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Down to a Fine Art


Down to a Fine ArtThe timing might be different, but Art in the Park Fall Fest should feel reassuringly familiar to local fine and performing arts lovers.

Usually held in the spring, the annual Art in the Park got rained out after about an hour in May. It’s back with a fall twist, however, and many of the same local and regional fine arts vendors that set up booths at the previous event are expected to return this month.

In addition to vendors’ booths, the event will feature entertainment by local performing arts groups throughout the day, a sidewalk chalk contest and children’s activities. Food vendors include Chick-fil-A and Big D’s BBQ. 

“If Fall Fest goes well, we could have the event two times a year,” says Regina Brejda, Columbia County Arts Inc. president.

Columbia County Ballet will kick of the entertainment with a fall-themed performance. Other performers will include Musical Theatre Workshops, VOCE, Suzuki Strings of Augusta, Patrick Duncan, Denise Mundy, Harmony River Chorus, Augusta Youth Dance, Kane & Co. Dance Productions and Augusta Junior Players. 

Attendees can explore their creative talents by tie-dying T-shirts or entering the popular sidewalk chalk contest. The sidewalk chalk contest features competitions between local public and private elementary, middle and high schools. Individuals also can compete in a separate contest for a $20 registration fee, which includes chalk. Cash prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners in each category.

In addition, Brejda says, “Nonprofit art organizations will be awarded their grant checks at the closing ceremony of the event.”

If You Go: 

What: Art in the Park Fall Fest

When: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, October 14

Where: Columbia County Library Amphitheatre

How Much: Free admission; food and beverage vendors will be on site

More Info: columbiacountyarts.org; columbiacountyarts@gmail.com; Regina Brejda, (706) 267-6724 or Jillian Decker, (706) 730-5273

Southern Blood — Gregg Allman

Listen To This

Southern Blood — Gregg AllmanThere’s truly no finer representation of Southern grit and soul mixed with rock ’n’ roll than the late Gregg Allman. Alongside his brother Duane and a revolving 18-pack of rebel rockers, Allman wrote, performed and authenticated the blueprint for Southern Rock and Blues-fusion music.

Though the lineup may have changed over time, the iconic gravel of Southern comfort that embodies the vocal style of Allman remains as true and familiar as fresh-cut grass on a Georgia backroad.

In recent years, Allman was faced with journeys that took his health down some dark paths, and as the inevitable sunset was casting long shadows on a life well-lived, he decided to clear one more pathway in his sonic legacy. Southern Blood was recorded shortly after he was diagnosed with liver cancer. Concerned that his illness might win, he set the clock and pace for nothing short of a brilliant composition of songs.

Most artists who release an album during the dusk of life typically depend on mix arrangements and vocal enhancements to carry the weight, but Allman’s signature voice is robust and powerful in range and resonance. Every track on Southern Blood is a treasure, but he sums his life and love perfectly to a muse on “My Only True Friend.”

“You and I both know, this river will surely flow to an end/Keep me in your heart… I hope you’re haunted by the music of my soul… But you and I both know the road is my only true friend….”

- Chris Rucker

Play Ball!

Play Ball!

Photos courtesy of Marvin Hudson

The 2017 Major League baseball season may be winding down, but it got off to a pretty good start for Washington, Georgia resident Marvin Hudson. He had the best spot in the house as the home plate umpire at the Atlanta Braves’ opening game in the team’s new Sun Trust Park.

If the start of this season was auspicious, however, then the end of last season was even better. Hudson was the third base umpire in the deciding seventh game of the 2016 World Series when the Chicago Cubs ended a 108-year drought to win the Fall Classic by defeating the Cleveland Indians.

Exclusive Club
It may not have taken the 53-year-old Hudson, who became a Major League umpire in 1999, quite as long as it took the Cubs, who until last year had not won a National League pennant since 1945, to make it to the World Series. And he didn’t have to contend with years of frustration, the curse of the Billy Goat and an infamous foul ball that haunted Cubs fans for decades. However, the thrill of reaching the pinnacle of his profession – and sharing it with those who matter most to him – was just as real for Hudson.

“My biggest thrill was having my wife, Sherry, daughter Breckyn and son Zack at the games,” he says. “Just seeing my family enjoying the thrill of the games and being in that electrified atmosphere made it all worth it.”

