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Casual Furniture of Augusta

Women In Business

Casual Furniture of Augusta, voted Best Outdoor Furniture  six years in a row, is known for quality outdoor furnishings at affordable prices and impeccable customer service.

“All of our furniture can stay outside year-round, and it is made to last,” says owner Donna Gibbs, who has more than 34 years in the business.

Most of the furniture and accessories she carries — including chaises, sofa groups, dining groups, fire pits, outdoor bars, umbrellas — are made in the USA for sunrooms, porches, patios, decks and pool areas.

3725 Washington Rd
Augusta, GA 30907

Willene J. Satcher – Satcher Insurance Services, Inc.

Women In Business

Willene Satcher, owner of Satcher Insurance Services,  Inc. along with her daughter, Alicia Bible, serve customers in Georgia and South Carolina. They are dedicated to protecting their clients’ families, properties and businesses.

They carefully select nationally recognized insurance providers, which must have A-plus or better ratings, to offer clients the best possible protection. The providers include:
• Travelers
• Progressive
• Foremost Insurance Group
• Zurich
• Auto-Owners
• American Strategic Insurance

“The advantage of working with independent agents is that they obtain several quotes from multiple insurance companies to secure the best rates,” Willene says.

Building 1 A | 4210 Columbia Rd | Martinez
(706) 863-0002

Visit our website at : www.satcherinsurance.com

JULIE CALHOUN – Georgia Farm Bureau Insurance Services

Women In Business

Some customers might be surprised to find two women run- ning a roofing/remodeling company. They might not be surprised, however, when they realize the women are Grace Gilpin, president and CEO of L & J Roofing and Home Improvements, Inc., and general contractor Carol McWhorter. Grace and Carol are excited to play an active role in the roofing/remodeling industry and community, just as Larry Gilpin, Sr. would have intended for them to do.

The women are building on the business model that Larry – Grace’s late husband of 41 years and a mentor to Carol – started in 1972.

3640 Wheeler Rd
Augusta, GA
(762) 222-8010


Tournament Tips & Landmarks

Guide to The Masters

Course LandmarksMagnolia Lane – tree-lined main entrance to Augusta National

Founders Circle – two plaques honoring founding members Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones at the base of the flagpole in front of the clubhouse

Crow’s Nest – a cupola atop the clubhouse that provides tournament housing for amateur players 

Oak-TreeBig Oak Tree – a gathering spot for media interviews behind the clubhouse

Rae’s Creek between the 11th and 12th greens 

Hogan Bridge at No. 12 green 

Nelson Bridge at No. 13 tee

Sarazen Bridge at No. 15 green

3.-Landmark--Arnold-Palmer-Plaque-behind-No.-16-teeArnold Palmer Plaque behind No. 16 tee 

Jack Nicklaus Plaque between Nos. 16 and 17

Record Fountain to the left of No. 17 green

Augusta National Golf Club cabins

Ike’s Pond – a spring-fed, 3-acre pond on the Par-3 Course behind Eisenhower Cabin

Par 3 Fountain – adjacent to No. 1 tee on Par 3 course; includes list of Par 3 Contest winners 


Prohibited Items
• Cell phones/cellular-capable devices
• Beepers
• Electronic devices/tablets
• Any device capable of transmitting video
• Backpacks, bags and purses larger than 10” x 10” x 12” (in its natural state)
• Cameras on tournament days*
• Weapons of any kind (regardless of permit)
• Radios/TVs/noise- or music-producing devices
• Two-way or other talk radios
• Folding armchairs/rigid type chairs
• Flags/banners/signs
• Strollers
• Food/beverages/coolers
• Golf shoes with metal spikes
• Ladders/periscopes/selfie sticks

 *Cameras (still photography/personal use only) are allowed at practice rounds on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Violation of these policies will subject the ticket holder to removal from the grounds and the ticket purchaser to the permanent loss of credentials.

Tournament Amenities:

  • Automated teller machines
  • Concession stands
  • First aid stations
  • Golf shops
  • Information centers
  • Lost and found
  • Merchandise shipping/check stands
  • Message center
  • Pairing sheets with course map and tee times
  • Parking
  • Picnic areas
  • Patron photos (tournament days only)
  • Restrooms
  • Scoring information
  • Spectator guides
  • Telephones
  • Water fountains

Autograph Policy
Autograph seeking is only allowed around the practice range and on the Par 3 course during the Par 3 Contest. A No Autograph Policy will be enforced on the golf course for practice and tournament days.

