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Meeting of the minds SPRING HILL Bahá’is of Hernando County invites the community to attend a discussion on May 10 at 7 p.m. titled, “Perfect Health of Mind and Spirit” presented by Manuela and Gary Colon. Bahá’I is an independent religion. For more information, call (352) 666-7280 or visit bahai.net or bahai.org.

Gospel sing BROOKSVILLE Faith Fellowship Church presents a Gospel Sing May 11 from 2 to 5 p.m. located at 19255 Campground Road. Sing, play an instrument, or listen. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call (352) 796-6589.

Women’s gathering SPRING HILL Grace Presbyterian Women’s Gathering will be held May 13 at noon located at the fellowship hall, 8375 Spring Hill Drive. Event is a pot luck luncheon, installation of officers, memorial for past members and guest speaker. For information, call (352) 683-2082.

Mosaic dedication SPRING HILL Temple Beth David completed a congregational project and hosts a dedication on May 14 at 6 p.m. with a dinner and a movie, located at 13158 Antelope Street in Spring Hill. The project started Feb. 2012, is a mosaic conceptualized and completed from start to finish by members of the congregation. Cost is $7 per adult, children 12 and under $3.50 for members; non members $10 per adult, children 12 and under $5. Reservations are required, call (352) 686-7034.

A.M. Connection BROOKSVILLE The Saturday A.M. Connection hosts a lunch May 14 at noon for all ladies. Listen to inspirational speaker, Shirley Solid, theme “Clothesline Junkie Finds Peace in the Spin Cycle of Life” and a special “Handbag Surprise Auction”, cost $14.50 inclusive, at Silverthorn Country Club, 4550 Golf Club Lane. Reservation deadline May 3, call (352) 597-9569 or 556-4658.

TEAMKIDS SPRING HILL The First Baptist Church of Spring Hill invites children K-7 grades for bible study, games, snacks and crafts every Wednesday from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m. located at 7279 Pinehurst Drive. Parents and guardians must register their child(ren). For information, call (352) 683-2863, office hours Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Instruments needed SPRING HILL The First United Methodist Church of Spring Hill is seeking free, used musical instruments and instrumentalists interested in playing and learning to improve skills. Lessons are free. Call Dianna (352) 610-9363 for donations or to participate.

Sunday blessings SPRING HILL People Helping People, Inc. offers Sunday Blessings to about 100 homeless or needy people in Hernando County. PHP is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping by providing free clothing, groceries, transportation assistance and referrals to other help organizations. PHP is seeking volunteers, plus food and monetary donations. For more information, call (352) 686-4466, visit phpinhc.org, mailing address: P.O. Box 6182 Spring Hill 34611.

Christian life center events SPRING HILL The First Baptist Church of Spring Hill offers an Open Mic Night and Coffee House held the third Saturday of the month at 6 p.m. Christian musicians and singers are invited to share their musical talents. Snacks and coffee are provided. Located at 7279 Pinehurst Drive. Also a movie and dinner night is held the first Saturday of the month at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call (352) 683-2863, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Religion Events appear each Saturday. News releases about special events must be received 14 days in advance. Events will not be published without complete information, such as the time, date, and physical address of the church or location of the special event. Also, an information telephone number for the public and the name and telephone number of a contact person must be included. Send to Anna Lamy, Content Coordinator, email ALamy@hernandotoday.com or by mail to her attention at Hernando Today, 15299 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville FL 34613.

Religion

Religion Events appear each Saturday. News releases about special events must be received 14 days in advance. Events will not be published without complete

Special speaker BROOKSVILLE The Great Life Church announces John James, formerly with Newsboys, as guest speaker for its services Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. located at 7321 Sunshine Grove Road. For information, call (352) 293-7673.

Giant flea market event BROOKSVILLE Christ Lutheran Church hosts a giant flea market and craft show today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. located at 473 North Avenue. Vendor space available, table $15, inside or outside; Make a reservation by March 23. Proceeds to benefit church missions and other programs. For an application or more information, call (352) 799-3082 or 796-4526.

Annual yard sale SPRING HILL The Women of Fellowship Wesleyan Church hosts a yard sale today from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. located at 11250 Spring Hill Drive. For more information, call (352) 686-4612.

Yard sale SPRING HILL The Mariner United Methodist Church hosts a yard sale today from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. located at 7079 Mariner Boulevard. For more information, call (352) 596-0080.

