Monthly Archives: February 2019

In the Market

Garden Scene

In the MarketWeekly farmers market returns with local produce, artisanal goods and new surprises.

The weather is getting warmer, and the days are getting longer. Sounds like the perfect ingredients to launch the Columbia County Farmers Market. Beginning on March 7, the Farmers Market will be held at Evans Towne Center Park from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. every Thursday through October 24.

Each week local residents can browse vendors’ stands for goods such as locally grown produce, meats, dairy products, honey, jams and jellies, pickled foods, soaps and candles. Market-goers can pick up menu ideas that showcase locally grown products, and a food truck will be onsite each evening of the market. Entertainment will include live music and a kids’ fun zone.

On the first Thursday of each month, a beer and wine tent, along with a Make It at the Market activity, will be offered. The cost of making the craft will vary according to the project. The market is designed to give residents “a reason to bring the family out and enjoy the park once a week,” says Cassidy Harris, the county public relations manager.

The fun will continue at the park March 9 from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. with the county’s “Saturday Cinema” free movie night. A food truck, kids’ fun zone and more will be available as well.

 

If You Go:
What: Columbia County Farmers Market

When: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. Every Thursday, March 7 – October 24

Where: Evans Towne Center Park

How Much: Free admission

More Info: evanstownecenterpark.com

Sip & Savor

LIFE + STYLE

The Columbia County Food and Wine Festival is back in a new rooftop location.

If there is truth in wine, then it’s certain that local residents can enjoy a taste of food and drink, fun and fellowship – not to mention a fabulous view – at the 14th annual Columbia County Food and Wine Festival on the rooftop of The Meybohm Building at the Plaza.

Organized this year by Roger Strohl, owner of Cork & Flame, the festival will feature more than 200 wines from around the world for sampling as well as culinary tastings from area establishments.

Participants include Cork & Flame, French Market Grille West, Finch & Fifth, Bogey’s Grille, Papa Mountain, Events 2020 and the Augusta Technical College Culinary Program.

“Our main goal is to make food and wine approachable for everyone no matter what their budget is,” says Chelsea Mathews, manager of the Cork & Flame Wine Market.

Festival-goers also can enjoy live entertainment by jazz musician Karen Gordon and bid on items ranging from a golf car to a wine cooler in a silent auction.

Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit the American Heart Association, the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and the Augusta Technical College Culinary Arts Program Educational Scholarship Endowment Fund.

All attendees must be at least 21 years old and show a photo ID.

 

If You Go:
What: Columbia County Food and Wine Festival

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

Where: The Meybohm Building at the Plaza

How Much: $50 in advance, $55 at door; $25 designated drivers. Tickets available at Cork & Flame and eventbrite.com

More Info: csrawinefestival.com, eventbrite.com

Music, Magic & Fairy Tales

LIFE + STYLE

Innovative concerts blend music and entertainment.

When Augusta Symphony performs, the show is bound to be magical. However, a performance on Thursday, March 7 will conjure up a bag of tricks in the literal sense in Symphonies of Illusion with Michael Grandinetti. Tickets range from $36 – $100.

Grandinetti combines cutting-edge magic and illusions with music and suspense. One of the stars of the hit CW television series “Masters of Illusion,” he has entertained with symphonies nationwide as well as at NFL halftime shows and the White House. During the National Independence Day Parade in Washington D.C., Grandinetti levitated a girl high above one of the floats as it moved down Constitution Avenue.

In a benefit concert on Saturday, March 16, the symphony will perform with Little River Band, which set a record for having Top 10 hits for six consecutive years. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the symphony’s education projects and Community Chords, a music therapy program in partnership with the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center.

Orchestra members have played regularly at the uptown and downtown VA throughout the season, participating in music therapy sessions with veterans who are working to reduce symptoms of stress, PTSD, pain and depression. Concert tickets range from $45 – $95, and patrons will have an opportunity to sponsor a ticket for a veteran when they purchase their tickets.

A Saturday, March 23 performance, Tragedy & Triumph, will feature Augusta Symphony concertmaster Anastasia Petrunina. The concert will include Strauss’ Death & Transfiguration, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.