Re-Entry Policy
Patron tickets will be limited to a total of three entries per day. 

Free Masters parking is available at Augusta National Golf Club on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Talent, Toughness and Tenacity

Guide to The Masters

AUGUSTA, GA – Patrick Reed of the United States

Seeking his first major championship, 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed found last year that Augusta National Golf Club suited him to a tee.

With a 6-0 match play record when he led Augusta State University to back-to-back national championships and a Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup record of 11-6-4, Patrick Reed is known for his match play prowess. At the 82nd Masters Tournament, no one in the 87-player field could match his stroke play, either. It wasn’t for lack of trying, however.

Reed, the 36- and 54-hole leader, shot 71 in the final round to finish at 15-under – and hold off furious Sunday charges by a pair of fellow 20-something Americans – to win the 2018 Masters. He finished one stroke ahead of Rickie Fowler, who carded a final round 67, and two shots clear of Jordan Spieth, who posted a blistering 64 on Sunday.

“I knew it was going to be a dogfight,” said Reed. “It’s just a way of God basically saying, ‘Let’s see if you have it.’ Everyone knows you have it physically with the talent, but do you have it mentally? Can you handle the ups and downs of the round?”

Champions Past and Future

Practice Round-Woods & Phil Mickelson

The 2018 Masters was one of the most highly anticipated in recent memory. After all, a healthy Tiger Woods, who has four green jackets, and three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson, who was back in the winner’s circle for the first time in five years with a March 2018 victory in Mexico, were in fine form.

“I think there’s a lot of players, a lot of the top quality players, young and old, that are playing some of their best golf. And I think that’s going to lead to one of the most exciting Masters in years,” said Mickelson.

The two former Masters champions teamed up for a practice round on Tuesday with 1992 Masters winner Fred Couples and Belgium’s Thomas Pieters, and the buzz the foursome generated felt like a final round. The galleries ballooned at each hole they played. “It feels like a Sunday, y’all,” said a gallery guard on the 18th hole.

Wearing a long-sleeved, button-up shirt for the occasion, Mickelson even looked like he was dressed for church. “I always give him a little bit of grief about that,” Woods said. “The only thing that was missing was a tie.”

Par 3 Kids

Woods and Mickelson were not the only former Masters champions that garnered attention at the tournament last year. On Wednesday Tom Watson, the 1977 and 1981 Masters champion, became the oldest Par 3 Contest winner at age 68. Winning the tournament tune-up for the second time (he also won it in 1982), he posted a 6-under-par 21 for a one-shot victory.

“When I birdied the first three holes, I made the putt at number 3, I said, ‘Well, let’s see if I can win this thing,’” Watson said. “There’s no hex. I’m not playing in the big tournament, so there’s no pressure on me to win.”

No player has ever won the Par 3 Contest and the Masters Tournament in the same year.

Tom Watson

Watson played the Par 3 with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, who have won nine green jackets between them, and the group showed that golf is for the young as well as the young at heart. Nicklaus’ caddie and grandson, 15-year-old GT, aced the ninth hole when he hit his grandfather’s tee shot.

Nicklaus called the shot his “number one” memory from the Masters. “Watching your grandson do something, it’s pretty special. I got a few tears. We talked about three days ago, and I said, ‘Do you want to hit the ball on nine?’ And he said, ‘Sure.’ And I said, ‘Well, I think you’re going to make a hole-in-one.’ That’s what I told him three days ago. And he said, ‘OK.’ He’s never made a hole-in-one. It’s his first hole-in-one. It’s pretty special.”

The younger Nicklaus said he was just trying to get the ball on the green. “I couldn’t even imagine doing that,” he said of the hole-in-one, “but I couldn’t think of a more special place to do it.”

Two PGA Tour players – Dylan Frittelli and Tony Finau, who were playing in their inaugural Masters – also had holes-in-one during the Par 3. Finau slipped as he ran toward the hole to celebrate, dislocating his ankle, but he still competed in the tournament and finished T10.

