Monthly Archives: August 2022

Heart of the Matter


Photography by Vivian Wan

A local nurse is returning to war-torn Ukraine to care for pediatric cardiac patients.

For Sara Elizabeth Curry, a registered nurse at Augusta University Health, her vacation this month is not going according to plan. That’s fine with her, though.

Instead of following her original itinerary of visiting Grand Cayman and catching a few NASCAR races in Bristol, Tennessee, she’s returning to L’viv, Ukraine for almost two weeks in September. For the second time in three months, she is traveling there with the Memphis, Tennessee-based Novick Cardiac Alliance, which provides care to children with congenital or acquired heart disease in low- and middle-income countries.

Giving People

Curry also was part of a 16-member Alliance team that went to L’viv in June to treat pediatric cardiac patients. The group included two filmmakers who are shooting a documentary about the nonprofit organization.

She originally visited Ukraine in 2004 when she and a friend took supplies to orphanages and hospitals, and she had been looking for a way to go back after Russia invaded the country in February.

“The people there were so nice and so giving. No matter how little they had, they always wanted to give you something,” she says. “I just really felt like I wanted to do something to help.”

Although Curry was one of only six nurses chosen for the trip out of 600 applicants, she says, “I was worried about whether I was going to be able to help.”

However, her 30-plus years of experience at Children’s Hospital of Georgia working in transports, primarily neonatal and pediatric with experience in NICU and ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation), proved to be invaluable.

In June, when team members typically worked 20-hour shifts, Curry immediately was drawn to a newborn boy who was on ECMO after undergoing heart surgery the week before they arrived. The ECMO machine does the job of the heart and lungs, allowing them to rest, for patients with life-threatening illness or injury to these organs.

Dr. William Novick, the CEO and medical director of the Alliance who led the trip to Ukraine, was impressed by her willingness to plunge into a difficult situation.

“The baby had a complicated defect, and we couldn’t get him off the bypass machine,” he says. “Liz’s attachment to that child, and her efforts to drag him off death’s doorstep, struck me about her.”

Unfortunately, however, the baby boy was ravaged by infection, and, Novick says, “The child died despite our team’s best efforts.”

Clearly, though, the experience has stayed with Curry, and she already has plans for the return trip.

“When we go back, I want to focus on some things they can do to prevent infections,” she says. “The Ukrainian staff was very professional and very eager to learn.”

As part of its mission, the Alliance also teaches healthcare providers in the regions they visit to operate on and care for pediatric cardiac patients independently.

‘Fearless and Intrepid’

Novick, who has made more than 500 trips to about 35 countries to provide children with medical care, was the only Alliance staff member to travel to Ukraine in June. However, he had nothing but praise for the all-volunteer team that consisted of medical personnel from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Italy.

“This was one of the most cohesive teams that has traveled with me in years,” says Novick. “They worked like they had been working together forever.”

He says all of the applicants for the missions like to travel and want to help. However, he adds, the Alliance looks for volunteers who have that extra quality that gives them an edge.

“What kind of intestinal fortitude do they have? We don’t exactly go to vacation spots,” Novick says. “We look for people who are fearless and intrepid, but not crazy. They need to have a high level of situational awareness.”

By most outward appearances, the circumstances in L’viv in June seemed benign. After flying into Krakow, Poland, the team took a chartered bus through the Ukrainian countryside to L’viv. There was no fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces in the city, and Curry never feared for her safety during the trip.

“We saw some military trucks and sandbags, but you really wouldn’t know anything was going on if it wasn’t for the air raid sirens,” she says.

The only other indications that the country is at war were monuments, statues and church windows that had been draped or boarded up. The city also was under an 11 p.m. – 5 a.m. curfew.

At the hospital, the medical team operated on five pediatric patients for various congenital heart defects and cared for two additional children. All of the patients, except for the child they lost, did well. Curry says the most challenging part of the experience was working with expired medications and outdated equipment, which had most of its prompts in German (a language that none of the team members spoke).

“I just love taking care of the babies,” she says. “I love seeing them be able to go home.”

While Curry says their work might not mean much to Ukraine as a whole, their care meant a lot to the pediatric patients and their families. One family brought the medical team pastries every day, but the father, who knew that Curry liked soft drinks, brought her a special treat – two Ukrainian sodas.

News of their endeavors extended beyond the hospital walls as well. When team members were eating dinner at a restaurant, another Ukrainian man told them how much he appreciated their efforts. “He put his hands together and said, ‘Thank you so much for what you’re doing for our children,’” Curry says.

By Leigh Howard

Grand Slam


Photos courtesy of USA Baseball

Sparkling on the baseball diamond, a young powerhouse from Evans knocks it out of the park in a worldwide competition.

When 12-year-old Colin Anderson of Evans competed in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-12 Baseball World Cup in Taiwan this summer, he was on a mission – to bring home the gold medal with his teammates. Well, they did just that, becoming the first stars-and-stripes team at that level to finish a World Cup undefeated. However, Colin collected a lot more hardware as well.

