Kristin Morrissey - County Line Magazine

countylinemagazine.net

Kristin Morrissey - County Line Magazine

OCTOBER 2012

The bridge at

Caney Creek Preserve

Mackenzie, Joe, Sydney and Kristin Morrissey

Kristin

Morrissey

Forsyth County

Board of Education

Representative,

District 2

1 CountyLine | October 2012


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3 CountyLine | October 2012


16

COVER STORY

16 A PASSION TO SERVE

DEPARTMENTS

6 From the Publisher

14 Paparazzi

24 History Made Easy:

Longstreet & His Georgia Hotel

28 Day Trippin’:

Funk Heritage Center

4

CountyLine | October 2012 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net


20

10 12

FEATURES

8 Signs of Suicide

12 Hitting the Right Notes

20 Mentor, Artist, Leader

26 North Fulton Community Charities

COUNTYLINE COMMUNITY

10 Troop 2000’s Jake Erickson

Dedicates His Eagle Scout Project at Shakerag Park

10 Northview High School’s 9/11 Tribute

15 Lights, Camera, Action!

22 Caitlyn Woodhead Creates Award Winning Art

Business Focus

30 Robersion’s Landscaping

Now is the Time to Plant Trees & Shrubs

5 CountyLine | October 2012


From the Publisher

When Kristin Morrissey moved to Forsyth County, her first position serving

as a volunteer was as a board member of her subdivision’s homeowners

association. Today, as Kristin continues to serve the community as a volunteer,

she also serves as the school board representative for District 2. It is such a

pleasure to have Kristin on the cover with her wonderful family: her husband,

Joe, and their daughters, Mackenzie and Sydney. Thank you, Kristin, for the

incredible work that you have done and continue to do to make Forsyth County

an even better place to live.

The Fulton County Schools, the Will To Live Foundation, and the SOS Signs of

Suicide program of Screening for Mental Health have joined together to bring

a program into middle and high schools that will identify students who are at

risk, and get them help. The program started with training counselors and

psychologists. The next phase of training for all school employees is expected

to be completed by the end of this month. Please read more about this incredibly

important program.

Gail Hisle, executive director of the Johns Creek Arts Center (JCAC), has the

rare combination of excellent business skills and creative artistry. She used

these skills to turn the JCAC into an incredibly valuable asset for our community. Thank you, Gail,

for bringing so many valuable art opportunities to Johns Creek.

North Fulton Community Charities provides families in North Fulton with food, financial assistance

and other services, helping them with their immediate needs and to return to self-sufficiency.

When I recently toured their facility, I was incredibly impressed with everything that they are

doing for our community. Please read about what they do to help families, and think about what

you can do to help.

Be sure to read about the Stampede, Lambert High School’s marching band that is on their way

to another successful season of performances and competitions.

There are so many incredibly talented students in our community. Be sure to read about Chattahoochee

junior Caitlyn Woodhead, who is an award-winning artist; Johns Creek High School

senior Jake Erickson, who contributed to Shakerag Park with his Eagle Scout project; Remington

Youngblood and Hunter Winkler’s interview with Senator Isakson, and Northview’s Kevin Colton,

who orchestrated a moving tribute to the victims of 9/11.

Looking for a place to go for the day that is both interesting and educational? You will be interested

in reading about this issue’s Day Trippin’ suggestion: Funk Heritage Center. This issue’s

History Made Easy has very interesting information about General James Longstreet and what he

did after the Civil War.

Fall is here, and before you plant new trees and shrubs, be sure to read the information about

how and where to plant from Scott Allen of Robersion’s Landscaping.

Enjoy the reading, enjoy the photos, and enjoy this issue of CountyLine!

Respectfully,

Judy Le Jeune

Publisher

6

CountyLine | October 2012 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net


Publisher

Judy Le Jeune

publisher@countylinemagazine.net

678-787-3551

Editorial

editor@countylinemagazine.net

Advertising

advertising@countylinemagazine.net

678-787-3551

Graphic Design

Summertime Graphics

Writers

Scott Allen

Barbara Duffy

Tammy Harden Galloway

Cindy Lombardo

Kathleen Kraynick

W. Cliff Roberts

Cover/Cover Story Photography

Mark Najjar

Atlanta Studios

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On the Cover:

Kristin Morrissey

Forsyth County

Board of Education Representative, District 2

Mackenzie, Joe, Sydney and Kristin Morrissey

CountyLine is published by Sugarcane Communications, LLC. No

advertising, editorial, or photographs in CountyLine may be reproduced

without the permission of Sugarcane Communications, LLC. 23,341

copies of this issue were delivered to all the homes and businesses in

the east half of Johns Creek and South Forsyth.

CountyLine

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7 CountyLine | October 2012


Signs of Suicide

A partnership program between Fulton County Schools, Screening for Mental Health and the Will To Live Foundation.

By Kathleen Kraynick

It’s a startling statistic: Suicide is the third leading

cause of death for 11-18 year olds. And so

often—after a young person has taken their own

life—family, friends and teachers struggle with the

shock and grief, and question whether they could

have recognized that the teen was at risk. What

could we have done?

Many times there are signs, though most of us are

not trained to recognize them and may not know

how to respond if we do. Through a partnership between

Fulton County Schools, Screening for Mental

Health and the Will To Live Foundation, educators

and staff in all Fulton County Schools are taking a

significant step toward recognizing and preventing

suicide among young people.

SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program is an

award-winning, nationally recognized program

designed for middle and high school students by

Screening for Mental Health. It teaches adults and

students how to recognize the signs of suicide and

symptoms of depression in children and teens. The

first phase of the program was to provide training

to school counselors and psychologists. A workshop

was conducted in April 2012, and attendees were

trained not only to recognize and respond to signs

of suicide, but to train other school staff to do the

same. Between August and October, Fulton Coun-

ty School employees—nearly 14,000 of them—received

SOS Signs of Suicide training.

According to Dr. Chris Matthews, Executive Director

of Counseling, Psychological and Social Work Services

for Fulton County Schools, “Counselors, school

psychologists and social workers were already receiving

this type training on a regular basis. However,

we had never reached out to teachers and other

school staff. The people who see students every day

will often be first to see ‘red flags.’ They play such

an integral part in this.” Chris notes that it’s sometimes

through a student’s writing or by witnessing

student behavior and interactions that teachers,

coaches and other staff can recognize signs that a

student is struggling or depressed. With this training,

they can now better initiate conversations and

immediately take steps to prevent a crisis.

This first phase of training in Fulton County Schools

is designed to create “trusted adults” who know how

to respond and take appropriate action. Discussions

are underway to implement the student education

component of the SOS Signs of Suicide program as

the next step in raising awareness and providing the

knowledge to respond to students at risk for suicide.

“We’re good at intervening in a crisis situation, but we

had not taken a system-wide prevention approach.

This program will help us to do that,” stated Chris.

8

CountyLine | October 2012 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net


The SOS Signs of Suicide program embraces a peerto-peer

approach by teaching the ACT technique:

A cknowledge that you are seeing

signs of depression or suicide in a

friend.

C are – Let your friend know that you

care about them.

T ell a trusted adult, either with your

friend or on their behalf.

Funding for the SOS Signs of Suicide training comes

from the Will To Live Foundation, which was founded

by John and Susie Trautwein following the loss

of their 15-year-old son, Will, to suicide in October

2010. The foundation’s mission is “to create a

nonprofit organization that is dedicated to improving

the lives and the ‘Will To Live’ of teenagers everywhere.”

The organization’s “Life Teammates”

concept urges teens to recognize the teammates in

their lives—those who share their dreams, successes

and failures. Events such as the highly successful

annual Will To Live 5K and Willstock music festival

provide an opportunity for teens to work and celebrate

together as well as raise funds to support the

foundation’s mission.

In search of a program to prevent teen suicide, John

discovered SOS Signs of Suicide. Candice Porter, Director

of External Relations for Screening for Mental

Health shares, “When John first reached out to

us and expressed his passion involving kids helping

kids, we knew it was a perfect fit. We feel very fortunate

to have partnered with the Will To Live Foundation

and know that the work we are doing with

the Fulton County School District will improve the

lives of the students and emphasize the important

role parents and school personnel can play in helping

those at risk.”

John concludes, “The foundation works with kids

to raise teen suicide awareness and to create life

teammate bonds. Money raised goes back into the

community to educate teachers on how to ACT

when these very kids are struggling. We like to think

of the partnership with Fulton County Schools and

Screening for Mental Health as a beautifully crafted

circle of hope.”

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9 CountyLine | October 2012


Troop 2000’s Jake Erickson

Dedicates His Eagle Scout Project at Shakerag Park

Jake Erickson, a senior at Johns Creek High School, has been a boy scout

since he was in the second grade. Two years ago, when it was time for

him to decide what to do for his Eagle Scout project, Jake was told by an

associate of his father’s that there was a flagpole available to use from a

demolished work site. Jake also knew that the City of Johns Creek had been

renovating the fields at Shakerag Park that were to be used to play soccer,

lacrosse and rugby. Jake thought that a flagpole surrounded by a paver

plaza would be an excellent addition to the field area of the park. “I also

thought that the flag would serve as a reminder of how fortunate we are to

live in the United States and that we should always be thankful for the men

and women in our armed services, the police, and firefighters, who risk

their lives to protect us, our rights and our freedom,” said Jake. The actual

construction of the project was not without its challenges for Jake, including

the original flagpole being stolen and having to be replaced by a new

flag pole, ground that was nearly impossible to dig up during construction,

and a month of hard physical work during temperatures that, at times,

reached over 100 degrees.

On August 10 th , Jake’s friends and family gathered at Shakerag Park for

the dedication and the raising of the flag, with special words of gratitude

from Mayor Mike Bodker.

Justin Bryant, Eric Beppler, Jake Erickson, and Brin

Bowers dedicate the flagpole and paver plaza.

Mayor Mike Bodker, Jake Erickson,

Mayor Pro Tem Bev Miller

Northview High School’s

9/11 TRIBUTE

If you were at Northview High School a few days before or after

September 11 th , the sight of 2,977 American flags, perfectly

spaced on the lawn in front of the school, was one you were

probably moved by and will remember as an incredible tribute.

For the second year, students on the school’s Student Council,

along with some parents and other students, spent many hours

placing these flags in the ground to honor the victims of 9/11.