16th Hole 3

At his Wednesday morning press conference, Fred Ridley, the Masters and Augusta National chairman, revealed that more golfers will play Augusta National for the first time in 2019. He announced the establishment of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship, an annual 54-hole, stroke play tournament that will include an international field of 72 players. The first two rounds will take place at Champions Retreat Golf Club, and after a cut to the low 30 scores, the final round will take place at Augusta National on Saturday, April 6.

“This championship will become an exciting edition to the Masters Week, and it furthers our effort to promote the sport and inspire young women to take up the game,” Ridley said.

Dialing Up the Heat

Jordan Spieth

The tournament began with Nicklaus and Player hitting drives off the first tee as honorary starters Thursday, and the day ended with 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth atop the leaderboard with a two-shot lead at 6-under-par. “I’ll always have demons out here, but I’ll always have a tremendous amount of confidence out here. Once you win here, you have an advantage over anybody who hasn’t won here,” said Spieth.

Reed finished the first round at T4 with a 69. “Any time you shoot anywhere between 2- and 4-under par, especially on an opening round at Augusta, it’s always a great start. . . . It’s definitely a course I feel I can win on,” he said.

By the end of the second round, it was Reed who had a two-stroke advantage. Three times during the round he had a trio of consecutive birdies on Nos. 1 -3, 7 – 9 and 13 -15 to shoot 66 – the low round of the day. For the second straight round, he also birdied all four of the par 5s.

“To be able to go out and capitalize on those par 5s and to make a lot of birdies there, it kind of allows you to be really aggressive when you feel like you’re really comfortable with a shot,” Reed said.

On a dreary, rainy Saturday, when the field had been trimmed to 53 players, Reed shot 67 to finish three shots ahead of the field at 14-under-par. He eagled Nos. 13 and 15 and birdied Nos. 5 and 8 – 10.

“You have so many of these guys that have played some really solid golf coming into this week and that were making a charge today,” he said. “I just needed to get myself going and make some birdies and get it started.”

Rory McIlroy

At 11-under, Rory McIlroy was in second place – setting up a tantalizing final round pairing with Reed. McIlroy could secure a career grand slam with a Masters victory, while Reed was trying to win his first major and become the first player in tournament history to shoot all four rounds in the 60s.

The Sunday pairing conjured up memories of the epic singles battle between Reed and McIlroy in the 2016 Ryder Cup that Reed ultimately won, 1-up. However, the competition essentially got underway Saturday night during their post-round interviews when McIlroy and Reed lobbed verbal volleys at each other to dial up the heat.

“Patrick has got a three-shot lead. I feel like all the pressure is on him. He’s got to go out and protect that, and he’s got a few guys chasing him that are pretty big-time players,” McIlroy said. “He’s got that to deal with and sleep on tonight. I feel like I can go out there and play like I’ve got nothing to lose. If I can do that, I feel like I’ll be OK.”

Reed didn’t take the bait that all the pressure was on his shoulders. “I am leading. . . . But at the same time, he’s trying to go for the career grand slam. You can put it either way,” he said.

He also said he would stick to his game plan. “I’m not out there to play Rory. I’m out there to play the golf course,” Reed said. “At the end of the day, if I go out and I feel pleased with how I play, then, you know, it should be an enjoyable Sunday night.”

Fowler finished the third round in third place at 9-under. Spieth, who said he would get to play one of his only stress-free rounds ever at the Masters on Sunday, was nine strokes back at T9.

Kudos to Captain America
The final round showdown between Reed, nicknamed “Captain America” because of his Ryder Cup heroics (he has a 3-0 singles record), and McIlroy turned into a bust as the Northern Irishman ultimately shot 74 behind uneven putting.

Instead Reed, who parred all four par 5s on Sunday after playing them in 13-under through the first three rounds, had to fight back surges from two of his Ryder Cup teammates.

Spieth pulled even with Reed at 14-under after sinking a 33-foot putt for birdie on No. 16, but a bogey at the 18th hole dropped him back to 13-under for the tournament. “It was kind of nerve-wracking,” said Reed, an admittedly avid leaderboard watcher. “I was kind of glad he ran out of holes.”

Reed birdied No. 14 to go to 15-under, and he needed to par the final four holes to fend off Fowler, who was one shot behind after a birdie on No. 18.

