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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

Listen To This

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

Tiptoe Through the . . . Zucchini?


Tiptoe Through the . . . Zucchini?Most of us will look at our calendars this month and simply call August 8 “Tuesday.” However, the well-meaning gardeners or practical jokers or do-gooders among us will take advantage of the true significance of the day.

Yes, August 8 is National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day. Time to shake up an otherwise ordinary day with a little garden mischief.

By the time August rolls around, gardeners usually have been inundated with more zucchini than they can possibly use. When friends, neighbors and co-workers see desperate zucchini growers heading toward them with armloads of the green stuff, they start to turn the other way. 

Yet resolute gardeners can circumvent their friends’ reactions to their unwanted advances. To unload their zucchini surplus, sneaky gardeners can get up early or stay up late to do their deed under the cover of darkness without feeling a lick of guilt.

Truly magnanimous souls can first bake the zucchini into bread or muffins and put their handiwork in a cute little basket.

And what to do with all that zucchini the rest of the month? Well, you’re on your own.

A Taste of Honey


A taste of honeyPhinizy Nature Center will be abuzz with things for you to add to your “honey-do” list, but they won’t be a chore. First and foremost, you should make plans to attend its National Honey Bee Day Celebration on Saturday, August 19.

And if you’re really ambitious, whip up a dessert for the bake-off contest.

Bake-off contestants must be amateur cooks, and entries must be homemade. Of course, honey must be one of the ingredients. Individuals or teams can submit more than one entry, but can win only one prize.

Contestants can register online for the bake-off, and local chefs will judge the homemade honey desserts. Submissions should not require heating or refrigeration.

Those who enjoy a little competition outside the kitchen can participate in games such as pin the wings on the bee, a bee piñata, turtle egg relay, three-legged heron race, frog hop relay, volleyball, soccer and hackysack toss. Adventurous types can go on a pollinator plant scavenger hunt as well.

Additional activities include honey tasting from local beekeepers, face painting, crafts, educational classes and live music from The Wynn’s. Be sure to bring a picnic and blanket.

Honey will be available for purchase from Phinizy’s Visitor Center and from beekeeper booths. Donations are welcome to support Phinizy programming.

If You Go: 

What: National Honey Bee Day Celebration

When: 10 a.m. – noon Saturday, August 19 

Where: Phinizy Swamp Nature Center

How Much: Free

More Info: phinizycenter.org

Clint Bryant


Augusta University Director of Intercollegiate AthleticsAugusta University Director of Intercollegiate Athletics 

Number of years in position: 30 

Family: Wife, Trish Bryant; daughters, Lauren Ashley Bryant, Washington, D.C., and Kristin Amanda Bryant, Boston 

Why I’m Passionate About What I Do: I’ve been in intercollegiate athletics since 1977, so I’ve had the opportunity to watch young people grow up. I enjoy seeing people come in as 17- or 18-year-old kids and seeing them leave as 21- and 22-year olds with their degrees. A lot of times they are the first generation in their families to get a college education. 

Community Groups and Charities I Love to Support: I support a lot of them. I don’t want to leave any out, but a few organizations that I’ve supported are Boys & Girls Clubs, Family Y, The Warrior Alliance, 100 Black Men of Augusta Inc., American Heart Association and American Cancer Society. You name it; I’ve done it. But my biggest passion is helping disadvantaged kids or kids with special needs, and helping kids overcome obstacles. I’m also very passionate about our warriors and wounded veterans.

Biggest Career or Life Obstacle I’ve Overcome and How: I guess growing up as an inner city kid in Washington, D.C. — I’ve seen how you can go from there to having an opportunity to live the life I’ve lived and travel all over the world. I’ve been to places such as New Zealand, Argentina and every state except one. I’ve never been to North Dakota. Some of the travel has been for pleasure, but most of it has been work-related over the years.

Accomplishment I’m Most Proud Of: Probably when I was selected to the NCAA Division II 40th Anniversary Tribute Team in 2013. The team is made up of former student-athletes who made a difference in competition during their playing days and as civic leaders after they graduated. I was one of 40 people recognized for contributions to the NCAA.

