Monthly Archives: May 2021

Get Your Kicks


Columbia County’s Blanchard Woods Park will be the site of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Women’s Soccer National Championship and its Division II Women’s Soccer National Championship June 3 – 9.

Each division will include 12 collegiate programs. The teams will participate in a group play format, and the group winners will advance to the knockout phase. This is the inaugural NJCAA Division II Women’s Soccer Championship, as the new division was added in soccer in January 2019 and set to play for the first-time in the fall of 2020.

“We look forward to showcasing Columbia County and Blanchard Woods Park as we continue to build our reputation as a preferred destination for prestigious tournaments and events,” says John Luton, Columbia County’s Director of Community Services.

For ticket information and updates on these national championships, check the Columbia County Parks, Recreation and Events Facebook page. In addition, anyone interested in volunteering for the events can email

Three O’Clock In The Morning by Gianrico Carofiglio

Literary Loop

“In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the mornin.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

In this poignant and moving coming-of-age novel, a father and his teenage son are forced to spend two sleepless nights exploring the city of Marseilles, a journey of unexpected adventure and profound discovery that helps them come to truly know each other.

Antonio is 18 years old and on the cusp of adulthood. His father, a brilliant mathematician, hasn’t played a large part in his life since divorcing Antonio’s mother. But when Antonio is diagnosed with epilepsy, they travel to Marseille to visit a doctor who may hold the hope for an effective treatment. It is there, under strained circumstances, they get to know each other and connect for the first time.

As the hours pass and day gives way to night, the two find themselves caught in a series of caffeine-imbued adventures involving unexpected people that connect father and son for the first time.

As the two discuss poetry, family, sex, math, death and dreams, their experience becomes a mesmerizing 48-hour microcosm of a lifetime relationship. Both learn much about illusions and regret, talent and redemption, and, most of all, about love.

Music — Benny Sings

Listen To This

If you are looking for some tunes to toss into your 2021 vacation playlist, look no further than Music.

Tim van Berkestijn, aka Benny Sings, returns with his eighth studio release and is bringing a car-top carrier of awesome. He may be a new spin for most, but he has been blasting rays of sunshine for most of the decade with his smooth, poppy-funk-jazzy-R&B soul vibes.

With every release, there is a consistent dose of vitamin D that delivers a bright and catchy sensation that beckons lawn chairs and box fans for miles.

Music is a 10-track rhythm and groove machine that packs a modern-retro collective of tight-spun rhythm and synth with loose-wrapped vocals that create ambient tones of summer. Notable tracks of sunny goodness include “Break Away,” “Rolled Up” and “Nobody’s Fault,” but SPF is required for “Sunny Afternoon,” which is by far this summer’s anthem.

If you are new to the Benniverse, Music is perfect to test the waters before your Triple Lindy into the deep catalog of records past.

As we pack up the school year and extend our toes and minds into the ocean of much needed rest and relaxation, may Music be the perfect, tropical, refreshing, fruity, cool, carefree companion for your jaunt.

– Chris Rucker

Beman Group | Commercial Real Estate Experts

Businessmen & Entrepreneurs

The Beman Group is a full-service real estate firm affiliated with Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial Real Estate on Augusta. As commercial real estate experts, they are dedicated to maximizing your investments through a disciplined, hands-on approach of acquisition, brokerage, and asset management.

The team of commercial agents and investment professionals at the Beman Group has a proven track record of success in all asset classes including Industrial, Office, Retail, and Multifamily. Team professionals include group founder Davis Beman and Alex Griffin, C. Scott Brantley, Chris Cawley, Jr., Abby Miller and Rick Howard.

Serving the CSRA, Atlanta and Columbia

Beman Group
Blanchard and Calhoun Real Estate Company
Commercial Division

237 Davis Road
Augusta, Georgia 30907

699 Broad Street
Augusta, Georgia 30901

Phone: (706) 833-0759
Office: (706) 823-6740

Thompson Building Wrecking Company

Businessmen & Entrepreneurs

Thompson Building Wrecking Company provides full-service demolition services in the CSRA and throughout the region. For more than 60 years, the company has been the first choice for demolition, as well as roll-off containers, crushed concrete and other recycled salvage construction materials like timbers and antique brick.

