at Silver Creek in South Rome. This project would involve the creation of a “bicycle skills park”, featuring different fitness activities posted along the

path. Visitors might see everything from narrow, twisting trails (for wheel-turning practice) to wooden bridges and jumps of varying heights; perhaps even an obstacle course and dog park. The development’s proximity to downtown Rome and the South Rome Boys & Girls Club would position it perfectly for broad use among all demographics. Funding would come from volunteer and in-kind donations. A similarly funded venture has helped bring new life to Jackson Hill, found on the other side of downtown. Within the last year, in fact, trails have been cut through the wooded property, increasing usage and awareness of Rome’s Civil War and Depression-era history. There is also a call to connect the newer Jackson Hill trails with the Heritage Trail System, just across the

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street at Ridge Ferry Park, via the Burwell Creek wetlands area. Any way you slice it, the future for downtown trails in Rome looks to be a positive one, as more of the previously mentioned pockets would eventually begin interconnecting with one another, creating a vast and incredibly useful network. “If entities like the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce and our medical community want to recruit the best and brightest professionals and industries, they need to realize where the ones we lose end up,” says Smith. “They end up in communities with a complete streets-and-trails infrastructure that provides a unique quality of life and promotes alternative modes of transportation for people to get from point A to point B. Rome and Floyd County governments have done a great job of incorporating and expanding our trails, but our ultimate goal is still to connect to the Silver Comet Trail.” After political opposition blocked a 2009 plan that would have utilized an abandoned stretch of railroad between Rome and Cave Spring, the project found itself on hold. An alternate route could be created that would skirt Cave Spring, yet, the dilemma leads Smith to confront what he feels is one of more important issues at hand here: “This is an economic blunder,” he says. “We are essentially funneling those tourism dollars

elsewhere when we bypass Cave Spring and the rest of Floyd County.” According to Smith, all was set to go with the project when agreements between necessary participants like Rome City and Floyd County officials, reps for Norfolk Southern, and the Surface Transportation Board were secured. Parties involved had agreed on a corridor to Cave Spring as a segment of the master trail plan for the county, even to the point where the Georgia Department of Transportation constructed a 220-foot tunnel by the new Armuchee Connector to keep the plan viable.

“Tourism has a measurable impact to our county, and many agree that it would be enhanced by visits from a portion of the nearly 2 million annual users riding between Atlanta and Birmingham on the Silver Comet Trail,” Smith explains. Tourism indeed has an impact on Rome and Floyd County, raking in a staggering $111,460,000 in 2010 according to U.S. Travel Association statistics. Smith claims a certain special-interest group is the real perpetrator in the original plan’s death on a technicality. “It could have been a conduit of economic growth via tourism for Cave Spring,” Smith de-

cries, “which, in turn, could have become its own biking destination.” In addition, multiple studies from the National Association of Realtors suggest that trail systems are having a significant impact on their host communities, improving quality of life and bolstering job opportunities, among other positive impacts. Funding for the extension of a trail is typically paid for by grants under the guise of the GDOT. A percentage of funds spent on highway upgrades are reinvested back into the communities for recreational trails, but the grants are of the ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ variety. In addition, if newer branches of the Silver Comet Trail can be made to run within five miles of the existing trail, the PATH Foundation will pony up the cash to pave the remainder. PATH, which prides itself on helping to strengthen communities while building trails, helps maintain the Silver Comet Trail. A true believer intent on seeing it through, Smith sees the broader network and its possible extensions as connecting people, protecting pedestrians and cyclists, and functioning as an attractive bullet-point for local tourism. Still, another opportunity to grow existing trail systems and connect towns exists in the Simms Mountain Trail on the north side of Floyd County. The plan would call for a finished surface, expanding it from where it lies between Floyd and Chattooga counties all the way to Chattanooga. According to Smith, projects like these could very well make Rome and Floyd County a Southeastern biking capital, a hub from a tourism and outdoor recreation perspective. In the meantime, Trey and Julie Smith of Cycle Therapy are working hard to promote the use of the trails here in Floyd County, both as a means for encouraging public fitness and for “green” initiatives. For instance, Cycle Therapy is one of the sponsors for the Second Annual Assail the Trails Mountain Bike Race which begins at Berry College on Sat., Nov. 3, and on Jackson Hill Sun., Nov. 4. The two-day event will feature a variety of terrains for cyclists of all skill levels; more information about the two-day event can be found at romerace. org. VVV

