Short Takes: November/December 2015

face1-5a81db2bThis past January, the Thomson Elementary School teacher was leading an assignment on New Year’s resolutions—and shared her own resolution with her third-grade class: to be more giving of herself. And even more than that she planned to donate an organ.

The next day, one of her students brought in a card from her grandmother who was on dialysis and waiting for a kidney—and Candler’s resolution became a reality. Through her student’s grandmother ended up being matched with another donor, Candler was still determined to give someone the gift of life. This past summer, she became GRHealth’s first altruistic kidney donor, donating her kidney to 74-year-old Sharon Dole, a professor at Western Carolina University near Asheville, N.C.

The two met for the first time the morning of surgery. “From that moment, if my family wasn’t in my room, they were in Candy’s,” Dole says. “We were just like one big family. Of course, now we’re connected for life.”

 “I felt like this was what God wanted me to do,” says Candler, who is also a wife and mother of two. “I realized part of it would be hard for me, but I wanted to set a good example for not only my schoolchildren, but for my own children.”

face 2Take a Bow

Curious to explore what the outdoors has to offer but uncertain of how or where to begin? Women 18 and older of all backgrounds and levels of experience can explore more than 25 classes on outdoor recreational skills and activities through the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) workshop series, hosted by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The next session is scheduled to take place November 6-8 at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield, Ga. (between Covington and Madison).

Workshops are led by outdoor professionals and introduce women to a variety of activities including hunting and shooting, fishing and boating, and non-harvest sports like canoeing, camping and tree-climbing. Sessions range in intensity from leisurely to rugged.

 Weekend workshops begin on Friday morning and end on Sunday afternoon and include meals and special presentations and events. Participants can choose to bring their own tents and gear or lodge at Charlie Elliott’s conference center, part of a complex that includes a wildlife management and public fishing area.

For more information, registration details and a complete listing of classes offered, or call (770) 784-3059


HAPPY: A small film with a big smile

From his happy/sad paintings to his brightly colored Happy robot stickers that are popping up in cities everywhere, local artist Leonard “Porkchop” Zimmerman is leaving his colorful mark on the world.

Now a Milwaukee-based filmmaker is planning a documentary on Porkchop and his Happy campaign, inspired by Zimmerman’s TEDx Telfair Street talk. The documentary, which held an Indiegogo campaign for support this past summer, is continuing to film in Augusta in November and will premiere in Wisconsin and in Augusta in spring 2016, followed by film festivals across the country.

face 3MUSIC

All in the Family


by Mark Hodges

What’s in a name? For the Band Kelley, the Appling group’s simple moniker is reflective of the tight-knit family ties that hold this talented sibling quartet together. While at first glance they may seem like the Partridge Family or a similar pop prodigy household, the Kelley brothers and sisters are not your average youth seeking musical fame or super stardom. For the Kelleys, love of traditional music is the driving force behind their dedication and devotion to their craft.

The band has a firm musical foundation in oldest brother Timothy, 23, who has a degree in music and is a multi-instrumentalist who plays violin, fiddle, mandolin and guitar. He is joined by Bethany, 15, who plays the violin and is lead vocalist, along with mandolin player Victoria, 13, and youngest brother and bass player Daniel, who is just 9 years old. The Kelley parents raised their four children on a steady diet of traditional gospel, bluegrass and classic country, and that music was embraced by the four siblings as they grew up and began creating music of their own.

The brothers and sisters formed a group for fun and it grew from there. Their musical dabbling soon turned into a more serious endeavor and now the whole family is out on the road almost every weekend while the kids play shows all over the Southeast. The money they get for performing is rolled back into the group to pay for travel, music lessons, recording and instruments. Timothy also teaches music lessons during the week via Skype.


DON’T BE ON THE SHELF:  Christmas “elves” can volunteer or donate to Fort Gordon’s Christmas House, which works to make Christmas merry for 300 service member families and their children (up to 800).

The fundraiser—celebrating its 49th year this year—is 100 percent volunteer and donation-driven, says organizer Teri Ryan. “Everything that’s donated goes directly to the Christmas House and the service members we’re trying to assist,” she says.

Monetary donations or toys ($20-$30 value) may be dropped off at the Christmas House November 2, 9, 16 or 30 from 8 a.m. to noon. The Christmas House is located in the Courtyard, Building 36709, at Fort Gordon (those without a military ID should check in at Gate 1). Donations are also accepted throughout the year.

face 6Christmas Flights of Fancy

If heading to the Augusta Mall to battle the crowds and find a gift for that hard-to-please recipient gives you the heebie-jeebies, drive a little farther down Wrightsboro Road to Daniel Field’s Augusta Aviation. The local aircraft charter company is offering great rates on a variety of 30-minute aerial tours to please a wide variety of giftees, including a Romantic Sunset Tour (complete with wine/sparkling grape juice, cheese, crackers and complimentary Augusta Aviation wine glasses), an aerial tour of Augusta, an introductory flight lesson and even a Tacky Light Tour—the way Santa would see it. For rates and packages, visit


Christmas in Charleston

Why Go: Candlelight flickers against weathered brick walls, music livens the air, delicious food aromas waft by and the ghosts of memories—both old and new—flitter all around you. This is Christmas in Charleston—a charming mix of past and present.