Thompson also is the first call to make when working with asbestos. From testing to abatement, the company adheres to the highest level of safety to make sure the job is done right. Contact Thompson for any job – large or small – to get the personalized, top-notch service that only an established, family owned and operated business can offer.

631 11th St • Augusta | 706-722-1432

Hock Development Company

Businessmen & Entrepreneurs

Hock Development is the largest owner of industrial buildings in the CSRA. Hock Development has the largest selection of warehouses and manufacturing facilities available for lease and sale. These buildings are located in Richmond County, Columbia County, Aiken County, Edgefield County and Burke County. , Hock Development is continuing to buy and build more warehouses and manufacturing facilities in the Southeast.

456 Telfair Street | Augusta, GA 30903 | 706-722-2277

Greg Oldham Realtor

Businessmen & Entrepreneurs

For over a decade, Greg Oldham has been helping clients navigate the real estate market to find their dream home or successfully sell property. With his extensive knowledge of the local market and experience in both buying and selling homes in Columbia County, Greg has made it his mission to help clients achieve their real estate goals.

Greg prides himself in working closely with clients to fully understand their needs and to help find them a home that meets everything on their checklist. He will also work tirelessly to market your property listing to sell it quickly and get you the best value for your home. When you’re buying or selling a house, you want an experienced REALTOR® on your side who will work for you.


See my website at

M I C H A E L S I E W E R T Signature Interiors & Gifts

Businessmen & Entrepreneurs

Ever since interior designer Michael Siewert, aka Signature Mike, opened his new 10,000-square-foot shopping center, The Signature Shops on Furys Ferry, in December, he has found even more ways to wow his customers with his expertise and creativity. “It’s been great to have the additional space to better serve my clients, and the response has been amazing,” says Michael.

“Everyone who walks in the door is blown away at what we have to offer.”

His 5,000-square-foot flagship store, Signature Interiors & Gifts, features statement-making home furnishings, rugs, lamps, artwork, gifts and other décor. Michael also makes custom bedding and window treatments.

3505 PROFESSIONAL CIRCLE, AUGUSTA, 30907 • (706) 447-1503


ROBERT KELLY, csp, tsc | Augusta Staffing

Businessmen & Entrepreneurs

Congratulations to our very own 

Columbia County Chamber’s
Leadership Columbia County Alumni Award

His work family here at Augusta Staffing knows that Robert is the true definition of a servant leader. He has served as a Founding Board Member of Kiwanis of Columbia County since inception in 2016, Board Member for the Columbia County Chamber since 2018, Executive Board Member since 2020, Founding Mentor & Chair for the Chamber’s Young Men on the Move Program, Past Chair and current member of the Workforce & Education Committee, Past Chair for the Ambassador Committee, Member of the Columbia County Schools CTAE Executive Advisory Committee, the Columbia County School System’s Work Based Learning Advisory Council, Community Judge on Governor Nathan Deal’s R.E.A.C.H. program ’18-’19, Adult and Youth Leadership Columbia County Steering committees following graduation (c/o ’18,) and has also taken a seat on the board of our local Augusta Chapter of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) for 2021. All while serving our three companies as Vice President!

We are so lucky and thankful to work with such a strong community leader like Robert!

Augusta Staffing Associates
Employment agency in Martinez, Georgia

218 Oak St STE E, Martinez, GA 30907
Direct Hire/Clerical Phone: (706) 860-4820  |  Industrial Phone: (706) 860-8909

SCOTT PATTERSON | Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Executive Partners

Businessmen & Entrepreneurs

With a career combination of real estate, property management, construction and remodeling, Scott Patterson knows properties—and it’s this expertise and his resources that enable your investment to yield a significant return. As associate broker for Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Executive Partners, Scott has helped hundreds of client  through the years with everything from new home development to property management and listings.

“We know what to expect when managing a property and how to constantly be at the ready so our clients can have peace of mind,” Scott says. “To be an efficient property manager you must either be an expert in a variety of different areas or have a reliable team in your corner to help secure your success,” he says. “We have that team of professionals, and we handle things so our clients can have the time to focus on their own expertise, whatever that may be.”



(706) 830-0580

Bob’s Tropical Fish

Businessmen & Entrepreneurs

One of the younger clients at Bob’s Tropical Fish once made the comment that their fish seem happier than the fish she saw in other stores. Store founder Bob Hockman and his team laughed about it, but the more they talked about it, the more plausible it became. Bob’s fish are happier … because they’re healthier.

