Top human interest stories highlight Bartow's community spirit, arts, history
by Marie Nesmith
Dec 21, 2013 | 1546 views | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Juliana Hartley adjusts the mustache on her brother Nathan at the Booth Western Art Museum’s 10th anniversary celebration in August. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News, File
Juliana Hartley adjusts the mustache on her brother Nathan at the Booth Western Art Museum’s 10th anniversary celebration in August. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News, File
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From the Booth Western Art Museum celebrating its 10th anniversary to the community’s display of generosity following the January tornado, 2013 presented Bartow residents and organizations with a bevy of notable moments. Ranked by the newsroom of The Daily Tribune News, some of the year’s top human interest stories are listed below in no particular order.

@Bodycopy center bold:<*p(0,0,0,11.4,0,0,g(P,S))>Community rallies around tornado victims

At the end of September — more than eight months after the EF-3 tornado tore through Adairsville — Bartow Christian Disaster Recovery wrapped up its efforts of helping displaced residents return home.

“What a blessing it is to see the goodness of people’s hearts that want to help other people out,” David Franklin, associational missionary for the Bartow Baptist Association, told The Daily Tribune News in October. “They’ve come from across various denominations. They’ve come from across different states. People have given their time and energy to come, and you have to be humbled and thankful for so many people who are willing to help out — that’s both local and across the state. They’ve come from everywhere.

“The other thing that, I think, has been really, really good [is] to see local community leaders and various people from government officials to [church members] to [representatives of the business community] all working together. When people work together it just builds relationships. ... [We also] found out because of what has happened in Adairsville, the Georgia Emergency Management (GEMA) is actually rolling out some new plans for disaster relief that include some of the stuff that they got to see here in Adairsville, especially with the businesses and churches all working together.”

In Bartow, the Jan. 30 twister killed one person, damaging more than 400 residential structures and about 30 commercial properties. The height of the destruction occurred around the intersection of U.S. Highway 41 and Ga. Highway 140.

Sanctioned by the local government, Bartow Christian Disaster Recovery — consisting of churches throughout Bartow County — raised funds and organized volunteers to assist in relief efforts. Overall, the disaster response team repaired or rebuilt 30 homes, demolished 22 structures and more than 6,000 volunteers contributed over 55,000 man hours. While the majority of helpers live in Georgia, the storm efforts have drawn people throughout the country, with some traveling from Texas and Michigan.

Booth Western Art Museum marks 10 years

Booth Western Art Museum celebrated its 10th year of operation with a Birthday Party and Member Appreciation Day Aug. 24. Prior to the milestone, the Cartersville venue welcomed about 400,000 visitors since it opened in August 2003.

“The founders had decided to build a museum early in 2000 and asked me if I would direct it early 2000 as well,” Seth Hopkins, Booth’s executive director, told The Daily Tribune News prior to the celebration. “I actually started the job July 2000 and then we broke ground in October of 2000.

“It’s very much like being a parent, to see something start from scratch and be built and grow and become such a vital part of the community and to see the developments that have happened in expanding the building itself, expanding the collection, expanding the exhibits and activities, seeing our membership grow, our volunteer-base grow and the pride the community has in the facility and what we do. It’s very exciting to look back over at the 10 years that we’ve been open and then the 13 years that we’ve actually been working on it.”

Along with enabling patrons to view Western artwork, the venue also offers a Civil War gallery, Sculpture Court, Presidential gallery and the interactive children’s gallery, Sagebrush Ranch. After becoming an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in 2006, Booth joined the Museums West consortium— a prestigious group of Western art museums.

Leake Mounds Interpretive Trail unveiled

A dedication ceremony was conducted for the Leake Mounds Interpretive Trail in October. Held near the intersection of Highway 113 and the Etowah River, the gathering introduced attendees to the 1.5-mile walking trail developed on Bartow County greenspace property, which also contains more than 15 information panels.