After batting .556 (10-for-18) with a tournament-high seven home runs and 21 RBIs, Colin was named Most Valuable Player of the championship. He homered in five of Team USA’s eight games, posting two multi-homer games, and earned a spot on the All-World Team as an outfielder.

“The main goal was winning the gold medal,” says Colin. “All of the trophies and the MVP award were extra. Winning the gold medal was a once-a-lifetime experience. It’s amazing, and it was great to do it with all of my teammates.”

Colin, one of 18 players selected for the elite team, had no trouble getting locked in at home plate. His first two long balls of the tournament were grand slams.

“Being there made me think, ‘I’m here for a reason. I already made the team. There’s no pressure. Just relax and have fun.’ When I told myself that, it helped me relax at the plate,” says Colin, who finished the World Cup with three grand slams.

In the championship game against Venezuela, which Team USA won, 10-2, Colin hit a go-ahead, two-run knock to right center field in the third inning. With two outs and nobody on in the fourth, he crushed his final home run of the tournament into the scaffolding of a nearby building.

With his launch of that ball into oblivion, USA Baseball 12U tweeted, “BREAKING: Colin Anderson just hit the furthest home run of all time. Holy cow.” Video of the blast has garnered more than a million views on Facebook and Twitter.

Game On


The Bulldogs and Gamecocks faithful can renew their rivalry (OK, so it never really goes away) at the 29th annual Border Bash, which kicks off at 4 p.m. Friday, September 16 at SRP Park.

Hairy Dawg and Cocky will be ready to get fans riled up on the eve of the Georgia-South Carolina football game. The event also will feature cheerleaders, food and drink vendors, games, live music and a fireworks show. New this year, Fan Fest will give people a chance to test their skills as well.

Tickets for adults are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate. Military and students are $15 with ID; kids 12 and under are free with a ticketed adult. A VIP area also will be available.

Parking, which costs $5, can be pre-purchased online at or at the SRP Park Box Office. For more information, visit

On Stage


Broadway in Columbia County prepares to raise the curtain on its 2022-23 season.

Returning to the Performing Arts Center for its second season, Broadway in Columbia County is setting the stage for four iconic musicals that feature sprawling dance numbers, timeless scores, rousing songs and talented performers.

“It’s a good mix of older classics and newer shows,” says Josh Small, the PAC general manager.

The season opens on Thursday, October 27 with Annie, a performance that originally opened on Broadway in 1977. Set in Depression-era New York City, this celebration of family, optimism and the American spirit remains a cure-all for the hard knocks of life and includes musical numbers “Tomorrow,” “Easy Street” and “It’s the Hard Knock Life.”

My Fair Lady, scheduled for Thursday, February 2, tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller who takes speech lessons from Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a “proper lady.” Debuting on Broadway in 1956, the musical features classic songs such as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and “On the Street Where You Live.”

On Thursday, March 9, a new production of Jesus Christ Superstar will be set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas. With lyrics and music by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, the show, which debuted on Broadway in 1971, includes songs such as “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” “Gethsemane” and “Superstar.”

The season concludes on Wednesday May 3 with The Book of Mormon, which follows the adventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries as they attempt to preach the faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the inhabitants of a remote Ugandan village. First staged in 2011, the satirical show co-created by “South Park” masterminds Trey Parker and Matt Stone is an R-rated, irreverent musical comedy that contains explicit and blasphemous language and is only for mature audiences.

All of the Broadway performances begin at 7:30 p.m., and tickets for individual shows range from $49 – $89 per person. Tickets for Annie will be available this month, while they go on sale in December for My Fair Lady and Jesus Christ Superstar. The Book of Mormon tickets will be offered at a later date.

“The Broadway Series is just one facet of what the building does. We’re pursuing more musical concerts,” Small says. “We’re in the process of reviewing several different opportunities to get a few more things for the fall, and we’re targeting the first quarter of next year.”

Other upcoming events at the PAC include a presentation of Peter Pan by Augusta Ballet at 7 p.m. Friday, September 16; Drivin N Cryin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 30; Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons at 8 p.m. Friday, October 28 and Disney Princess: The Concert at 7 p.m. Monday, November 14.

For more information, visit

Pedal Power


Photos courtesy of Erin Caracci and SORBA

A trio of local charities will benefit from a popular bike ride for cyclists of all abilities.

All expectations are that the Best Dam Ride Ever will live up to its name when bicyclists take part in the fundraiser the first weekend in October.

Geared toward cyclists of all abilities, bike riders can pick one of several distances to hit the road or hit the trail.

While the 100-mile century road ride is for advanced riders only, the 29-mile road ride is designed for bikers who are new to road cycling or who have not ridden for a while. However, most riders opt for the 62-mile metric century – the original Dam Ride.

In addition, SORBA-CSRA will offer mountain bikers a fun ride on the historic Bartram Trail. Riders can choose from multiple distances ranging from 5 miles to 36 miles.

After the ride, cyclists can enjoy lunch provided by Mot’s Barbeque.