What Your Childhood Self Wanted to Be When You Grew Up: A fireman. There were always a lot of firetrucks around, so I had a thing about firemen.

Favorite Way to Spend Saturday Afternoon: Grilling. I can cook anything – ribs, chicken, all kinds of fish and wild game. If it’s edible, I can grill it. 

Favorite TV Show: Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations”

Favorite Movie: Tombstone

Favorite Sports Team: Golden State Warriors

Favorite Comfort Food: Gumbo. In 1984, Bill Foster and I left Clemson University to restart the basketball program at the University of Miami after it had been on a 15-year hiatus. I recruited a young man out of Lafayette, Louisiana. I stayed at the Radisson, and I went to the concierge and said I wanted some real Cajun food. There were a lot of restaurants around, but I went 10-12 miles out of town. I ended up on this bayou at a place where they put the food on a table with paper and cold beer. The people there took a liking to me because I stopped in there every time I went to the area. The grandmother finally said that if I came back again, she would teach me how to make Cajun food. She taught me how to make the best gumbo.

Favorite App: Vivino. It’s a wine app.

Last Book Read: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates 

Dream Vacation: I’d like to go to the San Francisco area, Sausalito, Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley because I’m crazy about wine.

Something That Has Changed My Life: The birth of my daughters and my basketball coach, Bob Hussey, at Belmont Abbey College. With his help, I had the opportunity to get into college coaching.

Best Thing I Ever Learned: Life is a never-ending process of getting used to things that you never expected.

One Word You Would Use to Describe Yourself: Outgoing

Favorite Hobbies: Cooking, fishing, golf

Secret Aspiration: To write a memoir 

Reality Show I Would Totally Win: “Cooks Vs. Cons”

Something People Would Be Surprised to Know About Me: I was born in rural, coastal, eastern North Carolina in a small town called Bolivia. It is 22 miles south of Wilmington and 24 miles north of Myrtle Beach.

Major League Talent


Mallard-PairA former Atlanta Braves pitcher uses his woodworking skills to create world-class waterfowl carvings 

Nestled in the beautiful countryside in one of Lincoln County’s Clarks Hill Lake residential areas, Denny Lemaster is usually busy in his shop carving incredible wooden waterfowl and other types of birds.

Denny, an ex-Atlanta Braves pitcher, has crafted his lifelong love of the outdoors into a hobby/vocation that has gained him national attention in the art world.

At first glance, duck carving might seem to have little in common with pitching. “Duck carving is relaxing,” Denny says. “Major League pitching was tense, especially when you had thousands of people in the stands screaming.”

However, the two skills have some traits in common. “You have to be patient. You can’t rush it. Pitching was the same way,” says Denny, who spent the first six of his 11 years in the Majors with the Braves.

Wood-Duck-HenAnd sometimes, when he is working on a duck carving, Denny has to find his way out of a jam – just like the lefthander did when he was facing an opposing hitter in the batter’s box. 

“Every bird is a challenge. You’ll carve yourself into a trap, and you have to figure out how to make it right,” he says.

Eclectic Interests 
Denny went from the Major Leagues to a 35-year, post-baseball career of building houses to carving waterfowl in his leisure time. “I was always handy,” he says. “If I could see it, I could do it.”

He also did a lot of duck hunting and fishing when he was playing baseball from 1962 until 1972, and his love of the outdoors brought him to Lincolnton as a permanent resident about 10 years ago.

Greenwing-Teal“I used to fish a lot, and I would come to Clarks Hill all the time,” says the father of four. “We also camped a lot at Elijah Clark State Park.”

Growing up in California, Denny loved fishing at an early age and fished regularly with his dad. In later years while living in Atlanta, he fished in tournaments all across the United States and won the Major League Baseball Fishing Tournament two times at Cypress Gardens, Florida. He also was a member of the Lincoln County Bassmasters, a Lincolnton-based fishing club, and won several tournaments on Clarks Hill and area lakes.

