Author Archives: Kristy Johnson

Ivey Homes

Faces of Success

Mark and Matt Ivey of Ivey Homes have long been trusted names in residential, multi- family and development in Columbia County. The award-winning builders are committed to constructing 100% Energy Star Certified new homes and townhomes, and their cutting-edge Ivey Wise homes, developed exclusively by Ivey Homes, are healthier for the families that live in them and for the environment. More cost-efficient to operate, an Ivey-Wise home reduces monthly utility cost to save homeowners money each month. Ivey Homes have communities in Evans and Grovetown, GA and North Augusta, SC.

672 Industrial Park Dr Suite 200
Evans, GA 30809
(706) 868-9363

Champion Orthopedics

Faces of Success

At Champion Orthopedics, we understand how important it is for our patients to get the best comprehensive and advanced treatment for their injury or condition so they can get back to enjoying an active lifestyle. From sports medicine to total joint replacement, Champion Orthopedics is a full services specialty clinic with some of the most highly trained physicians in the CSRA with a team approach to complex orthopedics care. We offer expertise in diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for all orthopedic injuries and musculoskeletal disorders. Care is stronger and more successful by bringing all of our orthopedic services under one roof:
• Board certified and fellowship trained physician evaluations and treatment
• Diagnostics and imaging, including onsite MRI
• Surgical specialties including spine and advanced technology robotic assisted and anterior  approach joint replacements
• Rehabilitation with Physical Therapists and Certified Athletic Trainers

1706 Magnolia Way • Augusta (706) 210-7529 211
High Gate Loop • Aiken (803) 293-1160

Evans Medical Group

Faces of Success

Evans Medical Group is committed to providing the highest quality healthcare possible. In a Christ-like manner, they serve their patients and fellow workers by showing sensitivity, respect, compassion, integrity, and humility. The medical team serves people in the entire Central Savannah River Area as well as in nations throughout the world, specializing in newborn care, well/sick child care, adolescents, adult medicine, well woman care, and geriatric care. In August, Evans Medical Group opened a new, larger complex, allowing for the best experience for new and returning patients. The state-of-the-art facility brings the same experienced and devoted care provided by the team’s five doctors, physicians assistants, and nurse practitioner. The residents of the CSRA have known and trusted Evans Medical Group for more than 30 years. The medical team looks forward to seeing and serving their patients as this new chapter begins.

1205 Town Park Lane • Evans
(706) 868-3100

Georgia Miller Photography

Faces of Success

Georgia Miller Photography evolved out of Georgia’s love for people and her love for celebrating life’s beautiful moments. Capturing memories that will last a lifetime is her passion, and weddings, elopements and engagements are her specialty. Georgia believes that every couple has a unique story, and she aims to create a personalized experience that is tailored to her clients.

Augusta Plastic Surgery

Faces of Success

Introducing the faces behind Augusta Plastic Surgery. Board Certified Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Christopher Ewart and Dr. Michael Tarakji, specialize in transforming patients’ lives and providing amazing results. You will find them perfecting their craft in Augusta Plastic Surgery’s onsite operating rooms at their new, state-of-the-art surgery center.


569 Furys Ferry Rd • Martinez
(706)  724-5611

Signature Interiors & Gifts

Faces of Success

Interior designer Michael Siewert is always hard at work, and that dedication is about to pay off in a big way. His newly constructed, 10,000-square-foot shopping center, The Signature Shops on Furys Ferry, will open in mid-November. Signature Interiors & Gifts, his flagship business, will occupy a 5,000-square-foot space in the center. Michael also is opening a new ladies’ shoe store, Signature Soles, in one of the five bays.

Signature Shops on Furys Ferry
(706) 447-1503

Greenbrier Veterinary Services

Faces of Success

Dr. Wheatley and her staff at Greenbrier Veterinary Services understand that fur babies are family. With a new, larger, state-of-the-art veterinary hospital, they nurture the human-animal bond with comprehensive, compassionate, professional pet care. Services include:

Services include:
• Separate dog and cat waiting areas
• Heated exam table in cat exam room
• Comprehensive exams and bloodwork
• On-site laboratory and pharmacy
• Pet dentistry services
• Laser therapy
• Digital diagnostic procedures
• Prescription and therapeutic diets
• Monthly disease and parasite prevention
• House calls

1715 General Wood Parkway • Evans
(762) 233-2380

Affordable Housing Proposals


While the status of proposals to build two low-income housing projects in Columbia County currently is in limbo, residents overwhelmingly oppose the plans

This summer out-of-town developers sought tax credits from the state Department of Community Affairs to build two new affordable housing projects in Columbia County. While approval of the projects is yet to come from the state, Columbia County residents have made their feelings known. And it’s thumbs down.