For more information on how to get involved and share your ideas about the trail systems and alternative methods of transportation in Northwest Georgia, contact Cycle Therapy at 706.235.4866. You can also visit the shop in person at 608 Broad Street in Rome. Hours are Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat. 11-4.

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Trends& Traditions w i t h H o l l y Ly n c h

Unsure how to maximize your final days of sun and fun while on a recessionstarved budget? Welcome, Southern belles and gents, to the age of the "staycation."


s the last throes of the summer swelter beat down on your yard, your skin and your steaming car, do you find yourself longing for a vacation that could help save your sanity? As you search online for a great deal, does your checkbook mock you? The end of summer is here, and there’s no trip in sight for you or your family. So what. Why not stay home, take a week (or long weekend) and enjoy the newest adventure in a sad economy: the “staycation.” Wondering how to pull this off without sounding—and feeling—really lame? What does a person do on a staycation? Below are a few tips to help you enjoy a last-minute break from reality, without ever leaving your hometown. First, do everything at your job that you would do before you take time off. You will, of course, need to take a few days off work to have a successful staycation. Otherwise, it’s just a run-of-the-mill workday punctuated with a field trip. Before you head out the door of your office, in fact, send the email to your clients and co-workers that states when you will be back in to work. Change your voice mail, and set up auto-reply on your email system. Take the same pre-vacation steps at home that you would do if you were leaving town. For me, this means cleaning the entire house and getting the guestroom ready for the dog-sitter. Get the laundry


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caught up, pack. Yes, pack. If you really want the mentally and spiritually cleansing affect that comes with an actual vacation experience, you will certainly need to limit the decisionmaking process of each day. So, pack up the clothes you’ll need for the duration of your staycation; live out of that suitcase for the week. And if you really want to mix things up, sleep in a different room of your house, too. Now, for the real joy of the staycation: Turn. Off. Your. Cell. Phone. This is absolutely essential. Pretend you’re on a cruise ship or overseas, where your phone may not work without paying extra fees. You’re with your family, you told your coworkers and boss you were on vacation. Unless there’s an emergency, you don’t need the phone. Phew! Now that you’ve prepared yourself for the adventure, it’s time to get out there… But where to go? Start with your local tourism office. Every town has one. Get the maps and brochures free to real tourists who visit our region. Swing by a local hotel and check out the brochure rack for additional ideas. Then, each day, pick a local destination and explore a place you’ve never been; go somewhere you haven’t been since second

grade. For example, I have been to the Rome Area History Museum a handful of times for wedding receptions—the upstairs part, at least—but I’ve never really looked at the exhibits. I plan to visit the RAHM while on my upcoming staycation, followed by a nice walk through downtown and a meal at a downtown restaurant I haven’t yet tried. I’d be willing to bet that many of you don’t spend a whole lot of time downtown as “visitors”, but give it a try. To make your staycation a little more fun, act like a stranger. That’s right, be anonymous. For a few days, pretend you’re some-

your fellow Northwest Georgians. Be polite. Ask questions. Try new things. As a Rome resident and woman who grew up in a small town, I know that it is extremely difficult, when it comes to your own county, not to feel and act as if you’ve seen it all. But in reality, a lot has changed here in Floyd, even in the last month alone. Recently, driving along the bypass, it struck me just how much progress has been made due to the new Armuchee Connector. Out in West Rome, there’s an entirely new road that connects the ‘top end’ of Horseleg Creek Road with Highway 27 South, heading to Cedartown. Driving on a new road creates its own sense of

1) Campus at Berry College, including Oak Hill Cemetery and the Martha Berry Museum. 2) Cloudland Canyon. 3) Historic downtown Rome, including the Rome Area History Museum and Myrtle Hill Cemetery. 4) Little River Canyon. 5) Tellus

