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Karen Rohr

Stories by Karen

3-D watercolors depict Southern colleges, landmarks

FAYETTEVILLE - About 15 years ago, an artist friend inspired Patsy Gullett to begin adding a 3-D aspect to her flat watercolor paintings. That experiment would change Gullett's artistic direction and provide her with an avenue into an untapped market.

Kids, adults dress up with Dream Weavers

COVINGTON - A trip to Disneyland compelled Covington resident Lyn Gossage to take her own journey into the field of fantasy by making costumes for children and adults.

History unearthed Rockdale historian researches stories of the dead

When it comes to unraveling the mystery of who is buried in the Conyers Cemetery, Susan Vaughn, a member of the Rockdale County Historical Society, admits that it's not been easy. She's spent dozens of hours culling through old newspapers, court records and history books to piece together nuggets of information on the roughly 377 known people buried there from the 1850s to the mid-1900s.

Artistic escape Olde Town art gallery offers outlet for creativity

In these tough economic times, organizers of the newly established Olde Town Gallery and Studio hope that the public will find refuge within the gallery's four walls.

In the stacks Libraries act as lifelines in poor economy

Nancy Guinn Memorial Library Adult Services Librarian Gary Frizzell is noticing a shift in the reasons why people use the library's Internet-accessible computers. Used to be, he'd see at least some folks gawking at YouTube videos or keeping up with their social life on their MySpace pages. These days, however, gaining Internet access can be crucial to paying the mortgage or putting food on the table.

Ramble through history Historical Society offers tours of noteworthy sites

Rockdale County Historical Society member Harriet Gattis remembers as a child making house calls with her father, Dr. Joseph C. Brown, to the Haralson-Parrish House in northwest Rockdale. To reach the home, built in 1852, the father and daughter had to ford the creek in their car.

Love for the ages Conyers couple keeps romance alive after

Pat and Cleo Porter relax in the den of their Lake Capri home, which offers a picturesque view of the sun sparkling on the water. Mr. Porter is considering the question of what first attracted him to Cleo, his wife of 70 years.

Art Appreciation Ronn Smith makes Conyers debut with 'Art'

On the surface, the play "Art" is about a man buying a painting that his friends don't like. At the heart of the play, however, is the question how much stress can a friendship take until it breaks.

Exercising the mind, body and soul County offers plenty of ways to get in shape for the new year

Looking for a way to get in shape for a relatively affordable price? Consider taking a class through the Newton County Recreation Commission. Newton County Recreation Program Coordinator Debra Banks has spent the last year beefing up the leisure fitness programs and now needs the community to jump in and take advantage of the activities.

Capturing moments Local artist uses painting as outlet

At age 40, Nita Bakay became a widow, leaving the stay-at-home mom to care for her three children alone. She forged ahead, returning to the workforce as a full-time math teacher at Rockdale's alternative school. Seven years later, in 1996, tragedy struck again when her son, David, then 20, died in a car accident.

'There's nothing more rewarding' Couple volunteers at Westbury for years

Don Veal walks around the activity room at Westbury Health & Rehabilitation Center wearing a Groucho Marx pair of glasses, nose and mustache disguise. Some residents laugh and smile. Others look at him strangely. Either way, everyone gets a kick out it.

Life of lessons Benefit to aid teacher fighting cancer

For 17 years, Jeff Blount has devoted himself to the Rockdale County community by serving as a beloved coach and teacher. Now, the 41-year-old is getting back what he has given at a time when he needs it the most. An outpouring of support is flowing to Blount, who is fighting non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Diagnosed in April, Blount has experienced a rollercoaster of good days and bad days, and the love he gets from family and friends keeps him going.

Open hearts Couple named Foster Parents of the Year

Deloris and Charles Dunn agreed to foster a teenage boy with a history of gang violence for only a weekend. But at the end of the stay, the couple realized the boy's desire to want to do better, and they reconsidered their time commitment.

Tiny miracle Local aids N.Y. family

On a Sunday morning in March, Conyers resident Jane Caruso decided to skip church and instead visit Rockdale Medical Center, where she serves as a volunteer chaplain. That decision led to a powerful bond with an upstate New York family who almost suffered the loss of a mother and child.

Support groups aid those who have lost loved ones

Sara Waites knew the prognosis was not good. Her husband suffered from congestive heart failure and doctors gave him two to three months to live. He died eight days later at the Heartland Hospice in Conyers.

For the love of the game 86-year-old picked up tennis at 60

On a sunny breezy April day, Winnell Smith bounces back and forth on her feet readying her racket for the next volley. When the shot comes to her, Smith returns it with a controlled backhand, adding a good amount of spin to the ball. The ball bounces off the top of her opponent's racket and out of bounds.

Art camps gearing up for summer

Whether it's learning how to be a clown, play the guitar or paint with watercolors, summer art camp opportunities for children in Rockdale and Newton counties abound.

Classes aim to help parents cope

Conyers resident Carla Sligh is a single mother raising two children while working full-time. Sometimes, it can be a strain.

"Oaklahoma" Hit Broadway musical comes to Newton

The year is 1906 and settlers stream into the territory of Oklahoma. Tension between farmers and cowboys runs high as the two groups squabble over boundaries and water rights. Enter a cowboy, Curly, and a farm girl, Laurey, who can't deny their attraction to one another but are too proud to act upon it. To complicate matters, bring in a hot-tempered farm hand, Jud, who also falls for Laurey. Add a sizable helping of catchy songs and it all adds up to the pivotal Broadway musical "Oklahoma!"