Hudson was one of four members of the seven-man crew that was umpiring a World Series for the first time.

3.-Hudson-(second-from-right)-at-the-2016-World-SeriesWhile he was in an exclusive club with his Fall Classic assignment, the nature of his job puts him in a small coterie of professionals as well. Hudson is in a select fraternity of only 76 Major League umpires. Each year more than 300 prospects try out for the coveted positions.

“Few slots are available each year because of the low turnover rate, and some veteran umpires may serve 30 years or more,” Hudson says.

The prospective umpires are under strict scrutiny by their superiors and Major League Baseball. Each pitch in every game is recorded, and umpires are graded as to whether they miscalled a ball or a strike.

The former baseball player for Piedmont College, where he was inducted in the Demorest, Georgia school’s Sports Hall of Fame in February, decided to become an umpire at the urging of his friend, Doc Sisk. After Sisk encouraged him to try his hand at calling games, Hudson enrolled in professional umpire training school. Minor League Baseball Umpire Development has approved the curriculum for two training schools, which run for four to five weeks in January and February each year.

Hudson finished umpire school at the top of his class, and his first professional assignment came in the Appalachian League in 1992. He continued to pay his dues by calling games in the South Atlantic, Florida Instructional, Southern, Hawaii Winter and International leagues before breaking into the Majors in 1999. Most umpires spend seven to 10 years in the minor leagues – twice the amount of time it typically takes a baseball player to make his way through the ranks – before getting called up.

During training, instructors evaluate potential umpires on much more than their knowledge of baseball rules. Umpires must exhibit traits such as confidence, a strong presence on the field, knowledge of mechanics (where to go when the ball is hit), forceful calls, effective use of voice, hustle, character, good judgment and the ability to handle situations on the field. In short, baseball umpires must be able to represent the integrity of the game.

Play BallUmpires need to develop a thick skin – and decide just how much they’re willing to tolerate from players, managers and fans – to perform their duties as well. Hudson once tossed an unruly fan out of the stadium during a Southern League game in Memphis. He had words with the Washington Nationals’ outfielder Bryce Harper and manager Matt Williams about a called strike before ejecting them in the third inning of a 2015 game against the New York Yankees.

Easy Call 
Umpiring in the Major Leagues is much more than calling ball or strike, fair or foul, safe or out, however. At training school, professional umpires also are taught how to conduct themselves on and off the field. And some of those off-field attributes translate into charitable work. Hudson serves as vice president of the board of directors of UMPS CARE, which provides financial, in-kind and emotional support for America’s youth and families in need. His wife serves on the Volunteer Wives Committee.

The mission of UMPS CARE is to put its creed – “Helping People is an Easy Call” – into action. The professional umpires enrich the lives of at-risk youth and children coping with serious illness by providing them with memorable baseball experiences. Through scholarship initiatives, the organization also offers financial support to children adopted later in life and to current and former members of the military. 

Having the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others – as well as the chance to wear a Major League umpire’s uniform – have made the endless travel, grueling schedule and low pay in the minors all worthwhile. With patience, perseverance and focus on his goal, Hudson has achieved his dream. 

By Lamar Garrard 

Wine, Tapas and Song


Wine, Tapas and SongIt might be the heart of football season, but not every festivity has to revolve around a stadium and a tailgate. For instance, CSRA Wine Festival Inc. will kick off a party for wine and food lovers with its Coco Wine & Culinary Festival on Saturday, October 21 at West Lake Country Club.

The festival will feature more than 150 wines and various imported beers for sampling, along with tapas, live jazz music and a silent auction. Tapas will be provided by Augusta Technical College Culinary Program students, Abel Brown Southern Kitchen & Oyster Bar, P.F. Chang’s, Finch & Fifth and Sam’s Club.  Festivalgoers will receive a souvenir wine glass, and the jazz band Michael Whittington & A Step Up will provide entertainment. 

“It’s a great cultural event,” says Pat Goodwin, the festival CEO. “It gives people an opportunity to taste award-winning wines and great wines at average prices. As consumers, we see so many labels and brands. It’s confusing and intimidating. The festival educates people about the wines that are available to them. It’s also a great way to mix and mingle and make a new friend.” 

Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit Easter Seals East Georgia and the Augusta Technical College Culinary Arts Program Educational Scholarship Endowment Fund. 