“Putting these flags in front of the school is a way to show respect

and honor for all the civilians that lost their lives from the

terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001,” said Kevin Colton, a member

of Student Council. Last year, Kevin heard about another local

high school doing this tribute and brought the idea back to

Northview. The first step to get the flags placed in the ground

was measuring every 18” and placing stakes and twine to mark

squares. The next step was drilling down 6” to prepare a hole

in the ground that would firmly hold each flag. After all 2,977

were placed in the holes, the twine and stakes were removed,

leaving a perfectly spaced, very moving tribute to the victims

killed on US soil on 9/11.

10

CountyLine | October 2012 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net


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The Stampede at

their first partial

dress rehearsal of

the fall season.

Hitting the

Right Notes

by Tammy Harden Galloway

When Lambert High School’s Director of Bands,

Scott McCloy, is asked about the marching

band’s plans for this year, his face lights up

with excitement, and rightfully so. In its first competitive

year on the US Bands circuit, the young band

did an outstanding job by achieving straight superior

scores and placing second in its class competition as

well as achieving an impressive third place overall.

With such success, the expectations are running high

for the Stampede.

Scott, a native of Georgia, attended Forsyth Central

High School. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Music

Education from Western Carolina University and a Master’s

in Education from Lesley University with a focus

on Technology. Prior to the opening of Lambert High

School in 2009, Scott was Director of Bands at Liberty

Middle School and Associate Director of Marching Band

at Forsyth Central High School. Before his return to

Forsyth County, Scott worked in Warner Robins, Georgia

as a band and choral director. Of returning to Forsyth

County and teaching, Scott is nothing but excited.

“It’s really great to be back and teaching in the same

county where I went to school. It is humbling, and I’m

honored to be in this position.”

When asked about the secret of the Stampede’s success,

Scott adds, “Our students are fantastic. I’ve told

them this is their band, and they’ve really taken ownership

of it to make it what it is.” Scott gives much of

the credit to the feeder schools. “Riverwatch, South

Forsyth and Lakeside all have fantastic programs.” His

own staff includes Tonya Mashburn, Trey Gaines, and

John Mashburn. “It’s a pleasure to work with these

people. It’s like a family.”

One continuing tradition for the Stampede is the Lambert

Family Music Festival. This free event was the

brainchild of Josh Bishop, a trumpet-playing band

member, who was looking for an Eagle Scout project.

“It is more than a fundraiser. It is an outdoor music festival.

It is a venue for local artists to show off their talents.

It is a fantastic idea and just a neat event,” Scott

says. This year’s festival featured a nationally known

12

CountyLine | October 2012 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net


and, Junior Doctor, and was sponsored in part by a

grant from the Forsyth County Arts Alliance.

The Stampede will compete on the US Bands circuit

again this year as Class 6 Open instead of Class 5 Open

due to its increased size. It is a popular competition

circuit in the Northeast and is growing in popu larity in

the Southeast. The way it is organized, with groups 1

through 6 divided into classes according to size with

resources taken into account, is a characteristic Scott

likes about the circuit. He also likes that it is educationally

based, and “that is the real purpose behind all

of this. Not just to win competitions, but to teach the

kids.”

There are a couple competitions on the horizon this

fall for the band. The Stampede will attend the White

Columns Invitational at Milton High School on September

29 and the Wake Forest Demoulin Challenge

in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on October 13. This

competition will be a wonderful experience for the students

to get to compete against bands from many mid-

Atlantic states. This will give the Stampede an idea of

what it will face the following year when Scott plans to

take the band to Nationals.

For these competitions, the band has an exciting show

this year titled “Nocturnal,” which will resonant with the

audience through familiar songs and sounds playing on

the theme of things you can see or hear at night. The

overall fabric of the show has an underlying classical

element connecting the snippets of popular music interwoven

throughout.

Noticeably different from many traditional marching

band routines is the placement of instruments in different

points of interest. The drills that Scott develops

with his staff showcase different instruments at various

times. Of his drills, which sometimes have nontraditional

marching band instruments front and center, he

says, “Every instruments proves a feeling. A color. And

every marcher is important.” And based on that, his

drills take on the characteristic of weaving a tapestry

as groups of instruments merge and separate again.

For those wishing to see this show and the shows of the

other marching bands of Forsyth County high schools,

Lambert will be hosting the annual Forsyth County High

School Marching Band Exhibition on Monday, October

15, at 7pm with a rain date of October 22. Scott says,

“It’s a fantastic event with all the bands of the county

performing at once. It is a great opportunity to view all

the talent in Forsyth County.” Forsyth County middle

school band members can get in free of charge, if they

wear their band shirts. For all others, the cost is $3.

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14

CountyLine | October 2012 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net


Lights, Camera, Action!

Remington Youngblood and Hunter Winkler are ambitious

sixth-grade student journalists, from South

Forsyth, producing a documentary. Recently, they had

the pleasure and privilege of interviewing United States

Senator Johnny Isakson. In the hallway of his Atlanta

office, he met the boys with a smile and a firm, warm

handshake. For thirty minutes, they had a comfortable

conversation full of laughter and insight.

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16

CountyLine | October 2012 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net


A

Passion

to Serve

Moving into a new subdivision in south Forsyth County, Kristin joined the board

of directors for her neighborhood homeowners association when it was formed

in 2005, and she served as president for six years. When the subdivision was

undergoing construction, many residents complained that while street lights

were in place, they were not working, and the community felt unsafe at night.

Kristin picked up the phone, made a few calls to reach the right county departby

Kathleen Kraynick

photography by Mark Najjar Atlanta Studios

There’s a saying: If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.

