Marietta Stories | Crazy cool stories from the community builders of Marietta, Georgia

What makes the town of Marietta, Georgia so welcoming, friendly and the center of Southern hospitality? Listen each week as veteran podcaster Bill Nowicki dives deep to tell the heartwarming, sad and funny stories from the people that make up the fabric of this historic city.
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Marietta Stories | Crazy cool stories from the community builders of Marietta, Georgia


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Now displaying: 2017
Aug 20, 2017

Everyone in Marietta needs to thank Matt Rooke. He put us on the national social media map and increased our cool factor by about 10,000! Did I mention he is the father of 3 boys under the age of 5 and until recently was a stay-at-home Dad?


How did Matt win the first America’s Most Chubbies Dad? 


It was not easy, competition was stiff. But Matt was confident. He posted every day and beat out 1800 other Dad’s.


What did he win, how did he beat out those folks and what was it like waiting to hear whether or not he won? You’ll get all that plus how he met his wife, manages to work out (he can lift 500 lbs), all the while making dinner.




Follow Matt on Instagram:



Aug 16, 2017


Ok, could you build a team, website, learn to aerodynamically build a balsa wood race car, find sponsors and compete in a national race? This week on Marietta Stories, I interview Arul Gupta and Poojan Mehta, 15 year old guys who were part of a team that, constructed a car from styrofoam, created a website, found sponsors, and competed nationally through F1 in schools. 


F1 in Schools is a worldwide competition consisting of several teams of kids aged 11-18. In this highly competitive league, teams of 3-6 develop cars utilizing computer aided design and other related tools. However, the complexity of what we do reaches beyond mere engineering and into business/marketing, graphic design, and possibly most importantly if considering real-world application, team management and cooperation. Then, each of these skill sets developed throughout the team process is put to the test at regional, national, and world level competitions. As a result, F1 in Schools has created a system which effectively develops and enhances students’ learning experience through their interests as well as by teaching necessary real-world situations/applications.


Arul is a rising junior at Wheeler High School and has chosen to partake in F1 in Schools to further his knowledge and experience with business communication/management skills. He is the Team Lead which entails a variety of tasks from team time management, to ensuring accuracy/value of all work, to constantly keeping the team organized and on task. He is able to bring to the team a background in a variety of areas through classes such as AP Chemistry, AP Physics 1, and an intro to Business/Tech class. Arul also has qualities of leadership and competitiveness which he adds to AeroFlow through his spot as Team Captain on the High School Varsity Tennis Team, as well as through national-level tournament competition.


Poojan is a rising junior at Wheeler High School and the Head Engineer on the F1 in Schools AeroFlow Racing team. He strives to accomplish CADing and building an F1 car that can exceed expectations. His decision to take on this role come from the valuable skills and knowledge he has attained in classes such as AP Physics 1 and 2, Engineering Concepts, and Intro to Drafting and Design. Poojan possesses the important characteristics of dedication, time management, and leadership abilities which he has utilized so successfully as a build member on BEST Robotics and the Wheeler Track and Field Team.

Aug 8, 2017

We took a stroll through Markay Gallery during this month’s Marietta Square Art Walk and had a fun time playing “Gallery Golf” with gallerist and hole-in-one extraordinaire, Amber Markay Byrd. We met up with gallery artists, their families and two very special gallery guests, Michael Shaffer professor at KSU and Carey Cox of Johnny Walker Realty. The highlight of the night was host, Bill Nowicki meeting Brooklyn, Eric Staveness’ 3 year old daughter. “Brookie” as they call her, sure had some sweet things to say about her father and all of the castles and playhouses he designs. Enjoy the show!

Aug 6, 2017

“Space. Capital. Community.”  These three words best describe IgniteHQ, one of the newest organizations to root itself near Marietta Square.

The resplendent, state-of-the-art coworking space outfitted with private offices, conference rooms, and lively communal areas is home to several startups and small businesses, but as COO Catherine Pearson explains, IgniteHQ is not just a coworking space, but an ecosystem of entrepreneurs, enterprises and investors influencing Georgia's entrepreneurial landscape.

Mark Deal, tagged along for the show. Here's what he had to say... 


"I have known Bill Nowicki and his podcasts for years. It was a pleasure to connect him with IgniteHQ for this story. Join us on this audio journey as we take a tour of the new coworking space in Marietta." 
~Mark Deal
Podcast Atlanta
Aug 5, 2017

Stephanie Coston of the Marietta Square Experience Branding Project and Philip Goldstein, one of the City Councilmen, talk Marietta strategy and future plans.