Spring Bazaar SPRING HILL The St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church hosts a Spring Bazaar today from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. located at 5030 Mariner Boulevard in Xavier Hall. For more information, call (352) 683-9666.

Gospel sing BROOKSVILLE The Brooksville Wesleyan Church presents a Gospel Sing with the Gulf Ridge Quartet on Sunday at 6 p.m. located at 22319 Cortez Boulevard. For more information, call (352) 799-3066.

Israel Independence Day SPRING HILL Abundant Blessings Messianic Congregation hosts a seminar “Raise up a standard to the Tabernacle of David (the Church)”, today at 2:30 p.m. at the Springs of Life Family Church, 4157 Mariner Boulevard for a remembrance of the Holocaust and celebrate the Israel Independence Day.

A harbinger study will be held April 13 at 2:30 p.m. led by Rabbi Matthew (Renner) Carroll. Discussion will include Rabbi Cahn’s book “The Harbinger” with the DVD; Isaiah 9:10 Judgment using “The Manifold Wisdom of God”; the Peshat (Literal); Remez (Allegorical); Derash (Midrash); and Sod (the Hidden Wisdom of God), as spoken by the Apostle Paul. For further information call (352) 544-5700.

Junktique sale SPRING HILL The Nativity Lutheran Church hosts a Junktique sale April 12-13 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. located at 6363 Commercial Way. For more information, call (352) 597-1456.

Gospel sing BROOKSVILLE The Faith Fellowship Church presents a Gospel Sing April 13 from 2 to 5 p.m. located at 19255 Campground Road. Come join us to sing, play an instrument, or listen. Those interested in performing with an instrument, please come at 1:30 p.m. for set up. Everyone is welcome. For more information, call (352) 754-9330 or 200-5497.

Pizza, movie and fun RIDGE MANOR The Ritz small group sponsors an evening of pizza, a movie and fun for two evenings to view the two part film “The Gospel of John” held April 15 at 6:30 p.m., located at Ridge Manor Community United Methodist Church, fellowship hall, 34350 Cortez Boulevard. Prior to the movie, pizza will be served, cost $1 donation per slice from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Open to the public. To make reservations please contact Marie Locke at (352) 796-7925.

A.M. Connection BROOKSVILLE The Saturday A.M. Connection hosts a lunch May 14 at noon for all ladies. Listen to inspirational speaker, Shirley Solid, theme “Clothesline Junkie Finds Peace in the Spin Cycle of Life” and a special “Handbag Surprise Auction”, cost $14.50 inclusive, at Silverthorn Country Club, 4550 Golf Club Lane. Reservation deadline May 3, call (352) 597-9569 or 556-4658.

Sunday blessings SPRING HILL People Helping People, Inc. offers Sunday Blessings to about 100 homeless or needy people in Hernando County. PHP is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping by providing free clothing, groceries, transportation assistance and referrals to other help organizations. PHP is seeking volunteers, plus food and monetary donations. For more information, call (352) 686-4466, visit phpinhc.org, mailing address: P.O. Box 6182 Spring Hill 34611.

Christian life center events SPRING HILL The First Baptist Church of Spring Hill offers an Open Mic Night and Coffee House held the third Saturday of the month at 6 p.m. Christian musicians and singers are invited to share their musical talents. Snacks and coffee are provided. Located at 7279 Pinehurst Drive. Also a movie and dinner night is held the first Saturday of the month at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call (352) 683-2863, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Religion Events appear each Saturday. News releases about special events must be received 14 days in advance. Events will not be published without complete information, such as the time, date, and physical address of the church or location of the special event. Also, an information telephone number for the public and the name and telephone number of a contact person must be included. Send to Anna Lamy, Content Coordinator, email ALamy@hernandotoday.com or by mail to her attention at Hernando Today, 15299 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville FL 34613.