Proceeds from the ride benefit Augusta Urban Ministries, which provides furniture and household goods to families and individuals in need; the Liam Caracci Foundation, which supports parents who experience stillbirth and infant loss; and SORBA-CSRA, which promotes trail preservation and development, riding opportunities, fun and fellowship for area mountain bicyclists.

If You Go:

What: Best Dam Ride Ever

When: 8:30 a.m. Sunday, October 2

Where: Below Dam Park (South Carolina side)

How Much: $45 (includes T-shirt, water bottle, rest stops and lunch)

More Info:

The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager

Literary Loop

Be careful what you watch for . . .

Casey Fletcher, a recently widowed actress trying to escape a streak of bad press, has retreated to the peace and quiet of her family’s lake house in Vermont.

Armed with a pair of binoculars and several bottles of bourbon, she passes the time watching Tom and Katherine Royce, the glamorous couple living in the house across the lake. They make for good viewing — Tom, a powerful tech innovator, and Katherine, a gorgeous former model.

One day on the lake, Casey saves Katherine from drowning, and the two strike up a budding friendship. But the more they get to know each other — and the longer Casey watches — it becomes clear that the couple’s marriage isn’t as perfect as it appears.

When Katherine suddenly vanishes, Casey immediately suspects Tom of foul play. What she doesn’t realize is that there’s more to the story than meets the eye — and that shocking secrets can lurk beneath the most placid of surfaces.

Packed with sharp characters, psychological suspense and gasp-worthy plot twists, Riley Sager’s The House Across the Lake is the ultimate escapist read . . . no lake house required.

Medicine for the Soul


Photography by Sally Kolar and Lou Ciamillo

An emergency room physician and his son weathered the stress of the pandemic through their shared love of woodworking.

There are few good things to say about the coronavirus pandemic. For a local father and son, however, covid offered an unexpected opportunity to embrace their creative side.

For most of his adult life – and especially during the pandemic – Martinez resident Lou Ciamillo, an emergency medicine physician and associate professor of emergency medicine for more than 20 years, has found solace in woodworking.

The craft became a refuge for his 21-year-old son, also named Lou, during the pandemic as well. Restless from having to take college classes online, he decided to try his hand at woodworking in 2020.

“I started doing it at the height of covid. I was really bored, so I tried it,” he says. “I was bad at it at first, but my dad taught me.”

After all, it was hard for the elder Ciamillo to miss his son’s growing interest in working with wood.

“Every day when I came home from the hospital, he was making something in the garage,” he says.

Following the Process

The elder Ciamillo got his start in woodworking when he and his wife, Pam, built their first home about 20 years ago. His father-in-law, who worked in construction, was the builder, and he wanted to help.

“I bought a few tools, and then I kept buying things. Two years later, I had every tool known to man in my garage,” he says. “I got the bug for woodworking and never stopped. Most people have pictures of their families on their phone. I have pictures of wood.”

The physician has found that he sometimes uses similar skills sets when practicing medicine and working with wood.

“Medicine requires what I call de-construction,” he says. “It gets to a point where you have to figure out what’s going on and deal with each thing one at the time and realize the additive effects of what you’re doing. In medicine, you have to understand the effects of interventions on other organ systems. That’s what I like about the ER. You’re basically starting from nothing and building up to something.

“Woodworking is the same. There’s a process. You have to de-construct everything to make a product,” he continues. “You start with raw materials, and you have to troubleshoot.”

Star of the Show

The Ciamillos make functional pieces, using almost exclusively walnut and pecan, and occasionally sycamore, wood that is milled in South Carolina. Natural finishes on the products let the wood be “the star of the show.”

“Every piece has to have its own universe, its own place,” the elder Ciamillo says. “We like pieces with a live edge. It gives them a nature element.”

The woodworkers use dry, not green, wood with no twists or cupping. They also look at the figure of the grain.

“We lean into the imperfections because I think it makes for a more interesting piece,” says the elder Ciamillo.

They now make charcuterie boards, grill boards with handles, double-sided magnetic knife blocks, valet trays, valet trays with a Qi charging tray, whiskey and wine flights, bowls and cutting boards.

The Ciamillos also designed a wine flight for Cork and Flame and made a walnut tableside cutting board, as well as a whiskey flight, for the Evans restaurant.

It was the younger Ciamillo who first suggested that they try to sell their goods, and in February 2021, they started a Facebook page to showcase and sell their work to finance their hobby.

Their pieces also are available at, and they will have a booth at the Aiken’s Makin’ and Arts in the Heart of Augusta festivals this month.

Creative Days

The Ciamillos currently work out of a 2,100-square-foot shop in Martinez, where the younger Ciamillo spends about 16 hours a day woodworking.

“There’s no time on the clock for this,” he says. “We listen to country music and sing when we do our work. We enjoy each other’s company.”

Their favorite days are the ones they call “creative days,” when they come up with new ideas or make things they’ve never made before.

The younger Ciamillo often lets ideas roll around in his head, but he never hesitates to ask his father for help. He says his best idea has been making valet trays.

“I’m the type of guy that carries a lot of things in my pocket,” he says. “I wanted a valet tray of my own. I thought there are probably a lot of other guys like me.”