Dinner show to raise money for Rockdale Emergency Relief

Rockdale Emergency Relief director Ashley Roesler is well aware that homelessness exists in Rockdale County. According to reports she receives from the Rockdale County school system, about 90 families are currently without a permanent home. The parents and children are sometimes doubled up living with other families or residing in substandard housing.

Croquet tournament gives back to the community

Giving back to the community doesn't have to be hard work. In fact, it can be lots of fun, especially if you choose to join in the 17th annual Conyers Cherry Blossom Charity Croquet Tournament. Sponsored by the Heartland Woman's Club, the tournament raises several thousand dollars each year for two local charities - one in Rockdale County and the other in Newton.

Love keeps couple together for 70 years

In 1935, as a part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal plan to relieve unemployment caused by the Great Depression, Carl Gardner worked as a surveyor and mapmaker. While on assignment one day in Monroe, N.C., Mr. Gardner viewed more than just the land through his survey telescope. Off in the distance he saw a young blonde woman wearing a big straw hat working in the yard with a push mower and sling blade.

Light as Art Festival of Lights Illuminates Olde Town

There's an exhibit coming to Olde Town but it doesn't involve paintings, sculpture, photography or any of the other traditional arts. This exhibit is composed of light.

Helping to make a difference Rockdale CASA works to better children's lives

Conyers resident Pat Mann said she knows firsthand the pain and confusion a child feels when he or she is taken from home due to neglect or abuse. Social workers removed her from her home at age 8 because her mother, an alcoholic, would disappear for days, sometimes weeks, at a time, leaving Mann's father to care for her and her younger brother.

Award-winning printmaker to exhibit at Oxford College

In 1965, when University of South Carolina officials first invited artist Boyd Saunders to establish a printmaking department, they reserved a former men's bathroom for his classroom space because it had "plenty of water." He accepted, but dealt with a year of awkward encounters in which men walked into his classroom with intentions other than to take the printmaking class.

Life of a Soldier

For years, Evie Sweet-Hurd's mother kept her late son's letters from Vietnam in a box that moved from place to place with her. No one in the family opened the box. Too many memories, too much pain.

Charlie Elliott offers nature-savvy winter programs

Looking to educate the kids or even yourself on wildlife and the importance of preserving habitat for animals and plants? Then you might want to consider visiting the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield where staff will offer several winter programs and activities designed to make visitors more nature-savvy.

Artist believes, 'it's not what you see, but what you feel'

Covington resident Gina Rutledge ends her artist statement with a quote from Edward Degas: "Art is not what you see, but what you make others see."

Santa Bonanza Rockdale resident has close to 1,000 figurines

Rockdale resident Elaine Conner's collection of roughly 1,000 Santas covers almost every horizontal space in her home - shelves, curio cabinets, the fireplace, end tables, dressers. And one of the first questions that comes to mind is how did this Santa extravaganza ever get started? Conner has a very simple explanation.

A giving season

As a college student, Ashley Young-Roesler took a job as a shelter advocate for a domestic violence program. The decision changed her life.

Join the fun at the Olde Town Conyers Christmas Party

If the stress of the holidays is getting you down, then take a break from the pressures of decorating, throwing parties and running to the mall to enjoy free family fun at the Olde Town Conyers Christmas Party.

Sounds of the Season Singing groups to present Christmas concert

What better way to get into the holiday spirit than to listen to the joyous sounds of children singing Christmas music? The Oxford Singing Children and Oxford Youth Singers choirs, featuring 105-voices, are offering just that for two performances Dec. 7 and 8 at 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Covington as they present their annual Christmas in Covington choral event.

All aboard the Polar Express at Newton County Library

It may not be near cold enough to snow here in east metro Atlanta, but children can still experience the magic of a snowy winter in their imaginations by visiting the Newton County Library this month.

Christmas House to raise money for local Boys and Girls Club

For those who won't be able to visit Santa's castle at the North Pole this year, there's an alternative - the Christmas House in north Rockdale County.

Disabled artist hones his skills in Porterdale

Michael Davenport grasps a thin red marker in his mouth, sketching the outline of a rose on a pad of a paper. He colors in the flower, moving his head from side to side rapidly, and then carefully uncaps a black marker using his prosthetic arm. He uses the black marker, also held with his teeth, to draw the stem, leaves and finally an outline around the flower.

Gaither's Plantation holds ghost tour, investigation

Cecilia Gaither, along with her husband W.H. Gaither, ran a cotton plantation in Newton County in the 1800s, and, although she died over half a century ago, Cecilia could still be a presence in the home where she once lived.

Quilt guild holds charity auction

Cotton Boll Quilt Guild president Debra Crane learned to sew out of necessity. As a mother of three growing children on a tight budget, she made household items like draperies and table clothes.

Panola Mountain offers plenty of outdoor opportunities

Whether you're pondering a backcountry hiking excursion or just looking for some outdoor alternatives for the family to enjoy together, Panola Mountain State Park offers a plenty of opportunities in the coming weeks. Consider taking advantage of the following activities at the park in early November before the big rush of the holidays begins.