“We gave it our all. We left it all out there. We made P. Reed earn it,” said Fowler. “It was nice to get the one at the last to keep him honest.”

Reed earned it, all right, with a 5-footer for par on No. 17 and a two-putt on No. 18 to hang on to the lead. His first putt on No. 18 – 24 feet downhill – rolled 4 feet past the hole. He drained the comeback putt, however, to claim the green jacket.

“Trying to go win your first major, you know that people are going to make runs, and it’s not going to be easy. You’re going to have to go out and play a good round of golf and shoot under par,” Reed said.

After a winless 2017, capturing a major championship was even sweeter for Reed.

“To end the drought and win a major, it helps me mentally, and also helps my resume,” he said. “Hopefully, I can just take this momentum going forward and play some really solid golf.”

By Betsy Gilliland

Drawing on Experience

Guide to The Masters

Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and Masters Tournament Fred Ridley stands with overall division winners, from left, Ella June Hannant, Taighan Chea, Vanessa Borovilos, Tip Price, Sarah Im, P.J. Maybank, Katherine Schuster, and Brendan Valdes at the presentation ceremony during the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club, Sunday, April 1, 2018.

Repeat competitors found plenty of success at the fifth annual Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals.

Experience often is a valuable teacher, much to the delight of some of the participants in last year’s Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club. Three of the eight 2018 champions had competed in the event in prior years.

Conducted by the Masters Tournament, the PGA of America and the USGA, the championship is a free, nationwide youth golf development program for boys and girls, ages 7-15, in four age categories. Tens of thousands of youths compete in the annual event, which began in 2014. The field is narrowed down to 80 competitors who earn a trip to the finals, which are held each year at Augusta National Golf Club on the Sunday preceding the Masters.

“All of us at Augusta National are focused on the future of golf, and this event remains one of the most meaningful endeavors in the history of our club,” said Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National and the Masters Tournament. “Our goal here is to inspire a lifelong passion for the game of golf, and if our participation helps, then we’ve accomplished our mission. I would like to say how inspired we all are by each and every one of these kids, and I’m pretty confident that the game of golf has a great future.”

Chip Winner Vanessa Borovilos, Girls, 10-11 age group, is picked up by Masters champion Gary Player of South Africa as Masters champion Trevor Immelman of South Africa looks on during the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club, Sunday, April 1, 2018.

The third time was the charm for Vanessa Borovilos of Toronto, Ontario. The winner of the Girls 10 – 11 division also competed in the Girls 7 – 9 division of the Drive Chip and Putt finals in 2015 and 2016, finishing in fourth and fifth place, respectively.

“I’ve tried a lot of times (to win Drive, Chip and Putt), and (last) year I just practiced more and I think that helped me,” said Vanessa, who was lifted off her feet by former Masters champion Gary Player during the trophy presentation ceremony.

On her second trip to the Drive, Chip and Putt finals, Katherine Schuster of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina won the Girls 14 – 15 division. She finished in third place in the 2015 national finals in the Girls 10 – 11 division and was a medalist in putting.

“There are no words to describe it. I am so excited,” she said. “I definitely felt more comfortable around the greens (this year), and I was able to sink the 30-footer, which really put a smile on my face.”

Tip Price, Boys, 10-11 age group, is congratulated by Masters champion Sergio Garcia of Spain with First Place Overall trophy during the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club, Sunday, April 1, 2018.

Cheboyogan, Michigan’s PJ Maybank III, who competed in the 2015 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals in the Boys 7 – 9 division, drew on his experience to win the Boys 12 -13 division. “I knew what to expect. I knew which way the putts would break and how the chip would roll out,” he said.

He had to hold off a late rally by Conrad Chisman of Stanwood, Washington. Chisman became the first finalist in the history of the competition to make both putts on the 18th green.

Brendan Valdes of Orlando, Florida, who claimed the Boys 14 -15 division title, felt a surge of pride when he saw his name go up on the leader board with those of the other winners. “That’s where all the leaders have been, and it’s where Sergio Garcia was (in 2017). It’s just insane that I am up there,” said Brendan, who defeated Joshua Lavely of Kewadin, Michigan in a playoff for the victory.