He enjoys 3D modeling and 3D design, and he taught himself how to operate their CNC (computerized numeric control) machine. This machine cuts or moves various materials, including wood. Instead of being controlled by a human operator, the machine’s movements are calculated and carried out by a computer on a pre-programmed path.

Father and son love working together, and they share a daily ritual that they never miss. Every afternoon they get a smoothie – dates, raspberries and bananas for the elder Ciamillo and muscle punch for his son.

“Working with my dad is the best choice I ever made,” the younger Ciamillo says. “We’re very similar. We’re both hard-headed and creative. Even on our worst days, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

By Betsy Gilliland

Take Heart


Photos courtesy of Art in the Heart

After a two-year hiatus due to covid, the Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival is returning to celebrate its 40th years.

Forty never looked so good. The award-winning Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival just gets better with age. Presented by the Arts Council of Greater Augusta, it promises to be bigger and better than ever this year with its expansion into another city block.

This year, the festival will cover the Augusta Common, plus the 600, 700, 800 and 900 blocks of Broad Street.

More than 100 juried artists will be on hand, selling items including clay work, clothing and accessories, digital art, fiber, furniture, glass, jewelry, leatherwork, metalwork, 2D and 3D mixed media, paintings, photographs, printmaking and drawings, sculptures and woodwork.

International food booths with cuisine from more than 20 countries will be set up on the Augusta Common, and five stages will offer nonstop entertainment.

The Global Stage will feature international performances during the day. On Saturday and Sunday nights, the stage will highlight bands, performances and theatrical shows. The finals for the “Press Play” singer/songwriter competition will take place Friday night.

The Jazz Stage will present jazz, blues, gospel, R&B and roots music performed by local and regional artists.

Located indoors, the air-conditioned Soul Suite Stage will feature poetry, storytelling, acoustic music, Soul, spoken word, improv and other low-tech performances.

At the Family Stage, performers will offer entertainment that appeals to children and families.

With a tent cover for the stage and the audience, the Community Stage will be set up for musical or dramatic performances to showcase local talent.

In the Family Area, local businesses and organizations will offer free, interactive, hands-on activities for children. Each booth will represent a country, and children will get stamps on their “passport” as they move from “country to country.”

The area also will include the Young Artists Market where school-aged children and teenagers can sell their work and jumpstart their artistic careers.

No pets, coolers or weapons are allowed at Arts in the Heart, but lawn chairs welcome. The festival will be held rain or shine.

If You Go:

What: Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival

When: 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Friday, September 16; 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday, September 17; noon – 7 p.m. Sunday, September 18

Where: Downtown Augusta

How Much: $12, plus fee, in advance; $15, plus fee, day of; $150 , plus fee, VIP admission for two; free for children age 10 and under; admission badges are good for the entire weekend

More Info:

By Todd Beck

i and i and i — Silo Down

Listen To This

To all who have been in these parts since the early ’90s, Silo Down may be a familiar name. If not, may this be your first step into a larger sonic world.

With a mix of college jangle pop and funk, Silo Down’s variety of tuneage was a fragrant facet of allure on the local music scene. By the late ’90s, the band parted ways and has remained a distant roar and topic of local lore — until now.

As quietly as they faded into obscurity, Silo Down has re-emerged with a new album appropriately titled i and i and i. Multi-instrumentalist and founder Stephen Childress has dusted off the moniker and assembled a one-man Silo jam of lush tones of saturated guitars and raw vocals wrapped with experiential emotion and reflection.

The nucleus of inspiration is drawn from the journals of advice he has prepared for his daughter to one day carry and comfort her through seasons of life.

With songs like the rocking chair strum-and-stroll “So Bright” to the vibrating radiance of “Nothing Heart,” this 8-track life-journal provides intentional space and emotional embrace.

Just as the tides of autumn begin to roll in, this optimistic blanket of hope and unconditional love is a silo-sized bowl of chicken soup for the soul.

– Chris Rucker

Crusty Football Rolls with Spicy Cheese Dip

Appetizers and Snacks


  • 4 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons fast-acting dried yeast
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups water

Prepare the day before: Put flour, dried yeast and salt in large mixing bowl and gradually stir in water. Use a spatula to bring mixture to a rough, wet dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature 12-14 hours to rise slowly.

To make footballs, scrape dough onto well-floured surface and shape into a rough ball. Divide into 8 pieces and shape into footballs. Using a serrated knife, score football lacing slits on the top of each roll. Leave on floured surface and cover with a towel or plastic wrap for 20 minutes.

To bake, place an empty, covered Dutch oven (or other oven-safe lidded pot) in oven and preheat to 500 degrees. After 20 minutes, reduce to 425 degrees and remove pot. Carefully remove lid and add dough footballs (do not crowd pot – make in two batches). Replace lid and bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees and remove pot. Take out rolls and place back in oven on rack. Bake 3-7 minutes more or until rolls are cooked through and sound hollow when tapped. Remove and cool on wire rack. Makes 8 rolls.