“We’re happy to support an individual at the culinary program. A great chef is going to come out of this area one day,” says Goodwin. “Easter Seals keeps individuals working who may not have gotten an opportunity elsewhere. I’m proud that we can be part of those programs. And we couldn’t do it without our distributors and Vineyard Wine Market. They really help make the event.”

Door prizes will be available, and Easter Seals will hold a silent auction as well. All of the proceeds from the silent auction will benefit Easter Seals, which helps people with disabilities and other special needs maximize opportunities for employment, independence and full inclusion in society. Some of the auction items include trips, golf packages, specialty item baskets, package deals for restaurants, fitness coupons, nail salon services and jewelry. 

“We’re very excited to collaborate together,” says Lynn Smith, the Easter Seals East Georgia president and CEO. “I hope people enjoy the day, learn about wonderful wines and try food from vendors and fabulous restaurants. They also have the opportunity to support organizations that are doing a lot of good in the community.”

All attendees must be at least 21 years old and show a photo ID. Advance tickets are available online and at Washington Road Storage, Bowles Construction Company, Easter Seals, South State Bank (Washington Road location only) and Vineyard Wine Market. 

If You Go:

What: Coco Wine & Culinary Festival 

When: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, October 2 

Where: West Lake Country Club 

How Much: $50 in advance and $55 at the door; designated drivers $25 

More Info: csrawinefestival.com

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz

Literary Loop

literary loopFrom the author of the #1 international best seller The Girl in the Spider’s Web, comes the newest book in the Millennium Series — The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz. The series began with the late Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Even Lisbeth Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo — the brilliant hacker, the obstinate outsider, the volatile seeker of justice for herself and others — has never been able to uncover the most telling facts of her traumatic childhood, the secrets that might finally, fully explain her to herself. 

Now, when she sees a chance to uncover them once and for all, she enlists the help of Mikael Blomkvist, the editor of the muckraking, investigative journal Millennium. And she will let nothing stop her — not the Islamists she enrages by rescuing a young woman from their brutality; not the prison gang leader who passes a death sentence on her; not the deadly reach of her long-lost twin sister, Camilla; and not the people who will do anything to keep buried knowledge of a sinister pseudoscientific experiment known only as The Registry

Once again, Lisbeth and Mikael, together, are the fierce heart of a thrilling full-tilt novel that takes on some of the most insidious problems facing the world at this very moment.

Promised Land


Promised LandThe best way to celebrate success is to share it with friends, and the Central Savannah River Land Trust takes a dual approach to that idea. Since 2001, the Land Trust has protected more than 7,300 acres of land in Georgia and South Carolina for future generations to enjoy. The nonprofit organization also shows its appreciation to the people who make its mission possible with its annual Bash on the Banks each October. 

“The Bash sells out every year,” says Bethany Surles, the Land Trust membership and events coordinator. “It’s a celebration of the Land Trust, our mission and the tremendous accomplishments we’ve made. It gives us a chance to say ‘thank you’ to people for their support.”

The 14th annual Bash on the Banks, held at River Island, will include an oyster roast, Southern food, live music, corn hole and a raffle.

Sweet Magnolia’s Deli and Grille in Pelion, South Carolina will serve Southern food, and The Unmentionables once again will provide music for the event. Raffle items include an adult and a children’s kayak, a clay shooting package and a turned wooden bowl by Dr. Dave Welter. In addition, local artist Richard Worth will paint a nature scene during the evening, and the acrylic will be auctioned off at the event. 

Funded entirely by donations and grants, the Land Trust concentrates its efforts on protecting large areas of natural habitat, the major sources of our drinking water, larger forests that purify the air and grand vistas that offer scenic views.

“The land is preserved forever, and these places are protected for families and the community to enjoy,” Surles says. “It’s an investment in our children’s future. We love that the area is growing, but we only have one planet.”

One of the Land Trust’s major conservation projects is the 262-acre Greystone Preserve in North Augusta. The site includes undulating hills, mature oak-hickory forests, creeks, granite outcroppings and wildflowers, including the rare, endangered Relict trillium. The Land Trust also is in the process of building an outdoor classroom at Greystone, and the classroom will include event space, organic gardens and miles of scenic trails.