About 30 years ago, being a fella with varying interests, he began collecting antique duck decoys. His wife, Bunny, gave him a duck decoy-making kit for Christmas one year and that started his creative waterfowl carving career. About this same time at a wildlife show held at Atlanta’s Lenox Square, Denny met a notable carver, Allen Sikes from Cartersville, who agreed to give Denny a few lessons.


Major League Talent

Photography by Bunny Lemaster

“He would carve one side of the duck, and I would carve the other side,” says Denny.

He entered a carving in his first show, which was in New Orleans, and won first place. This success prompted him to make an entry for the Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition and Art Festival in Ocean City, Maryland, and he won second place. Competing against duck carvers from all across the world, Denny’s talent garnered international attention.

People started buying his ducks and ordering them after seeing them at shows. Now, however, he sells them by word-of-mouth. “I got out of competition carving because I want to carve what I want to carve,” Denny says. “With a competition bird, you have to dot every ‘I’ and cross every ‘t.’ You have no artistic license.”

2-ducksPainstaking Process
The process is a long one and requires many hours of carving and finally painting his finished pieces. He starts with a 16-inch-by-6-inch-by-6-inch block of tupelo gum, the wood of choice for this type of art. After weeks and weeks of working on one bird, his product is finally finished. He carves a variety of birds including mallards, wood ducks, red hens, puddle ducks, divers, canvass backs as well as birds like eagles and hawks.

About three years ago, the tupelo gum wood became impossible to find and was no longer on the market. “It’s extremely hard work getting that wood,” says Denny. “It’s in a swamp. You’re in a boat in the water cutting the wood. You’re not on land, and the trees are 100 to 150 feet tall.”

DuckNot being one to sit idly by and not being able to carve any longer, Denny started doing color pencil art of his birds and created incredible drawings that he now incorporates into a yearly calendar that is in such demand that he sells out every year. The wood, which is found in marshlands on the Southeast coast from Louisiana to North Carolina, is again available so he continues to carve and draw.

Humble and unassuming, Denny does not take his talent for granted. He realizes that he has been given multiple skills that have enabled him to be a Major Leaguer, a championship fisherman, a world class wildfowl carver and now a sketch artist. “Baseball seemed to be a God-given talent,” Denny says. “I never thought that growing up on a dairy farm would lead me in so many directions.”

Sidebar-photoA Career to Remember
Before Lincolnton resident Denny Lemaster became an acclaimed duck carver, he used to slice up opposing batters as a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. 

The amicable All-Star pitcher graduated from Oxnard (California) High School in the late 1950s and moved quickly through the Braves farm system to the Majors with the Milwaukee Braves in 1962. 

“I signed out of high school when I was 18 years old, and three years later I was pitching with the Milwaukee Braves. That’s something I’d always wanted to do ever since I was a kid in California,” says Denny, who was the state’s high school player of the year as a senior. “When I got home from my high school graduation, 13 Major League scouts were waiting in the driveway to talk to me.” 

Reflecting back on his career, Denny fondly remembers the first time he put on a Major League uniform and appeared at County Stadium in Milwaukee as a Milwaukee Brave. He says the thrill of being in the majors just five years out of high school was the highlight of his career.Denny-the-artistThe 1962 Braves consisted of several high profile players including Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Del Crandall, Joe Torre, Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette. In the team’s first year in Atlanta in 1966, he played with more stars like Felipe Alou, Woody Woodward, Rico Carty and Phil Niekro.

The southpaw pitched 11 years in the Majors and appeared in 357 games. He is credited with being the winning pitcher in the Atlanta Braves’ first victory. This was a road game against the Mets at Shea Stadium in New York. 

