Arts & Entertainment
story by stephanie johns
photos by jesse walker and contributed
Morgan Fund awards $35,000 to seven local nonprofits, one volunteer
Seven local non-profits and one dedicated volunteer were recognized last Tuesday during the annual Morgan Fund “Celebration of Community” event held at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center.
The Morgan Fund awarded $35,000 in grants to the following grantees: Action Ministries, Camp Twin Lakes, the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy, Madison Morgan County Caring Place, Madison-Morgan Conservancy, Morgan County Foundation (dba Madison-Morgan Cultural Center) and Steffen Thomas Museum and Archives.
Bobby Mackey and Kim Jackson emceed the event. Morgan Fund Advisory Committee Chair Chris Lambert said she likes to think of the event as the “Nonprofit Academy Awards.”
Recipients were given a chance to share their nonprofit’s purpose and how they plan to use the grant money.
The Rev. Jannan Thomas, executive director of Action Ministries Housing, said that this is the group’s fourth year in Morgan County. They serve homeless families with children for up to two years while the families pursue self sufficiency.
The group has a 96 percent success rate, she said, and they also have a new program for veterans.
Dan Mathews with Camp Twin Lakes explained how the camp offers kids and adults with challenges the opportunity to have a camp experience.
He added that the grant will help support a new program in which every fifth grader in Morgan County will be able to visit the camp twice, once in the fall and again in the spring.
Misuraca and Ramsey are both 2013 salutatorians
By Stephanie Johns
There will be three students speaking at the Morgan County High School (MCHS) commencement this May: valedictorian Morgan Hicky and salutatorians Jacob Misuraca and McKinlie Ramsey.
Last Wednesday seniors were called to the front of the school and made a path for Dr. Jim Malanowski, principal of MCHS.
Malanowski presented the seniors with their graduation speakers and encouraged the other students to look to the three.
“We just had a conversation about all their hard work that has gone into bringing them to this point,” he said. “Respect that hard work. Admire that hard work and set yourself to do that same kind of work yourself.”
He added that the three students had run through the finish line and encouraged the other students to watch them as role models.
The three students then piled into a limo where their parents awaited. A short ride later they arrived at Madison Chop House Grille for lunch.
Misuraca said that when he learned of his accomplishment, his thought was, “Oh, that’s cool.”
During the ride, though, the three shared smiles and laughs as well as future plans: all three will attend the Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall.
MCES students hear Arbor Day presentation on trees
The beat of a drum followed by a roomful of students clapping in response began a performance highlighting the importance of trees.
Fourth and fifth graders at Morgan County Elementary School (MCES) had a treat, a tree treat that is: Tim Womick presented his “Trail of Trees” program to them last Wednesday in honor of Arbor Day.
Students filed in, tapping their hands against their legs and nodding their heads. One even exclaimed, “Oh, yeah!”
Womick called on various students throughout the performance, directing them again and again, “Tell me something good trees give us?”
Students responded in turn: paper, wood, oxygen, food, cellulose, shade, animal habitats, jobs, and medicines.
For each response Womick shared a factoid or handed a student a prop. He pointed out that trees give us paper, which we use to make books, while books give us knowledge. Knowledge in turn leads to power.
He urged them to learn all they can.
“You’ll be glad you did,” he said.
Womick used props – from an African drum to tree seeds – to encourage students to be stewards of the earth. He dressed one student as a tree and gave students the proper name for each part: crown, trunk, and roots.
Another student he adorned in sunglasses while yet another he covered in stuffed animals.
Toward the end of his performance Womick challenged students.
“I ask you to get up as a different person,” he said, urging them to be interested in science and the environment. “Really, really look at trees. I challenge you to make it a better place because you live in it.”
Fifth grade teacher Patrick Tice said he enjoyed the performance.
“I loved it,” he said. “He’s Jim Carrey’s cousin, right?”
One of Morgan County’s own recently received recognition for helping rescue a downed airman in March 2011.
A 1998 graduate of Morgan County High School, Marine Corps Capt. Rebecca “Becky” Massey helped rescue an F-15E pilot who landed in hostile territory near Benghazi, Libya.
On Jan. 14 of this year Massey received the Air Medal with ‘V’ for valor for her actions.
At the time of the rescue she was a member of Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266 Reinforced supporting the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which was embarked on the USS Kearsarge.
Massey, the co-pilot of her aircraft, participated in a total round trip of more than 300 nautical miles (345 miles) in less than 90 minutes.
According to a NAVAIR News Release, Massey said, “I am very honored to have received this medal, but the credit really should go to my crewmates and squadron maintainers who made it possible for me to help rescue the F-15E pilot.”
Massey is now assigned to HX-21 in Patuxent River, Md. as a test team pilot. On Nov. 11, 2012 she married Marine Corp Capt. Dave Hagner.
Her father, Larry Massey, explained the time lapse between Massey’s actions and recognition of those actions.
He said it had to work its way up the Marine hierarchy, then through the Department of Defense, then to the President before working its way back down.
Larry said he knew about the mission and the medal about a month or two before the medal was presented.
Massey’s parents and grandmother recently spoke of their pride in her.
Her father said he thought her actions were great.
story by stephanie johns • photos special
Locals to D.C. for Inauguration
Patsy Harris and Ollie Rivers coordinated a bus trip to our nation’s capitol for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration.
Harris noted that quite a few people from Morgan County went. In all, there were 33 people from all over Georgia as well as one person from New Orleans.
Rivers shared that they had Georgians from Atlanta, Evans, Athens, Avera, Eatonton, Monroe, Greensboro, Newnan, and Covington.
They left on their trip Saturday night and arrived in Washington, D.C. around 2 a.m. Sunday, returning Tuesday night.
Speaking of the 12-hour long bus trip, Harris said it was “well worth it.”
“We had a blast,” she said.
“We had the best time,” she said.
Harris shared that it was about 40 degrees on Inaugural Day, which she said was about 10 degrees warmer than their last inauguration trip four years ago.
“It was a beautiful day, a perfect day,” she said. “Once the clouds burned away it was a perfect, cloudless, sunny day.”
Harris reiterated that the long bus trip and putting up with cold weather were worth it.
“We were so excited for President Obama to be reelected and to have four more years and to be part of the ceremony,” she said.
Rivers said that the weather “wasn’t too bad.”
“I was so excited I didn’t feel the cold,” she said.
Shalisa Peterson agreed that she would not have missed it.
“I don’t know if I would ever see this again as far as an African American president,” she said. “If I do see it again it still will be different because he’s the first.”