There may be no better words to describe Kristin Morrissey. A few years ago,

someone pointed out to Kristin that she was an active volunteer in so many

capacities, and the comment surprised her. “I didn’t really even see what I was

doing as volunteer work,” says Kristin. “I just saw things that needed to be done

and did them. And I was having fun.”

Kristin is thankful that living in Forsyth County has afforded her the opportunity

to be engaged in volunteer service. Originally from the Rochester, New York

area, Kristin earned a degree in Computer Science and worked in corporate

training at Eastman Kodak before landing her “dream job” in the IT department

of the Rochester Public Library/Monroe County Library System, where she

worked for 15 years. “I loved my job, but I started to realize that there was

something else out there for me.” In 2004, Kristin’s husband, Joe, was approached

about a job in the Atlanta area and the couple focused their home

search in Forsyth County because it was economically prosperous, had good

schools and low taxes, and they liked the abundance of natural, wooded areas.

“We were ready for a change, but I liked that it was also a lot like home, with a

small-town feeling,” says Kristin.

17 CountyLine | October 2012


ment, and with their direction the lights came on—both literally and figuratively.

“I realized that it was as simple as seeing something that needed to be done,

and doing it,” recalls Kristin.

“I see my responsibility

being a

representative

of the concerns

of parents. I love

to talk to people,

and I want to

hear their concerns.

I want to

be the voice for

parents and their

children.”

Other opportunities for community involvement followed, with Kristin putting

her job experience to work on the Forsyth County Library Board of Trustees.

Her interest in how Forsyth County was being developed as it grew led to her

serving on the board of Smart Growth Forsyth and participating on the Envision

2030 Committee and the Forsyth County Quality of Life Council. And with

a focus on preserving the natural beauty that drew her to the area, she was a

member of the Park and Recreation Bond Committee and serves on the Forsyth

County Parks Foundation. When Brookwood Elementary opened in 2009, Kristin

was a member of the inaugural PTA executive committee. “PTA leaders really

impress me,” Kristin shares. “These are the people that make me think, ‘Why

aren’t I doing more?’ Their commitment to improving the schools they support

is incredible.”

It was through the Leadership Forsyth Program, which provides training and

hands-on experiences to inspire a network of emerging county leaders, that

Kristin found great inspiration. “You think you’re busy; then you see what others

are doing and it’s humbling,” shares Kristin. She continues, “My experience in

Leadership Forsyth really opened my eyes to the opportunities out there. There

were people from so many different backgrounds and careers and no two did the

same thing. But everyone can take their experience and get engaged through

serving on a board or filling a role suited to their expertise.”

It’s also about passion. Kristin believes that passion makes for a great distribution

of work that needs to be done to keep a community running. “Everyone

has their passion, the thing they care about. I may be the go-to person when

my neighbor has a zoning question, but I have someone I go to about my kids’

sports teams because that’s their passion.”

Focusing on her passion as a parent of school-age children, in 2010 Kristin entered

the race to become the District 2 representative on the Forsyth County

School Board of Education. “It was the right time for me,” says Kristin. “My kids

were old enough for me to have the time to do the job, but it was also important

that I had children in public school here. I’ve sat in carpool line. I get it.”

Elected in 2010, Kristin’s four-year term on the Board began in 2011. “I see my

responsibility being a representative of the concerns of parents. I love to talk to

people, and I want to hear their concerns. I want to be the voice for parents and

their children.” Kristin points out that the highly-acclaimed public schools are a

primary reason her family moved to Forsyth County and says, “I’d rather work

with an organization than at an organization to get stuff done.” And though this

is her first public office position, Kristin already had in place good relationships

with county officials through her volunteer work, connections that make doing

her job easier.

In her two years as a school board representative, Kristin is proud of the work

accomplished by everyone in the school system. Moving the first day of school

to mid-week is something of which Kristin is particularly proud. “The idea was

to allow students and teachers to ease back into the school routine, get the formalities

started and hit the ground running the following Monday.” Starting mid-

18

CountyLine | October 2012 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net


week allows families to adjust to early mornings and regroup over the weekend.

With the change, most schools hold open house the same week school begins,

effectively adding a week of summer vacation time. Kristin also worked to reduce

the number of early release days as a benefit for parents, who often have

to juggle schedules and childcare arrangements on these days.

Protecting Forsyth’s natural beauty and preserving it for residents to enjoy is

another of Kristin’s passions. Her efforts began on the bond committee, progressed

to working with county commissioners as land was purchased for four

new parks in south Forsyth and included conducting community surveys and

gathering public input as the parks were designed. Kristin spearheads communication

through the Forsyth County Parks Foundation website and Facebook

pages for several of the parks. She is leading efforts to create a community garden

at Caney Creek Preserve and to establish partnerships between the parks

and local schools to educate kids on the benefits of healthy, active living. “Residents

are excited about these parks. I look forward to continuing to work with

the Foundation to enhance our parks and to keep residents involved as the parks

become focal points and meeting places in our community,” Kristin says.

While it may seem that Kristin has little free time, she balances work and family

quite capably. Her daughters Mackenzie, a freshman at Lambert High School

and Sydney, a third-grader at Brookwood Elementary, both play soccer, and

Kristin is their biggest supporter. She loves football and the born New Yorker is a

faithful Buffalo Bills fan. She and Joe enjoy taking the girls camping, and spending

a weekend in the woods is a perfect getaway for the family. “We’re a family

of readers,” Kristin shares, “Especially on a camping trip, if we’re not hiking or

eating, we’re all behind a book.”