Spicy Cheese Dip

  • 8-ounce block cheddar cheese or other melty cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 jalapeno peppers, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, sliced for garnish
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 ounces diced roasted peppers
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 12 ounces milk or cream
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • Sliced peppers, red chili flakes and chopped cilantro for garnish

Grate cheese and set aside (do not use pre-shredded cheese). Heat oil in large pan over medium heat. Add diced jalapenos and onion and cook 3-4 minutes until softened. Add garlic and cook another minute until garlic becomes fragrant. Add roasted peppers, cayenne, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir and cook 2 minutes. In a separate bowl, stir together cornstarch and milk until incorporated; add to pan. Add hot sauce, to taste. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Stir in shredded cheese in small batches, continually stirring until melted and well incorporated. Remove from heat and top with red chili flakes, sliced jalapeno and fresh chopped cilantro. Makes 8-10 servings.

Window on the World

In The Home

Photography by Sally Kolar

Influences from near and far drove the design of this Columbia County home.

Drawing on her Italian heritage, plus a dash of her Louisiana roots, Barbara Frantom has brought a touch of Tuscany to the custom home she and her late husband, Sam, built in Evans.

Collecting items for two years before they moved into the house in 2017, she made sure everything had a place before she brought it into their home. And she knows the history of every piece as well.

“I know where everything in the house came from or who gave it to me,” Barbara says.

European Inspired

While she was collecting furnishings and décor for their home, which includes many family pieces, Barbara had the design in mind all along. The art, cathedrals and homes of Europe were her inspiration for the interior of the Tuscan-style house. A large veranda lines the back of the house, and the spacious rooms are filled with elements of nature such as wood, stone, wrought iron accessories and earth tones.

Barbara wanted an open floorplan, where European oak flooring runs throughout much of the home, but she looks up to two of her favorite architectural features.

The dining room has a cove ceiling, a design that Barbara borrowed from European churches, and a brick barrel ceiling brings character to a long hallway. Sharing travertine tile flooring with the foyer, the dining room also includes a double pedestal table, another dropleaf table against one wall, a serpentine buffet and two china cabinets.

“I like a mix of furnishings. I’m not a minimalist. I’m much more traditional,” says Barbara.

With a wooden French seamstress doll atop a table and a German grandfather clock against a wall, the foyer includes slices of Europe as well. The tapestry on the wall belonged to Barbara’s mother.

In the barrel-ceilinged hallway, the Stations of the Cross wall hanging came from a mission church in New Mexico. A friend of hers made an angel picture, one of many angels throughout the house, for her out of diamond glass beads because Barbara, a four-time cancer survivor, has an affinity for angels.

Arched entryways from the hallway lead into the great room, and the Frantoms designed the house around the spacing of three sets of double doors that lead from the great room to the veranda.

The great room features a two-story ceiling with beams and two large oak bookcases. One of the bookcases was built to accommodate a TV, and the other was built around a secretary that belonged to Barbara’s mother.

Originally in an old house in south Georgia, the wood fireplace is built on top of a travertine tile base to meet code specifications.

“We couldn’t have wood on the floor, so we had to cut off the base of the fireplace,” says Barbara. “We elevated it by putting Travertine beneath it.”

Two antler-shaped light fixtures — they’re actually made of wood that Barbara hand-rubbed — came from the Jones Creek clubhouse.

The slate coffee table belonged to Barbara’s mother, and mix and match chairs are placed intimately side-by-side in the great room.

“I like lots of little private sitting areas. I like for people to be able to have conversations,” Barbara says.

A wrought iron wall hanging occupies space above each bookcase, and artwork featuring two outstretched arms reaching toward each other is made of copper and black metal.

Open Space

The great room leads into the adjoining kitchen – Barbara’s favorite spot in the house – and the floorplan gives the kitchen easy access to the rest of the house.

“I don’t like for the cook to be excluded from all the activity, so I wanted an open area,” says Barbara. “I love to cook. I cook Italian food, Louisiana food and Southern food. I’ll try most anything.”

With a countertop that is made of a single piece of granite, the large island serves as the prep area when she entertains friends and family. The kitchen also features stainless steel appliances and a travertine tile backsplash.

The connecting hearth room features a cathedral ceiling with oak beams, a stone fireplace and a bar with a wine rack and shelves that are draped with illuminated decorative grapes.

Furnishings include a 1917 German credenza that the Frantoms bought in Louisiana. An old working cutting table, which came from Cleveland, serves as the spot for casual dining. Barbara found it at the Atlanta Market, and, from wine bottles and glasses to grapes and cutting boards, she has arranged the tabletop with all the makings of the perfect Tuscan picnic.

In other nods to her Pelican State roots, Barbara has a collection of clowns such as the two that sit on the German credenza. A Mardi Gras mask hangs in a window in the hearth room.

A large stained glass window – a focal point in the room – faces the pool area. The Frantoms bought the window, which originally was in TGI Fridays in New York, at an antique shop in Florida and stored it until they were ready to build.