What To See: The Yuletide season kicks off with more than 750 displays and two million lights at the annual Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island County Park, open through New Year’s Day. And for a different view of the lights of old Charleston, experience a new-fangled “sleigh” ride in the harbor aboard the Charleston Explorer boat from December 11-27.

What To Do: The Edmondston-Alston House is the candlelit backdrop for special performances on December 4 and 11 that harken back to Christmas during 1860. Still need to buy a special gift? Visit Charleston on November 27 and 28 for an open-air holiday market at historic Middleton Place, featuring giftable items from the garden market and nursery and museum shop.

Where To Eat: Thirty years strong, the Charleston Progressive Dinner invites diners to travel to historic eateries by carriage for a three-course dinner, open from November 27 to December 23. If you’ve always loved the Cratchits’ dinner scene in A Christmas Carol, experience a four-course dinner inspired by the novella on December 10 and 16 at Circa 1886. A “liquid” dinner more your thing? The 7th annual Holiday Pub Tour showcases the city’s best craft beers and tasty appetizers. 

Distance From Augusta: About 169 miles or 2 hours and 50 minutes. 



FROM THE WALKING DEAD TO ANT MAN, Georgia’s no stranger to filmmaking. Now Augusta is dipping its toes in the industry. Scenes for the horror film Siren (set to air in 2016 on the Chiller Network) were recently shot inside the Sacred Heart Cultural Center, . Meanwhile, Augustan Brad Owens of the Southeastern Filmmakers is lobbying for Augusta to launch its own film office to bring more of Georgia’s burgeoning film business to the area.

Music to the Ears!

Not staying in Augusta during the holidays?

Travelers through Augusta Regional Airport get a musical sendoff during the Christmas season as part of the airport’s art program, which launched in 2012. Along with quarterly art exhibits and performances during Masters week, travelers waiting to embark at the gates can sit back and enjoy original music, Christmas carols and more by local entertainers the week prior to and the week of Christmas.

face 8BETTER Than Home-made

The Augusta Training Shop is back this year with a new Christmas item just in time for the holidays. The nonprofit is offering boxed or custom-ordered Christmas cards for businesses and families, designed and illustrated by its physically and mentally challenged employees. Cards feature folk-art inspired illustrations; boxes of 16 cards/envelopes are $20.

To order or to learn about custom orders, call 706-738-1358.


A buzz of quiet conversation flowed from one teen to the next, most stationed in front of computer schematics, soldering equipment and robotics components. It’s all part of the Columbia County Library’s new Makerspace, the only free, public makerspace in this area, offering a service that teens can’t get elsewhere.

“It can be hard to get teens into the library, but the Makerspace has ignited a passion in the core group. We’ve had dozens of kids participating in this program,” says Young Adult Librarian Micah Newsome.

The Makerspace concept has taken off in recent years, with Augusta’s member-supported as a leading example. Makerspaces are collaborative environments where participants share their expertise to help each other solve problems and learn skills. Like many others, Columbia County Library Makerspace is equipped with 3D printers, software, electronics, craft and hardware supplies and tools, and more. Library staff provides instruction and troubleshooting help as needed.

The Makerspace will continue as a twice per month program during the school year, and it will expand with craft-focused programming, including sewing and weaving, in addition to the existing tech-focused offerings. 

“Our goal is to encourage teens to use their minds,” says Newsome. “When they develop new skills, see projects through from conception to completion and assist their peers in doing the same, they are learning to think in new ways, and those ways of thinking will help them be successful for the rest of their lives.”

This article appears in the November/December 2015 issue of Augusta Magazine.


RSS Augusta Magazine’s Front Porch

  • Episode 11: Jay Jefferies
    Jay Jefferies stops by to deliver the weather and much more!
  • Episode 10 - Nesia Wright
    We had the pleasure of sitting down with Nesia Wright, owner and CEO of the Georgia Soul Basketball Team. Ashlee and Nesia discuss life as the owner of a basketball team, retirement and more.
  • Episode 9: Venus Morris Griffin
    Venus Morris Griffin, one of the top real estate agents in the Augusta area, stops by our front porch to talk about her success and her upcoming book. This episode is sure to set a fire in you to go for your dreams!
  • Episode 8: Michael Romano
    Michael Romano, self-proclaimed carbohydrate king and executive pastry chef for Edgar's Hospitality Group stopped by our front porch to chat with Ashlee.


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