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Marietta High parents honor 2020 Blue Devils with 500 faces decorating campus

May 28, 2020

Though Marietta High School parents and staff won’t get to watch the Class of 2020 walk the stage this week, there’s still one place they can go to see the 500-plus faces of graduating seniors smiling back at them: Whitlock Avenue.

Early Wednesday morning, a group of Marietta mothers lined the sidewalk with signs depicting the faces of the about 500 seniors expected to graduate by July 24, the scheduled date for Marietta’s delayed in-person graduation ceremony.

The group said they plan to continue making the signs until each graduating senior is shown.

As they spoke with with the MDJ outside the school, motorists driving by the school admired the group’s work, honking in appreciation, waving or shouting their congratulations out their windows.

Former Marietta school board member and Blue Devil mom Jill Mutimer said she’d gathered a group of Marietta moms last month to brainstorm how they could honor a group of seniors who’d had so many once-in-a-lifetime events canceled or significantly altered by COVID-19.

That, she said, is when fellow mom Elizabeth Denney chimed in with the idea for the signs. Denney said the gesture seemed appropriate both for students and their families.

“It’s been harder I think for us as parents, in some ways, than for the kids, because I think for us there’s so much closure that comes when you have a senior who then graduates,” Denney said. “And not being able to have that closure is tough. All of this feels very surreal, and today is the first day that I have cried walking down seeing all these faces. … That’s when it really hits you, all that’s been missed, but also how amazing our town is and how amazing our school system is.”

The group said when they approached Marietta High Principal Keith Ball and Marietta schools Superintendent Grant Rivera with the proposal, the two excitedly offered to fund the $4,000 endeavor.

The next step was finding a business to make the signs on short notice. And that, Mutimer said, is where Minuteman Press Marietta stepped in.

The business, located just down the street from the school, creates business cards, flyers, stationery signs and other marketing products. Judith Hoefer, owner of the Marietta Minuteman franchise, agreed to not only create the signs within a single week of finalizing the designs but also reduced the price for the signs by about 30%, she told the MDJ.

Hoefer and Graphic Assistant Jordan Townsend said they wanted to do what they could to honor the city’s seniors who won’t get to celebrate their graduation the way they’d wanted.

“It’s a good feeling. It’ll be really exciting when they actually get to see all that, because, you know, they missed out on whole bunch of really cool events that seniors (normally) get to do,” Townsend said. “So hopefully, this will make them feel special and celebrated and like they’re still part of a community before they go off wherever they go.”

Ball said the idea for the signs aligned perfectly with the planned week of events honoring seniors and especially the Gem City Celebration that took place Wednesday. That celebration included decoration of Marietta mailboxes in honor of graduates, congratulatory messages on local business marquees and other recognitions.

The principal also said the signs were kept a secret from the high school’s seniors until the moment they were unveiled.

Thomas Lewis, a graduating Marietta senior bound for North Carolina’s Elon University in the fall, said his mother woke him up Wednesday morning to visit the school and look for his face after seeing the long line of graduates’ headshots blowing in the unseasonably chilly wind.

Lewis, sporting a Marietta High School T-shirt, paused to speak with the MDJ as his parents searched for his mug. He said the abrupt switch to remote learning left many seniors reeling, both because of the challenge it created to stay motivated to complete the semester and because many friends and acquaintances never got to properly say goodbye.

Lewis said the district’s week of senior events and the surprise of seeing the faces of his classmates along Whitlock Avenue have been much appreciated by the Class of 2020, who, like their parents, have been saddened by a lack of closure for their high school career.

“To the school district, I want to say, ‘Thank you for doing this for all of us,’” he said. “And to the other students: While we may not be able to graduate from school (this week), it’s been a really, really fun four years, and I want to thank everyone for being there and helping everyone else get through this.”

Zagster Announces Bike Share Closures in Cumberland and Town Center

May 28, 2020

On Wednesday, the Cumberland Community Improvement District (CID) and the Town Center CID received notice Zagster will no longer be providing services to their markets. Based in Boston, Zagster managed and operated both of the CIDs’ bike-share programs.

According to an email from Zagster, the closure is due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on business. Zagster will remove all bikes and stations from both areas between May 28 and June 12.  Zagster stated they plan to communicate more information to members via their app and social media platforms this week.  There are currently six stations in Cumberland and six stations in Town Center.

“We were surprised by this news and are exploring the implications of this decision for our bike-share users,” said Tracy Rathbone Styf, Executive Director of the Town Center CID. “At this time, Zagster has not responded to our requests for more information, but we know that this pandemic has hit many businesses hard. We plan to share additional information as it is becomes available.”

While Zagster’s decision is beyond the control of the CIDs, both organizations are committed to providing valuable mobility options for their communities. Thousands of members have recorded hundreds of rides every week in each CID bike-share program.

“Bike-share programs have been extremely successful in the Cumberland and Town Center communities,” said Kim Menefee, Executive Director of the Cumberland CID. “Our shared goal will always be to improve our communities as we continue to strengthen our partnerships and regional connectivity.”

