Arts & Entertainment
Residents confront possibility that Buckhead Post Office hours could be reduced
story by stephanie johns
infographics by k. schiliro
The Buckhead Post Office may have its hours reduced following a survey and public meeting.
The survey was sent out to postal customers in the 30625 zip code and also handed out during the meeting held in front of that office last Thursday.
When Pam Soles, manager of Post Office Operations, informed those present that the post office was not going to close, the crowd of about 65 people responded with cheers.
“This is a nationwide thing,” she said. “Since May 2012 we have been looking at smaller communities.”
According to a letter sent to postal customers, “The Postal Service has established a review process for certain Post Offices known as the POST Plan.”
This plan, as Soles said, prompted the USPS to evaluate rural post offices.
Soles explained that revenue prompted the decision to be open fewer hours: “We save on cost with post master hours. Nationwide, it adds up. … We’re cutting work hours everywhere.”
Following survey results and comments made at the meeting, Soles said that a decision about hours of operation for Buckhead will be made and posted at the office within the next one to two weeks.
She added that about one month after the hours are posted they will go into effect.
As to losing Saturday delivery, she said that is on hold right now.
story by stephanie johns • photos by jesse walker
Cultural Center hosts first-ever storytelling festival, “do tell! stories under the bell tower,” last weekend
The Madison-Morgan Cultural Center (MMCC) held its first storytelling festival, “Do Tell! Stories under the Bell Tower,” last Saturday.
Ruth Bracewell, director at MMCC said the whole day went well: “We are excited about launching this new program.”
She said the program committee came up with the idea for the event.
“Storytelling is a popular art form,” she said, noting there is a national storytelling group.
Not only is it popular, Bracewell said it also is one of the oldest art forms in existence, “People were telling stories before they were writing them down.”
Guest storytellers for the event included Donald Davis, Carmen Agra Deedy, Andy Offutt Irwin, and mother-daughter duo Debbie Weston From and Hannah From.
Bracewell said that Davis was a former Methodist minister who left the pulpit after 20 years.
Cuba native Deedy wrote a book, 14 Cows for America, which was illustrated by Tom Gonzalez whose artwork currently is on exhibit at MMCC.
Irwin is “really funny,” according to Bracewell: “He does different sounds. A lot of storytellers are also musical.”
This holds true for the From duo as Hannah plays the banjo.
The day-long festival began with a family workshop titled “Tell Me a Story” featuring Deedy and the Froms.
“There were a lot of small children, parents, and grandparents,” she said. “It was very well attended.”
She added that some of the children got up and told stories.
Morgan County teenager Griffin Sorohan serving on Teen Driving Commission
story by stephanie johns
Griffin Sorohan, a sophomore at Morgan County High School (MCHS), and the other 21 participants in the Teen Driving Commission presented recommendations to improve highway safety to about 30 Georgia legislators in March.
“They heard us out,” he said. “We did it very professionally and we’re formed so well. There are a lot of good kids doing it and we’re headed by GOHS, which says something about us: we know what we’re talking about.”
Sorohan filled out an online application for the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) Teen Driving Commission about half a year ago.
story by kathryn schiliro
photos by jesse walker
Digging in the dirt in the raised beds outside their classroom, one Morgan County Elementary fourth grader jokes, "We wet the bed today."
Post-pun giggling and some eye rolling, from adults and students, ensues.
In all seriousness, 52 students in the Gifted program at the elementary school are learning about farming – the earth and life sciences that make up agriculture and human impact on the environment – first-hand, by establishing and tending raised beds outside their classroom.
The brainchild of MCES Gifted teachers Melissa Freeman and Molly Bonner, at the recommendation of Superintendent Dr. Ralph Bennett, they approached Brad Kelly of Kelly Products last November. Kelly and Christine McCauley, of the Madison-Morgan Conservancy, had previously approached Bennett about locally grown veggies making up a salad bar in the schools' cafeterias.
"When we heard about the [MCES] garden, we thought it was a great first step," McCauley said.
Kelly agreed to take on the project at the school and, after meetings with the Gifted teachers to work out the details, began by constructing raised beds, to become organic gardens, right outside Freeman's classroom. The construction of the beds, with the help of Larkin Merritt, took one February afternoon. The beds will allow the student-gardeners to bypass trying to grow their crops in the Georgia clay.
Raymond L. Robinson (top) is the fourth in his family to serve after Pledge Keeley (middle, left and bottom, second from left), Tamarcus Browning and Elaine Browning. photos contributed
Raymond L. Robinson represents fourth generation of service
Storyteller Renee Hannah jives with young audiences
Hanna said she has no discipline issues with the children.
“The reason why is because I give them ownership of the story,” she said. “They know that going in and help me tell it.”
She added that they make noise during storytime, from laughing to oohing, from groaning to sneezing.
Also, they run the gamut of emotions.
“When they walk out of there they have performed,” she said. “It’s their performance.”
A theatre student, Hanna said she knew nothing about storytelling when she began. She created a character, Auntie Clara, and went with it.
“The kids loved it, the teachers loved it,” she said.
Hanna then pursued formal training in Atlanta and learned more about storytelling. That is when she learned to develop characters based on classic books.
“Characters have to have costumes and they have to have props,” she said. Thus her story box and story box song were born.
Hanna explained that she does not read a book to the children. Rather, she shows them the story, whether it is a picture book, a folktale, or a fairytale.
“I let the children help me tell the story,” she said. “They may change it and it becomes our story.”
She stressed that when the children leave, they have a story of their own.
“It’s fresh and energizing every single time,” she said.
This process has worked for her for 18 years, she said. She has been all over the state from one end to the other.