Sam made most of the other stained glass windows in the house, and one with birds, which hangs outside, came from the top portion of Barbara’s mother’s back door. Barbara makes all of her own floral arrangements, including the matching pair on the front doors.

More artwork can be found in a hallway that serves as a canvas for a collection of prints from Louisiana and two paintings by Barbara’s aunt, who was an artist in Baton Rouge.

The furnishings in the “monkey” bath, which features several decorative monkeys, give this room a European feel as well. They include a bench and an armoire that was hand-carved in the Philippines.

“In Europe, they don’t use built-ins in the bath,” Barbara says. “They bring in furniture.”

She also furnished the master bath with a dresser and another armoire. The crystal chandelier in the master bath, which includes a soaking tub, walk-in shower and travertine tile floor, came from her mother’s dining room.

Architectural features of the master bedroom include a trey ceiling and a bay window.

The sitting area in the room includes her hope chest, a gift from her mother that was carved out of camphor wood. Although the armoire, circa 1912, came from the Woodrow Wilson house in downtown Augusta (it includes a brass plaque as authentication), Barbara found it at an antique store.

She didn’t just scout out antique shops to find treasures for her home, however. She found many of her pieces at consignment stores as well.

“Someone else’s loss has a new home with me,” she says.

Game Day

While traces of Europe are prevalent throughout the interior, the covered outdoor kitchen and sitting area are pure Americana. Especially on game day during football season.

Behind the pecky cypress bar, Barbara hung flags that her friends have given her to represent their favorite schools.

Of course, the purple and gold Louisiana State University flag from her alma mater, where she majored in art and was Miss LSU, is larger than the other flags along the brick wall. However, she is happy to display the banners of the rival schools – and UGA’s national championship season in 2021 – as well.

With one TV in the outdoor kitchen and another in the adjoining covered seating area, her backyard is the perfect spot for football fans to watch the action.

“I like to have chili parties during football season,” Barbara says. “I love to entertain. I love everything about it. I work well under stress. I don’t do well when I have too much down time.”

By Sarah James

Striking New Chords


Augusta Symphony will introduce new concepts and present time-tested classics for the 2022-23 season.

It’s always good to try something different. With its upcoming season, Augusta Symphony has planned a diverse, fun-filled concert lineup for the 2022-23 season — and Dirk Meyer, music director and conductor, can’t wait to get started.

“I really love to play and conduct some of the repertoire, and I’m thrilled with all of the soloists,” he says.

The entertainment begins on Friday, September 30 when pianist Joyce Yang accompanies the orchestra on Opening Night for the first concert of the Symphony Series. “It’s always really fun to work with her,” Meyer says.

Favorites and Percussion Fireworks

In other Symphony Series performances, Meyer will conduct some of his favorite pieces by some of his favorite composers.

They include Sebelius Symphony No. 2 in Mahler & Sebelius on January 7 and Bruckner Symphony No. 4, “Romantic,” in the season finale, Rachmaninoff & Bruckner, on April 29, when pianist Alexander Korsantia performs with the orchestra.

Meyer calls Mahler, whose Symphony No. 10, “Adagio,” also is featured in the January concert, and Brahms, whose Symphony No. 4 will be part of the Elgar & Brahms concert with cellist Gabriel Martins on Friday, November 11, some of his favorite composers.

Other musicians who will accompany Augusta Symphony this season include percussionists Gene Koshinski, who performs with Meyer in Minnesota, and Tim Broscuis when they appear on Saturday, February 18 in Tchaikovsky and Percussion Fireworks.

“Both of them have 50, 60, 70 instruments to play. They hit everything they can,” Meyer says.

This performance also is the Symphony’s Discovery Concert, which annually provides more than 1,000 elementary, middle and high school students, including homeschoolers, with opportunities to experience a free live symphonic performance. The concert will take place Friday, February 17, and the percussionists will perform Koshinski’s composition “soniChroma” on metals, woods, strings and non-Western instruments that will create unique sonic colors.

Popular Demand

As part of the Pops! Series, Broadway Tonight! will feature Broadway veteran Doug LaBrecque, who will bring along the newest young talent from The Great White Way. These performers will join Augusta Symphony for a mix of beloved classics and exciting new hits on Thursday, October 20.

LaBrecque performed as the phantom on Broadway in Phantom of the Opera, says Meyer.

The Music of Elton John, featuring Grammy-nominated performer Michael Cavanaugh, on Thursday, November 17 is part of the Pops! Series as well.

“I really love those songs, and Michael Cavanaugh is such an amazing performer,” Meyer says.

For the past couple of years, Augusta Symphony has featured a popular movie with at least one of its concerts. This season, however, the Symphony infuses Hollywood in a performance with a new twist in Dance to the Movies on Thursday, March 2. Instead of showing a movie in its entirety, the orchestra will perform with dancers from “Dancing With the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance” as they recreate memorable scenes from films such as Grease, Moulin Rouge and Singin’ in the Rain.

“I haven’t done this particular show before, but it’s fully arranged and choreographed,” Meyer says. “It’s important for the dancers to have the right tempo, and they bring an added dimension to the performance.”