From 300 B.C. to A.D. 650, the Leake site was considered by archaeologists to be a vital ceremonial and economic center for societies residing across the Southeastern and Midwestern U.S. Propelled by the Georgia Department of Transportation’s need to widen Highway 113, 50,000 square feet of the historical site was studied along the road near the Etowah River in the 2000s. Two excavations — November 2004 to September 2005 conducted for the Georgia DOT and December 2006 carried out for the Bartow County Water Department — resulted in an abundance of artifacts, some of which include pieces of pottery and effigies, quartz, animal bone and stone projectile points.

“It’s amazing to me, because as an archaeologist we want to see sites preserved but we also want to see education happen from them,” said Georgia DOT Archaeologist Pam Baughman following the dedication, in reference to highlighting the historical site through an interpretive trail. “So, sometimes for us, you only get information from gathering information, but at the same time that we gather information we’re destroying a part of the site.

“So this is sort of a neat medium between those two, because we gathered a lot of great information during the road project, but then we also are preserving the majority of the site for this kind of [educational opportunity]. So we can take that information that we learned during the excavation and then use it and then preserve the remainder. So that’s like the best of both worlds to me.”

Brown captures top-10 finish in America’s DYW

Continuing Bartow County’s success in the Distinguished Young Women program, Avian Brown became the second consecutive local representative to capture a top-10 finish at the National Finals.

“When I first heard my name called as a top-10 finalist, I was just shocked in so many ways because facing that night I thought of all of the girls that I’d been able to meet over the two weeks and I just felt like there were so many other girls ... that had worked so hard,” Brown told The Daily Tribune News after the competition. “There was so much talent and so many girls that had worked so hard for this. I was really honored to represent those girls in the top 10. They were very happy for me, and it was really cool to be able to represent them in that way.”

From June 27 to 29, the daughter of Dr. Mason and Linda Brown competed in the 56th annual America’s DYW National Finals at the Mobile Civic Center Theater in Mobile, Ala. She and the other contestants were evaluated in the areas of fitness (15 percent of overall score), interview (25 percent), scholastics (20 percent), self-expression (15 percent) and talent (25 percent).

Along with being a top-10 finalist, Brown also captured a preliminary interview award. Her overall performance netted her cash scholarships totaling $3,500, which increased her overall winnings to $13,500. To advance to the National Finals, Brown won the Bartow County and Georgia DYW titles in 2012.

Following in Brown’s footsteps, Brooke Rucker will be the next Distinguished Young Woman of Bartow County to advance to the national level. With her win in July, the Cartersville resident became the fourth consecutive Bartow County representative — the sixth since the offering began in 1958 — to claim the state medallion.

Entertainment industry yields exposure, economic gains

As of September, Bartow had secured nearly 10 productions, ranging from movies to commercials, which would be filmed throughout the county in 2013. Regina Wheeler — deputy director for the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau — credited the county’s varied locations, close proximity to Atlanta and designation of being Camera Ready as top reasons for the filming increase.

Some of the entertainment projects that featured Bartow backdrops in 2013 were the films “Hamlet and Hutch” and “Need for Speed,” and “The Red Road,” a Sundance Channel show.

“In the number of years that we’ve worked here at the Convention & Visitors Bureau and have fielded calls throughout the years looking for various locations and assisting as we could, this is certainly the highest number [of inquiries and films],” Wheeler previously told The Daily Tribune News. “The film industry has grown greatly here in the state of Georgia. Much of that has to do with efforts that have been put into place by the Georgia Department of Economic Development. The film division has created Camera Ready communities, which of course Bartow County became one of those several years ago. It gives a very broad online presence to our locations.

“Before, a film scout may call us up and just be looking vaguely, ‘I need a barn with old tractors or something like that’ — a very vague description — and they would know it when they saw it. But it took a lot more time and a lot more effort to get them around the state and seeing everything. Now that there are online catalogues of still photography basically, it really can help them narrow what they’re going after. So when we say, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words,’ it can also be worth money in getting them here to our community.”