The Land Trust has a number of projects underway in Columbia County as well. “We are currently focused on Crawford Creek, River Island and Sumter Landing,” says Surles. “This year we plan to add a couple hundred acres with the addition of Greenbrier Creek and Euchee Creek.”

If You Go:

What: Bash on the Banks

When: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Thursday, October 12

Where: River Island clubhouse

How Much: $50 through September 30, price increases to $60 October 1; raffle tickets $20; drink tickets $5 

More Info: csrlt.org

Take It Easy


Take it EasyAn Eagles tribute band keeps the music of the 1970s group flying high 
Recreating the experience of an Eagles concert, 7 Bridges: The Ultimate Eagles Experience will perform tunes from the rock band’s most prolific period at a performance in Evans this month. 

The tribute band combines musicianship, vocal precision and a stage presence that has attracted attention nationwide. The band features Jason Manning as Glenn Frey, Keith Thomas as Don Henley, Bryan Graves as Randy Meisner/Timothy B. Schmit, Tony Haan Jr. as the eccentric and unpredictable Joe Walsh, Blake Hall as guitar wizard Don Felder and Vernon Roop as Joe Vitale, the often unsung hero of many Eagles studio albums and live performances. 

With some Henley and Walsh surprises in the mix, the rock ’n’ roll concert is a rollicking tribute to the music of the Eagles.

If You Go: 

What: 7 Bridges: The Ultimate Eagles Experience 

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 8

Where: Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center

How Much: $39.50 

More Info: augustaamusements.com or (706) 726-0366

The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille

Literary Loop

Nelson DeMilleNew York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille’s new novel (in stores September 19) features U.S. Army combat veteran Daniel “Mac” MacCormick, who finds new life in Key West as captain of his own 42-foot charter fishing boat, The Maine. After serving two tours in Afghanistan, he returned home with the Silver Star, two Purple Hearts, scars that don’t tan and a boat with a big bank loan. Truth be told, his finances are more than a little shaky.

Mac’s bland, everyday charters are buoyed by covert adventure when he is asked by Carlos, a hotshot Miami lawyer heavily involved with anti-Castro groups, to make the journey to Cuba with an enigmatic exile and a young woman to uncover a stash of money hidden by an émigré from Castro’s revolution.

Although wary, when the price reaches two million dollars, Mac finally agrees to meet Carlos’s clients — beautiful Cuban-American Sara Ortega and mysterious older Cuban exile Eduardo Valazquez.

Mac learns there’s sixty million American dollars hidden in Cuba by Sara’s grandfather when he fled Castro’s revolution. With the “Cuban Thaw” underway, Carlos, Eduardo and Sara know it’s only a matter of time before someone finds the stash — either by accident or deliberate search. And Mac knows if he accepts this job, he’ll walk away rich… or not at all.

Filled with authenticity from DeMille’s research trip to Cuba, The Cuban Affair deftly delivers a heart-pounding pace combined with the author’s signature humor.

Center of Attraction


Jewish Community CenterIt is the holiest time of the year in the Jewish calendar, but Augusta Jewish Community Center bustles with cultural, recreational and service activities all year long. 

On a seemingly ordinary evening, a large group gathers for an Italian dinner. Sounds simple enough until suddenly, a shriek rings out, and someone gasps, “He’s dead!” The girlfriend cries, the mother wails, everyone wonders how this happened and looks at each other with suspicion, wondering who did it. Soon, however, the looks turn to smiles, the questions turn to giggles, more wine is consumed and the crowd grows even rowdier.

No, it’s not a scene from a mob movie. It is all part of a Murder Mystery Dinner held at Augusta Jewish Community Center during an evening filled with laughter, 1920s costumes and lots and lots of food. 

Center of AttractionHub of Activity
Because the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur fall in September this year, the Jewish calendar will be full of activity this month. However, with the Murder Mystery Dinner as Exhibit A, AJCC stays busy year-round. In addition to being a resource for maintaining Jewish life in the area, AJCC opens its activities and membership to anyone regardless of religion, race or any other factors. (Members get free or discounted admission to events, however.)

“One of the things I love about the AJCC,” says Leah Ronen, the center’s executive director, “is that it is also a meeting place for the entire community. It does not matter what synagogue, church or mosque you belong to. Or if you do not belong to any organized religious institution, the AJCC can still be your home. This philosophy could really only be fully realized as our community began, over the years, to be populated with individuals from religions and races from across the spectrum.”