The other female champions were Ella June Hannant of Pikeville, North Carolina (ages 7 – 9) and Sara Im of Duluth, Georgia (ages 12 – 13). The other male winners were Taighan Chea of Bothell, Washington (ages 7 – 9) and Tip Price of Greenville, South Carolina (ages 10 – 11).

This year’s Drive, Chip and Putt Championship will be held at Augusta National on Sunday, April 7. Registration for the 2019 championship is underway at drivechipandputt.com, and local qualifiers begin in May.

By Betsy Gilliland

Photos courtesy of Augusta National Golf Club


A Looper’s Lasting Legacy

Guide to The Masters

Photos by Stan Byrdy

Iron Man Avery, Arnold Palmer’s caddie for all four of his Masters wins, finally has a gravestone more than three decades after his death.

Will Avery has felt the pressure cooker of college basketball at Duke for the 1999 NCAA Championship Game and in the NBA as a first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Augusta, Ga., native traveled the world, playing professionally in the Middle East and Europe for a decade before coming home to start a career as a coach and camp organizer.

But for more than half of his life, the 39-year-old Avery didn’t know much about his most famous predecessor in the sports spotlight. He knew there was a pedigree of top-flight golf caddies in his family, beginning two generations before with great uncles and continuing with his father and uncles, all with ties to Augusta National Golf Club. But the story of Iron Man, his famous great uncle Nathaniel, was lost in time, especially since Iron Man died at age 46 in 1985, a broken man, when Will was just age 5.

“I think the first time I heard it I was actually in my 20s and I’m thinking to myself, why didn’t I know this earlier? This is a big deal,” Avery said. “I had a lot of individual success, but it doesn’t come close to what he did. That was historical and will be there forever.”

The Original Iron Man

There are so many inspiring stories told in the new caddie documentary, Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk. There’s the climb of Carl Jackson and Greg Puga from inner-city upbringings to prominence within the caddie profession. See Fanny Sunesson and her ascension to sidekick for the world’s No. 1 player in an all-male workplace. Or experience the whole lot of caddies over the centuries in Ireland and Scotland treating visitors to their hard-edged whit and knowledge.

But one of the encounters within the caddying world tugged at my heart more than others… and had so for nearly 20 years. Before Tony Stark’s Marvel superhero or Black Sabbath’s heavy metal song brought the title to greater prominence, there was the original Iron Man, who stood so tall beside Arnold Palmer when he made golf and the Masters Tournament so famous on television beginning in the late 1950s.

The youngest of eight children, he hung out in the caddie yard in the early 1950s, learning from his older brother, Big Henry Avery, the longtime Augusta Country Club caddie master who is responsible for giving many of Augusta National’s caddies their humorously appropriate nicknames. As a 115-pound kid, little Nathaniel boasted that he could carry the heaviest bag of the day’s rounds and come back for more. That was the first time, he said in a mid-1960s interview, that someone jokingly called him Iron Man, even though that nickname would thrive with fanciful stories of fingers being chopped off in an ax accident, a knife fight or via a drunken encounter with powerful firecrackers.

Just as fantastic were the ventures off the course. In Palmer’s first Masters victory in 1958, it was the intention to pay a caddie fee of $1,400, but Arnie’s wife Winnie was overcome by the moment and hurriedly wrote a check for $14,000 — more than Palmer’s $11,250 first prize — and Iron Man’s check was later reissued.

With every new Masters victory, Iron Man purchased a new car and sported about Augusta as the small Southern city’s new celebrity in inner-city black neighborhoods. He totaled one new vehicle soon after a Masters victory, only to smile in the hospital emergency room that “I still got these $30 shoes.”

When Palmer won his second Masters in 1960, he was staggering down the stretch before Iron Man asked him in the 15th fairway, “Mr. Palmer … are we chokin’?” Perturbed, Palmer birdied the last two holes to win. Palmer admitted years later that he didn’t rely on Iron Man for yardage or green reading, but the man’s presence made Palmer smell victory.

Penetrating the Invisible Curtain

Just when you think that Iron Man was “just there” and not an essential part of the team, consider his above contributions and that in the 1950s and early 1960s it was highly unusual for the press to write about a caddie. They were considered just bag toters and not worthy of a story, especially if they were black during that sorry time in American history. But Iron Man broke through that invisible curtain to become one of the first caddies that the press went to for insight.