Stranger in a Familiar Land one else. I like to pretend I’m a flight attendant or that I teach kindergarten. Up next: Try for a daytrip on day two of your staycation. Head out to Cave Spring or Cartersville. Have you seen the incredible dinosaur exhibit in the middle of the Tellus Museum in Cartersville? Have you ever actually been inside the spring-fed cave that gives neighboring Cave Spring its name? (FYI: There’s only one spring inside one cave, therefore it’s not “Cave Springs” [plural], as so many folks like to say. Even the GDOT sign has the town’s name spelled incorrectly). However, while out pretending to be someone else, don’t forget your manners. You want to make a nice impression on

adventure. Try it sometime—without a GPS. In our town, changes are frequent in the restaurant industry. During your staycation, you could dine in a restaurant that is new to you each night. If you’re trying to save money, go for lunch. And while you’re out, try a new food. I have a friend who orders the exact same thing every time she eats at certain restaurants. On your hometown vacation, make it a point to branch out. Try something from a new section of the menu. And finally, to round out our tip list, try to really behave as if you’re on vacation. Don’t vacuum the house or do laundry. Document your staycation with photographs and journal entries. Make the evenings fun, too, with movies and popcorn, ice cream sundaes, walks in the neighborhood. Stay up late. Sleep in. Within an hour’s drive radius around Rome, there are so many beautiful places to enjoy. Try one of the great spaces listed below, and, when you arrive, please detach yourself from the virtual world and relax.

Museum and Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville. 6) State Mutual Stadium/ Rome Braves game. 7) Barnsley Gardens. 8) Fort Oglethorpe and the historic battlefield at Chickamauga There’s so much more to explore in our region than could possibly be listed here. Enjoy the remaining days of summer with a fabulous, relaxing staycation right here in your own backyard. VVV

Holly Lynch is the managing events planner/owner of The Season Special Events planning at 250 Broad Street in Rome. vini vidi vici / v3 magazine





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Touring the off-horseleg home of marc & lauren sklar reveals a


tightly held flare for the traditional, albeit offset by the sort of bravery it takes to make new things, well, new

ometimes change doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul. Just ask Marc Sklar, owner of JowersSklar Insurance, and his wife Lauren, a stay-athome mother of two young girls (Abby and Emma), who took this very point into consideration when making the decision to purchase their most recent home just off Horseleg Creek Road. Sure, the location was undeniably perfect, lying in close proximity to the Darlington School’s K-12 campus (where Emma attends third grade) and only a couple of miles from downtown; more or less right smack in the middle of the city. Not to mention being juxtaposed

by five idyllic acres banking the Coosa River. But, ultimately, these major pluses weren’t what reeled in the Sklars. “How often do you get a nice hunk of acres like that in the city?” Marc wonders rhetorically. “The location, acreage and history of the place are just astounding. There’s a reason the house has only seen [three] owners in about 80 years.” Sklar is right. The essence of this parcel of land is truly unshakable, its rich history residing in the stone. Originally built in 1938, the sturdy yet inviting house was one erected for a prominent factory owner by the name of Heyman. Then, in October 1953, a well-known Harbin son bought the house and planted deeply his family’s roots.

When the Sklars closed on the property in June 2010, Marc was handed the original documents and blueprints Harbin had been handed before him, all of which are now beautifully framed and hang proudly in the main hallway. But while the history of the Sklar home is certainly an interesting one, upon moving in, Marc, Lauren, Abby and Emma were primed and ready to begin building a unique legacy of their own between these walls—starting with all-new décor. In order to accomplish this, they called on friend and longtime interior design collaborator, Crandel Allmon, co-owner of Pineapple Place at 13 East Third Avenue in downtown Rome, for a tasteful eye. Allmon kicked