With more than 30 years of experience, Bob has an uncanny knack for buying the right fish and making sure they are in perfect health before they are ever offered for sale. This attention to detail results in a better aquarium or water garden at your home or business.

Explore their website or visit their retail store and water garden center in Martinez. You will be amazed at the huge selection of fish, plants, aquariums, equipment, supplies and the South’s largest display water garden. • Pond Supplies • Reef Accessories • Aquariums • Fresh Water Fish • Saltwater Fish and Much More If you don’t see what you want, ask any of the staff for special order items. Bob has established relationships with the premiere manufacturers and distributors in the industry and can source most any item you need for fishkeeping of any kind.

3563 River Watch Parkway
(706) 863-9478

Visit our site at


Businessmen & Entrepreneurs

Since 1986, Lovelace Roofing has specialized in offering residential and commercial roofing services to clients located throughout the area. Fully licensed and insured, their knowledgeable roofing contractors are capable of taking on any and every job that comes their way. Lovelace Roofing gives free estimates and will work with your insurance company so that you don’t have to. If you’re looking for a local and reliable roofing company, please look no further than Lovelace Roofing.

3850 Washington Rd. Suite 4-F • Martinez

Visit us at

Call for a FREE ESTIMATE 24 Hours a Day: 706.863.5399

Kicking Back at the Lake

In The Home

Photography by Sally Kolar

Modoc Shores may be a second home for this close-knit-family, but it’s their go-to place for summer R&R on the water.

For Michele and Bruce Johnson, their hilltop Modoc Shores house on Clarks Hill Lake offers a front-row perch to the spectacular sunsets that mark the end of a satisfying, fun-filled day.

Sure, the generous windows provide gorgeous views of the setting sun from just about every corner of the house. But the Johnsons also have insider knowledge.

What Downsizing?

The Johnsons haven’t always been lake people. Michele grew up in Augusta, but her family never went to Clarks Hill. As a Nashville, Tennessee native, Bruce was more inclined to spend his time hunting in the woods than chilling on the water.

Their mindset changed in 1992, however, when Bruce started working at Thermal Ceramics, which has a lake property for its employees. That’s when the Johnsons originally started going to Clarks Hill with their sons, Luke, Caleb and Micah.

“I love fishing. I love being with my family out on the boat,” says Bruce. “They grew up on the lake wakeboarding and tubing.”

The expanding Johnson clan now includes Luke’s wife, Meagan, and their three daughters, Kinley, Addison and Hannah, as well as Caleb’s wife, Macey, and their two children, Landon and Riley. The grandchildren, who range in age from 8 to 1, are growing up on the water, too.

The littlest Johnsons love to ride jet skis, roast marshmallows on one of the three firepits at the lake house and jump off the double-decker dock into the water.

“We have a place in Augusta, but we basically stay here in the summer,” says Michele. “By March, we’re kicking back at the lake.”

Along with the lake views, the two-bedroom house features a great room with an adjoining kitchen/eating area and lots of outdoor living space.

“We didn’t need a big house anymore,” says Michele. “We got rid of the kids.”

Well, not exactly.

“If we’re not at the lake house, the kids are here with their friends,” Bruce says. “All of us are avid boaters.”

So, maybe the downsizing didn’t work out as planned. Frankly, though, the Johnsons wouldn’t have it any other way.

They spend all of the holidays – from Easter to the Fourth of July to Christmas – at the lake. For the Fourth, they’ll decorate, grill out and watch fireworks. And ribs on the smoker are a must.

“We have a lot of fun,” says Michele. “We ride jet skis. We have Easter picnics, parties and Lowcountry boils. We have a lot of family events at the lake.”

Décor to Adore

Even when the whole family isn’t there in person, they’re ever-present in the family photo collage on a wall in the great room. The space also features tile flooring, a stand-alone electric fireplace, a ceiling fan and a red sectional couch.

A Clarks Hill Lake reservoir map hangs on a wall by the door. Two open black shelves on the wall behind the couch are sandwiched between two black-framed mirrors. A green wreath centered in the middle of each mirror enhances the décor.

The adjoining galley kitchen features granite countertops, a tile backsplash and dark cabinetry. A pie safe with glass-paned doors provides additional storage, and a peninsula, which most likely is covered with food when the family is at the lake, provides separation from the great room.