Carrollton, Georgia

I don’t tweet, twitter, nor twerp – lkly nvr wl. I do, however, zip at every opportunity — and I do not refer to the way some of us compress computer files to save space and transmission time. The “zip” of which I speak is an adrenaline-packed, 60 mph ride while suspended in a harness hung from a pulley running along a thin cable stretched over magnificent gorges, rushing rivers, and through dark green forests.
Zip lines have been known since the end of the 19th Century, when author H.G.Wells mentioned one in his book, The Invisible Man, but they didn’t gain popularity until relatively recent times. Today they are found in many nations, and in most of our states. They vary tremendously in such as height above the ground, length, and attainable speed. Sometimes they pass through dense tree growth, and are even combined with what are usually called “rope walks” through a forest canopy. One of the finest of those, considering even the entire world, is conveniently located just an hour’s drive west of Atlanta, near Carrollton, Georgia. It is well worth planning a 3-5-day trip there, at any time of the year, because the region has much more to offer than just a clearly outstanding, world-class zip line.
You will surely find Carrollton on any map or Internet search, but Whitesburg, and Horseshoe Dam Rd. (where Banning mills is located) may be more difficult to locate (they are about 10 miles due east of Carrollton). The owners and operators, Donna and Mike Holder, are an energetic and personable couple that have been working hard to make their Banning Mills an exciting, as well as restful, vacation or business destination.
Back in the 19th Century, Banning Mills was a most important place in Georgia. Because of the power provided by the roaring, Snake Creek, one mill after another soon rose there. Stone mills and flimsy wooden shacks dotted the wooded gorge; thousands depended on them for a livelihood. So abundant was the power source, that it was one of the first places in Georgia to generate electricity, causing snooty Atlantans to drive out there at night, just to see the gorge all lit up.
Today’s Banning Mills offers not only those world-class canopy tours, but horseback riding, tennis, hiking trails, kayaking, clay-bird shooting, a birds of prey show, volleyball, a health spa, restaurant, and more. They offer a wide variety of accommodations, including comfortable cabins, ideal for families. Rugged scenery, gouged out by the Snake River, makes most visitors think that they’re in the mountains; many of the resort’s rustic buildings are perched on steep wooded hillsides.
Although Banning Mills is a stand-alone resort, nearby Carrollton offers a cornucopia of additional reasons to visit this region. They have, in that relatively small city (pop 20,000), an surprising number of varied and outstanding restaurants; some art worth a visit by itself; comfortable and inexpensive places to stay; and some of the best folks you’ll ever meet – anyplace! Let’s take a quick look.
Since most days start with breakfast, let’s begin there. Now I don’t enjoy today’s supersized servings of food, but I do really appreciate well-prepared dishes; and I’m pleased to say that the Sunnyside Café is the place to be for that all-important, first meal of the day. My test for them was to prepare that classic southern meal: southern ham, eggs straight up, grits, and, especially, red-eye gravy. Not only was everything prepared to perfection, but the coffee was the stuff one writes home about: indeed I am drinking a delicious mug of it as I type these words (they sell the roasted beans, at half what I’ve been paying for gourmet coffee that’s not as good).
Gary Duke not only runs the outstanding café, but is also part of the local, Duke Bagget Band, which plays authentic, Georgia, country music (available on CD). His father-in-law (everyone seems related to everyone in these delightful southern towns, which is part of their charm) is Blair Trewhitt, who’s a mover and shaker behind the city’s effort to preserve and restore the abandoned, but historic, train depot. Blair later took me on a tour of the gutted depot, which is well underway to becoming a major attraction for the city. They have grand dreams for the renovated depot, which I suspect those hard-workin’ southerners will turn into realities; I hope to be there for the grand opening.

Our first stop in exploring Carrollton is at the grave of Susan Hayward, who’s arguably the city’s most famous resident (are you old enough to remember the silver screen’s great actresses?). In later life, she came to live in Carrollton, where she was, by choice, known, only, as “Mrs. F.E. Chalkley.” Modest beyond anything imaginable involving celebrities today, Hayward’s view of marriage is reflected in the name on the tombstone, at the Catholic Church Cemetery in Carrollton (Mrs. F.E. Chalkley). Understandably, visitors seeking Hayward’s grave site were puzzled, so a new, small stone was later added, with the expected name “Susan Hayward.”

The little nearby Catholic church (Our Lady of Perpetual Help), where Hayward’s memorial service was held, surprised us with some of the more attractive, as well as most unusual, stained-glass windows of which I know (including any and all of my many world travels). Rather than composed of flat, thin pieces of colored glass, as is usual, these gorgeous windows are made using very thick, irregular chunks of tinted glass. As viewed from inside, they glow and sparkle with a unique and extraordinary beauty: on the exterior, they are a colorless wall of seemingly meaningless masonry.

