Short Takes: August/September 2020

The BIG Mo
Concerts have been on hold for most venues in the Augusta area due to Covid-19. But if you’re looking to attend a concert, take a short drive to The Big Mo in Monetta. The Big Mo, which typically serves as the area’s only drive-in movie theater, has been holding a series of special concerts this summer. The concerts are being broadcasted at drive-ins across the country in an attempt to provide some sense of normalcy from the bizarre times we’re living in. Country music stars, Garth Brooks and Blake Shelton, have been a part of this concert series. To find out what other concerts or events are scheduled visit thebigmo.com.

    

EVENTS

September is National Recovery Month

Hope House of Augusta is celebrating National Recovery Month with a graduation ceremony and luncheon in honor of the women who have successfully completed treatment programs during the past year. The observance highlights inspiring stories to help people from all walks of life find the path to hope, health, and personal growth. 

National Recovery Month is held each September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with mental and substance use disorders to live healthy and rewarding lives. 

This observance celebrates the millions of Americans who are in recovery from mental and substance use disorders, reminding us that treatment is effective and that people can and do recover. It also serves to help reduce the stigma and misconceptions that cloud public understanding of mental and substance use disorders, potentially discouraging others from seeking help.


Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Welcomes New CEO

The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce has officially named Russell Lahodny as the new CEO to replace outgoing CEO Tammy Shepherd, who announced in March she was retiring after leading the organization for 12 years. 

Lahodny comes to the Columbia County Chamber from the California Chamber located in Sacramento, Calif., where he serves in a dual role as the vice president, local chamber relations and vice president of the Western Association of Chamber Executives. In his current role he engages local chambers across the state on legislative issues and works with more than 800 chamber professionals sharing industry best practices, collecting and analyzing industry data, and promoting the association across all platforms including print, video, photography and podcasts to communicate the mission and goals of the organization.

Lahodny is a graduate of California State University -Fullerton with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. He also graduated from the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Institute of Organization Management at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles with a certification in nonprofit organization management and served multiple terms on the board of regents for the West Institute of Organization Management that oversees the curriculum, faculty, logistics and budget for the program.


Kendall Green

Kendall Green is a globetrotter, quite literally. The Augusta University nurse had always wanted to see the world and share her adventures with others. In 2017, she started her blog, As Told by Kendall, as an outlet of self-expression and to give others a glimpse into her world.

Green’s blog focuses on travel, as well as fashion, health and wellness. To date, her passport has received stamps from all across the world. But for Green, Cuba, Croatia and Israel are her picks for favorite places to visit.  

Green had plans to travel to Israel again earlier this year, but her trip was cancelled due to Covid-19. 

“I feel like there are a lot of misconceptions about the Middle East,” Green says. “In my experience it has been one of the loveliest places I’ve traveled. The people are so warm and friendly.”

Admittedly,  she still has many more places she plans to visit. Seattle, Wash., Portland, Ore., Arizona and Hawaii top her bucket list for U.S. destinations.

Favorite shoes for travel: Sneakers

Luggage: Calpak

Light or heavy packer: Heavy

Favorite airport: Atlanta


DropTheDis
by Griffin Nelson

For decades the radio has been used as a way to disseminate information, as entertainment, to tell stories and news and bring people together who can’t always be together in person. They say that “video killed the radio star” but as we move further into the 21st century, we find that that’s really not true. Podcasts have taken over as the new form of radio, all online this time, but similar with it’s spoken-word format and endless array of subject matter. Thanks to Chris Nabholz and David Bash Augusta now boasts it’s own podcast – DropTheDis – focused on dropping the “dis” in “Disgusta” – a derogatory term sometimes used to describe the city of Augusta – and instead highlighting fun things going on in the area, interviewing notable Augustans who are doing great things in and around the city, and generally getting the word out about what makes Augusta a great place to live.

The two native Augustan’s have grown their podcast literally from the ground up. Since the Spring of 2019 they’ve gone from recording their first episode on an iPhone to having their own studio with a beautiful view of downtown. They credit much of their success to sponsors and partners who have believed in and supported them from the start like Nancy Powell, Savannah River Brewing Company, The Clubhouse, and The Little Guide to Augusta to name a few. But a lot of the recording process they had to learn and troubleshoot on their own. They’ve come a long way in a short amount of time and have streamlined the process, turning it into an art form. Already they’ve interviewed people like Congressman Rick Allen, local artist April Henry King, restauranteur Havird Usry and so many more. The advantage of the radio, and now podcasts, is that it allows the average person to get to know these local people, hear about the what they’re doing for our community, and garner enthusiasm for this place we call home. It helps people find out about events going on, public policies that may effect them, and generally encourages folks to invest in their local economy. They’re theory:  “If the grass is greener where you water it, the people we talk to are the people who are watering the grass…We want to tell the story of Augusta.”

As they’ve told the story of Augusta, they’ve realized how much of a need there is for a platform that helps other people tell their own stories in their own way through the podcast platform. They’ve expanded to create Augusta Podcasts LLC, with the idea being to help people start their own shows. “We want to be the platform that helps people get their voice out there,” says Bash. Whether people need help choosing the most economical microphone for their home studios, a place to record outside their home, help with social media and marketing, learning how to format podcasts, etc. Augusta Podcasts aims to “help people fill in the blanks”. If there’s something they could have benefited from when they started out, they want to make sure it’s available to new startups as well, to make the process smoother and more sustainable. They’re already in the process of adding to the Augusta Podcasts family with the most recent being a show called Cheers Y’all. Though not necessarily about Augusta itself, it still contributes to the local economy by supporting Augusta creatives and, like with any podcast including DropTheDis, allows their voices to be heard literally around the world. If you’re interested in starting your own podcast or need help maintaining one, you can reach out at www.augustapodcasts.com. 

If you just love to listen and want to find out more about DropTheDis and the wonderful things they’re doing with and for Augusta, you can listen to any of their episodes on Apple Podcasts. The beauty of podcasts is that they can be listened to wherever and whenever. Unlike the days of yore where you had to sit by the single, large radio in the living room, podcasts can be played on a smart phone or computer and taken along for the ride, listened to while driving to work, doing a hobby, etc. As we move into the 21st century we find that the radio is alive and well here in the CSRA, just in this new, slightly different format. Nabholz and Bash are working hard to highlight the wonderful things going on in the this place we all call home and the people who make it special. They truly live their motto: Drop-the-Dis.


Photo credits:
Russell Lahodny photo provided by The Augusta Chronicle
Kendall Green photo by Amy J. Owen
DropTheDis photos by John Antaki
The Big Mo courtesy
 of facebook.com/Monetta-Drive-In-Theatre-The-Big-MO

Appears in the August/September 2020 issue of Augusta Magazine.

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