For additional questions regarding Zagster’s closure plan, please contact

About Cumberland CID

The Cumberland Community Improvement District (CID), Georgia’s first CID, is a public-private assessment district in northwest Atlanta. It is an organization through which local commercial property owners can advance necessary public infrastructure projects that enhance property values as well as the greater community. Originally formed in 1988 by business leaders interested in improving highway access for the emerging Cumberland submarket, the CID went a step further and created a master road plan for the area. The Cumberland CID now represents 190 commercial property owners (residential excluded) and facilitates additional road and transit infrastructure improvements, streetscapes and beautification projects, bicycle and walking trails, alternate commute programs and services as well as community planning.

About Town Center CID

Founded in 1997, the Town CID is dedicated to the betterment of the Town Center area through transportation infrastructure, safety improvements, beautification and other projects that enhance property value by increasing interest and investment in the community. The Town Center CID utilizes funds from voluntary commercial real estate taxes to implement its projects. For more information, please visit

LGE Community Credit Union continues to support community amid pandemic

May 21, 2020

LGE Community Credit Union, driven by the mission of “people helping people,” recently completed several initiatives to support the community amid the pandemic. 

Lunches for Local Heroes

In an effort to both support local restaurants and show appreciation for front-line medical staff, LGE delivered more than 500 lunches to four local hospitals across the counties it serves. LGE delivered lunches from Four41 South Catering in Canton to Northside Hospital Cherokee, lunches from Cheeseburger Bobby’s in Hiram to Wellstar Paulding Hospital, lunches from Dave Poe’s BBQ in Marietta to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, and lunches from Lucky’s Burgers and Brew in Roswell to Wellstar North Fulton Hospital. 

LGE Employees Host Food Drive

LGE employees organized an internal food drive to support three local non-profit organizations supporting those in the community most affected by the pandemic: MUST Ministries in Marietta, Warehouse of Hope in Douglasville, and North Fulton Community Charities in Roswell.

Surprises for Scholarship Winners

Even though graduation ceremonies are being held virtually, LGE could not miss the opportunity to celebrate the winners of its annual service scholarship program. LGE worked with the school districts and principals to make a special surprise visit for each student. The winners of LGE’s 2020 Service Scholarships are:

  • General Scholarship Winner ($3,000): Anthony Minella, Milton High School
  • Cobb County School District Winner ($5,000): Samuel Luong, Wheeler High School
  • Cherokee County School District Winner ($5,000): Alanis “Laney” Broussard, Woodstock High School
  • Marietta City Schools Winner ($5,000): Kyle Brown, Marietta High School

About LGE Community Credit Union

LGE Community Credit Union provides full-service, federally insured banking to over 116,000 people in northwest Georgia, with better rates and lower fees than you will typically find in a big bank. LGE serves all residents and businesses within Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Fulton, and Paulding counties. Since 2010, LGE has given back over $1.2 million to local nonprofit organizations and individuals in need through the LGE Community Outreach Foundation. For more information about LGE, visit

Chattahoochee Technical College Announces Spring Semester 2020 Graduates

May 20, 2020

Despite the additional challenges they faced to complete their college education during a global coronavirus pandemic, 365 Chattahoochee Technical College students have graduated this spring semester. A commencement ceremony honoring their achievement has been postponed until December.

Many of these recent Chattahoochee Tech graduates will step right into vital roles as first responders in the community’s essential workforce. These graduates include students who trained to become paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT). “The demand for advanced-level health care providers is very high, and many of our graduates already have been working on an ambulance or in a hospital,” said Ryan Dehnert, the Chattahoochee Tech program director for Paramedicine and Emergency Medical Services Professions. “All of our graduates are ready to serve the health care needs of the public. We have a team dedicated to making sure that every student who enrolls in one of our programs is fully equipped to be successful in this career, and to care for the needs of the public in times of medical emergencies.”

When the college needed to suspend on-campus instruction in mid-March this semester due to the coronavirus pandemic, Chattahoochee Tech faculty and staff worked immediately to continue educating students in an online environment. Instructors used technology that included Blackboard Collaborate and WebEx video conferencing. The college also created an online tutoring initiative using Microsoft Teams to connect students with individual tutors online for free tutoring in numerous subjects. “This has proven to be a valuable tool, and I envision this online tutoring will continue even after we return to campus,” said Chattahoochee Tech Dean of Academic Support Julie Holland.

Toward the end of the spring semester, some programs were allowed to return to campus in a very controlled and careful way, in order for students to participate in the essential lab components of their classes. In the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program, for example, only eight students were allowed to be in a lab at the same time. They were required to distance themselves away from each other as much as possible in the lab, and they were required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). “All students and faculty wore masks and gloves the entire time,” said Chattahoochee Tech PTA Program Director Stephanie Puffer. “All equipment was disinfected after each use, and the entire lab was cleaned and disinfected after each group by faculty. Students were further encouraged to change their clothes prior to entering their homes.”