As we were soon to learn, the arts are a very significant part of little Carrollton. Their impressive, new, 40,000 square foot, Cultural Arts Center stands as eloquent testimony to the city’s support of, and interest in, every aspect of the arts. Therein are a 262-seat theater; 1,365 square foot art gallery; rehearsal halls; an art galleria; and an educational wing with several classrooms and support facilities. Because of the city’s support of the arts, it is an increasingly popular place for artists to settle and work. Tom Nielsen is one of those talented, and happy, artists in residence.

I am not an art critic, nor do I write specifically about art, so I hope Tom will forgive me when I say that his work seems like landscapes that Norman Rockwell might have painted: his realistic portraits are as good as I’ve seen, but his soul seems to be wrapped up in landscapes – especially sea coasts. As a significant testament to his genius, Tom’s seascapes of Georgia’s Marshes of Glynn were presented to the G8 leaders, when they convened at Georgia’s Sea Island. Tom, and his beautiful and talented wife, Jan, have made their home and workplaces in an old building just off the city’s main square. Jan’s a talented interior decorator, so their 2-floor home looks like what you may have seen in those slick, architectural magazines.

The city’s traditional Main Square (officially, “Adamson Square”) is a most enjoyable place to spend time. Sadly, in order to facilitate safe control of traffic, the classic statue of a Confederate Soldier had to be slightly relocated, but he’s still appropriately honored nearby. The square is blessed with excellent restaurants (either right on it or very close by), chatty sidewalk cafes, some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and interesting shops. Among the latter is Horton’s Books and Gifts, which, having opened in 1892, is reported to be the oldest bookstore in Georgia, if not in the entire Southeast. Their adjacent coffee shop offers comfortable seating, as well as a half-dozen major newspapers; pretty big time for a city of just 20,000.

If you come to this region because of the world-class zip line and canopy tours at Banning Mills — and you should — you can stay overnight at Banning and fully enjoy all that they have to offer, or you might choose to stay in Carrollton part or all of the nights, so that you can also experience the southern hospitality and great people that make the city the jewel that it is. However you come and stay, you’ll be glad that you did.

When you go:

Getting there: (Fastest route from Florida is direct to Atlanta, then via the Beltway (I-285) to access I-20 west for about 40 miles to US-27 south; then 10 miles to Carrollton. If you’re starting from western Florida, and would prefer a more scenic and relaxing trip, try following US 27 all the way north to Carrollton.

Best time to be there: (Winter is not ideal for the many outdoor activities at Banning Mills, but Carrollton is a great place to be at any time of the year.

Where to stay: (Banning Mills, 205 Horseshoe Dam Rd., Whitesburg, GA 30185, Tel 770/834-9149, www.historicbanningmills.com; info@historicbanningmills.com

Jameson Inn, (700 So. Park St., Carrollton, GA 30117; (reservations) 800/526-3766; www.jamesoninns.com; carrollton.ga@jamesoninns.com.

Not to be missed: (Little Hawaiian restaurant, on the Square. Their Escolar (pan-seared Butterfish, served over braised endives sautéed in truffle butter with jasmine rice) is to die for. If you like sashimi, you can enjoy it there. Excellent bar! Great service.

Miller’s restaurant (on the Square); no finer dining-not even in Atlanta (Jan Nielsen did the interior). The Sunnyside Café has lots more than just perfect breakfasts.

The new, Samba Loca restaurant served us one of the finest steaks I’ve ever had (called, “Picanha”). The beef is from Brazil, and their chef knows just how to cook it to perfection: it melts in your mouth. Say “Hi!” for me to the personable and perky waitress, “Raven.”

Tom Nielsen’s studio and gallery is just off the Square, at 108 Rome St.