things off by complimenting the Sklars on their traditional, yet eclectic taste. In the Sklar home, Allmon says, every facet of the space helps contribute to an overall casual, yet elegant tone. In Lauren’s absence, Marc confirms his wife’s taste as fairly traditional. “My wife left me some notes,” he laughs. In all seriousness, though, this darn-well-rehearsedif-not-genuinely-knowledgeable husband adds, the couple’s style is appreciative of both the old and the new. “We didn’t tear it down; it’s the same house underneath. We really tried to keep the integrity.” The gorgeous millstone found in the backyard, for example: still exposed. The unique crystal doorknobs: still in use, every last one of them. The Sklars did, however, opt to dress up what was formerly a part-exposed foundation of cinderblock with a cute—not to mention clever—rockand-cedar shake, giv-

ing the first-time visitor’s perspective a significant upgrade. Other, more expansive changes came as well. Added was a three-door garage, a master bedroom in the rear of the home, and extra closet and bathroom space. One of the former bedrooms became the entryway from the garage to the inside of the house; another became a formal dining room; another was transformed into a pantry; and a well tucked-away attic became a pair of bedrooms for Abby and Emma. Other areas were also tweaked a bit, in an effort to open the space as a whole. The kitchen, for example,


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was formerly sequestered from the rest of the home by an unnecessary wall, and had hanging cabinets that made things feel cramped—so, the wall was removed. Although Jack Pearson, of Jack Pearson Construction, and the Sklars’ commercial architect, Bill Jones, each ran into a couple of bumps along the road, the overhaul was completed in less than six months. Allmon’s handling of the interior only made the process more enjoyable, and how could it not be? This is a man, after all, who I’ve heard speak of a pretty lamp as if it were the world’s eighth wonder. Crandall loves Southern elegance as much as anyone ever born below the Mason-Dixon, and he knows when to release the reins and simply guide a couple with his great expertise. “I’ve helped them for a long time; they know what they like,” he says. Allmon’s is a particularly deft hand when it comes to purchasing signature pieces— bedside tables, chests of drawers, intricate lamps, works of art, floral arrangements— and he knows well how to work them in with existing pieces that clients want to keep in the mix. As for the Sklars, “I really love that all the pieces they acquired over the years look brand new in the new


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house’s design, and they still flow with everything ... Everything looks refreshed.” These outcomes don’t happen by accident in Allmon’s sectors. He says that buying on the safe side with case pieces (chests, bedside tables)—i.e., the “bones of the house”— is important because it’s more likely that those pieces will remain in style and not become archaic. For Crandall, “buying safe” refers to keeping things classic and not falling so quickly for come-andgo trends. This means a huge no-no with regard to super-high shines or dramatic pecan finishes. The final layer of home furnishing, says the Pineapple Place co-share, is determining where trends should be incorporated. Often executed in collaboration with Perfect Home’s Lisa Hilton, this process usually involves new pillows, lamps—the

kinds of pieces that lend more to highlighting the owners’ true design personality. Today, the Sklars’ personal hope is that the environment they’ve created hereabouts is as inviting as those fostered by the Heymans and Harbins before them. “A lot of people know and love this place,” Marc says. “We don’t want to forget that.” VVV


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was fortunate to find something that meant so much to me, that helped me so much as a person, and to be able to experience what I have all of these years.” Upon her retirement a little over 15 months ago, Helen Cobb Runninger became the longestserving executive director of the Network Day Service Center. Originally created as the Cerebral Palsy Center in 1954, the Rome-based organization has continued to assist developmentally disabled clients in becoming as independent as possible. Network Day clients (referred to as “individuals” by staffers) now take part in daily activities, both on and off campus, that help enhance their lives. Although the individuals may be in different places with regard to their medical and psychological diagnoses, the staff here does a fine job meeting individuals where they are, so to speak. Runninger saw a low percentage of staff turnover during her tenure, primarily because, according to her own observations, “The longer the staff stayed there, the more dedicated they became.” Runninger began her career helping Rome’s most underserviced demographic in the 1970s, working with developmentally disabled children in another center, while also volunteering at Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital as a music and arts instructor. After being the program supervisor at Network Day Service Center

Helen Cobb Runninger (right) receives a farewell kiss from one of her Network pupils during a bittersweet retirement party in June.