By Lamar Garrard 

Star-Spangled Fun


Fireworks-genericLocal Independence Day Fireworks & Festivities

June 30
Fort Gordon’s Independence Day Celebration
Barton Field
Event includes family activities, food and craft vendors and live music. Fireworks begin at dark. Bring blankets and chairs. 5-11 p.m. Free. Guests 16 and older must present a photo ID at Gate 1. (706) 791-4300, fortgordon.com

July 1
Clarks Hill Lake 4th of July Fireworks
Amity Recreation Area
Fireworks show at the lake is presented for boaters and onlookers from shore. Free. 8-10 p.m. Bring seating and picnics. Best viewing areas are Amity Recreation Area, Raysville Marina and Raysville Campground. exploremcduffiecounty.com

July 3
Freedom Blast
Thomson-McDuffie Government Center Lawn
Event includes music, food and drink vendors, corn hole tournament, sack races and children’s fun zone. 7-10 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. Bring lawn seating. Coolers are allowed, but no alcohol. Free. thomsonmcduffiechamber.com

July 4
Yankee Doodle Dash
Savannah Rapids Pavilion
Bare bones race format features a 5K and 10K on the Augusta Canal tow path. 8 a.m. $15 registration. augustastriders.com

Boom in the Park
Evans Towne Center Park
Columbia County’s annual July 4th celebration features live music by The Remedy and Led Zeppelin tribute band Black Dawg, water slides, water balloon field and food vendors. 6-11 p.m. Fireworks begin at dusk. Free admission. No outside food or beverages. boominthepark.com

Grovetown Fourth of July Barbecue
Liberty Park Community Center
Community-wide picnic features barbecue, family activities, karaoke and DJ. Serving begins at noon and continues until barbecue runs out. Noon-4 p.m. On-site dining is free; takeout available for $5 per plate. (706) 860-7691, cityofgrovetown.com

Patriotic Boat Parade
Savannah Lakes Marina Beach
Decorate your boat with a patriotic theme for the boat parade. Begins at 10 a.m. at Dorn Landing and ends at Savannah Lakes Marina beach. An ice cream boat will toss cold treats to participants. Bring lawn seating and your own food and beverages. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Free for spectators. Boat parade registration $10. tlsps.org

Hot-dog-with-flagAugusta GreenJackets Fireworks Extravaganza
Lake Olmstead Stadium
GreenJackets vs. Columbia Fireflies. 6:35 p.m. Game followed by fireworks. General admission $9; discounts for military, seniors and children. (706) 736-7889, greenjackets.net

Independence Day Celebration
Augusta Common
Downtown Augusta celebration features live entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, food vendors and family activities. 4-10 p.m. Fireworks begin at dusk. No coolers or pets. (706) 821-1754, augustaga.gov

Star-Spangled Fourth Concert & Party
Saint Paul’s Church at Riverwalk
Patriotic presentation features tenor Daniel Rodriquez and honors America’s first responders and police force. World War II veterans will participate, along with active duty military. (706) 722-2485, riverwalkseries.com

Elvis is in the Building


Elvis-on-stageIf Elvis Presley gets you all shook up, then this is a must-see show for his fans

It has been almost 40 years since the untimely death of Elvis Presley, but the King’s music and popularity live on. And Evans will be rocking when Travis Powell – one of the top 5 Elvis tribute artists in the world – takes the stage on July 15. Presenting a recreation of Elvis on Tour at the height of his career, Powell will take the audience back in time to the early 1970s when the singer was in his prime.

The concert will open with a special performance from Carolina Quartet. Powell also will be joined by the TCB Experience Band featuring an original drum kit actually used by Elvis’ drummer, Ronnie Tutt, on tour; Alissa Davis and Diane Bailey. 

The North Carolina native was raised in a musical family with roots in Southern gospel music, and his admiration for Presley began at a young age. His grandmother made him his own Elvis jumpsuit when he was 4 years old, and his grandfather would shine a flashlight on him as a spotlight as he performed. Powell has won a number of Elvis tribute artist contests, including the Elvis Presley Enterprises-sanctioned 2014 Ultimate Elvis contest in Memphis where he placed in the top 5.