Jewish Community CenterAs the second oldest Jewish Community Center in North America, AJCC has been serving the community for more than 160 years. Initially located in downtown Augusta, where it served as a USO for local soldiers, a school and a place for community events, it moved to Evans in 1998.

Many local residents already are familiar with AJCC. They have sent their kids to its summer camp (affectionately called the United Nations because it includes children of every religion, ethnic group and color), taken them to Boy and Girl Scout troop meetings there or participated in one of its many classes such as cooking, exercise or arts and crafts.

 Jewish Community CenterOthers may be thinking, “We have a Jewish Community Center? Where is it?” Set on 26 acres off Furys Ferry Road down Three J Road, the AJCC facilities are surprisingly extensive. The main building houses the Beehive Preschool, community activity rooms and banquet facilities that can host 225 guests for a dinner. Available to the public, it has been the venue for everything from weddings to quinceañeras.

 On the grounds, AJCC has a competition-sized swimming pool (swim lessons are offered in the summer, and the Jaws Swim Team is part of the CSRA Swim League), a kiddie pool, tennis courts, a small lake with a dock for fishing, an outdoor pavilion and a playground.

6.-BuildingProgrammed for Success
Despite its expansive facilities, however, some of AJCC’s programs and events have become so successful that they have had to move to other area venues to accommodate everyone who wants to attend.

In the last few years, for instance, AJCC’s Empty Bowl, an annual fundraiser for Golden Harvest Food Bank, has moved from the center to the Legends Club. Held for 16 years and counting, the event brings in more than $30,000 annually.

The Augusta Jewish Film Festival, which recently finished its sixth season, is now held at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center. 

5.-PoolIn addition to offering cultural, recreational and service programs, AJCC honors an outstanding member of the community each year at its humanitarian dinner. Last year the dinner was named the Augusta Hero dinner and honored Michael Firmin, the retired founder of Golden Harvest Food Bank. This summer, the dinner became a Roast and Toast to honor Leah and her husband, Charlie. Leah has served as executive director since 2003, and the Ronens will move away from the CSRA when she officially retires in February of 2018.

AJCC is a place where family and friends gather; where seniors come for movies and lunch; where families play Bingo, picnic or enjoy movie and game nights to renew old friendships and create new ones. No matter what event is planned, there will always be plenty of food and room for more people (even if it has to be taken somewhere else). 

By Jessica Punshon

Michael Deas – President, Augusta Amusements


Augusta AmusementsNumber of years in position: 8

Family: Wife Jeannette and four children

Why I’m Passionate About What I Do: My passion for bringing entertainment to the CSRA began when I was involved with the Miller Theatre and researching historic facts about the venue. I discovered Augusta Amusements was responsible for downtown Augusta becoming a “Go To” city for entertainment during the 1940s until the mid ’70s.

I take a hands-on approach to Augusta Amusements, following the practices of the original 1931 organization, to assure our customers have the best entertainment experience possible. 

Community Groups and Charities I Love to Support: Music Theatre Workshops because the organization exposes young people to the art of dance, music and entertainment.

Biggest Career or Life Obstacle I’ve Overcome and How: I retired early from a fulltime position selling medical equipment to explore my dream of promoting concerts.

Accomplishment I’m Most Proud Of: Building Augusta Amusements into a regionally recognized source for quality entertainment 

What Your Childhood Self Wanted to Be When You Grew Up: I have no idea. I was too busy being a kid, engaging in outdoor sports. I probably was like many children that finish school and are not quite sure what direction to point. Fortunately for me, I entered Radiology Technology School at the Medical College of Georgia and now, after retirement from capital equipment sales, I am back in the hospital environment working at University Hospital part-time. When friends ask, I tell them that working part-time helps fund my hobby.

Favorite Way to Spend Saturday Afternoon: Exploring and searching for new talent to bring to our community

Favorite TV Shows: “Big Bang Theory,” “Seinfeld” and “Sanford and Son.” These shows make me laugh, and they had some of the most brillant writers.

