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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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:



Mar 11, 2017

Nuha grew up in Bagdad, Iraq and started a business in 1999. When the war with Iraq started in 2003, she contracted with Americans to help rebuild the country. Then the insurgency and armed men showed up at the wrong house.

She escaped to Jordan and worked her way to her country of spiritual origin, the US. Now she owns Cleo Coffee Shop right off the Square in Marietta. With all the discussion of immigrants these days, Nuha shares her unique and fascinating story with us. You’ll be glad you listened.

Mar 5, 2017

One of her April Forshee’s first memories of creating stuff was getting into trouble creating paper dolls in school. But that did not deter her. At 7, she learned how to sew and she kept doing it. She even went to high school and took sewing.

When it was time for college, she chose Georgia Tech and took accounting to make sure she could find work. (She had a son at age 19.)

The corporate accounting career started out fine.

But then, she gave it all up 6 months before the 2008 financial crisis. She was tired of picking up her small son at 6 pm and siting in traffic for hours each week.

She substitute taught math and science, but never gave up sewing. April made some aprons for her mom’s yard sale and sold nothing. She told her friends and family the the story and they started buying them.

So she started Forshee Designs (and recently Marietta Monogram) and never looked back.

Feb 27, 2017

How many local pharmacy do you know of? I thought they were all replaced by the big chains. But I was wrong. Turns out Poole’s Pharmacy has been serving the people of Marietta for since 1974, when Mr. Poole opened the store near Kennestone Hospital. 

Thomas Sherrer’s Dad John, joined Mr. Poole when he graduated pharmacy school in 1979. Thomas moved the practice to their current location, right next to Dave Poe’s BBQ, west of the square on Whitlock.

Thomas’ talks about his journey to Poole’s. Sure he helped out when he was younger, but he wasn’t sure being a pharmacist was the path he wanted to take. Marietta is lucky he came around and decided to take over.

Another millennial making a difference.

Thomas shows up to work everyday committed to carrying on Poole’s traditions. He was taught that when customers are sick, they are vulnerable and needed your help.

Thomas and his staff makes sure his customers are supported both when they are sick and when they are well again. 

Sounds like a great business plan to me!


Feb 14, 2017

Diesel David Samaha grew up working on cars. When he was 12, his neighbor and him rebuilt a go cart engine and ended up speeding past his amazed friends. He continued to hone his skills and eventually went to school to learn gasoline and diesel engines. Now his company, Diesel David, LLC ( comes to your home or place of business and fixes your car. Isn’t that much better than waiting in a car repair shop’s customer area?

Feb 4, 2017

Brielle Gaines started selling early. When she was 3, she would sell the pictures she colored to other kids. She thinks she enjoyed the selling, not the money part.

She continued selling as she grew, helping her mom with yard sales and eventfully going to school for marketing. 

Today she owns and runs Tiny Bubbles Tea Bar, a business on the Square in Marietta.

She has been successful from the start, but it is not by chance. She went on social media to connect to customers prior to opening and now has fans all over the country.

She also has an open atmosphere so that workers become part of growing the business. Brielle has also created systems to make sure everyone on staff creates a similar customer experience.

Totally impressed...





Jan 29, 2017

Daniel has been around computers his entire life. With a dad who worked for IBM, PCs showed up early and Daniel feel in love with technology.


At age 15 he got his first cell phone (a flip phone), but didn't discovered his first MacBook until his twenties and he fell in love all over again.


Daniel shares some of his techniques to train older folks and people that struggle with technology. During the day Daniel works in Marketing. He loves working with small businesses and does freelance work helping small organizations get their message out to their local communities. I think he is on the right track.

Dec 10, 2016

As Pete says, he’s a music teacher for 700 of the best kids in the world. But he has even bigger plans (more about that later).  


Pete moved here from NJ after being a full-time performer (singer, actor, director, magician, balloonist, costumed character - whatever paid the bills) in NJ, NYC and Philly to set his wife up with her new job in Atlanta.  He plan was to continue south and perform with Disney.  While waiting for the green light from Orlando, he started as a substitute teacher at Kincaid Elementary here in Marietta.  


Then in fell in love with the kids and knew he was meant to stay.  


Over 4 years ago, he started PSBcreative, a full service theatrical production company.  This venture was a natural progression since Kincaid elementary was earning an excellent reputation for putting on high quality shows.  


The team created an original rock musical specifically for young performers that deals with bullying which received really cool media coverage and now is represented by a soundtrack on iTunes.  


Currently Pete and his team facilitate two after-school arts programs that annually gives thousands back to Kincaid.  We have 1000s of costumes, props, scenic pieces (most of which as stored in Pete’s basement - he has an amazingly understanding wife) that are available to rent.  


Pete hopes to eventually get a "show bus" on the road so we can bring our costumes, etc. to schools and help them strengthen their programs. Sort of like a Wells Fargo Wagon from the old days but instead we're loaded up with show stuff and that shows up in school’s parking lot.  We believe that putting on a show can be an amazing community builder.  We really want to become known to groups that may not have the means to furnish a show.  We believe there\'s an infinite amount of positive ripples for a student, school and community through participating in programs such as our\'s.  


PSBcreative is now energized by a team of veteran educators and performing arts professionals who each are passionate about our mission to help as many schools and community groups as we possibly can.  Some of my former students  come back and work with us.  We have a production in December which has been designed, choreographed and directed by a former student.  


In early 2017 we'll begin rehearsals for an exciting endeavor that we've never attempted before.  We\'re going to bring open-air theatre to Cobb County.  We'll be performing Alice in Wonderland, outside on a playscape, under the lights at night.  My team thinks I\'m crazy (and I am) but they\'re used to it by now.  With each project we must seek opportunities to grow by challenging ourselves.  It believe this one will be one of our most inspired productions yet.

Nov 26, 2016

*CAUTION* This interview contains discussion of abuse. But, you need to listen!

Neill Blake lived in Marietta and chose to go to Clemson and become a forestry major, since she didn’t want to go to an all girls school. Her Mom REALLY wanted to, but she chose forestry knowing that an all girl’s school would not have that major!

Neill has lived a fascinating life that includes shootings and a mentally ill son. She is a powerful advocate for the mentally ill and their families.

You will love this fascinating and powerful interview!

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