Petrunina has played around the globe in prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall and Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory. She has toured extensively in Russia, the United States, Brazil, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Sweden and China. She also took part in recording music for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Walk-up tickets will be available for purchase for $10 for students and military at the box office beginning an hour before the concert. A student is anyone under age 16 or older than 16 with a valid student ID. Tickets range from $22 – $67.

These three performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Miller Theater.

As part of its Family Concerts at Columbia County Series, Augusta Symphony returns to Evans Sunday, March 24. The audience will hear Prokofiev’s symphonic fairy tale, “Peter and the Wolf,” in which each character is depicted by different instruments and musical themes, and Ravel’s musical illustration of the Mother Goose Suite. The performance begins at 4 p.m. at the Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for students.

On the Ballot

LIFE + STYLE

Photos courtesy of the Columbia County Board of Education

A special election this month will bring Columbia County residents to the polls to vote on an ESPLOST referendum.

Voting is the lifeblood of democracy, and Columbia County residents will have a chance to exercise their right to vote in a special election on March 19. A referendum calling for authorization to issue $160 million in general obligation bonds and a 1-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for educational purposes, or ESPLOST, will be on the ballot.

The 2022-2027 ESPLOST would be a continuation of the current 1-cent sales tax that voters previously approved, not an additional 1-cent tax. However, David Dekle, chairman of the Columbia County Board of Education, says, “This is different than past ESPLOSTs. We’re coming to voters a year earlier than normal to ask permission to issue general obligation bonds. Our growth has outpaced our ESPLOST revenue. If the voters approve the referendum, we will be able to issue bonds and start building new schools to meet that growth.”

The tax is shared by all residents as well as anyone who shops in Columbia County, and Columbia County voters continuously have approved the 1-cent sales tax since 1997. The Georgia Legislature established ESPLOST in 1996 to allow voters in a school district to approve a 1-cent sales tax on consumer goods to generate funds for capital projects such as construction of new schools, renovation of existing facilities, technology, purchasing buses or retiring existing debt.

The tax also can be used for facility improvements such as replacing HVAC systems, renovating science labs, repairing parking lots, adding lights, replacing roofs, upgrading auditoriums, resurfacing gym floors and adding new bleachers. The funds cannot be used for instructional supplies or salaries.

Anticipated capital outlay projects include a new high school campus in a centralized location, up to three new elementary schools, two new middle schools, athletic field renovations, bus purchases and technology upgrades.

Construction of the high school campus and an elementary school are the school district’s top priorities. If the referendum passes, then construction of the high school could begin in a year. The school likely would open in three years. Students from all five of the county’s high schools would be eligible to attend the central campus, which would offer classes in areas such as cyber, engineering and energy.

“Students would be at their home school for a portion of the day, then go to this campus,” says Sandra Carraway, superintendent of schools. “By building this campus, we would not be rezoning. We could take advantage of great career preparation opportunities, and it would be cost efficient. We wouldn’t be duplicating courses at our traditional high schools.”

Through block scheduling with 800 students in each of two blocks, the school could serve 1,600 students. They would attend by choice, and upperclassmen potentially could pursue an internship in their career pathway.

“The goal is to respond to the needs of the work force and create a campus in which we can meet our growth needs without building a new high school,” Dekle says. “Education is the number one driver of our economy in Columbia County. It’s the reason people move to Columbia County.”

From 2010-11 to 2017-18, student enrollment in Columbia County grew by about 14 percent, resulting in overcrowded schools. The student population for 2019-2020 is projected to climb by 579 students for a total enrollment of 28,099.

“Our projections are based on historical growth,” Carraway says. “This year we projected our growth at 470 students, but we grew by 580 students.”

The school board expects student enrollment to keep increasing as the county population continues to rise, largely due to anticipated growth at the U.S. Army Signal Center and Fort Gordon, which is home to the U.S. Army Cyber Command, the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and the National Security Agency.

Since 2000, 16 schools have been constructed and paid in full with ESPLOST monies – Lewiston, River Ridge, Baker Place, Cedar Ridge, Evans, Martinez, Parkway, Grovetown and North Harlem elementary schools; Greenbrier, Columbia, Evans, Grovetown, Stallings Island, and Harlem middle schools and Grovetown High School.