“If the DCA approves them for funding, they still need approval from the county,” says Scott Sterling, the county Planning Services director. “Neither have happened. Until we get something on paper, it’s hard to speculate on the viability of whether it will be approved.”

One of the developments, the Woods at Reed Creek, would be located at 487 Furys Ferry Road and border West Lake subdivision behind the office buildings fronted by the Wells Fargo bank branch. It would feature 38 detached single-family dwellings on 17 acres.

Evans Commons would be built at 4975 Hardy McManus Road near the intersection of Hardy McManus Road and William Few Parkway, close to Eagle Creek subdivision. It would include 90 apartment units on 13 acres.

Upon receipt of DCA’s letters regarding the development of the two housing projects, the county solicited input from the community.

In a week, the county received more than 1,200 emails from local residents, and the majority of respondents opposed the developments. A corresponding poll on the county’s official Facebook page netted more than 3,400 votes. Of those who took the poll, 94 percent opposed the projects and 6 percent supported them.

Reasons for the opposition ranged from traffic concerns to additional burdens on an already overcrowded school system.

In August Board of Commissioners Chairman Doug Duncan sent two letters to the DCA in opposition of the proposals to build the housing developments.

“Columbia County remains one of the fastest growing counties in the United States,” he wrote in the letters. “As such, we have been diligent in our planning efforts to ensure that our infrastructure would not only support growth, but meet our citizens’ quality of life demands.”

To date, the county has received no update from the DCA nor the potential developers since the letters were sent to them.

The Gleam III — The Avett Brothers

Listen To This

In the age of reset and refresh, The Avett Brothers exude serious retrospective and philosophical vibes on their latest installment of their Gleam EP series, The Gleam III

A series that began in 2006, The Gleam projects are intimate sound nuggets that are void of the full-bodied arrangements and support of the entire band ensemble with a comforting glow of back-to-basics charm as a trio.

The Avett Brothers plus one, bassist Bob Crawford, deliver an acoustic spiritual journey of heartbreaking valleys wrapped in resounding peaks of hope with a core emphasis on accountability and raw kinship that spotlights the brother’s underrated yet colossal lyrical style and prowess.

Similar to a novel of short stories, each of the eight tracks have varying degrees of grit and charm that do not rely on thematic or long-play flow but connect with soul and intentionality that rallies the diehards and recruit newcomers into an unincorporated Avett county of fellowship and legacy —  a place where everyone experiences the beauty of life lessons that birth tradition and feed generations with passionate hope and the belief in camaraderie and connection.

– Chris Rucker

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Literary Loop

The #1 New York Times bestselling author, Fredrik Backman of A Man Called Ove fame, is at it again with another cast of unforgettable characters in Anxious People. This poignant, charming novel probes a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.

Looking at real estate isn’t usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage.

The captives include a recently retired couple who relentlessly hunt down fixer-uppers, a wealthy but self-absorbed bank director and a young couple who are about to have their first child.

Add to the mix an 87-year-old woman who has lived long enough not to be afraid of someone waving a gun in her face, a flustered but still-ready-to-make-a-deal real estate agent and a mystery man who has locked himself in the only bathroom, and you’ve got the worst group of hostages in the world.

As the authorities and the media arrive, these reluctant allies will reveal surprising truths about themselves and set in motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next.

“[A] witty, lighthearted romp…Backman charms,” says Publishers Weekly.

“Comedy, drama, mystery and social study, this novel is undefinable except for the sheer reading pleasure it delivers,” says Library Journal.

Tech Savvy


Columbia County has been recognized as a leader in technology, finishing in the Top 10 in the 18th annual Digital Counties Survey.

The survey, conducted by the Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties, identifies the best technology practices among U.S. counties.

These practices include streamlining the delivery of government services, encouraging open data, collaborating and sharing services, enhancing cybersecurity and contributing to disaster response and recovery efforts.

This was the first year that the county applied for the survey in the 150,000 – 250,000 population category, and Columbia County finished fourth among all applicants.


Model Citizens


A 3D model of Evans Towne Center created by Columbia County’s Geographic Information Systems team has been selected as the recipient of the GMIS International award for outstanding service and dedication to the citizens of Columbia County.

The project was submitted to GMIS International after winning the Georgia GMIS Government to Citizen Award earlier this summer.

Team members (pictured) include (left to right, front row): Larry Hobbs, Ernie Phelps, Lindsey Stokes and Julianne Hartman and (back row) Samuel Ball, Grace Jansen and Mark Swain.