Favorite Movies: Three Faces of Eve – I had the pleasure of becoming friends with Christine Sizemore, the inspiration for the Oscar-winning movie. Also, The Wizard of Oz. Again, I had the pleasure of becoming friends with an original cast member from the 1939 movie, Karl Slover (one of the munchkins). I’m also coming up to speed on Molly Ringwald movies as she will appear at the Jabez Hardin Performing Arts Center in October. And any movie featuring Tom Hanks.

Favorite Sports Team: Atlanta Falcons (My heart is on the mend after their recent Super Bowl appearance.) 

Favorite Comfort Food: Sushi and home-cooked food

Favorite App: Flightradar. It still amazes me how many airplanes are in the skies above us at any time of the day. 

Last Book Read: Sins of South Beach, The True Story of Corruption, Violence, Murder and the Making of Miami Beach by Alex Daoud, the three-time mayor of Miami Beach 

Dream Vacation: Jeannette and I just celebrated our honeymoon in Hawaii, so that box has been checked. An Alaskan cruise may be next on the Bucket List. 

Something That Has Changed My Life: Marriage

Best Thing I Ever Learned: Selling medical equipment for 30-plus years taught me business practices that I have applied to operating Augusta Amusements. 

One Word You Would Use to Describe Yourself: Passioniate 

Favorite Hobbies: Promoting concerts. Until the venture becomes profitable, it will remain my hobby.

Secret Aspiration: To expand Augusta Amusements into a regional organization that can bring entertainment to other communities

Reality Show I Would Totally Win: I haven’t found a reality show I enjoy. 

Something People Would Be Surprised to Know About Me: I have been told I am a “jokester.” 

What person do you think we should know? If you’d like to suggest someone we should meet, email editor@columbiacountymag.com and tell us why.

War Stories


War StoriesA new book chronicles the firsthand experiences of local veterans during World War II
Ten years ago, the National Veterans History Project, a nationwide storytelling initiative that is affiliated with the Library of Congress, was launched to preserve the stories of World War II veterans through video interviews. More than 850 local veterans were interviewed for the project, and the videos are part of the collection at Augusta University’s Reese Library and at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Now, however, the stories of 147 of these veterans also can be found in a new book, “In Their Own Words – Augusta and Aiken Area Veterans Remember World War II.”

“The book traces the veterans’ experiences from their training days to going overseas to the Pacific or European theaters,” says Fred Gehle, the local Veterans History Project coordinator. “It winds up with references to their post-war activities after coming home. There are some phenomenal stories.”

In sharp detail the soldiers describe memories such as coming across Omaha Beach on D-Day, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944, entering a German concentration camp just after its liberation, witnessing the explosive crash of two kamikaze aircraft into their ship, seeing friends right beside them on the battlefield get killed and surviving a German POW camp after being shot down over Europe.

Even though the veterans were in their 80s or 90s when they were interviewed, Gehle says, their recollections of their wartime experiences often were more vivid than their recent memories. In addition, he says, about half of the veterans in the book are deceased now.

“The Second World War is becoming a memory, and it receives less and less attention from the generations that have followed,” says Gehle. 

The book, which costs $25 (including tax), is available through the Augusta Richmond County Historical Society, which has participated in the project since 2007; amazon.com and local book stores. All proceeds go back to the Historical Society. For more information, email archs1946@gmail.com or call (706) 737-1532.

Something To Tell You — HAIM

Listen To This

HaimEver wondered what would happen if the best of what made late 1980’s pop gold decided to sprout life in the 2000s? Enter three sisters who were barely out of diapers when the pop died. Este, Danielle and Alana Haim, collectively known as HAIM, have gathered the ancient ruins of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis-era pop gold and have seamlessly recreated layers upon layers of style and influence with their uniquely familiar sound. This follow-up to their 2014 smash debut, Days Are Gone, finds the sisters four years older and 20 years wiser musically. Something To Tell You is a product well crafted.

HAIM caught the ear of Stevie Nicks for this ride, and she became a mentoring force behind the refinement of songwriting. By proxy, the sound has reflections of Fleetwood Mac’s Tango In The Night album, with 60s fuzz and a pinch of Wilson Phillips — in a good way. The rhythm hooks create a smooth ride over bumpy cadence and raw emotion as the record pulls the listener through the trials and victories of life, senses and relationships. A wise tip the sisters took from Nicks was to keep an active journal where finding something poetic every day was the goal.