Additions also have been built and paid in full with ESPLOST funds at Blue Ridge, Cedar Ridge, Lewiston, River Ridge and Baker Place elementary schools; Grovetown and Evans middle schools and Evans, Greenbrier and Lakeside high schools.

“I think it’s a great investment in the future of Columbia County,” Dekle says of ESPLOST. “If we maintain a great school system, we’ll maintain a great county.”

Should the referendum fall short, Carraway says the school district would have to resort to “more portables, serious rezoning and double sessions” to accommodate growth. “If we have to wait another year, then it would halt planning for a year,” she says.

Early voting is underway. To see a sample ballot with the ESPLOST referendum question before voting, registered voters in Columbia County can visit the Georgia Secretary of State’s website at mvp.sos.ga.gov.

By Betsy Gilliland

Drink (and Eat) to Your Health

LIFE + STYLE

Sample signature culinary and beverage offerings at Bonne Santé.

There are lots of ways to spend a Sunday spring afternoon. However, one of the best ways to welcome the season is by attending Bonne Santé at Pine Knoll Farms in Appling.

Bonne Santé (French for “good health”) is a food and drink showcase that raises funds and awareness for National Kidney Foundation programs that support patients, their families and those at risk of developing kidney disease. Proceeds will be used for educating the public about reducing the risk of chronic kidney disease, advocacy, research and free kidney screenings.

The fundraiser will highlight the signature dishes of 10 to 15 local chefs at establishments such as Abel Brown Southern Kitchen and Oyster Bar, West Lake Country Club, Creative Cuisine, TakoSushi, Silver Palm Catering, The Crazy Empanada, Willie Jewell’s Old School Bar-B-Q, La Bonbonnière, Lil’ Dutch Bakery and The Pie Hole.

Drinks will include signature cocktails from Bar on Broad, craft beer from Back Paddle Brewing and gourmet coffee from 7 South Coffee, whose owner Lance Shay donated a kidney to his mother 29 years ago.

Typically drawing about 200 people, the event also will feature a silent auction and musical entertainment. In a live auction, attendees can bid on a private dinner for guests in their own homes prepared by some of the chefs or dinner, paired with wine, at the chefs’ restaurants.

Guest speakers will be dialysis patients including Michael Cofer, a former NFL linebacker who spent his entire 10-year career with the Detroit Lions and was selected for the 1988 Pro Bowl.

“I like to incorporate local dialysis and transplant patients as speakers to share their thoughts and highlight the importance of kidney disease,” says Dr. Laura Mulloy, division director, nephrology, at MCG at Augusta University and chairwoman of the fundraiser.

“Kidney disease can be detected with two simple tests at your doctor’s office,” says Krista Dasher, National Kidney Foundation senior development manager. “One in seven people in Georgia are at risk of getting kidney disease, which is the highest rate in the nation.”

If You Go:
What: Bonne Santé

When: 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday, March 10

Where: Pine Knoll Farms, Appling

How Much: $100 per person; $700 for table of eight; tickets available online or at the door

More Info: kidneyga.org, krista.dasher@kidney.org or (770) 452-1539, ext. 611

Sautéed Mushroom Fettuccine

Entrees
  • 4 cups mixed mushrooms (porcini, cremini, shiitake, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup homemade vegetable broth or water
  • 1/2 pound spinach fettuccine
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Clean and thinly slice mushrooms. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil and garlic over medium heat. When garlic begins to color (about 5 minutes), add oregano and parsley; cook 1 minute. Add mushrooms and sprinkle them with a pinch of salt to exude its juices. Cook about 7 minutes. Stir in vegetable broth and cook 8-12 minutes, until mushrooms are soft and cooked brown. While mushrooms are cooking, prepare pasta per package directions and drain. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve over pasta. Makes 2-4 servings.

Tides of a Teardrop — Mandolin Orange

Listen To This

Tides of a Teardrop — Mandolin OrangeA holler from the North Carolina hills becomes one of 2019’s sweetest tonal finds. Mandolin Orange — whose warm molasses trickle-strums and buttery brush cadence has been gaining serious traction in the Roots Revival scene since their 2016 breakout, Blindfaller — has paid the dues forward and documented every left turn for their official fifth release, Tides of a Teardrop.