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for several years, she reluctantly took on a more administrative role as executive director. “I wanted to work more on the ground level,” Runninger explains. Upon accepting her new role, Runninger realized the great impact she could have on the organization as a decision maker. Years later, her hard work still lives on through

the love, the heightened awareness she brought to the plights of those who frequent Network Day, and the many beautification projects she personally oversaw. The latter includes a garden created by the Seven Hills Garden Club, the

addition of a carport and parking lot to facility, and other various upgrades made in and around its two buildings. Much to Runninger’s surprise, the therapy garden was named in her honor. When Runninger started at the center, there were 14 adults and a handful of children. After a government mandate allowed the children to enter the public school sys-

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tem, the scope of services became more focused on disabled adults. To date, there are over 75 individuals who have been served by programs at the Network Day Service Center. At the time Runninger took over as executive director, the center had not yet become a part of organizations like United Way. Still an active member of the Rome community, Runninger channeled her connections back then just as she does today, in an effort to better get the center’s name out. Under her leadership, the center became a United Way-affiliated agency. “I really wanted to spread the word about what we did and who we served,” says Runninger. “Helen’s legacy is her compassion— she set a standard,” says now-executive director Jenny Cooper. “The individuals love her and always want to be with her.” Although Runninger retired from the organization after four decades of service in May 2012, she still returns weekly to lead music therapy for Network Day students. Runninger’s zest and passion for her role at Network Day Service Center was evident both at work and at home for the duration of her career, according to those closest to her. “I’ve never met anybody who loved her job so much,” says Runninger’s husband, Jack. The Network Day Service Center (often referred to as “Network” for short) is funded through the Medicaid waiver, as well as state grants. Falling under the guise of the Georgia Department of Developmental Disabilities, in the eyes of Jenny Cooper, the non-profit stood out among many similar centers. Cooper initially came into contact with Network while working with a government agency responsible for overseeing the operations of comparable programs in a 16-county region. Cooper recalls the work ethic of Network as a “tight ship,” and through her continued professional relationship with Runninger, was asked to shadow as assistant director. The rest of Network’s story has played out in a new chapter, as the torch was later passed on to Cooper.


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''they are tax-paying citizens...and they want jobs just like we do.'” ' Through various programs like supported employment, prevocational services, community access and community living services, the staff at Network Day Service Center lives and breathes their mission to help create meaningful lives for citizens with disabilities. Supported employment allows individuals the chance to go from Network to designated sites around town and engage in legitimate, paid work under the supervision of a job coach. Network is a strong proponent of offering individuals real work for real pay. Prevocational services afford individuals the opportunity to work in-house at Network as a part of contracts with local businesses. Individuals may work on anything from putting together mailings for local businesses to shredding sensitive information, or even creating address poles in conjunction with the Rome Fire Department. This program also offers Network individuals real work experience for real pay. “They are tax-paying citizens of this county and they want jobs just like we do,” says Cooper. Network individuals not only

earn a paycheck; they also get to spend their time fulfilling an important task. Since Network often uses contract work as a means of giving employment to individuals, the center has, like the rest of us over the last few years, also experienced issues associated with the economic downturn. In turn, the organization sometimes finds itself competing on bids with the rest of the unemployed general public. Additional programs overseen by the Network Day Service Center help improve the quality of life for individuals in ways that are a bit more practical, and hopefully last for the long term. Network’s staff accompanies them to the movies, for instance, to the grocery store, and to several other everyday activities that convene outside the individuals’ own homes; the idea being to help them get out into the community more frequently and, thus, become better assimilated. Conversely, the Community Living Services program helps improve the lives of individuals at home, teaching them lessons in meal preparation and home management. Like the other programs, this one also hopes to foster the individuals’ sense of self-sufficiency, ultimately making them more independent both inside and outside of their residences. There are also skills-training lessons, ac-

