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Author: Ashlee Duren

Publisher Notes: February/March 2018

  Sixty-nine years – that’s how long my grandparents were married. At 90 and 84, respectively, Papa and Nana shared a lifetime of friendship, trials and tribulations, but most of all love. As their eldest grandchild, I feel blessed to have witnessed their love and devotion, not just to each other but also to their children, friends and most of all, the Lord.     As the publisher of a magazine, I often allow you, the reader, to see certain facets of my life. I want you to know me, but it’s rare for me to be so open with my feelings. I want to share this moment with you and it seems fitting that I write about their love story in this issue. After all, February is the month of love.    The son of a farmer, James Chesley Blackwell Sr., grew up poor in rural South Carolina. The second of four siblings, he never dreamed of moving to a big city, chasing dreams of grandeur. He sought the simple life. Marrying the love of his life, Carolyn White, building a modest home on family land and raising a family. It was a good life.    When I began writing this column, my Papa was still clinging to life, somewhere between this earthly world and heaven. He has since joined heaven’s angels. And while the pain of watching...

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Publisher Notes: January 2018

  Happy New Year! Honestly, where does the time go? I was finally getting comfortable with 2017 and then, 2018 is here! I know that January should be a time of goal setting and resolutions, but for me it has always been a time of reflection. I take a moment to look back at the previous year, my accomplishments and failures. This year, however, I am choosing not to look back. Someone once told me you can’t move forward looking in the rear view mirror. How true! We, as residents of the Augusta area, have much to look forward to in the coming year. Downtown is buzzing with new development for the first time in more than 30 years. We have three new hotels being built (two in downtown and one across the river in Riverside Village), Augusta University’s Cyber Institute, new businesses moving to the area and some relocating to downtown. The Miller Theater reopens this month after being closed for more than 30 years. The Imperial Theatre will celebrate its’ 100th anniversary in February. The Augusta GreenJackets will play in their new stadium in April. The transformation is thrilling to watch and it’s just the beginning. We live in an amazing city! I hope you will embrace the coming changes and celebrate our victories. We will do our best to keep you, our reader, informed of these...

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Sustainable. Organic. Local. November/December 2017

Sip With the holidays rapidly approaching, a cocktail might just be in order. Stop by The Bee’s Knees for a Rose Dunn. The tequila-based libation is the concoction of mixologists Samantha Rockwood and Aleisha Tucker. “I was dead set on having a smoky rosemary something,” Samantha says. “I just love rosemary.” The seasonal cocktail just hit the menu late last month and will remain throughout the holiday season. To start, Rockwood seasons the glass with Mezcal, made from Agave, a cousin of tequila. Made with Espolon Tequila Blanco, the Rose Dunn has a smoky flavor perfect for this time...

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Publisher Notes: November/December 2017

  The holidays are rapidly approaching. To say that I am not prepared would be a gross understatement. Every year I make the same resolution to myself that I will start and finish my shopping before December 1. I will plan my menus and complete the necessary grocery shopping well before my guests arrive, but alas that never happens. It’s looking like this year will be same last minute scramble that occurs each and every year. If nothing else, at least I’m consistent. I do, however, find inspiration in others, particularly this time of year. The holidays often seem to bring out the good in everyone. In general, we all tend to treat each other with a little more kindness. Each year when we begin discussing what to put in our holiday issue, we often have the same conversations – whose home would we like to feature for the holiday home? How many pages will the gift guide be, etc. The question we should be asking is – who inspires you? Who in the community is making a difference for others. This season I am going to challenge myself to do something for someone else. I want to make a difference in the life of someone in need. Will you do the same? Until next year! -Ashlee   Article appears in the November/December 2017 issue of Augusta Magazine. Subscribe...

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Publisher Notes: October 2017

  October means Best of Augusta here at Augusta Magazine. As a staff, it’s one of our favorite issues of the year!   Every year we anxiously await the close of voting so that we can begin tallying the votes to see who has won. Admittedly, we are not always surprised by some of the winners. After all Augustans do love WifeSaver for their fried chicken and sweet tea, Sconyers for their barbecue, and steak from TBonz. We do, however, have newcomers to the list each year.   This year Belair Donuts took top honors in the best doughnut category – Krispy Kreme has held the number one spot in this category for many years. We also had several first-time winners in several of the media categories.     We also added a new fitness category this year, best yoga studio. Owners of area yoga studios lobbied to have the category added and we heard you – Namaste!     Whether you are new to Augusta or a long-time resident, we invite you to come experience the Best of Augusta with us on Tuesday, October 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Sacred Heart Cultural Center.      In my opinion, this issue truly does represent the best of what our city has to offer. I hope you agree! -Ashlee   Article appears in the October 2017 issue of...

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