Connie Sutherland, the Director of the Museum talks about her experience with Gone with the Wind, her favorite scene and how jewelry from the movie made its way to Marietta.


I also speak with Martin Nolan, Executive Director/Chief Financial Officer of Julien’s Auction about the movie and the auction that is coming up in November 17 and 18. 


Finally, I speak with Christopher Sullivan , owner of the collection on how he became a collector and why he loved the book and the movie.

Aug 2, 2017

Brian grew up eating Korean food for every meal, but became engrossed in the Food Channel in the 5th grade. His grandmother allowed him to bake and enjoyed making pancakes from scratch, American food that the family loved.


After several years of training and practice, Brian and his wife, Kerry decided to break out on there own and opened Spring Restaurant on the Marietta Square. 


It’s obvious how much care, creativity and excellence Brian and Kerry put into the menu and the experience at Spring. 


Check it out…

Jul 23, 2017

Maggie’s Farm, an Indie Film creation, is the brainchild of Jacob Viness, a Marietta native. I speak with him and his good friend and star of the movie, Justin McEver. The movie takes place in a ice cream parlor over the course of an evening with an angry Justin barking orders to employees that might not care so much…


I must say, this interview was a ton of fun. Justin and Jacob make me a little nervous as a Dad; no steady income from movies for Jacob and playing in a band for Justin. But you will experience the joy that they have for their work and why I love to speak with people that follow their passion. (Plus I am not their Dad.)


This interview has a couple of minor curse words, so I attached the explicit tag to it.


Steady Common is Justin’s Band, at plays every week at the Strand Theater on the Square.(


Maggie’s Farm on iTunes


Here’s Jacob’s production company

Jul 16, 2017

Grant Rivera admits he did not grow up in Marietta, or the south for that matter. He is a Yankee from the Midwest.


Early on, he thought he wanted to be a doctor, but his first science class removed that from his plans.


Dr. Rivera did become a doctor of education, collegiate cheerleader and SEC sports fan.


We also talk about his family and his vision for Marietta City Schools. Oh yeah, he answers the questions from the Marietta City Facebook page….

Jul 9, 2017

Kristen Spann grew up in Marietta and she remembers a simpler time. Riding her bike around the Marietta Square and living in small town USA. Of course, life has a way of changing.

She lost herself to a toxic relationship and it was from this experience she realized life is full of choices and she no longer had to be a victim to life.

Kristen realized life is in fact a gift and that she is responsible for her own happiness.

"Happiness isn't something external from myself".

She started to change her life in small ways by using positive affirmations and reoriented her thoughts. She also does something nice for someone else every day.

Now she is known as Miss Positive at work and continues to work through her fears.

I think you will enjoy Kristen’s take on life and ways to make a positive difference for those around you.

Jul 8, 2017

Betty Peardon tells the mole story. 

Jul 3, 2017

Brumby Hall is a stately home on Powder Springs Road across from the Confederate Cemetery. It has stood since before the Civil War and was not burned when Sherman burned Marietta. 


In this episode, I interviewed 3 folks that volunteer their time as members of the Friends of Brumby Hall. They help keep the building and grounds alive with activity and preserve the history of this important building. 


Ed Best, is a descendant of local Civil War veterans. He met an Australian women (later his wife) and moved to Australia. Turns out that Australians are fascinated with reenacting — even the American Civil War. 


Barbara Norton, became involved in Brumby Hall just after the city purchased it in the 1990’s. She was told it would not be furnished with period furniture, so the Friends of Brumby Hall was created to do just that. 


Carolyn Corley, a long time Marietta Resident and Friends of Brumby Hall passionately discusses the need to become involved in Marietta History and why she became involved in the organization.


Lonnie Love explains the construction of the home and the changes made over the years. He also talks about a very special event around the holidays. The Marietta School Fund partially sponsors 6 dinners for 12 people each seating. An evening includes 4 courses and wine, instrumentalist and several readings that the Brumby’s might have included in their Christmas celebration. 


To close things out, Robert Thompson, the Friends of Brumby Hall president talks about the military history and his involvement in the house. Robert discusses the challenge with preserving history while respecting people’s beliefs.


Marietta Schools Foundation


Jun 23, 2017


Joel Byars was named one of the best comedians in Atlanta, but it wasn’t easy getting there. Joel thought he wanted to be a teacher (his parents are educators), then his world shifted his last semester in college. It was then he decided to become a full time comedian.


The great part is, Joel is not only a comedian, he is a teacher of comedy. So everything is working out.


Joel shares his best joke, how he learned to speak Spanish, podcast, (Hot Breath) and his comedy classes.