Although the department team had no experience in 3D modeling, it was asked by the county administrator to create the model to showcase the county’s new Performing Arts Center, Meybohm Building, future parking deck and other future retail/professional developments.

The team had only two weeks to put the project together to present to the Board of Commissioners and county administration.

Spider Web Popcorn

Appetizers and Snacks
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 8 cups mini marshmallows, divided
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 9 cups popped popcorn, divided
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • Black string licorice
  • Candy eyes

Line round pizza pan with parchment paper; set aside. Melt butter in large saucepan set over low heat; stir in 5 cups marshmallows, stirring constantly 3 to 4 minutes or until completely melted. Stir in vanilla. Remove from heat and immediately stir in 8 cups popped popcorn until coated. Spread onto pizza pan about 1-inch thick to resemble spider web. Refrigerate 15 minutes or until firm.

Meanwhile, melt remaining marshmallows in microwave about 20 seconds or until melted. Using spatula, string strands of melted marshmallow over popcorn spider web to create cobweb effect.

In heatproof bowl set over saucepan of hot, not boiling, water, melt 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips; let cool slightly. Pour chocolate over remaining popcorn in large bowl, folding gently to coat. Spread mixture on waxed paper–lined baking sheet, separating into 8 small clusters. Affix 2 candy eyes on each popcorn cluster. Refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes or until set.

Melt remaining chocolate chips. Cut licorice into 1-inch lengths. Use small spoon, dab circles of chocolate onto spider web. Affix chocolate-coated popcorn onto chocolate circles. Affix licorice lengths to chocolate popcorn clusters to resemble spider legs. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until set. To serve, cut into smaller pieces. Makes 1 web.

Courtesy of the Popcorn Board

That’s the Spirit

In The Home

An Evans resident loves to celebrate Halloween with her “kindred souls.”

Make no bones about it. Some people believe their skeletons belong in a closet. Not Lynn Pawlak of Evans, though. She proudly displays her skeletons – and ghosts and mummies – out in the open at her Barrett Place home every Halloween. After all, it’s no secret that she loves the holiday.

“This is a fun time. I celebrate Halloween. I don’t have anything gory, so it doesn’t upset anybody,” says Lynn, who moved to her home four years ago. “I decorate for every holiday, but not to this extent for the others.”

Cast of Characters
With a couple of ghouls poking up through the ground among a trio of tombstones in a flowerbed, her front yard tells the tale of her love story with Halloween – and offers a preview of what’s inside.

On the front porch, a bride and groom skeleton sit side-by-side on a bench. The groom is outfitted in a black hat and a red bowtie, while the bride is fetching in her long white gown that’s accented with a black sash and a subtle splash or two of blood. Their hands rest on an orange pumpkin between them that says, “I’m Here for the Boos.”

Lynn has had the groom for about 10 years, and she found his bride four years ago. When he was still a single skeleton, she would seat him at a table for parties. “People couldn’t help but rearrange him,” she says.

The wicked witch from Snow White, clad in black and clutching an apple in her bony fingers, also sits on the front porch next to a cauldron full of bones. A big black spider clings to a white column by its giant black web.

A decorative Halloween flag flies from the front porch, and lighted Halloween picks add a spark to a pair of planters. A wreath with a pointy purple witch’s hat and dangly witch’s legs hangs on the front door.

The witch and skeletons have more life-sized companions inside the house. A mummy – yes, its name is Mummy – welcomes visitors from the hallway to Lynn’s Halloween haven. Mummy is holding a black long-stemmed rose and sporting a black pointed witch’s hat that curls into a point.

“I added all the little touches to the mummy,” Lynn says. “I made it into a witch because it was unisex. I said, ‘Let me fix you up.’”

A black tree, wrapped with a shimmery black and orange tree skirt at the base and topped with a Halloween bow, is filled with Christopher Radko and Brighton Halloween ornaments. “Now that I have this tree, I started getting myself some nice ornaments,” says Lynn.

Mummy is well positioned to keep a bandaged eye on Harry, a talking mechanical ghost that plays music and pulls his head off of his shoulders. “He reminds me of Beetlejuice,” Lynn says of Harry. “He was one of the first mechanical things I got.”

Of course, Harry isn’t trying to frighten anyone when he lifts up his head – it’s a practical matter. “I need to get a better view of the situation,” he explains in one of his many comments.

A lamp, where black spiders dangle from a spider web-covered shade, sits on a table in the foyer. The lamp is joined by a spidery candle on a mummy candlestick, a pumpkin, a skeleton head, a small Halloween tree and a table runner with silver spider webs.

