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Leila S. Case: Welcome spring, flurry of exciting days ahead

Looking at the calendar I realized today is St. Patrick’s Day. May the luck of the Irish be with you! Be sure you wear shamrock green — ‘iffen you don’t a leprechaun is sure to pinch you.
I have another “mark your calendar” event for you. This one is sponsored by Sumter Historic Trust, the community’s preservation organization.
The Trust’s popular lecture series so many people enjoyed is returning by popular demand and once again you have the opportunity to hear more about our local history.
The first begins at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, March 22 at the Lee Council House on East Church Street with the program at 7 p.m. given by Evan Kutzler, Ph.D., associate professor of history, at Georgia Southwestern State University. He will discuss how Southwest Georgia underwent a rapid transformation in the Civil War era. While the military story is represented on the modern landscape in historic sites and markers, African Americans, who made up a majority of the Southwest Georgia population, were under represented. Kutzler’s presentation discusses those local experiences of slavery and freedom and will bring to light stories from that era we haven’t previously heard.
The Trust welcomes everyone and there is no charge — there will be light refreshments prepared by the board members and you’ll leave more knowledgeable about days of the Civil War in Sumter County you didn’t know before. The Trust’s education committee is comprised of Meredith Owen, Lee Kinnamon, Faith Pinnell, Kim Christmas, Charles Crisp and me, too.
And the Trust’s Porch Tour is 2-5 p.m. Sunday, March 25 featuring five houses on Taylor Street. Tickets — an old-fashioned “funeral fan” featuring photos of the five tour houses — are available at The Look Salon, 117 N. Jackson St. Come join us and sit and chat awhile. Incidentally, the event’s planning committee is Meredith Owen, Tara Mitchell, Chet Crowley and Charles Crisp.
Meanwhile, the dress code last Saturday night was black and blue for those attending the Smith-Smarr Foundation’s annual gala “Paint the Town Blue Again” at Georgia Southwestern State University’s Storm Dome, which was an overwhelming success, says our friend Nigel Poole, a member of the foundation’s board of directors.
The non-profit foundation was formed shortly after the untimely deaths of law enforcement officers Nick Smarr and Jody Smith who were killed in the line of duty in December 2016.
“Paint the Town Blue Again” was the second annual gala the Foundation has held in the effort to continue the legacy of the two slain police officers and to raise money for local law enforcement and scholarships in the area.
Poole says the evening event was absolutely wonderful and the board is already planning next year’s gala.
It is heart-warming to hear that more than 400 guests gathered in the Storm Dome, not only to dine and dance to the music of my favorite band, The Swingin’ Medallions, but to fund the foundation’s cause. Other entertainment included Jeff Allen, a really clever magician from Chicago, who kept the crowd laughing, but also Georgia’s 2nd District Congressman Sanford Bishop, D-Columbus), who presented the Congressional Badge of Bravery to the Nicholas Smarr family.
Among my rounds this week was Southwest Georgia Fitness Center where Beth Williams introduced me to newcomer Kimi Park who along with her husband moved to Americus four months ago from Connecticut — welcome to the Parks; and I was happy to see Jean and Neil Bowen — Jean is making good progress following back surgery in December; we enjoyed dining at Rosemary & Thyme at the Windsor Hotel last Saturday evening as guests of my brother Beau Sisson and his wife Olivia of Signal Mountain, Tennessee, where I encountered Russell and Andrea Thomas, and family: Russell Thomas III and Angie, Anne Thomas, Braxton Thomas of Colorado and several of Russell Sr.’s nieces, Margaret Sullivan Clark, Nancy Sullivan Burgin and Elizabeth Thomas Sullivan, from Atlanta and Columbus, all of whom were here for a family gathering and observance of the March 14 birthday of Russell Sr.’s mother, Margaret Camp Thomas, a beloved and admired lady; Bonnie Prince of Albany gave an interesting program about weddings at the White House at the DAR, Council of Safety meeting; Kay Pace looking pretty in a perky pink jacket accented by a spring green scarf; Sylvia and stepdaughter Emily Roland jetting to Rome for a holiday; among those attending the Clarence Jordan Symposium last week were Robin and Luyen Shell, former residents, now living in Vietnam; and cheers to Andy Shivers who  is healing nicely from broken ribs.

Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.