Monthly Archives: June 2016

Jean E. Garniewicz


PYSK-JuneCommunity Volunteer

Number of years in position: 30+

Family: Husband, Richard A. Garniewicz; no children

Why I’m Passionate About What I Do: I am passionate about life. I enjoy meeting and working with people and volunteering in various activities in Columbia County. I have been volunteering here as long as I can remember living in the Columbia County area.

Community Groups and Charities I Love to Support: I am currently a member of the Columbia County Economic Development Authority, an auxiliary with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, past chairwoman of the Columbia County Planning Commission and a Columbia County Growth Management Plan 2035 member. I have assisted in various county and statewide elections, and my general involvement is for the betterment of Columbia County – my county and my home. 

Biggest Career or Life Obstacle I’ve Overcome and How: Leaving the Boston area, where I was raised, and moving to Columbia County 30 years ago. This involved giving up my comfort zone with family and friends to move to a new area for my husband’s job at SRP. I had to grow up in a completely new environment with a new culture, which soon became second nature to me, and stop feeling sorry for myself for being relocated. This was our most maturing experience. 

Accomplishment I’m Most Proud Of: My 48 years of marriage to my husband, and the various life experiences that we have faced and survived together

Favorite Way to Spend Saturday Afternoon: Enjoying friends, entertaining at our house and sharing various experiences with those that we love 

Favorite TV Shows: “NCIS,” “Scandal” and “House of Cards”

Favorite Movie: Gone With the Wind 

Favorite Sports Team: Atlanta Braves (previous years), but we were Augusta Lynx season ticket holders for 11 years.

Favorite Comfort Food: Anything chocolate (or on a cruise)

Favorite App: Fox News Station

Last Book Read: Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben

Dream Vacation: Lately we have been cruising, but I also enjoy the U.S. National Parks.

Something That Has Changed My Life: My mother’s diagnosis of Lewy body dementia and her eventual death to this disease

Best Thing I Ever Learned: Never love anything that cannot love you back!

Favorite Hobbies: Shopping, gardening and enjoying my yard, cooking and sharing with friends

Secret Aspiration: To write a book. I need to get going on this! 

Reality Show I Would Totally Win: If they had a reality show on “NCIS” trivia, I would win!

Something People Would Be Surprised to Know About Me: I was born in Jacksonville, Florida, although I talk like a Bostonian. I am a first-generation American, and I’m very proud of it. My mother was Canadian, and my father was from Scotland.

Bayou Bash

A & E

Mudbugabeaux-N-Brew FestivalIf you’re craving crawfish, then hightail it to the area’s only French Quarter-inspired festival.

There are plenty of ways to kick off your summer fun, but it’s hard to top the eighth annual Mudbugabeaux-N-Brew festival. Even the name makes you smile.

The crawfish boil will include a crawfish-eating contest – of course, local live bands, a free commemorative T-shirt for the first 1,000 visitors, children’s activities and more. The festival also will feature craft and domestic beer, but the focus definitely is on the crawfish.

“We want people to learn more about crawfish. We cook them live on-site,” says Jim Beck, owner of French Market Grille West, which puts on the event. “There are lots of craft beer festivals, but we want to do something different. This is the last time to have an event before it gets too hot to have an outdoor summer festival.”

Other Cajun and Creole dishes such as jambalaya and muffuletta sandwiches also will be available. All-American favorites such as corndogs and lemonade will be on the menu as well. In addition, a variety of vendors, ranging from car dealerships to outdoor sporting goods stores, will have booths at the family friendly festival.

If You Go:

What: Mudbugabeaux-N-Brew Festival

When: 3 p.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday, June 4

Where: Augusta Commons

How Much: $5 

More Info:

All Shook Up

A & E

Elvis-Presley-'56Relive the King of Rock ’n’ Roll’s breakout year with “Elvis ’56.”

Sixty years ago, a performer named Elvis Presley began to take the entertainment world by storm. In January of 1956, he was a regional sensation. By the end of the year, he was an international phenomenon with four No. 1 songs on Billboard’s Top 100 chart, 11 television appearances, a movie deal and a record deal — something that no individual artist had ever accomplished before in one year.

In “Elvis ’56,” world-renowned Elvis performer Cody Ray Slaughter recreates the rock ’n’ roll star’s electrifying performances from that year. Slaughter creates the illusion of Elvis as a vibrant, young entertainer who is beginning to make history.

The performance also features Hillbilly Katz with David Fontana, son of Elvis’ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer DJ Fontana, and an upright bass player and rockabilly guitarist.