Each track has its rightful place in the pecking order for a robust experience, but the sizzle reel would include “Want You Back,” “You Never Knew” and “Night So Long.” Get your routine back in place with a little HAIM in the rotation.

- Chris Rucker



Nick SandlinIn some ways, little has changed in two years for former Greenbrier High School baseball standout Nick Sandlin – and that’s a good thing. He led the Wolfpack to the Class 5A Georgia state baseball title in 2015, and now he is cutting a striking figure at the University of Southern Mississippi as well. 

The sophomore relief pitcher finished this past season with a 10-2 record and had eight saves in 11 opportunities. He had an earned run average of .238 and struck out 80 batters in 56⅔ innings. He allowed only one home run and limited the opposition to a .201 batting average.

Recently selected a second team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, Sandlin attributes his success to USM pitching coach Michael Federico and his teammates.

“I’ve been lucky to have him both years,” Sandlin says about Federico. “Freshman year, I was learning from the older guys on the team and what to expect at the D1 level. I’ve just been on good teams with a good defense behind me.”

Arriving as a freshman at 5-foot-11 and 148 pounds, Sandlin has bulked up to 170 pounds as a result of strength training and a healthy diet. In high school, his fastball peaked in the mid-80 mph range. Now, he’s throwing in the upper 80s and low 90s. 

He also has added a splitter or changeup to complement his fastball and slider. It’s another pitch to confuse batters.

In addition to his pitching prowess, Sandlin recently was named a third team Academic All-American by the College of Sports Information Directors of America. He has earned a 4.0 GPA over two years in construction engineering technology.

“We’ve got a good academic support staff,” Sandlin says. “You gotta learn how to balance them (baseball and academics) your first year in college. Once you figure it out a little bit, it’s not too bad. You stay busy. It’s just the daily routine.”

The Golden Eagles set a school record for wins this season, compiling a 50-16 record. Southern Mississippi lost to Mississippi State 8-6 in the Hattiesburg Regional Final on June 5 to end its season. However, Sandlin has continued to sharpen his skills this summer by pitching for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks in the Cape Cod League for collegiate players in Massachusetts.

By Jim Irish

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

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The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth HoganAnthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects — the things others have dropped, misplaced or accidently left behind — and writing stories about them.

Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and all of its lost treasures.

Recovering from a bad divorce, Laura, in some ways, is one of Anthony’s lost things. But when the lonely woman moves into his mansion, her life begins to change. She finds a new friend in the neighbor’s quirky daughter and a welcome distraction in the rugged gardener. As the dark cloud engulfing her lifts, Laura, accompanied by her new companions, sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish — reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners.

With an unforgettable cast of characters, The Keeper of Lost Things is a heartwarming read about second chances, endless possibilities and joyful discoveries.

“Hogan’s novel reveals how even discarded items have significance and seemingly random objects, people and places are all interconnected,” says Booklist.

Mister Mellow — Washed Out

Listen To This

Mister Mellow — Washed OutPerry, Georgia: “Where Georgia Comes Together” — This hot and sleepy South Georgia town is the birthplace of a pioneer in modern music’s most unique movement to date, appropriately labeled “chillwave.” 

To the layperson, the chillwave movement might be considered more of a background track to a hip new clothing store, but there is an expanded universe of infinite compositions that can be discovered. Mister Mellow, the latest release by Washed Out, is a perfect example.

Washed Out mastermind Ernest Greene sews a quilt of sweet, mushy beats, sultry dance rhythms with glitchy retro layers that slink around his lighter-than-air vocals to create the perfect atmosphere for any venue. A graduate of the University of Georgia with a Master of Library and Information Science, Greene opted out of being confined to the Dewy Decimal System and created a dewy-library of science where experiential inspiration and influence meets musical mastery and craft. 

The follow-up to the 2013 smash Paracosm, Mister Mellow reveals more of Washed Out’s immeasurable talent of crossfading the genres of jazz, soul, funk, house, disco-synth, VHS tracking slurs, hip hop and laptop folk, which he stirs to a slow simmer. All of the musical flavors naturally forge a sonic force field that makes the work day more productive, a long drive totally worth it and a flight more delightful. 

Mister Mellow is the perfect soundtrack to lure summer fun back to a refreshed reality. 

- Chris Rucker