An outdoor enthusiast, Kristin often hikes, bikes and runs in the parks that

her efforts helped to build. And of course, even while pursuing a hobby, Kristin

landed a volunteer role. Her interest in running led her to serve as a coach

for Girls on the Run, a program for school-age girls that builds confidence and

an appreciation of health and fitness through interactive lessons and exercise.

“Coaching Girls on the Run gave me a wonderful opportunity to work with girls

of all abilities. I think I learned as much as they did. Though I have daughters,

it was eye opening to hear the girls talk about their social challenges and how

early bullying starts,” Kristin recalls.

Setting an example for her daughters is at the forefront of much of the work

Kristin does. “I want them to see how important it is to take the initiative to see

a problem as an opportunity, to get involved, and to recognize that everyone

has to do their part and work hard. It’s working! I already see Mackenzie taking

on leadership roles,” she says with a proud smile. “I try to find a positive way to

get things done. It’s often the little changes that make a difference in people’s

lives—fewer early release days, a turn lane at a busy intersection, new sidewalks.

These are the things that I’m proud to have been a part of.”

Looking ahead, Kristin says she plans to continue her work in public service.

“There are so many people here in Forsyth that give me inspiration to make a

difference. I feel fortunate and blessed to be able to do the things I’m involved

in, but it has only taught me that there is so much more to do. I can’t wait to

see what’s next.”

“I try to find a

positive way to

get things done.

It’s often the

little changes that

make a difference

in people’s

lives—fewer early

release days,

a turn lane at a

busy intersection,

new sidewalks.

These are the

things that I’m

proud to have

been a part of.”

19 CountyLine | October 2012


Gail Hisle is a dynamic, creative force behind the

success of the Johns Creek Arts Center (JCAC). With

her passion for art combined with proven business

management skills, Gail has served as executive director

of the JCAC since January 2009.

Gail’s love of art began as a child growing up in Fort

Lauderdale. The middle of five children, Gail came

from a traditional family with whom she has always

remained close. Her fondness for children led to

her first job, babysitting. At fourteen she became a

telemarketer. Other early jobs included sorting bank

checks and selling real estate. Although her favorite

class in school was art, she never considered it could

be a career. Gail recalled, “I think there were signs

that I should have pursued art. I took my threeyear-old

daughter with me to adult art classes and

used her as a model for portrait work.” Her life took

a different track though. After she relocated with her

family to Colorado, Gail began a twenty-year career

working in the cable industry. Starting in customer

service, Gail had a natural talent for problem solving

and was promoted to manager within a year.

Mentor,

Artist,

Leader

by Cindy Lombardo

She sharpened her leadership skills by watching other

people. “When I was working and learning, someone

took the time to teach me. One of the most

valuable skills I learned was helping people grow

and develop to become what they want to be,” Gail

said. Her confidence didn’t come naturally. She admitted,

“I used to be shy and introverted, but after

holding positions representing companies and being

forced to speak and perform in public, I decided it

was fun.”

After ten years in Colorado, Gail relocated within

the cable company to Tampa to serve as Director of

Marketing for another ten years. She retired when

the company was sold, and in 2005 moved with her

husband, Kenny, to the Atlanta area. She now is

settled into what she says is her favorite and most

challenging job. “You need to be very resourceful in

nonprofit and build relationships and connections,”

Gail said. Though the constant need to raise funds

through grants and donations is challenging, the rewards

balance the struggles. “I get to walk through

the Center and see people doing amazing artwork,”

she added.

Gail credits her friend, Patricia Gorrow, a fellow artist

she met while living in Florida, as her artistic inspiration.

With Patricia, she helped open Studio 1212, a

30-member artist cooperative in Clearwater, Florida.

20

CountyLine | October 2012 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net


When she made her first sale of a watercolor painting

at a clothesline art show through Studio 1212,

Gail finally considered herself to be an artist.

Watercolor remains Gail’s favorite medium, but she

has also dabbled in others, such as acrylic, oil, mosaic,

pottery, faux painting and mural. She did a

floor-to-ceiling mural of Winnie-the-Pooh scenes

in her Florida home for her first grandchild. Lately,

Gail hasn’t had time to paint as much as she would

like because of her work at the JCAC, but she frequently

takes classes at the Center and enjoys the

quality of art instruction and diversity of classes,

with over 65 youth and adult classes per session

including: photography, painting, pottery, mosaics

and jewelry-making.

Gail’s path to executive director of the JCAC started

while helping her daughter, the former owner

of a restaurant in Johns Creek, where Gail’s artwork

hung on the walls and caught the eye of a

JCAC board member. As board members learned of

Gail’s interest in the art community, combined with

her business expertise, they often came to her for

advice. When changes were imminent at the Arts

Center, she went through a selection process before

being hired as the executive director. Since then,

the JCAC avoided financial crisis, which threatened

to close its doors in the fall of 2009. Gail credits

a strong fifteen-member board comprised of community

leaders, a dedicated staff, wonderful volunteers,

and generous donors and grants for keeping

the JCAC a thriving place of creativity. “We have a

strong board and a strategic plan,” Gail said. She

believes her greatest accomplishment is helping

the JCAC become an integral, valued partner with

the community and is proud of the Arts Center’s

reach to schools, senior centers, disabled citizens,

and library art programs. “At the JCAC, I get to be

around other creative people, and be inspired by

their accomplishments. I see fulfillment in people,

and that is the greatest payback I get from this

job,” Gail said.