If You Go:

What: Travis Powell as Elvis on Tour 

When: 7-9 p.m. Saturday, July 15 

Where: Hardin Performing Arts Center 

How Much: $35 – $50 

More Info: etatravispowell.com

Reynold Borseth


Reynold BorsethReynold Borseth
Sales Center Manager, Augusta/Milledgeville
Augusta Coca-Cola, A Division of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United 

Number of years in position: 18

Family: Wife, Gwen; son, Jason; daughter, Dena

 Why I’m Passionate About What I Do: I feel very fortunate to work for a company such as Coca-Cola United. It is a company that lives by its core values (integrity, respect, quality and excellence), from our CEO and president to all of our associates. It is 115 years old, and our employees have always taken pride in giving uncompromised service, great execution in our market and being involved in our communities. A company has to have great people to be as successful as Augusta Coca-Cola has been over the years. The reputation it has established today came from all the hard work so many people did in the past and that our employees continue to do today. It all goes back to the people. If you have great people and great brands, you are going to be successful and win. 

Community Groups and Charities I Love to Support: The Merchants Association of Columbia County and the Augusta Sports Council. I know there are a lot of great organizations in our community, but I have been a board member/member of the Augusta Sports Council for more than 20 years and a member of The Merchants of Columbia County for more than 12 years. I just enjoy being a small part of two great organizations and what they give back to the community…which is a lot.

Biggest Career or Life Obstacle I’ve Overcome and How:  Losing our son Reynold Jr. in 1998 in a car accident. He had just started college, and there is no doubt we would have watched him on TV playing for a MLB team. When Reynold had his accicdent, you expect your family to be there for support, which they were, but it was our friends that reached out with love and support that helped so much, along with the memories of all the good times we had with Reynold for the 18 years he was with us.

Accomplishment I’m Most Proud Of:  Since 1989, being a part of all the great teams we have had at Augusta Coca-Cola and what we were able to accomplish. Also, watching our employees grow and advance with their careers.

What Your Childhood Self Wanted to Be When You Grew Up:  When I was young I always thought I would join the military.

Favorite Way to Spend Saturday Afternoon:  Playing golf and then going out to dinner with my wife and mother-in-law.

Favorite TV Show:  “Blue Bloods”

Favorite Movie:  Saving Private Ryan 

Favorite Sports Team: There is only one team…Georgia Bulldogs! 

Favorite Comfort Food: My wife’s fried rice 

Favorite App: Finance

Last Book Read: Small Giants (Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big) by Bo Burlingham 

Dream Vacation (and Why): To spend the whole month of January in Hawaii. Play golf and attend the two PGA golf tournaments and Champions Golf Tournament.

Something That Has Changed My Life:  The tragedy with our son. Life is too short.

Best Thing I Ever Learned: Gather your facts before you make a decision. Don’t assume or jump to conclusions. 

One Word You Would Use to Describe Yourself: Dependable.

 Favorite Hobbies: I love to play golf and go fishing.

Secret Aspiration: Back in the day, to play on some type of a tennis tour.

Reality Show I Would Totally Win: “Amazing Race” with my wife, Gwen. She is so competitive that I know we would win.

Something People Would Be Surprised to Know About Me: I played competitive tennis for more than 20 years at the 4.5 level with great friends.

The Shark Club by Ann Kidd Taylor

Literary Loop

The-Shark-Club by-Ann-Kidd-TaylorJust in time for beach-reading season, New York Times best-selling author Ann Kidd Taylor releases her warm and vivid new novel about taking second chances — in life and in the sea. 

Maeve Donnelly has been interested in sharks ever since she was bitten by one as a 12-year-old and survived. Now an adult, Maeve is a marine biologist and more comfortable with sharks than she is with people.

At the end of a research trip, however, Maeve is drawn to Nicholas, a fellow researcher, and invites him to meet her in Mozambique for her next expedition. Yet when she returns to her childhood home at her aunt’s hotel in Florida, she finds unresolved family and romantic relationships waiting for her.  