“He just hitch his trousers, jerk on his glove, starts walking fast and says, ‘The game is on,’” Iron Man told the Associated Press following Palmer’s third Masters win in 1962. “When Mr. Arnold do that, everybody better watch out. He’s gonna stampede anything in his way. … I been almost in his pocket on every hole. Sometime he goes with my advice — and it better be right. If I mis-club him, he don’t chastise me. He just look a little mean, and I feel like going through the ground. But he is a great man.

“He just look up in the sky like he is wishing for some miracle to come down. And the miracle come down — like somebody was answering him.”

But this golf version of Iron Man was virtually forgotten to relatives and golf fans, lost in black-and-white stories, flamboyant quotes and outlandish off-course behavior in a player-caddie tandem more suitable for Hollywood.

A half-century after Palmer and Iron Man split as a team in 1968, the only way you could find out what happened to Iron Man was to visit the office of Southview Cemetery in downtown Augusta, Ga. Grave No. 3, Lot 12, Section G held Iron Man’s remains. No marker existed. You can’t blame family, as Iron Man squandered any notoriety and winnings and separated himself from family. Palmer lost track as the years passed.

Caddie Royalty

When I was writing the 2004 book, Men On The Bag: The Caddies of Augusta National, my impetus was to reveal the people behind the nicknames. Who was “Cemetery,” President Eisenhower’s caddie? How about “Stovepipe,” on Gene Sarazen’s bag when the Squire made double eagle on No. 15 in 1935? Or Willie Peterson, the first caddie I researched as his daughter, Vanessa Peterson-Fox, called the Augusta Chronicle sports department in 1999 to report the death of her father, five times on Jack Nicklaus’s winning bag. I served as the Chronicle sports editor at the time.

I, too, lost the tug of that story until 2015 when film executive Jim Packer made a cold call to brainstorm his idea of developing a wide-ranging tale of caddies, what they do and why it’s so important.

By 2017, we were wrapping up much of the film’s storyline on Augusta caddies and I voiced that it was important to finally put Iron Man to rest. We had Iron Man in the film, but not his end story, which is told in an extra that was released in March, and is also available at loopersmovie.com. A dear Augusta friend, former sportscaster and historian Stan Byrdy, helped us document the end of the road.

We worked with Julius Clark, the Southview Cemetery owner, to make sure that there was a casket below the perceived Iron Man grave site. A marker was funded by an anonymous donor, with a design to recognize the Masters wins and lead with the Iron Man moniker. The Palmer Company, just a year after Arnie’s death in September 2016, gave their blessing, as did the Avery family, with Will Avery leading the way.

By late October 2017, the marker was ready and some of the Avery family gathered for an informal ceremony at Southview Cemetery to put a name on a place where none existed for 32 years. Just 100 yards away rests Willie “Pappy” Stokes, the five-time Masters winning caddie, twice for Ben Hogan, and the Augusta National caddie corps’ “godfather.” He has a military marker because of his service in World War II. Peterson is buried four miles away in Cedar Grove Cemetery. The total number of Masters wins: 14. It’s an inner city of caddie royalty.

A Fitting Memorial

Henry Avery Jr., unearthed what was probably his uncle’s final Augusta National caddie card, a collectible ID passed along from uncle to nephew that “I keep in a safe place,” he said.

If you ever have a moment, it would be worth a stop at Southview Cemetery, 1102 Nellieville Road. It’s quiet, about five miles away from the bustle of the Washington Road area near Augusta National. It should be a Masters golf landmark.

“This could be a museum, not a cemetery,” Will Avery said.

It’s also an appropriate memorial. I’m proud to say we were able to make happen.

By Ward Clayton

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

Sea & Safari



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


Augusta University Medical Center

Dental Care

All of your dental care in one location.

From routine cleanings to the most complicated procedures we offer a complete scope of adult and pediatric dental services, all from one central location by dentists and dental specialists.

As a patient in Dental Associates, you will only be seen by a dentist.

Augusta University Medical Center
1120 15th Street Augusta, GA  30912

To schedule an appointment, call 706-721-2696
or visit www.augustahealth.org


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