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With her dedication to art, she doesn’t worry about

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21 CountyLine | October 2012


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Caitlyn Woodhead Creates Award Winning Art

Caitlyn Woodhead is a junior at Chattahoochee

High School, and at only sixteen years old,

she has already received numerous awards and

distinctions for the art that she creates. In 2011,

Caitlyn received a Gold Key Award, the highest

level of achievement on the regional level, from

the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. At the 2012

Chattahoochee High School art show, Verve, she

received Best in Show for three of her paintings.

Last spring, Caitlyn’s painting “Self Portrait” won

first place for District 6 in the National Congressional

Art Competition. Caitlyn went to Washington,

DC to attend the opening ceremony for the

exhibit and to see her painting hanging in the

nation’s Capitol, where it will be on display for

the coming year. In July, two of Caitlyn’s paintings

were selected to be hung at the Teen Art Gallery in New York City. “Art has

been and always will be a big part of my life,” said Caitlyn. “My favorite mediums

are oil and ink, and I love to paint portraits that display emotion.” Caitlyn has been

taking classes at the Johns Creek Arts Center since she was eleven years old and

takes art classes at school. Her teacher, Mrs. Sammataro, describes Caitlyn as, “an

exceptionally talented young artist who is extremely passionate about her work.”

Caitlyn in front of a

display of her artwork.

22

CountyLine | October 2012 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net


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23 CountyLine | October 2012


Longstreet

& His Georgia Hotel

Longstreet’s three-story 36-room Piedmont Hotel in

Gainesville was torn down in 1918. During its heyday,

the imposing hotel, with two wings, a ballroom and

restaurant, took up a city block on Maple Street. As a

summer resort, it drew many famous guests includby

W. Cliff Roberts

A rare original print of Gen. Longstreet

on display at the Piedmont Hotel.

“Bring me Longstreet’s head on a platter and the war will be over.”

—President Abraham Lincoln

This is year two of the Sesquicentennial Commemoration

of the Civil War. 150 years ago, in

the fall of 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee and his Army

of Northern Virginia were fighting the Army of the Potomac

in the famous battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg.

During these battles, Lee divided his army

into two wings or corps, one lead by Gen. Stonewall

Jackson and the other by Gen. James Longstreet. Both

Jackson and Longstreet are remembered today as

capable and brave commanders. Jackson died in the

Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863. Longstreet, who was

born in South Carolina and raised in Augusta, Georgia,

would survive the war and live until 1904. The final

thirty years of Longstreet’s colorful and controversial

post-war career would be spent in nearby Gainesville,

Georgia.

James Longstreet was an 1842 graduate of West Point.

One of his friends at the military academy was Ulysses

S. Grant of Ohio. Grant would marry Julia Dent, Longstreet’s

fourth cousin, and because of this union, the

two men considered each other “family.” Both served

with distinction in the Mexican-American War. Though

Longstreet wore gray and Grant wore blue in the Civil

War, historians have noted the close embrace between

Grant and Longstreet at the final surrender at Appomattox

Courthouse. Longstreet became a Republican

after the war and endorsed Grant for president in

1868. As a “reconstructed rebel,” who embraced reconciliation

and equal rights for blacks, Longstreet became

unpopular with many Southerners, who accused the

general of becoming a “scalawag.”

In 1875, James Longstreet moved his family to a 65-

acre farm near Gainesville where he raised turkeys

and built a muscadine orchard. He also purchased

the new Piedmont Hotel, built two short blocks from

the new Gainesville train depot. Using the hotel as his

base, Longstreet participated in local and state politics

as a Republican and he was appointed postmaster of

Gainesville. For eight years, beginning in 1880, he left

Gainesville to serve as Minister to the Ottoman Empire.

Returning in 1889, the general endured a difficult year

as his wife of 41 years, and mother of their five surviving

children, died. In the same year, his farm house

burned down with all of his Civil War papers lost. In

1897, the 76-year-old Longstreet raised some eyebrows

by marrying 34-year-old Helen Dortch at the

Governor’s Mansion in Atlanta. Helen proved to be a

devoted wife and supporter of his historical legacy. In

1904, Robert E. Lee’s “old war horse” died in Gainesville

at the age of 83. His funeral ceremony at the Alta

Vista Cemetery drew the Georgia governor and thousands

of his old Confederate soldiers.

24

CountyLine | October 2012 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net


The Piedmont Hotel during its heyday.

Note General Longstreet and his long sideburns.

The restored wing of the Piedmont Hotel today.

ing newspaperman Henry Grady, writer Joel Chandler

Harris, and many former Civil War generals. On slow

days, General Longstreet was known to walk down the

hill from the hotel and meet train travelers in hopes of

drumming up business for the hotel and dining room.

If local lore is to be believed, batter fried chicken was

first introduced to the South at the Piedmont Hotel.

Future president Woodrow Wilson and his wife Ellen

Axson Wilson were frequent guests of the hotel. Their

daughter Jesse Woodrow Wilson was born at the Piedmont

in 1889. Jesse would one day be married at the

White House.

In 1994, the citizens of Gainesville were surprised to

learn that part of the Piedmont Hotel was still standing.