Bland County Survivorman

Think of him as Daniel Boone for the digital age.
Mike Reed tans hides, sets snares, throws knives, sparks fires, explores caves, eats tadpoles, grills opossums, hammers metal, hunts flint and gets lost but – unlike his pioneering predecessor – captures all of it on video.
While the Bland County, Va., resident has been honing his outdoor acumen for many of his 56 years, it’s only in the last year or so that his woodsman wiles have been recorded for posterity and introduced to a worldwide, wired audience via YouTube.
Thanks to his technically savvy daughter Rachel, who has a communications/marketing degree, Mike Reed – aka Bland County Survivorman – has 61 videos posted to the popular site that urges you to “broadcast yourself.” The episodes – many of which have graphics, music and introductions – have been watched thousands of times.
“There’s the brains, and I do the work,” Mike said from the country workshop/studio along Wilderness Road where Rachel uses a common digital camera to record some of the roughly 10-minute long videos. The backyard and the forest serve as other backdrops.
Wanting to give his daughter a chance to get more experience behind the viewfinder, Mike – a gregarious, good ole boy with a gift for gab – consented to becoming her on-air talent.
“Then I liked doing,” he said. “I like to give instruction and see the result of that instruction.”
Modeled after such reality shows as “Man vs. Wild” and, of course, “Survivorman,” Mike and Rachel’s cinematic concoctions typically feature Mike talking about and demonstrating various survival techniques and traditional mountain ways.
“We’re not doing fake stuff; we are realistic in what we’re trying to do,” said Mike, a former soldier who went through the Army’s survival school at Fort Bragg and reads all he can about subjects ranging from edible plants to wildlife.
Video titles have included “Tanning a Deer Hide Part I,” “Dad Eats a Dandelion,” “Hiking in the Snow,” “Blacksmithing with Bland County Survivorman” and “How to Load a Muzzleloader.”
Then there was the “Trap It and Skin It” episode that Mike said “really started people watching more.”
After catching an opossum that had been digging around under his outbuilding, Mike used a piece of flint to skin the animal and then – with some wild onions added for flavor – barbecued it on the grill.
“A couple of people called us barbaric,” said Rachel about online reaction to the demonstration. Even the pairs’ accents aren’t immune from commentary.
“Hey, we’re hillbillies and we’re proud of it,” said Mike about the occasional redneck joke.
YouTube allows users to comment on videos, and the father-daughter duo monitor the feedback.
“We’ll respond and answer their questions,” Rachel said. “We get comments from all over the world.”
Regarding the reporter’s question about what it’s like to eat a creature that resembles a cross between a grinning rat and a kitten, the Survivorman offered the following:
“It basically tasted like fat groundhog,” said Mike whose father routinely hunted and trapped the family’s dinner when Mike was a child.
“It felt oily and stringy,” Rachel added. “It didn’t taste bad at all.”
If mountain marsupial doesn’t tickle your taste buds, then what about tadpoles or water cress? Mike addresses both forms of wild fare online, and even explains numerous unconventional ways to get your cooking fire started.
In fact, the first official BCSM episode – titled the “Bow Drill Revolution” – shows how a stick and some string and a lot of muscle and patience can get the flames flying.
Whether their subject matter is fire or flint, the videos are typically edited and tweaked using iMovie on a MacBook, Rachel said.
“He’s so good, he can get things in one take,” she said.
Their goal is to post something new at least once a week.
Upcoming segments will address water purification, hypothermia and more hide tanning – the most popular topic based on YouTube viewing.
“I love history,” Mike said. “If I could’ve been with Daniel Boone, I would’ve been there.”
With the YouTube – and more recently Facebook – exposure, the BCSM is becoming a celebrity of sorts.
According to Mike, two people, including a Japanese man, recognized him when they visited the Bland County plant where Mike works as a maintenance technician.
There are even three Bland County Survivorman T-shirts in existence – Mike usually wears his when his recording – and Mike has autographed at least one photo. Rocky Gap High School’s online history archive is also linked to the YouTube site. Rachel picked up some of her production skills while working on the student project that features photos and interviews with county residents.
While viewers from as far away as South Africa have tuned in to his exploits, Mike also has his local fans.
Ryan Havens, a Rocky Gap High School ninth-grader who likes to hunt and fish, picks up tips from the various videos.
“They’ve got a lot of information in them,” he said. “…I watch his videos pretty much every night.”
Made specifically for Havens, one recent episode is called “Steel Trapping for Ryan Havens.”
For Mike, it’s the opportunity to teach and share his wisdom that makes the whole effort worthwhile. It’s also a good way for a father and daughter to bond.
“I like just hanging out with Dad,” Rachel said. “It’s just a good excuse to hang out.”

Jeffrey Simmons can be reached at 1-800-655-1406 or jsimmons@wythenews.com.