The popular Family Concerts at Columbia County Series also will return this season with Halloween at the Symphony on Sunday, October 23 and Holiday Spectacular on Sunday, December 11 at Hardin Auditorium.

“They were very successful last year,” Meyer says. “The music is appropriate for a family series. There are one or two pieces we’ll play every year, like ‘Sleigh Ride’ for the Holiday concert, but the music will be different from last year.”

Other concerts include Queens of Soul, featuring the music of Soul and R&B divas Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Gladys Knight, Alicia Keys and Whitney Houston, on Thursday, February 2; Vaughn, Williams & Mozart with Anastasia Petrunina on violin on Saturday, March 25; and – back by popular demand – the cowboy charm and talent of The Texas Tenors on Thursday, April 20.

Digital Access and Diversifying

Audience members can continue to enjoy the concerts after the live performances have concluded as well. In a new program this season, Augusta Symphony is offering digital access to video recordings of the concerts for two weeks following each performance to Symphony Series subscribers and ticket holders for individual shows.

Digital access to the concerts, which will not be livestreamed, will be released the Tuesday after each performance. Access will be available to subscribers and single ticket holders whether or not they attended the concert.

“That’s one good thing that came out of covid. We learned how to produce digital content, and we’ve gotten good feedback about that,” Meyer says. “After people came to the concert, they were thrilled to be able to watch it again at home. Anyone who bought a ticket will have access. Of course, we’re 100 percent hoping that everybody will be there in person.”

In addition, Meyer says, “We’re trying to diversify what we play, especially for the Symphony Series. We’ll have several pieces by unheard voices, contemporary composers and composers of color. We want to be more representative on stage of what our country looks like.

“The times we live in are different than they were a few years ago,” he continues. “It’s important for orchestras to reflect that. It’s an attempt to include on stage more of what we see every day around us.”

By introducing patrons to new composers, Meyer hopes to increase interest in the Symphony as well.

“Before covid, we were bringing in a good number of new audiences every year,” he says. “We had a growing audience for the Symphony Series. It was growing more diverse and younger.”

Now that conditions are returning to a pre-covid state, he hopes to continue to attract new concert-goers.

“It’s important to branch out and bring in more people,” Meyer says. “If you keep doing exactly the same thing you’ve done before, then you’re going to keep speaking to the same people as before.”

However, he particularly wants audience members to have the opportunity “to listen to spectacular music and experience it with other people around them and have that shared experience.”

And, although Meyer can’t yet reveal any details about the annual Gala, which featured the music of Frank Sinatra last season, he dropped a couple of hints of what’s to come.

“It will be very different from last year, and it will be really fun,” he says.

Ferry to Tranquility


Photos courtesy of National Park Service, Cumberland Island Ferry, Explore Georgia,, Greyfield Inn

Pristine beaches, untouched wilderness and historic ruins make Georgia’s largest barrier island an idyllic spot for a day trip – or more.

Rich in history and scenic beauty, Cumberland Island is one of the most spectacular natural habitats in the Northern Hemisphere. Whether you go for a day trip or overnight stay, just be sure it’s unforgettable for all the right reasons. So, two words: Plan. Ahead.

Accessible only by ferry, the secluded island has no amenities available for purchase — no food, no water, no hats, no sunscreen, no sunglasses — so bring everything you need including all of the above as well as walking shoes, rain gear, a cooler and any bags you can carry comfortably. (And be prepared to take your trash with you when you leave.)

Upon arrival, however, you and your inner explorer will find more than 17 miles of secluded, undeveloped, white sandy beaches; wide marshes; abundant wildlife; hiking and biking trails through maritime forests; backcountry camping; cultural ruins; historic structures that natives, missionaries, slaves and wealthy industrialists once occupied; more than 9,800 acres of Congressionally designated wilderness and almost 36,000 National Park Service-protected acres.

Getting There

And getting there is half the fun. The Cumberland Island Ferry departs from the dock adjacent to the Cumberland Island National Seashore Visitor Center in Saint Marys, Georgia for a 45-minute trip to the island’s Sea Camp dock. The ferry operates daily March 1 – November 30 and Thursday – Monday December 1 through February 28. Face coverings are required.

Tickets are available at, and one-way tickets cost $17 for adults ages 16-61, $16 for seniors 62 and older, and $12 for ages 6-15. Children ages 5 and under ride for free. Be sure to book a return trip from Cumberland Island to St. Marys as well because there is no option to buy a round-trip ticket.

Reservations for the ferry are highly recommended, and they can be made up to six months in advance.

The national park entrance fee of $10 for adults 16 and older must be purchased separately. Camp fees and tour fees are separate as well.

The ferry sells ice, firewood, potato chips and drinks when it is docked at Sea Camp next to the Sea Camp Ranger Station. As the primary information and contact station on the island, the station has volunteers and rangers available throughout the day to provide assistance, information, recommendations and programming. The ranger station is open 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily. However, it may be unattended for periods during the day while the staff carries out its duties.