To set the tone for fun, Michele draws a picture on a wood-framed chalkboard in the kitchen. “I change the picture every season,” she says. “My mom says I draw like a kid.”

The current artwork depicts a sailboat on the water and says, “Summer Fun” and “Lake Day.”

The family can gather around the table in the eating area, and a bench on one side offers plenty of seating for the grandchildren. A glass cylinder vase, filled with greenery and tied with a yellow and white checked ribbon, sits on a riser in the center of the table. Lemons and limes around the vase complement the sunny colors.

Featuring a nautical theme, the guest room has navy and white bedding. A decorative sailboat rests atop a chest, and a wood sign on the wall says, “Happiness comes in waves.” A round mirror above the bed resembles a porthole.

The master bedroom suite is on the second story of the house. The room features a ceiling fan, sleigh bed and an upholstered bench at the foot of the bed. A window ledge runs the length of one wall.

The room also has a sitting area with a glass-topped bistro table, a pair of armed chairs, a couch and a small chandelier overhead.

Patios & Porches

While the interior of the house offers lots of comfortable spots for togetherness, all of the outdoor living space practically negates the need to ever go inside.

A brick pathway from the driveway leads to a small patio on the side of the house. A decorative butterfly hangs on the door to the eating area, and planters contain colorful hydrangeas, daisybushes, Brazilian jasmine and carnations.

A chalkboard easel says, “Welcome to the Johnsons. Est. 1987.” That’s the year they got married, but their love story began when Michele was in high school and Bruce came to her house with a friend who was dating her sister. (Her sister and Bruce’s friend married each other, also, but the Johnsons beat them to the altar.)

A small patio in the front yard features a firepit surrounded by outdoor furnishings. Strings of lights and ferns in hanging baskets are suspended from thin black poles around the sitting area.

Two birdhouses, including a lighthouse-shaped birdhouse, hang on another pole, and a yard sign says, “Life is Better By the Water.”

The deck is another favorite spot, where the Johnsons like to gather around the bar-height table with a firepit in the middle. Lights are strung along the railing, and a pair of decorative, oversized, pink flip flops with white polka dots hangs on the door to the great room.

When it’s seriously time to decompress, though, the Johnsons retreat to the screened-in back porch.

“Bruce wanted to turn the porch into a junk hunting room,” Michele says. “I said, ‘No, no, no.’”

She was right.

This porch features wicker furnishings, a bead board ceiling, a fountain where the sound of trickling water soothes the soul and a swing bed that Bruce and Micah made from pine wood for Michele as a Mother’s Day gift in 2015. They also made the pine TV cabinet on the porch.

“We love the porches,” says Michele. “The swing bed on the back porch is my spot. I drink wine on it. I drink coffee on it.”

A pillow on the porch says, “Life is better on the porch.” Yes, this message competes with the yard sign that declares life is better on the water, but who could argue with either claim?

The upper level of the dock features two umbrellas that shade four lounge chairs and a table with a firepit. The Tigé, which is Michele’s boat, and Bruce’s fishing boat are parked underneath.

From enjoying the views to riding jet skis, boating to Lakeside Grill to relaxing on the beach area, fishing to just hanging out together, the Johnson family has a lot to love about the lake house. Perhaps, though, Meagan hits the high water mark when she sums up its appeal.

The best thing about spending time at the Modoc Shores house, she says, is “making memories with our kids.”

By Betsy Gilliland

Sweet & Spicy Baby Back Ribs


2 racks baby back ribs

Dry Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Rinse ribs and pat dry with paper towel. Remove membrane on back of each rack (slide a knife in at top under membrane and use a dry paper towel to pull it away.) In a small bowl, mix together dry rub ingredients. Sprinkle generously over both sides of meat, rubbing into the meat and coating completely. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-4 hours.

Heat grill to medium-low, about 275 degrees. Turn off all burners except one on the outside. Place ribs on opposite side from lit burner, curved-side up. Close lid and grill 2 to 2 1/2 hours until browned and tender. Baste with barbecue sauce once on each side the last 15 minutes. (Note: these ribs are also great with just the dry rub.) Remove to pan and lightly cover with foil; let rest 5-10 minutes. Serve with sauce on the side. Makes 6 servings.