Author Archives: Wayne Ford

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Pet project: Oconee artists paints cats and dogs Standard

Bogart artist Debbie Payne has a basement studio in which to immerse herself in art. (Photo by WAYNE FORD)

Debbie Payne began seriously producing artwork about four years ago when she found a rather friendly niche. She paints pets — cats, dogs and even birds. This past holiday the popular item was a Christmas tree ornament with a painted portrait of the buyer’s pet. “A lot of people want white ornaments, but sometime they’ll send me a photo of a white dog,” Payne said. “OK, I’ve got to get this white dog to show up on white,” she said with a chuckle. “But I have managed to do it.” Payne works in the basement studio of her home in Keeneland…

Athens furniture maker pulls in wood artists for OCAF exhibit Standard

Abraham Tesser, shown in his studio, used his connections to bring in a slate of highly regarded wood artists for the first  OCAF exhibit on wood art. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Abraham Tesser has worked with wood for 35 years, so it was with an expert’s eye that he looked for wood artists in the Southeast to join in the first-ever exhibit featuring wood art in Northeast Georgia. “I found people whose work I really like and asked if they had any current work they would put in the show. I got very lucky. World-class people agreed,” said Tesser, an Athens resident who specializes in furniture. “They felt maybe the time was right where it was time to show some of the best that is available.” The “Wood Works: A Regional…

Art and soul: Oconee artist captures the character of her subjects Standard

Artist Jackie Dorsey paints her subjects in her home art studio in Oconee County. (Photo by WAYNE FORD)

There was a morning recently when Jackie Dorsey went into her art studio to engage the watercolor paints and through a revealing window saw a fawn only feet from the house curled on a bed of brown leaves. Deer often browse the quiet neighborhood of her Oconee County home. About five years ago, when she and her husband, Alan Dorsey, were moving to Athens, they found a house on a cul-de-sac in a forested subdivision near the Athens Academy campus. “When I saw this house I thought ‘there is my studio,’ ” she recalled about the airy ground-floor room with…

Kennesaw man to speak in Watkinsville about Civil War ‘guerrillas’ who operated in North Georgia Standard

Robert C. Jones will speak on the "guerrillas" operating in the Georgia mountains during the Civil War. Jones lives in Kennesaw, where the head of a household (with some exceptions) is required by law to own a firearm. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

The TRR Cobb Camp chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday to hear a lecture from an author and history enthusiast who plans to talk about the “guerrillas” operating in the North Georgia mountains during the Civil War. The talk is free and open to the public at the Senior Center auditorium at Oconee Veterans Park on Hog Mountain Road. The speaker, Robert C. Jones, has been president of the Kennesaw Historical Society for 21 years and has written about 40 books on various topics related to history from World War II to the…

Recycle Christmas trees Saturday at Harris Shoals Park, Home Depot Standard

People began leaving trees at Harris Shoals Park shortly after Christmas. Those who drop off trees on Jan. 7 get a free tree seedling. (Photo by WAYNE FORD)

Recycling a Christmas tree is a smart thing to do for the environment. On Saturday, Jan. 7, people can drop off their trees at Harris Shoals Park in Watkinsville and at Home Depot off the Oconee Connector. In return, people get a free tree seedling to plant and some seed packets. “We’re excited to be able to offer two sites to give people in two locations access,” said Cindy Pritchard, executive director for the Keep Oconee County Beautiful Commission. The free trees are offered on this day by the Oconee Lions Club and the Georgia Forestry Commission. People can drop…

DAR honors an Oconee Community Patriot Standard

Ruth Pendergrass (left), a regent with The Rev. John Andrew Chapter of the DAR, presents an award to Kate McDaniel during a December meeting at the home of Bill and Lisa Douglas. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

The Rev. John Andrew Chapter of the Daughters of the America Revolution recently honored Watkinsville resident Kate Harp McDaniel with the Community Patriot Award. The award recognizes her service to various groups in Oconee County, including the Oconee Development Authority, the county’s elections committee, Oconee Veterans Park and the Oconee Farmers Market. The award was presented on Dec. 11 during a meeting at the home of Bill and Lisa Douglas in Bishop. While Oconee County is now her adopted home, McDaniel grew up on a farm on the southern end of Seminole County near the Florida line. “We grew cotton,…

Churchyard scene in North High Shoals Standard


A photograph of High Shoals Holiness Church taken a few years ago in North High Shoals. A granite monument near the church honors the Rev. Joe Carlton Dickens, who died in 1995 and is buried in Athens. The marker notes that he was a Holiness preacher for more than 58 years. (Photo by WAYNE FORD)

North Oconee High student accepts appointment to U.S. Air Force Academy Standard

Alexis Shirley reports to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs in June. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

North Oconee High student Alexis Shirley has a fairly certain idea about the general path of her life for the next nine years. The senior has accepted an official offer for an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, where she will attend college. Then upon graduation, she will serve a minimum of five years in the Air Force. And there’s no telling where in the world she might serve. She reports to the academy on June 29 for six weeks of cadet training. Though Shirley will be many miles from her home in Watkinsville, she doesn’t…

Oconee Area Resource Council partners with Publix to raise donations Standard

Students from a special-needs class help sort and package meals that will help students who need food over the weekend. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

The Oconee Area Resource Council in Watkinsville often depends on donations to fund its programs to help feed and mentor children, and this year Publix is helping by accepting donations for the organization. “Gift of Hope” is a program where people can add $1, $3 or $5 to their grocery bill with all the donations going to the council, Resource Council Office Manger Linda Schroeder said. Those who donate get a receipt for a tax-free donation, she said. The effort runs through Dec. 24. Donations are important for the organization, which sponsors the Food For Kids, the Summer Food for…

Watkinsville woman releases book on daily devotionals Standard

Suzanne Chambers will release her devotional book at two signings this month in Athens and Watkinsville. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Watkinsville resident Suzanne Chambers has for years shared her faith with other women through speeches, Bible studies and an Internet blog, but now she has penned her first book. “Living Letters — Daily Devotions for Busy Women” is a book of daily devotionals designed for a quick, but steady read five days a week for 52 weeks. “I intentionally didn’t do it for seven days because it’s hard to get one in every day,” said the mother of four. “I found a lot of women of faith really want to do a daily devotional and have time in prayer, but…