Nostalgia is the horse pill-sized nucleus of inspiration for the songwriting grit and complementing delivery as each song expands instrumentally into intentional swells beyond the trickling mandolin and rhythm acoustic staple that has branded Mandolin Orange’s sound and appeal. Each song is set on an old farm table of naturally fragrant wildflowers and tarragon with a hint of morning-after bonfire soot.

Tracks like the creek-current-rumbling “Golden Embers” shares the need for companionship in mending a brokenness, while the shoe-drag waltzing number, “Mother Deer” is an epiphanic call to nature and the miracles of creation.

Each ensemble is perfectly crafted to provide range and depth while forging a path through life’s barriers and triumphs. Tides of a Teardrop is the perfect layer of solitude in the midst of March madness and preparation for the newness of spring.

– Chris Rucker

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

Literary Loop

In her new novel, New York Times bestselling author Lisa See explores the haenyeo, or sea-women divers who live on Jeju Island, South Korean’s largest island. The women spend most days diving into the frigid Korean Strait without oxygen tanks or wetsuits to gather conch, urchins and abalone to eat and to sell.

Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the island, are best friends that come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. But despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook’s differences are impossible to ignore.

Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, and she will forever be marked by this association. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers in their village.

Little do the two friends know that after surviving hundreds of dives and developing close bonds, forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point.

“A stupendous multigenerational family saga,” says Booklist. “A cultural anthropology highlighting the soon-to-be-lost, matriarchal haenyeo phenomenon and an engrossing history of tumultuous twentieth-century Korea.”

Sea & Safari

People

 

Photos courtesy of Aggressor Adventures

A local businessman and a globetrotting explorer team up to share the wonders of the planet with others.

When life experiences don’t quite measure up to expectations, world-class explorer Richard Wiese has a word for that – anticipointment.

Fortunately, however, Wiese, host and executive producer of the PBS TV program “Born to Explore,” also has the perfect remedy for these circumstances. He crisscrosses the globe to celebrate its diverse cultures, natural wonders and wildlife on his award-winning show, bringing his audience along for the ride.

“When people are just bucket-listing trips, they’re missing out,” says Wiese. “I find that it’s the people you meet along the way that makes it memorable.”

One of the people he has met through his travels is local businessman Wayne Brown, who owns Aggressor Adventures. The Augusta-based business takes travelers on scuba diving, river cruise and safari lodge adventure vacations.

“A customer who was a mutual friend thought it would be a good idea for us to get together,” says Brown. “The places we go and visit were very well aligned.”

 

Must-See TV
Indeed, they were. In fact, two upcoming 30-minute episodes of “Born to Explore” were part of trips that Wiese took with Aggressor Adventures, a sponsor of the show. The March 23 episode was shot in the Cayman Islands, and the March 30 program was filmed in Sri Lanka. Wiese joined Brown at a viewing party of the two shows for friends and family at Riverwatch Cinemas in February.

In the Cayman Islands, Wiese went on a scuba diving expedition on one of the newest liveaboards in Brown’s fleet, the four-deck, 135-foot-long Cayman Aggressor V.

“It’s like a small cruise ship, but just for divers,” Brown says. “The divers sleep and eat onboard, and they see great sunsets.”

“It’s like a six-star hotel,” Wiese says of the yacht. “You go on an epic adventure, and it creates a very special experience.”

Descending deep in the turquoise waters of the western Caribbean Sea, the cameras follow Wiese as he takes his first wall dive, explores shipwrecks and pets Lucy, an amiable Nassau grouper.

“The Caymans reminded me how much I love diving. It’s three-dimensional. You’re weightless. You feel like an astronaut. It’s a feeling you can’t emulate on the land,” says Wiese. “I have spent a lot of time diving, and I always loved looking at water and wondering what was beneath it.”

On island terra firma, he gets shoulder-to-shoulder with blue iguanas – the most endangered iguanas on Earth.