This guy is going places, but I am sure he will always support Marietta.


Stand up Comedy Classes


Mention: Jeffrey Michael Riley, Dupree Law firm

Jun 18, 2017

Aimee Wilson’s life changed shortly after the birth of their 4th child, 3 years ago.  Aimee recalls the moment in the hospital when most people left the room and the rest got quiet. 


The days after his diagnosis, were touch and go, but Aimee discovered that there was hope. A group of dedicated caregivers gave her support — practical therapies she could incorporate into her busy life. She enrolled her son into Babies Can’t Wait, a the Georgia Program that works with infants to three year olds with developmental delays.

Jun 11, 2017

When she was 15 years old, Claire Harvey taught a child with autism in her gymnastic class. It was then and there she dedicated her life to occupational therapy, diagnosing movement problems and teaching parents how to help their children through their challenges.


She also learned to listen and find that unique way to reach each client.


Claire shares the basics of the occupational therapy and examples on how parents can and do help their children gain mobility. She also discusses how to get help from Babies Can’t Wait, the state program that helps infants to three year olds with developmental delays.


Babies Can’t Wait


Clarie’s contact information

Functional Therapy Services


Jun 3, 2017

Trevor Beemon gave me a tour through the Root House, the oldest wood frame house in Marietta. Trevor knows the Root House well; he started volunteering at there at 12.


He kept his interest in history, earned a degree from Kennesaw University, worked at the Atlanta History Museum for several years, joined the board of Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society, Inc. and was named Executive Director in 2014.


We discussed the house, the renovation of the Root House and the forensics of restoration. For example, did you know that settlers burned houses just to get the nails, because each was made individually?


Trevor and the rest of the folks at Cobb Landmarks would love for you to get involved. They have a very ambitious $600k project to further develop the Root House into something all of us in Marietta can be proud of…


Click the link below and donate or volunteer!

May 28, 2017

Diane Coll grew up in Chicago and music was always part of her life. As teenagers, her good friend Tracy Smith and her played guitar and sang. Then when they were around 18, Tracy started to act differently. 


As Tracy slipped further into schizophrenia, Diane tried to comfort her with guitar playing. One day when Diane was playing for her, Tracy raised her head and told her something that changed Diane’s life forever…


May 20, 2017

I interviewed Fountaine Lewis in his living room, also known as Marietta Jazz and Jokes. I left knowing a lot more about being cool and Fountaine and his guests for the evening: D’neter Denise, and Gary Harris. All of them are super talented and have a story to share.


Where else in Marietta can you bring your own food and drinks and listen to premiere jazz talents and a comedian between music sets?


But there’s more. 


Fountaine gives back. He has a mason jar on each table for donations that brings musical equipment and instruments to schools. 


Bottom line. My wife and I love Marietta Jazz and Jokes and Fountaine. Come out for his twice a month concerts, you will love it too.

Location: 164 Roswell St, Marietta, Georgia


May 12, 2017

Cassandra Buckalew is on a mission. She loves Marietta and wants to help businesses with her interior designs. After all, she totally transformed Tiny Bubbles Tea Bar, House of Lu and the Brickyard on the Marietta Square. 


But that’s not all.


Cassandra and her husband Brian created Marietta Trolley Tours, because she felt like the city really needed one. Absolutely right!


The whole design thing started young for Cassandra. From doll houses to rearranging her furniture late at night, Cassandra is wired to design.


I am so glad she is here and we all can’t wait to see what is next.

May 4, 2017

Melanie Crissey grew up in Marietta and back then saw the city as old fashioned and conservative. But when the city rallied to renovate the Strand Theater, she began to see Marietta residents in a better light. So no one should be surprised she moved back to Marietta after her going to school at Georgia. 


Melanie not only shifted her mind about Marietta, she shifted her career too. In her college internship, she tried to get local musicians heard by mailing CDs. She used techniques like, “hope your cat is good” to break through the noise. Marketing was her major, but a friend helped get her a job with computer programming. She wrote code to make email newsletters run something.


Fast forward to her current career, Melanie analyzes website data for businesses by looking at the customer experience. 


I think Melanie is not quite settled….

Apr 30, 2017

Starting at 2 years old, Becca Stevens sang and performed along with her parents, traveling the country. When she compared herself to other kids in school, she thought she was weird. She wondered why her parents were different than the other kids’ parents. But being different also allowed her to explore her creativity. At 8, she thought she would train monkeys, but that morphed into music, painting and Shakespeare plays. Becca describes the moment she decided to focus on music alone.