Chattahoochee Tech plans to continue with a combination of online instruction and carefully controlled, on-campus instruction for essential labs during the summer semester. “I’m excited to say that we are expecting to graduate 21 Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) students this August,” said Chattahoochee Tech Dean of Nursing Quetina Pittman-Howell. Chattahoochee Tech students in the college’s Associate of Science in Nursing program who are training to become Registered Nurses (RN) will graduate in December.

“In the summer, we have identified some targeted days where faculty and students will come to campus for essential labs in the RN program,” said Pittman-Howell. “When faculty and students attend lab, they will be expected to implement social distancing and wear Personal Protective Equipment. The Practical Nursing program will be 100 percent online this summer, because they do not have a lab component in the summer.”

“This season of our lives has taken us by storm, and we’ve been exposed to situations and circumstances that we never thought we would see in our lifetime,” said Pittman-Howell. “But now is not the time to be afraid, timid, or discouraged. This is the time we demonstrate to our peers, our colleagues, our community, and our nation what we as nurses have the ability to do in times of crisis. It is truly an honor to be a nurse educator during this time.”

For more information, visit

About Chattahoochee Technical College:

Chattahoochee Technical College awards certificates, diplomas and associate degrees in more than 50 programs of study for students to become highly skilled professionals in some of the nation’s fastest-growing, high-demand career fields. A Unit of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), Chattahoochee Tech is the largest technical college in the state with eight campus locations serving the counties of Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Gilmer, Paulding, and Pickens. The college also offers customized workforce training, continuing education classes, and adult education programs that include free GED prep. More information is available at

Cobb Chamber to Host May 27 Webinar on Reopening Legal Guidance

May 20, 2020

Wednesday, May 27

11:00 a.m. to noon

Register here >>>

There are many factors to consider as you prepare to reopen, and we’re here to help you! Our panel of legal experts will guide you and answer any questions you may have. Thanks to the generous donation of our panelists for providing their time pro-bono, this event is free for you and the first 500 attendees to sign up. Panelists include:

  • Neera Bahl, Principal Attorney, Neera Bahl Legal Consulting
  • Dave Cole, Partner, Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP
  • Scott Gregory, Managing Member, Gregory, Doyle, Calhoun & Rogers, LLC
  • Christina Moore, Partner, Taylor English
  • Justin O’Dell, Partner, O’Dell & O’Neal
  • John Loud, 2020 Cobb Chamber Chairman & President of LOUD Security Systems

For more information, contact Rebecca Chadwick at

Give COVID-19 the axe with American Axes, now open

May 19, 2020
American Axes floorplan, updated to show where the three throwing stations will be located during phase one.

During the current phase one of re-opening, American Axes has implemented the following safety measures:

  • All axe handles, surfaces and chairs are to be disinfected with hospital grade disinfectant before being used again.
  • Constant airflow by having our front and roll up door always open.
  • All American Axes employees are always to wear a face mask. 
  • There will be three (3) throwing areas with a minimum of six (6) feet to separate active throwing areas.
  • Floors will be taped to indicate six (6) feet of distance.
  • A single group size is not to exceed six (6) people.
  • Waivers must be filled out online before arrival or on personal devices.
  • Check-in and waiting area will be set-up outside the entrance.

Reserve your lane Wednesday-Sunday.

Drive-Thru Farmer’s Market May 23 at Al Bishop Park

May 18, 2020
May 23 | 9 AM – 4 PM | Al Bishop

Park Right now, health and safety are on everyone’s minds. Now you can support local farmers and your Cobb County community with Georgia Grown To-Go, a drive-thru farmer’s market. While supplies last, drive through and buy boxes of seasonal produce, berries, Vidalia onions, and fresh protein and dairy directly from the farmers themselves. Stock your pantry while staying safe with Georgia Grown To-Go.

Join the event on Facebook »  
Mark My Calendar for Georgia Grown To-Go    

How can I pay? Enjoy shorter lines and a discount by preordering online with your card. At the event we will accept cash, card, EBT, SNAP, and WIC. After paying you will receive an itemized receipt to drive through the market. Local farmers will view your receipt and load your order into your vehicle- no need to get out!

Where is it held? Drive through Al Bishop Park on May 23 between 9 AM and 4 PM while supplies last, and local farms will load your trunk with fresh, local produce, delicious protein, and more!

What’s in a box? Mixed vegetable boxes will be $36 for pre-order and $40 on-site and feature a set variety of seasonal produce with fresh produce like squash, zucchini, sweet corn, green beans, peppers, and more! 

Pre-order my box now »

What else is offered? Boxes of specialty dairy products, sweet corn and peaches are available for pre-order and onsite purchase. We will also offer flats of strawberries, 10 lb cases of slow-cooked hand-pulled chicken, and 15 lb bags of Vidalia onions.

Add these items to my pre-order »