cess to an on-campus computer lab fitted with condition-adaptive equipment, an exercise room, and untold learning that happens when individuals are shown ways to live more independent and fulfilling lives. At Network, a tone is set that says the individuals are to be treated like friends, not as people in need of a handout. Not only do the individuals get to set and accomplish their self-determined professional goals, but the staff also works in close contact with them to help establish and execute personal goals, as well. These can range from learning a particular task to losing weight; the sky is the limit. Families of the individuals often offer various forms of support through volunteering, monetary donations, and even simply through their well wishes and kind words. Deservedly so, especially considering that Network invests its meager resources into changing the lives of those who may otherwise have been stuck at home, stationary and involuntary excised from mainstream society, while their guardians were out working. For Cooper, Network Day remains one of Rome’s best-kept, feel-good secrets. After coming to Network with 26 years experience working with special-needs people, Cooper continues the non-profit’s tradition with a strong, supportive board of directors who are instrumental in spreading the word about their mission, their programs, and their longstanding fundraisers. Each spring welcomes the Network Day Service Center Invitational, a golf tournament benefiting Network, and this October marks the 17th anniversary of their well-known pansy sale. Currently the staff at Network is looking to raise money to expand their campus, hoping to add additional lesson space. “The treatment of the developmentally disabled has come a long way,” says Cooper. “They are being treated as human beings,” says Cooper. “It’s a warm, friendly, happy place. That’s what I left, and that’s what I always hope it will be,” says Helen Cobb Runninger. “We have wonderful leadership with Jenny, and I feel a sense of calm about the center.” VVV

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 highquality services to patients in their homes. Choose Coosa Valley for all your home care needs.

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Network Day Service Center, located at 402 West Tenth Street (Rome], is open MonFri 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., and offers some of its services around the clock. For further info, call 706.291.2580. vini vidi vici / v3 magazine




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Childhood Obesity

is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. It occurs when a child is well above the normal weight for his or her age and height. Childhood obesity is particularly troubling because the extra pounds often start children on the path to health problems that were once confined to adults, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Childhood obesity can also lead to poor self-esteem and depression. Dr. Todd Kelley, Harbin Clinic board certified pediatrician, is answering questions this month on Childhood Obesity. He received his Medical Degree from the Medical College of Georgia. Prior to joining the Harbin Clinic in 2004, Dr. Kelley was in the United States Air Force where he served as staff pediatrician at WPAFB Center in Ohio. He and his wife have three children.

Ways to prevent child obesity • Set the example. Establish a home environment that supports healthy eating and daily physical activity with no more than two hours of quality television per day.

Broaden their food horizons. Many parents prepare separate meals for themselves and their children. Introduce them to the healthy foods you eat.

Q &A with Dr. Todd Kelley

Eat more fruits and vegetables. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that fruits and vegetables make up about half of a meal.

What are the factors that contribute to weight gain and obesity? Diet (processed foods/carbs, sugared drinks, fast food, poor choices for school food) and Lifestyle (sedentary, computers/devices, misinformation). Overweight and obese children and teens are at increased risk for developing what types of diseases? Diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and early onset heart disease.

Send your child’s lunch to school. You fully control what is going into your children’s bodies.

What has become a primary food choice for Americans? Processed sugars and starches, instead of fiber and complex carbohydrates.

How are school lunches affecting children’s health? Poor drink choices and readily available sweets, such as ice cream. How do beverages factor into childhood obesity? Skim milk and water are best; while carbonated sodas, sweet tea, “energy drinks”, and flavored milks are worst.

Break the soda and juice habits. The best liquids for children to drink are water and milk.

HARBINCLINIC.COM | 1-888-427-2461 vini vidi vici / v3 magazine



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NEVER pick a fight with a girl. Girls stick together. When it involves one of us then you get us all. Staying breast cancer-free is tough, but we’re strong enough for the challenge. Since almost 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, were speaking out and fighting back! Annual mammograms and breast self exams are two of the best ways to catch cancer in it’s earliest stages. Schedule your mammogram today. Call 706.879.4741.


Left to Right: Lizbeth Kennedy, MD; Cynthia Brown, MD; Jane Yoon, MD; Courtney Perez, MD

September 2012  

V3 September 2012

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