Halloween Treats
Lynn’s appetite for Halloween extends into her kitchen. As fate would have it, she won a Halloween cookie jar at her first Bunko party, and it sits on one of the granite countertops.

Halloween bowls, wine glasses and a pair of witch’s shoe-shaped wine bottle holders sit atop the counters as well. A witch tassel dangles from one cabinet knob and a skeleton tassel hangs from another.

A candy corn dish towel hangs from one cabinet door, and a duo of Halloween dish towels are draped over the oven door handle.

If any question remains about Lynn’s affection for Halloween, a peek inside her cabinets will clear up any doubts. She has shelves full of Halloween wine glasses and plates, and a drawer is full of Halloween spreaders.

“I am a huge collector of Halloween dishes,” she says. “Each one has a different saying on the front and back.”

The riddles on the plates add to the fun. What do witches put on their hair? Scare spray. When is it bad luck to meet a black cat? When you’re a mouse. What do you call a fat jack-o’-lantern? A plumpkin.

In the adjoining dining area, another talking mannequin, Pumpkin Man, guards the space from a corner. Not that there is anything discreet about his presence, though. His is dapperly attired in pin-striped pants, a black jacket with purple lapels and a top hat, and one of his orange hands rests on a cane with a skull for a handle. His face also lights up when he says silly things.

Pumpkin Man is joined by a ghost with long black hair – one of the newest members of Lynn’s Halloween entourage. “I got her last year at the end of the season,” she says.

A black tablecloth with a glittery spider web pattern covers the round table, and two candelabras holding Halloween candles sit on top of the table on either side of a Halloween bowl. A black feather boa with shimmers of emerald green is draped on the chandelier. Someone at an Elton John concert gave the boa to Lynn after she admired it.

Savvy Shopping
With spooky red eyes, another ghost named Annabella watches over the great room from a corner. “People have asked me if it bothers me to walk through the house at night with all of the mannequins everywhere. It doesn’t bother me at all,” says Lynn.

Well, there is one exception. “When I lived in Jones Creek, Annabella was on the landing, but I had to put her in a bedroom,” Lynn says.

Evidently, her prominent positioning was too creepy at night even for Lynn. In her new home, however, Annabella’s post is a bit more palatable.

The hardwood flooring in the house extends into the great room, which also features a cathedral ceiling, two Thomas Kinkade paintings and a collection of signed Hummel figurines. A freestanding bookshelf, full of Halloween knick-knacks, sits on either side of the fireplace with a brick surround. In the center of the wood mantel, a pair of hands with black fingernails reaches upward, and the head of a snake-haired Medusa occupies one end. Don’t stare at her for too long, though, or you’ll turn to stone.

A witch sits in front of the fireplace next to a basket full of eyeballs, and the round coffee table is covered with a spider web tablecloth. A small gold tree on the table holds more Christopher Radko ornaments.

Black cats and jack-o’-lanterns peer into the room from a Halloween throw blanket, which is draped on the back of the sectional couch, and pillows featuring a raven and a pumpkin are tucked on each end.

Ceramic Halloween village pieces, which Lynn has had for decades, line a skinny table behind a section of the couch.

“Ninety percent of my Halloween decorations, I have collected through the years. Most of them were on sale,” says Lynn. “A lot of the things I got when I was younger. Once a year I would buy a major item.”

In the back hallway, the face of a friendly scarecrow smiles at passersby from the powder room door. “I got him in Germany at an American craft fair,” says Lynn.

The powder room features a pedestal sink, and the Halloween décor includes mats, hand towels and pumpkin hand soap.

Sharing the Fun
Lynn bought many of her smaller Halloween decorations when she went shopping with a like-minded friend she has known more than 30 years. Their shopping sprees continued even after they lived in different places. “We would send Halloween baskets to each other,” Lynn says.

Because of the Army careers of her father and her former husband, Lynn has lived all across the globe and shared her love of Halloween with her many international friends wherever she went.

“You get to dress up. When I lived in other countries, I got to introduce Halloween to the people there. I trick-or-treated until I was 14,” says Lynn. “To me, Halloween has always been about fun. Everybody can participate.”

She also likes to entertain, and naturally, her Bunko group and book club meet at her house for their October gatherings. Lynn has extended that same generous spirit to her young neighbors since she moved to Barrett Place.

“I open my door on Halloween and let the kids see what the mannequins can do. But I always ask them first if they want to see it,” she says. “They know this house is entertaining. I enjoy seeing the children, and I have such great memories of Halloween all over the world.”

As for any plans to shop for bargains after Halloween this year, however, Lynn emphatically says, “No. I’m done.”

Except perhaps for another Brighton ornament or two for her tree. . ..

By Betsy Gilliland