The Sri Lanka journey highlights Wiese’s adventure to the Aggressor Safari Lodge near the Wilpattu and Minneriya National Parks.

“We want people to get a feel for Sri Lanka,” Wiese says. “Most people have heard of it, but they don’t really know where it is.” (For the geography challenged, Sri Lanka, formerly called Ceylon, is an island country in South Asia off the southern tip of India.)

Viewers can tag along with Wiese as he explores the cultural history of the Buddhist nation, takes a jungle excursion to Monkey Kingdom to observe the primates in their natural habitat and goes on Jeep safaris in search of leopards, sloth bears, water buffalo and Asian elephants.

“I’ve been on African safaris dozens of times, but the most elephants I’ve ever seen in my life were in Sri Lanka,” says Wiese.

He calls the country a “beautiful place to visit” and “the next hot spot,” and those sentiments are just the words that Brown likes to hear.

“For me, our adventure trips are all about the experience,” Brown says. “We want our customers to develop an appreciation for what they’ve seen and who they come in contact with.”

Wiese says his TV show has a dual purpose – to create positive cultural understandings of people around the world and to foster an appreciation of wildlife and nature that highlights the importance of good stewardship.

“We try to be as authentic as possible,” he says. “We show that there’s magic left in the world – not in the Harry Potter fashion.”

He must be doing something right. Premiering in 2011, “Born to Explore” has earned 13 Daytime Emmy nominations, two Daytime Emmy awards, 34 Telly awards, four Parents’ Choice awards and a CINE Golden Eagle. Wiese also has won numerous accolades including the 2012 Walter Cronkite Award for his contributions to journalism and exploration.

Lifelong Passion
For Brown and Wiese, their passion for exploration and adventure began when they were young boys.

“I grew up on a small farm that backed up to 8,000 acres of woods,” says Brown, who was raised in north Florida. “I started camping in the woods all weekend when I was 12 years old.”

Brown has been scuba diving since the late 1990s, taking up the sport when his son was 15 years old so they would have something to do together. He took Aggressor diving trips to the Galapagos Islands and Belize before he bought the company in 2007.

“I love the customer service business,” says Brown. “That’s what this business really is.”

As a boy Wiese played with his dogs on the Stony Brook mudflats of his native Long Island. When he was 11 years old, he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with his father. From cross-country skiing to the North Pole to leading expeditions to Australia’s Northern Territory, he has been exploring the planet ever since.

He is president of The Explorers Club, an international professional society founded in 1904 to promote the scientific exploration of land, sea, air and space. He has served as president of the organization since 2002, when he became the youngest person to assume the position.

“There are always wonderful experiences every time you travel somewhere,” Wiese says. “I’ve had very few situations that have given me pause.”

He escaped an avalanche on Mt. Everest and nearly drowned during a raft race in Belize. However, Wiese says, “A good explorer sees the dark clouds on the horizon and still goes in. You learn to solve a problem before it becomes a crisis.”

By Leigh Howard

Element of Surprise

In The Home

Photography by Sally Kolar

A Grovetown couple loves to see their home improvement and refinished furniture projects – for themselves and others – come together.

It all started with the round table in the corner of the living room. When Kristen Kennedy went out of town one weekend on a girls’ getaway, her husband, Eric, refinished the table to surprise her when she returned to their Grenelefe Park home. He has been refinishing furniture ever since.

“I come up with ideas, and he is good at helping me make things happen,” says Kristen. “I follow a lot of Instagram accounts of interior decorators and get ideas, and Eric supports them.”

When she has an idea, though, she needs to be sure it’s what she wants before she mentions it to Eric, who is director of campus facilities at Stevens Creek Church and studying to be a pastor. “If I go out of town for a week, it will be done when I come home,” Kristen says.

His wife is not the only person who benefits from his skills, however. Eric also has a side business called Distressed Kennedy in which he refinishes vintage furniture. People find out about his work by social media or word-of-mouth, and he posts pictures of refinished pieces on Facebook.

“I used to buy old furniture, paint it, flip it and sell it,” he says. “Now people bring things to me to be refinished.”

