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Author: Danielle Moores

Short Takes: February/March 2016

Faces: Singing Valentines “We carry Kleenex with us,” says Lowell Dorn with a laugh. As a singer with the Garden City Chorus’s Singing Valentines, he’s seen his share of tears on Valentine’s Day when he and his fellow barbershop harmony performers travel across the CSRA to spread love and cheer. “They’re tears of joy certainly,” he adds. “That happens quite at bit.”  This year marks the 26th year that the Garden City Chorus has offered its Singing Valentines barbershop quartet program, which delivers a long-stemmed rose, heartfelt card and two songs—typically “Heart of My Heart” and “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”—to your sweetheart on or around Valentine’s Day. Dorn and his other quartet members don their trademark tuxedos with red vests early in the morning and don’t quit singing until late in the evening, with a single quartet delivering as many as 33 individual “singing telegrams” in just one day. Four or five quartets cover the entire CSRA, including Aiken, and Dorn has seen his share of amusing reactions. Aside from tears, “It’s funny how some of the women say, ‘I’m going to kill him,’” says Dorn, before they tear up, call their coworkers to gather and listen, and snap a round of photos with the quartet. Ninety-eight percent of the deliveries are from husbands or boyfriends to their significant others, but for the few guys who get deliveries:...

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Short Takes: November/December 2015

This past January, the Thomson Elementary School teacher was leading an assignment on New Year’s resolutions—and shared her own resolution with her third-grade class: to be more giving of herself. And even more than that she planned to donate an organ. When I’m not teaching school: I’m teaching everything—aerobics, spin and yoga—at the Y. One word that describes me: Compassion. My philosophy of life is: To be good to yourself, give to others and always treat people with respect. My New Year’s resolution this year:  I don’t think I can top last year’s! I’m: Persistent! It’s hard to keep me down. The next day, one of her students brought in a card from her grandmother who was on dialysis and waiting for a kidney—and Candler’s resolution became a reality. Through her student’s grandmother ended up being matched with another donor, Candler was still determined to give someone the gift of life. This past summer, she became GRHealth’s first altruistic kidney donor, donating her kidney to 74-year-old Sharon Dole, a professor at Western Carolina University near Asheville, N.C. The two met for the first time the morning of surgery. “From that moment, if my family wasn’t in my room, they were in Candy’s,” Dole says. “We were just like one big family. Of course, now we’re connected for life.”  “I felt like this was what God wanted me to do,” says Candler,...

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Short Takes: October 2015

North Augusta author Christine Hurley Derisowrote her first story, “The Happy Family,” when she was just six years old (Fun fact: Her mother still has a copy.). Although she now has seven published books under her belt with books eight and nine set to come out later this year, she says that her writing process hasn’t changed that much since then. “When I visit school kids, I tell them really all I’ve ever needed was my imagination,” says Deriso. As a publications director at Georgia Regents University, she would spend her days writing and editing, then come home, light a scented candle and dream up novels and stories. And once Deriso had kids, she hit her stride. Much of her early work was adult novels, but when she was invited to volunteer in the classroom, she offered to read aloud—and wrote her own children’s stories as part of that. “By the end of that year, I had a ton of stories, and I sent off the whole batch to probably about 75 publishers and agents,” she says.  One was accepted and Dreams To Grow On, a children’s picture book, was published in 2002. My greatest inspiration: My children. Best advice: My mother always told me to be true to myself. It sounds a little bit trite, but it encapsulates what has kept me going. Character in my books I’m most...

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Short Takes: August/September 2015

Laura Cameron On January 30 of next year, Laura Cameron will blow out 100 candles on her birthday cake.  But the centenarian hasn’t slowed down a bit—and neither have her fingers. By next year, Cameron will have played the piano for 93 years. She started with lessons as a child (meanwhile her brothers and sisters took up the saxophone, flute and oboe) and has fond memories of playing piano with the whole family on Sunday afternoons as well as playing for soldiers at the USO during World War II. After the war, she and her young family moved to Augusta for a job at the Veterans Administration and later she took a job at a facility known as the Savannah River Site, which was just being constructed—and where she would retire. But music was always in the background. While Cameron is best recognized today for her soft background music performed during the Sacred Heart Garden Festival and Sacred Heart’s 110th anniversary, her ties to Sacred Heart and Augusta’s Catholic community go back even further than that. As a high schooler, she was taught by Jesuit priests—one of whom later came to Augusta and invited Cameron to play during mass at Sacred Heart when it was still a practicing church. Cameron in fact ended up playing for all three major Catholic churches in Augusta at that time, which included St. Mary’s...

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Short Takes: June/July 2015

Julie Boone Petersburg Boat Operator JULIE BOONE is both a teacher and a storyteller—and what a classroom she has. The education and programs coordinator for the Augusta Canal, Boone and her fellow guides lead tours of the historic waterway from the helm of a replica Petersburg boat, originally used to ferry cotton and tobacco to markets along the Savannah River. With a bit of whimsy and an abundance of enthusiasm, Boone brings Augusta’s history to life as the broad, shallow boat drifts up and down the mirror-like waters of the canal, reflecting sites such as the Confederate Powder Works, historic textile mills, the Butt Memorial Bridge and its ties to theTitanic, the home of Declaration of Independence signer George Walton and more. The stories are home for the Augusta native, who still remembers the swooping feeling in her stomach when as a girl she’d ride over the Butt Bridge in a car or hear the sound of the water rushing at the 13th Street gate. The waterway is also known for its turtles, great blue herons, hawks and other wildlife, including those a little more ferocious. My background is: communication arts…and I took a lot of theater classes. I try to: have an element of performance in my tour…another tour guide dances like James Brown. My favorite tour stop is: Lake Olmstead…My namesake Uncle Julie used to play [the...

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