A run-down duplex apartment building on Maple

Street was identified as the original first floor of the

west wing. One year later, it was purchased by a newly

organized Longstreet Society. This historical group has

managed to restore the building and the old hotel wing

is now open for tours. Visitors to the Piedmont Hotel

will see rare paintings and photos of General Longstreet,

his military and government certificates, and

the Wilson bedroom.

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25 CountyLine | October 2012


y Barbara Duffy

Just imagine driving down Elkins Road in Roswell

at 6am and seeing a large number of families,

many with small children, lined up in the wee

hours of the morning. They come and wait as long

as necessary to receive food and financial assistance

from North Fulton Community Charities (NFCC). This

is not a scene from television, or what you may experience

in metro Atlanta, but takes place every day

of the work week, right in our own backyard. Thanks

to the services of NFCC, these families are able to receive

help and assistance with immediate emergency

needs and receive support that helps them develop a

plan for returning to self-sufficiency.

NFCC was founded on July 29, 1982, by a group of

local concerned citizens. With the help of Mary Drake

and David Sonenberg, two local community leaders,

a program was introduced that outlined the idea for

a food pantry and emergency support for financial

needs. In 1990, Barbara Duffy was hired as the Executive

Director, and a small office was opened in the

North Fulton Human Service Center. By 2005, based

on the growing needs of the community, NFCC relocated

to Elkins Road. The agency serves the five cities

north of the Chattahoochee River (Alpharetta, Johns

Creek, Milton, Mountain Park, and Roswell).

The mission of NFCC is to build self-sufficiency and

prevent homelessness and hunger in our community

by providing emergency financial assistance and enrichment

programs. With the support of thousands of

community partners, including 80 faith based partners,

141 civic partners, 101 local schools, 418 corporate

partners; and in partnership with United Way

of Metropolitan Atlanta and Fulton County, NFCC continues

to meet the needs of our community. Known

as a comprehensive agency, NFCC offers an opportunity

for families to receive basic services when an

unexpected emergency occurs. Our clientele consist

primarily of the working class poor who live below

the poverty line (average median income for a family

of four of less than $25,000). Currently, we are

seeing middle class families who have lost their jobs,

exhausted their savings and who have been unemployed

for eighteen months or more. North Fulton

Community Charities’ case workers coordinate assistance

and utilize NFCC services and community partnerships

to take care of immediate emergency needs.

Included are food, rent and utility assistance, transportation,

clothing, enrichment programs, and more.

North Fulton Community Charities:

• Serves an average of 100 families per day.

• Provides 9 tons of food and staple goods per week.

• Assisted more than 15,000 people by distributing

$1.2 million in financial assistance for basic needs.

NFCC believes in the importance of collaboration. We

work with organizations such as CredAbility (formerly

Consumer Credit Counseling), Jewish Family and

Career Services, Legal Aid, The Drake House, YMCA,

Homestretch, Habitat for Humanity, and many others.

By working with other community agencies, we

leverage community resources to support those who

26

CountyLine | October 2012 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net


are most in need. In addition, NFCC case workers

take a proactive, transformational approach to assisting

families by helping them resolve underlying, longterm

issues. Included are medical concerns, limited

job skills and lack of transportation.

To extend our “pipeline of support,” in 2010, NFCC

established a Family Enrichment Program. The program

was successful and quickly exceeded the oneroom

space allocated for it in the main building. In

February 2011, the NFCC Board made the strategic

decision to expand the Family Enrichment Program by

moving it into a building located directly across from

the main facility. The new Education Center houses

three classrooms and space for meetings and volunteer

instructors. North Fulton families are now able

to participate in many more, free, life-skills classes.

Included are classes on job readiness, GED tutoring,

financial literacy, and English (ESOL), among others.

Volunteer Education Center instructors are experts in

their fields, and they help NFCC achieve the goal of

moving families toward self-sufficiency and financial

stability. Since the opening of the Center, the Family

Enrichment Program has assisted more than 1,000

individuals, and this resulted in 80% of surveyed jobreadiness

attendees finding employment.

An on-site Thrift Shop is supported by community

donations and helps families from throughout North

Fulton County stretch limited household income by

providing low-cost clothing, furniture and other

household items. 100% of all donations directly support

NFCC families, and more than 2,000 families

qualified for clothing vouchers last year.

We have been consecutively selected twice to receive

the Four Star Rating from Charity Navigator, which

only occurs with 16% of charities. Gandhi said, “Be

the change you want to see in the world.” North Fulton

Community Charities is offering that change to

15,000 low-income residents in North Fulton County.

We may be a well-kept secret, but to the families who

line up in the morning waiting on our service, we are

the “Best Place in Town.”

NFCC is holding a Warm Coat Drive on Saturday, October

27 th . For more information, to make a donation,

or to volunteer, visit: www.nfcchelp.org. Holiday programs

are planned for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

For more information on these programs, contact

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27 CountyLine | October 2012


Day Trippin’

Funk Heritage center

Georgia’s Official Frontier and Southeastern Indian Interpretive Center

In a little more than an hour, you can be at the Funk Heritage Center located on the

Reinhardt College campus in Waleska, Georgia. Here, you can take a peek into the

history of the Indians that inhabited this area and the settlers that came here to

start a new life hundreds of years ago.