Secret Sauce
The Kennedys’ Grovetown home, where they have lived for 3.5 years, is full of their handiwork as well. They fell in love with the neighborhood after Kristen’s parents moved there. When all of them would go to the neighborhood, which once was a horse pasture, to check on the progress of her parents’ home before they moved in, the Kennedys saw their current house on the market.

“The house was dark inside, but it had good bones,” says Kristen, a warranty and business analyst for Electrolux.

With its blue siding, wood front door, thin white columns on the front porch and brick walkway, the exterior offers plenty of curb appeal.

“It was a pretty house, but we knew some things we wanted to do to it,” says Eric. “We had a vision for how we wanted it to come together.”

They removed the banisters from the front porch, which now features two black rockers, a black porch swing and a pair of ceiling fans.

The interior of the home profited from their talents as well. The house originally had a wall between the dining room and the reading room, but the Kennedys opened up the space by putting a cutout with decorative distressed corbels in the wall.

In the reading room a footstool and an oversized chair, one of their first big purchases when they bought the house, sit next to a round end table. “Eric put Liquid Gold on the table to restore the wood,” says Kristen. “That’s his secret sauce.”

Framed artwork by sons Cameron and Christian add pops of color to the bookshelf. A metal sign with an inspirational quote – “Today is a good day to have a good day” – is a reminder of a trip the Kennedys took to Waco, Texas three years ago. They got the sign by Jimmy Don Holmes, whose work has been seen on HGTV’s “Fixer Upper,” at his JDH Iron Designs shop. (And yes, Eric surprised Kristen with the trip for her birthday.)

On opposite walls of the dining room, two high, square, ledged windows bring light into the space. Eric put an antique walnut stain on the wooden dining room tabletop to match the floor, and an antique gold light fixture runs parallel to the table. In the china cabinet, Kristen mixes her grandmother’s china with newer dishes.

The wide foyer is home to a white chest that Eric refinished. “We bought it to sell it, but I wanted to keep it,” Kristen says.

Earthy Tones
Remodeling the kitchen last summer, they changed the direction of the counters and replaced the black granite countertops with white quartz. They added a pantry and a new island, and Eric and Kristen’s father installed the white subway tile backsplash. The kitchen also includes a fireclay farmhouse sink – “It’s more durable and stain-resistant,” says Kristen – and a blue light above the sink. They painted the two chairs at the island blue as well.

“I like neutrals, but I added earthy tones like blues and greens and yellows,” Kristen says.

They also added trim on the walls of the kitchen, which opens to the living room, to create separation between the two spaces.

The microwave is hidden in the pantry, which features sliding drawers, dividers for cookie sheets and a sliding cabinet for spices.

Eric painted and refinished the kitchen table and chairs, which he found by the side of a road. He also painted the high chair, which he found on an online yard sale, for their daughter, Charlee Kate.

The adjoining living room features a brick gas fireplace, a flat screen TV above the stained pine mantel, a leather sectional sofa and a grouping of family photos on one wall. Eric distressed the coffee table and a round table between the fireplace and an oversized chair.

“We love the living room. It’s big enough for all of us,” says Kristen. “We’re all in here together at night.”

The nearby powder room features a pedestal sink and shiplap walls – another surprise from Eric for Kristen after an out-of-town trip.

With elements of yesteryear, the house features 10-foot ceilings. The wood flooring throughout the first floor, except for the master bedroom, is a soft pine that came from a sawmill in Virginia.

Décor to A-Door
Six-paneled doors also are featured throughout the interior of the house, but other doors have moved from one spot to another.

For instance, the swinging, six-paned, wood door from the hallway to the kitchen originally was the back door to the house.

Which meant that another door was needed for the rear of the house, and Eric found the perfect one in downtown Augusta. The back door came from a 115-year-old house that was built for employees of J.B. White, when that building was constructed downtown. The door features a large window, ornate carvings and a turnkey antique doorbell.

“I drove by one day and saw that the right side of the house was gone,” says Eric. He called the company that was demolishing the house and asked if he could have the door, which he refinished and painted.

Another door, along with a screen door, in the master bedroom leads to the front porch. “It has grown on us,” says Kristen. “The boys wait for the bus by the door.”