Her new album, Regina Becca further explores and her how her brain loves to find complex, non-traditional ways to express her art. Shakespheare’s Romeo and Juliet character Queen Mab is one of the songs she shared with the folks of Marietta.


We’re glad she came… 


Regina Album access










Apr 23, 2017

Stephanie Taylor grew up the daughter of missionaries and she spent time in the Netherlands as a child. There Stephanie learned to help people as her faith calls her to do. About a year ago when she was diagnosed with cancer (she thankfully in remission), she came across a fair-trade company called Trades of Hope,


She realized that Trades of Hope helped people, so she decided to be a Compassionate Entrepreneur. 


Everything that Trades of Hope sells helps women and their families. From not having to give a baby up for adoption, to not having to sell their bodies, Trades of Hope empowers women in 16 countries.


Another inspirational Marietta resident you’ll love hearing about!

Apr 15, 2017

Rhoda Vickers is knocking it out of the park! Her blog has over 400,000 page views per month and 190,000 unique views / month.


But like most success stories, it was not easy getting there.


Rhoda Vickers grew up in Marietta. As she says, it was “the sticks.” Her Dad was a preacher and her Mom stayed at home and took care of things.


She ended up working in Marietta as a secretary. When they introduced the word processor to her, she hated it. But after a while, she fell in love with it and became an expert.


When the internet came along, Rhoda realized that she loved that too. Gone was the control the magazines had over content. She could share er decorating ideas and pictures with other people that loved the same thing.


So about 10 years ago, she started the Southern Hospitality Bog, when living in Birmingham — and it took off.


Then in 2011 everything changed. Her husband got into legal trouble and they divorced. Rhoda moved back in with her parents in the same house they lived in when she was a kid.


But, she kept on blogging and told her readers about her life issues. They 100% supported her and her blog continued to grow.


Pretty inspiring!

Apr 9, 2017

Austin Long has always been a nomad. His Dad was an FBI agent and the family moved from place to place across the US, so Austin had to learn how to make new relationships at these new destinations. He recently moved to Marietta and has made himself at home while finding new guests and topics for his Soccer Nomad podcast.


Austin shares all the exciting things happening in the soccer world in Atlanta, including the Franklin Gateway practice area for Atlanta United Football Club and the team’s first season. Check it out…

Apr 2, 2017

Dianna Kaga has no fear. She said it herself. But having no fear comes with consequences. For Dianna those consequences include: breaking both her wrists (not at the same time), finger bones, and several others.


But she also has experienced life much more than many of us.  


For instance, she started a bead business after losing her physical education job and started teaching fitness classes in her spare time. She loves dance and movement and has taught just about every fitness class you can think of. Zumba is one of her favorites.


Five years ago, she took over a failing Workout Anytime Marietta, a mile west of the square, just off of Burnt Hickory Road. Through hard work and customer service, she built the business back up. 


She bought another failing one and has begun to turn that one around. 


She recently started small group training sessions called: MX4. No matter your age, MX4 can give you a great workout in 30 minutes. Bill got into the act by trying out the S Drive (looks like a treadmill, but has no motor). He drops a swear word, but it is hard to hear…


I certainly enjoyed our interview, I think you will too.


Mar 26, 2017

It took Ragan Whiteside a week to make a sound on the flute, but she kept pursuing music and eventually made it her career.


The past few years have been exciting for Ragan, having won Flutist of the Year in the Black Women in Jazz & Fine Arts.


Ragan’s passion for music lead her to realize another new love: Songwriting and Arranging. After winning numerous competitions in both performance and music composition she decided to further her music studies and attended the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Harid Conservatory, where she earned a Bachelor of Music Performance degree.


After graduating, Ragan returned to New York to begin her career as a professional musician and immersed her composition abilities within the genres of Jazz, Funk, and R&B. After winning the Capital Jazz New Artist Competition, she released her debut album, Class Axe in 2007. Since her debut album, this award winning artist has developed a heightened focus in the writing, producing, and editing process of her 2012 sophomore release, Evolve. Evolve showcases not only her melodious musicianship as a flutist, but her sultry vocals and soulful compositions. Under the direction of her highly acclaimed producers/arrangers, Dennis Johnson and Bob Baldwin,Ragan showcases her high energy and expansive musical abilities. Taking  her refreshing and vibrant flute sounds to newer heights, Ragan collaborated with an array of veteran contemporary jazz artists, including Chieli Minucci, Marion Meadows, Bob Baldwin, Porter Carroll Jr. (original member of Atlantic Starr) and Chembo Corniel (Latin Jazz Grammy nominee).


Portions of these show notes are taken from:



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