VIP ticketholders can meet the artists at a Meet and Greet from 4:30-6 p.m. Light snacks will be provided, and photo ops, along with a Q & A, with the cast will be available.

If You Go: 

What: “Elvis ’56”

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 25

Where: Imperial Theatre

How Much: $19-$79

More Info: (706) 722-8341 or

Ham It Up

A & E

ham-radioAnyone who has ever wondered what ham radio is all about has the opportunity to learn at Amateur Radio Field Day. The free event will be held from 2 p.m. Saturday, June 25 until 2 p.m. Sunday June 26 by local amateur radio clubs. 

The Amateur Radio Club of Columbia County will hold its event at the Grovetown Lions Club, 105 Whisky Road, while the Amateur Radio Club of Augusta field day will be at Blythe City Hall, 294 Church Street.

“People can come out, and we’ll guide them through opportunities to talk on the radio to people around the world,” says Rusty Welsh, the Columbia County club president. 

During the annual event, amateur radio operators across North America establish temporary ham radio stations in public locations to showcase the science and skill of amateur radio. The goal is to test preparedness skills, including deployment and operations of equipment, and to contact as many other amateur radio stations around the globe as possible during the 24-hour period. 

Ham radio operators provide a critical public service for the community during times of disaster, and they can provide reliable communications when the normal infrastructure is offline or overwhelmed. Licensed by the Federal Communications Commission and trained in the art and science of radio communications as well as basic electronics theory, amateur radio operators own and maintain their own communications equipment and are prohibited by federal law from receiving payment for services.

“A lot of people have no idea what amateur radio is, but we want people to know we’re here,” says Chris Clark, the Augusta club president. “We pride ourselves on being an educational club. We do a lot of community service during events and emergency situations in the area.”

Get Your Shag On

A & E

summer beach blastIf you’re just thinking about “Cooling Out,” then the Summer Beach Blast is the place for you. Evans Towne Center Park will become our own little “Ocean Boulevard” when The Catalinas, The Tams and Soul Dimension perform beach music favorites.

In addition to music, the event will feature a sandy “shoreline” and free water slides for the younger set and the young at heart. 

Concertgoers who purchase VIP tickets will get “Big Kahuna” treatment including reserved parking, a Lowcountry dinner, beer and wine, preferred seating and viewing areas, and private restrooms.

No coolers are allowed, but food and beverage vendors will be on hand. Bring blankets or chairs to sit and listen to the music – unless of course, you’re dancing the night away. Shoes are optional.

If You Go:

What: Summer Beach Blast

When: Friday, June 3; gates open at 4:30 p.m., music begins at 6:15 p.m.

Where: Evans Towne Center Park

How Much: General admission – $10 in advance, $15 at the gate; VIP – $80; advance tickets are available online or at Associated Credit Union

More Info: (706) 650-5005 or

Friends of Mistletoe State Park


CALLING-POST-3Mistletoe State Park is full of amenities including boat ramps, a sandy beach, nature trails for hikers and bikers, camping facilities, educational programs and some of the finest bass fishing the nation. 

One of its biggest assets, however, is Friends of Mistletoe State Park.

“Anyone who buys a Friends’ membership is technically a member of the organization, but we have a core group of about 20 to 25 volunteers,” says Carol Sanchez, assistant park manager at Mistletoe.

CALLING-POST-2The volunteers include board members, people who help with school programs and campground hosts. In the past year, Mistletoe volunteers contributed 700 to 1,000 hours of service to the park. And for every hour of labor donated by a volunteer, the Friends of Georgia State Parks contributes $2 to the park.

The Friends of Mistletoe help with annual events such as the Kids Fishing Rodeo and Family Fall Festival by sharing their expertise or serving concessions. In the past year, the Friends secured a grant to expand the Nature Center, and they installed a pollinator garden as part of a statewide initiative to raise awareness about pollinator conservation. They helped to replace a boat dock at the park as well. Friends even have contributed taxidermy animals to the park.

“Their biggest contribution is supplying financial help for programs and special projects,” Sanchez says. “They help us provide the fun extras that enhance our programs.”

Calling-Post-1With the Nature Center expansion, for instance, the park has a covered area to conduct programs during inclement weather. Volunteers also share their talents by leading programs that showcase their special interests ranging from cooking to soap carving.

“They come up with ideas that aren’t necessarily on our radar, and they enable us to do special interest projects in a timely manner,” says Sanchez. “It’s great to have support from our local community.”