While Maeve has always been fearless in the water, on land she is indecisive. Should she re-kindle her romance with the first love she left behind when she dove into her work? Or indulge in a new romance with her colleague, who turns up in her hometown to investigate an illegal shark-finning operation?

Set against a backdrop of palm trees, calypso bands and perfect ocean views, The Shark Club is a story of forgiveness, love, the sea and the sharks that inhabit it. 

“Captivating…an engaging novel about the loves that define our lives,” says Kirkus Reviews.

“A delicious summer read,” says Redbook.

Adiós — Glen Campbell

Listen To This

Listen-to-This-July-Glen-CampbellThe Country Western genre is slowly becoming extinct. What once was a vibrant honky tonk of highway men slinging road-worn stories of love and life is now as faded and dusty as the jeans they wore. Heroes like Cash, Waylon, Merle, Williams and Jones have all galloped into the sunset, leaving behind a handful of cowboys to stoke the fire. One of those is the original Rhinestone Cowboy, Glen Campbell.

Five years ago, Campbell announced he was suffering from early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and in the years since, has made the most of his time recording and capping off quite a legacy of music. His 2013 release, See You There, was a raw reminder of just how powerful and ingrained Campbell’s music and influence is through pop culture and the country music scene, and his latest and last recording, appropriately titled Adiós, is the perfect lasso around the herd that will take him home.

Twelve cover songs that were close to Campbell’s heart but never recorded finally shine a love light on a career well crafted, and he called up some old friends for the rodeo. Willie Nelson’s signature roll on his classic “Funny How Time Slips Away” could not be more appropriate, and Vince Gill’s chime on “Am I All Alone (Or Is It Just Me)” is just what the doctor ordered. But the most prophetic and nostalgic track “Arkansas Farmboy” is the crux of Campbell’s life and career and a forever reminder of how much we will miss him. Thank you Glen for giving us the perfect Adiós. 

- Chris Rucker

Little River Water Trail

Water Trail

Georgia’s Little River Water Trail is a wildlife sanctuary for bald eagle nests, river otters, turtles and other animals, and its history includes gold mines as well as Quaker and Native American Indian settlements. (Mark Rodgers photo)

Happy Trail
Georgia’s Little River Water Trail will make a big splash in the area recreational, environmental and tourism community. The development of Georgia’s Little River into a water trail has been underway for several months, and the effort continues to build momentum.

Similar to a hiking trail, a water trail has safe public access points, information kiosks and signage, and family friendly amenities such as picnic areas and facilities along the route.

The trail flows 20 miles through Wilkes, Warren and McDuffie counties within the 15,000-acre Clarks Hill Wildlife Management Area, and it includes four public access locations – Highway 80, Highway 78, Holliday Park and Raysvillle Campground. The water trail is a wildlife sanctuary for bald eagle nests, river otters, turtles and other animals, and its history includes gold mines as well as Quaker and Native American Indian settlements.

The Little River Water Trail is being developed by various community stakeholders including McDuffie, Wilkes and Warren counties; the Army Corps of Engineers; the Department of Natural Resources; landowners; local business owners; Boy Scout troop leaders and local paddlers. Gwyneth Moody, the Georgia River Network director of programs and outreach, is helping as well.

“Georgia River Network’s water trails technical assistance program helps communities form comprehensive water trail stakeholder partnerships as well as providing them with guidance and resources to begin developing a sustainable water trail,” Moody says. “It’s a win-win for everyone – and most importantly our rivers as water trails are also an effective way to introduce people to river issues and to engage them in the protection of their local waterways.” 

Developments include the passage of the Georgia’s Little River Water Trail Resolutions of Support by McDuffie and Wilkes counties, social media updates and the design of marketing materials. Trail head kiosks have been put up at some access points, and kayak rentals are available at Raysville Campground. Georgia River Network also held a two-day paddle and campout on Little River in May.