The bedroom furniture was their first major purchase after they got married, and an old barn gable hangs on the wall above the bed. “I got the gable in a trade for refinishing a piece of furniture for someone,” says Eric.

On a bedroom wall, a chicken wire bulletin board holds invitations to their rehearsal dinner and 2014 barn wedding in Appling, along with their wedding program.

Multi Makeovers
More mementoes can be found in a gold and glass keepsake box in Charlee Kate’s nursery. The box holds baby spoons that belonged to Kristen and her mom, a piece of a pink golf ball from her gender reveal party, a rattle, Kristen’s baby brush and a cross necklace that Kristen’s mother gave to Charlee Kate.

Kristen’s old rocking horse is in the room, along with a stack of her childhood Golden books and a framed picture of her favorite Bible verse – Jeremiah 29:11.

The nursery also feaures shiplap walls, painted bookshelves and pink and white buffalo-checked, blackout curtains. “As she gets older, we can add pieces to her bedroom furniture,” says Kristen.

An added wall upstairs turned a space into another bedroom, and the Kennedys gave their backyard a makeover as well.

They used to have giant hickory nut trees in the backyard, but after a day of raking, they realized they wouldn’t be able to enjoy the yard. So, they took down the trees and created an outdoor living oasis. It’s the perfect spot to grill out, roast marshmallows for s’mores over the gas fire pit and watch football games on a 65-inch, flat-screen TV mounted in a wood cabinet on the carport wall.

The fenced-in outdoor living area also features Adirondack chairs around the fire pit, wicker furnishings and a round umbrella table with swivel chairs beneath a pergola. Eric planted crape myrtles, hawthorns, hydrangeas and the confederate jasmine that climbs up the columns of the pergola. The strands of lights that are strung across the outdoor living space were part of their wedding décor.

“We love it out here, especially in the fall when it’s not so hot,” Kristen says.

The carport has become an extended entertainment area, and Eric uses the covered space to work his magic to refinish furniture. It’s fitting that he does his work in the open space because he can’t seem to keep his projects hidden from Kristen for long.

“He’s full of surprises, but he can’t wait to give them to me,” she says. “I always get them early.”

By Betsy Gilliland

 

Recycling Electronic Devices

Features

electronics-recyclingSafely dispose of old computers, cell phones and other electronics year-round 

If you recently acquired new electronic devices, then it might be time to recycle the outdated equipment that is collecting dust around your home or business.

The Columbia County Recycling Centers on William Few Parkway and at Riverside Park recycle electronics year-round. In addition, hard drives are removed and destroyed onsite free of charge.

Anything with a cord is accepted including cell phones, computers, CRT monitors, electronic game consoles, fax machines, laptops, LCD monitors, office equipment, printers, scanners, phones, rechargeable batteries, routers, servers and TVs.

There is a $5 cost to recycle CRT monitors and a fee of 30 cents per pound to recycle televisions.

Hours at the recycling centers are 8:30 – 5:30 p.m. Tuesday – Friday and 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturdays. The facilities are closed on Sunday and Monday.

Quick Facts:

• Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 homes in the United States a year.

• Americans throw out phones containing more than $60 million in gold and/or silver every year.

• For every million cell phones we recycle, 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.

Source: EPA

Keep in Touch

Features

Mobile-App-LogoA new app enhances communication between Columbia County and its residents.

Looking for an easy way to pay your water bill? Trying to find the closest dog park? Want to buy tickets to a county event or adopt a pet?

Columbia County has launched a new app, “My County – Columbia County,” to communicate with local residents and visitors. “The My County app is the very first of its kind anywhere in the country, allowing citizens to access county information, communicate with county representatives and provide a way to make payments for county-related services,” says Cassidy Harris, county spokeswoman. 

Based on extensive research including internal and external feedback, the mobile app team targeted some of the county’s most frequently used resources in the initial release. They include news; community events; animal services; parks and recreation; maps; augmented reality, which helps people find their way around county facilities; 311 citizens reporting and messaging; development and payments. 

Residents can download the free app in the Apple and Google stores. Additional resources will be offered in a second phase in the future.

“It’s very user friendly,” Harris says. “You can make it what you