From the moment you enter the Childre Family Grand Lobby that resembles an Iroquois

long house, you start a journey immersed in local history. There are artifacts and text

panels that tell the story “Of Sky and Earth,” a narrative of the encounters between European

settlers and the Indians that were the early inhabitants of this area.

In the Bennett History Museum there is a collection of artifacts from the American Indian

cultures that preceded the arrival of settlers to the Southeast from Europe. Projectile

points, stones, pottery shards and atalatyl weights are among the cultural remains on

display.

Enjoy “The Southeastern Indians,” in the Estelle Bennett

Hughes Theater. This 15-minute, award-winning film provides

background into the history of the American Indians in

this area. Moving on to the Hall of the Ancients, there is more

historical information offered in dioramas that depict more

than 12,000 years of regional history. There are also interactive

workstations with touch screens that are easy to use

and enjoyable for both adults and children. The centerpiece

of the Hall of the Ancients is a petroglyph that was found in

the Hickory Log area of Cherokee County. This massive prehistoric

rock—over 11-feet long and weighing approximately

five tons—is engraved with drawings made thousands of

years ago by Native Americans.

28

CountyLine | October 2012 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net


The Sellars Gallery of Historic Hand Tools is a very impressive

collection of nearly 10,000 tools—from shipbuilding and furniture

making to drafting and stone carving—generously donated by

Alan and Louise Sellers, who spent decades on this private collection.

There are two art galleries—the Rogers Contemporary Native

American Art Gallery and the Buffington Gallery—that both have

paintings, sculptures and other works by artists from more than

ten Native American tribes.

On the grounds of the Funk Heritage Center is the Appalachian

Settlement that includes authentic log cabins and other 19 th century

farm buildings that were moved here from their original locations,

reconstructed and furnished. The buildings include a settler’s

cabin, a blacksmith shop, syrup mill, and grain crib. The

cabins are only open for group tours and special events.

A visit to the Funk Heritage Center is fun and a wonderful way to

learn more about the American Indians and early settlers to this

area. It’s a great trip for the day!

The Funk Heritage Center is open Tuesday through Friday from

9am to 4pm, Saturday from 10am to 5pm and on Sunday

from 1-5pm. For more information, visit www.reinhardt.edu/

funkheritage or call 770-720-5970.

29 CountyLine | October 2012


Now is the Time

To Plant Trees & Shrubs!

by Scott Allen

The temperatures are cooling down, and we’re experiencing the first signs that fall is here! Between now

and spring is the best time of the year to plant new trees and shrubs. These will add beauty to the appearance

of your home, provide shade to your roof and windows that will lower your utility bills, and provide

protection and shelter for smaller, weaker plants. Though the maintenance on trees and shrubs is low, proper

planting is critical to make sure that they remain healthy as they grow to maturity. Knowing where and how to

plant, gives trees and shrubs a solid start to a long life.

Where to Plant:

It is important to think ahead at least five

to ten years when choosing where to plant

shrubs and, especially, where to plant trees.

Keep in mind what size they will become

when they are mature and make sure that

they will not grow too close to your home,

your neighbors’ homes, driveways, and

walkways. Consider the shade that they will

provide when mature, and make sure this

will not cover areas of your landscape that

need full sun.

How to Plant:

Follow any specific instructions for planting that are provided

with your shrub or tree. If instructions are not provided,

these are general guidelines for planting all trees

and shrubs:

r Dig a hole that is twice as wide as and slightly shallower

than the root ball.

r Roughen the sides and bottom of the hole with a shovel,

so the roots can penetrate the existing soil. Place the

root ball in the hole. Leave the top of the root ball,

where the roots end and the trunk begins, ½ to 1” above

the ground, making sure not to cover it unless roots are

exposed.

r As you add soil to fill in, lightly tap the soil to collapse air

pockets, or add water to help settle the soil.

r Be sure to water thoroughly after planting.

r Keep the area under the tree or shrub covered with at

least 3” of mulch.

r A thorough watering, before the ground freezes, is recommended.

Fall and winter are the best time to plant trees and shrubs,

and there is also a better selection and variety at this time.

Your new trees and shrubs will use the winter dormant

season to establish new roots, so when spring arrives, they

will be ready to flourish and grow!

Robersion’s is located at 1732 Peachtree Pkwy. For more information, call: 770-886-0402 or visit: www.robersions.com.

30

CountyLine | October 2012 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net


ROBERSION’S LANDSCAPING

Landscape Design F Consultation F Installation

Turn Your Ordinary Backyard into a Landscaped Paradise.

Fire Pits F Patios & Walks F Stacked Stone Walls F Stamped Concrete

Time to Plant Trees & Shrubs F We Fill & Repair Sinkholes

770.886.0402

Serving Forsyth & Fulton Counties since 1991 • Locally Owned and Operated

1732 Peachtree Parkway www.robersionslandscape.com

31 CountyLine | October 2012


Emory Johns Creek Hospital

presents

Ladies’ Night Out

an evening of healthy indulgence

Join us for free screenings, casual consults

with physicians over dessert and coffee,

and a chance to win door prizes!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Physicians’ Plaza

7 p.m. - Breast Cancer awareness and

prevention panel discussion

Registration is encouraged, but not required.

678-474-8200

This event is presented in partnership with the Junior League

of Gwinnett and North Fulton Counties.

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www.emoryjohnscreek.com

CountyLine | October 2012 | www.CountyLineMagazine.net

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