“Ultimately, Georgia River Network hopes to see Georgia’s Little River Water Trail join the statewide Georgia Water Trails Network consisting of the 15 water trails that have successfully fulfilled the six criteria required to become an officially established water trail. 

Under the criteria, the water trail must:

  • Be sponsored, maintained and promoted by a local entity or partnership;
  • Have publicly accessible areas that paddlers can legally access and safely unload boats and park vehicles;
  • Have river access sites that are appropriately spaced apart on the river so that they may be reasonable paddled in a few hours or a full day;
  • Have water access to public overnight camping sites, depending on the length of the trail;
  • Provide information about the water trail to paddlers through a website and illustrative maps created by the sponsoring entity;
  • Place signage or kiosks that include river etiquette information, paddling safety information and a map of the water trail at all access points.

The water trail will be divided into three sections – Highway 80/Wrightsboro Road Bridge in McDuffie County to Highway 78 (7.63 miles), Highway 78 to Holliday Park in Wilkes County (7.86 miles) and Holliday Park to Raysville Campground in McDuffie County (4.53 miles).

“This is a great opportunity for McDuffie County to take advantage of our close proximity to Clarks Hill Lake, and it will open up a whole new world of outdoor recreation, family fun and business opportunities for our community,” says Elizabeth Vance, the Thomson-McDuffie County Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director and Little River Water Trail coordinator.

A ribbon cutting is slated for later this summer once the six water trail criteria have been met.

Follow the Sun — Various Artists

Listen To This

listen to thisNo trip to the pool should be without a perfectly crafted soundtrack — a backdrop of tunes that elicits cannonballs and corkscrews, lazy floating and cookouts. It sets the mood and presses the grooves of memories and nostalgia that keep us waiting in line at the diving board way past our prime. 

Through the years, I have experimented poolside with all genres spanning the decades of pop culture and soundscape, and without a doubt, songs recorded and released between 1955-1975 create an environment unlike any other. Now, just in time for summer, a new compilation of practically unearthed gems is hitting the airwaves.

The compilation, appropriately titled Follow the Sun, is a collection of obscure tracks recorded in the late 60s and early 70s by fledging artists from the Australian music scene. Keith Abrahamsson, owner of Mexican Summer records, dusted off these gems of old and created a 19-track time warp that captures a stitch in music history where singers were songwriters and instrumentation was a vast and fast-growing vine of influence and experimentation.

Follow the Sun is chock-full of material you have not heard, but there is a familiar undercurrent that stimulates the senses like freshly cut grass and hose water. It is the perfect foundation for a golden oldie wall of sound that dances and moves through the water like Marco looking for Polo. Follow the sun, and enjoy yourself. 

- Chris Rucker

Calling All Parrotheads


Calling All ParrotheadsFins to the left, fins to the right — A1A’s Margaritaville is coming to Evans Towne Center Park

It’s five o-clock somewhere, and on Saturday, June 3, that’s the time the Evans Towne Center Park gates will open for the Summer Beach Blast featuring Pirate Flag and A1A. Pirate Flag, a Kenny Chesney tribute band, will take the stage from 6-8 p.m., and A1A, a Jimmy Buffett tribute band, will follow from 8:30-10:30 p.m. 

In addition to live music, the event will include island food, tropical drinks and a “sandy shore.” Limited VIP tickets will include reserved parking, cheeseburgers in paradise, beer, wine, preferred seating and viewing areas, and private restrooms. The VIP tent will be located to the left of the stage. 

Pirate Flag recreates Chesney’s music and showmanship, which had sold out stadiums and built his “No Shoes Nation” fan club. Formed in 1991, A1A won a Margaritaville Records-sponsored Jimmy Buffett Sound-Alike Contest and is personally sanctioned by Buffett himself. 

So why not kick off the summer with these talented musicians? Shoes are optional. Fun is mandatory. 

If You Go:

What: Summer Beach Blast

When: 5-11 p.m. Saturday, June 3 

Where: Evans Towne Center Park

How Much: $15 in advance; $20 at gate; $80 VIP 

More Info: summerbeachblast.com