A 30-minute “Dockside” ranger program also is offered every day at 4 p.m., conveniently scheduled just before the final ferry departure to help ensure that no one misses the last boat off the island.

Exploring the Island

Because the island is more than 56 square miles, it’s impossible to see it all in a single day. So, before setting out, especially for a day trip, it’s imperative to prioritize the sights you want to see.

To see as much as possible, visitors can stay overnight at campsites or at the island’s exclusive Greyfield Inn, which offers transportation to the island by its private ferry, the Lucy Ferguson.

Steeped in history, Cumberland Island once was a working plantation before it became a winter retreat for the wealthy Carnegie family. Now, it is home to descendants of slaves and aristocrats as well as to feral horses with bloodlines that trace back to the royal stables of the King of Arabia. The horses roam freely throughout the island, but sightings tend to be more plentiful on the south end and around the Historic District.

When you spot wild horses, remember to give them the right-of-way and to stay at least 50 feet away from them for your own safety. If a horse changes its behavior because of your presence, then you’re too close. And never try to pet or feed them.

Other wildlife on the island ranges from threatened and endangered manatees and sea turtles to more than 300 species of birds. Visitors also may see wild turkeys, feral pigs, armadillos, vultures, coyotes, dolphins and lizards.

Whitetail deer, bobcats and otters can be found on the island as well. Since wildlife activity often is greater at dawn and dusk, overnight camping is recommended to see these animals.

Hikers have 50 miles of trails to explore as they hoof their way from maritime forests to pristine beaches.

Cyclists can bring their own bike to the island, but there is a $10 charge to transport it on the ferry. Overnight guests at Greyfield Inn also have access to bikes as part of their stay.

Taking a Tour

One of the best ways to explore Cumberland Island is by guided tour. The Land and Legacies Tours, which can be booked online at, uncover centuries of history in just a few hours. This motorized tour, which costs $45 per person and begins at the Sea Camp dock, should be booked along with the ferry trip to the island.

This rugged, five- to six-hour tour is open only to visitors who take the 9 a.m. ferry or to campers who are staying on the island. Featuring cultural and natural sites, the tour travels through the wilderness from one landmark to another.

Highlights include the remains of Robert Stafford’s plantation and cemetery, Plum Orchard Mansion, Cumberland Wharf, the Settlement and First African Baptist Church.

Built in 1898, Plum Orchard was the Carnegie family’s 22,000-square-foot Georgian Revival mansion. The home has been maintained with period furnishings from the early 1900s.

Almost 8 miles from the Sea Camp dock, Plum Orchard also can be accessed by foot or bicycle. Free tours start on the hour and last about 45 minutes. The mansion is open whenever volunteer caretakers are onsite.

First African Baptist Church, located about 17 miles from the Sea Camp dock, was established in 1893 by African American residents of the island and rebuilt in the 1930s. This unassuming one-room church served as a free place of worship and community center for the north end community known as the Settlement. In addition, the church was the site of the secret September 1996 wedding of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette.

Due to its distance from the dock, day visitors should not attempt to visit the church unless they’re part of the Lands and Legacies Tour. The church is not staffed, but the doors are open.

More glimpses of the Carnegie lifestyle can be seen at the Dungeness Ruins, located about 1.5 miles from the Sea Camp dock in the south end’s Historic District, and the Greyfield Inn, which originally was built as a home for one of the Carnegie children.

First built in 1884, the Dungeness Mansion was intended as a winter home for Thomas Carnegie (younger brother and business partner of Andrew Carnegie); his wife, Lucy, and their nine children. The 59-room mansion caught fire in 1959, and only the brick and stone walls remain standing.

Although the mansion is in ruins, it is one of the most picturesque and visited spots on the island. Visitors can walk the grounds as well as the numerous support buildings that were part of the estate. Guided walking tours are offered when staffing permits.

Located next to the Dungeness dock, the Ice House Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The original structure, featuring a ventilated roof and walls two feet thick with sawdust insulation, was built around 1900 to store large quantities of ice that were shipped to the island for the Carnegie Estate. Restored by the National Park Service, the building now serves as a small, self-guided museum.

Sleeping on It

For overnight stays, five campgrounds are available on Cumberland Island. Two of the campgrounds have designated campsites, and three are wilderness campsites. Campers must bring their own gear, and reservations are required. To make a reservation, visit and search for Cumberland Island National Seashore.

Built by the Carnegies in 1890, Greyfield Inn features furnishings and style that remain true to its history. The inn includes 15 rooms in the main house and two cottages. Cozy fireplaces and a breezy, shaded veranda make the inn an ideal travel destination year-round. The library, dinner bell and serve-yourself bar make guests feel at home.

If either of these overnight options are too extreme for your liking, then other accommodations are available in nearby St. Marys or Kingsland.

By Morgan Davis

Piedmont Augusta

Resource Guide

Piedmont Augusta formerly University Hospital is a non-profit 581-bed private hospital located in downtown Augusta, Georgia. Established in 1818, it is the second-oldest hospital in Georgia. Piedmont Augusta is a fully private, not-for-profit hospital receiving no local or state funding.

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