Community Blog

To submit a blog post, letter or article to be considered for the Community Blog, please contact Julie Brennan, Publisher of My Forsyth magazine at

Optimists Honor Sheriff’s Deputies

Optimists Honor Sheriff’s Deputies

The Sawnee-Cumming Optimist Club recently recognized three Forsyth County sheriff’s deputies at the club’s 2023 Respect for Law program: Deputy First Class Joshua Thomas, Deputy Taylor Swofford, and Deputy Michael Jones. At the club meeting, the deputies were presented plaques with the inscription "For distinguished and dedicated service advancing the respect for law objective of Optimist International."

Presenting the Respect for Law appreciation awards were Richard Williams (pictured above - left), club vice president-elect; and vice president and Respect for Law chairperson Robyn Ulatowski (second from right). From the sheriff’s office (from left): Captain Allan Frampton, Major Deeann Cash, Deputy First Class Joshua Thomas, Deputy Taylor Swofford, Corporal Nicholas Wimmer, Deputy Mike Jones, and Sheriff Freeman.

Should You Expense or Depreciate Your Capital Asset?

Should You Expense or Depreciate Your Capital Asset?

If you own a business, you know that you may accelerate the expensing of qualified capital purchases. This can be done within two special provisions in the tax code:

Section 179
The annual amount of qualified assets that may be expensed (instead of depreciated) was raised to $1.08 million for 2022. This benefit can be maximized as long as the total assets purchased by your business don't exceed $2.7 million. Qualified purchases can be new or used equipment, as well as qualified software placed in service during the year.

5 Free Hidden Gems Available at Your Library

5 Free Hidden Gems Available at Your Library

There are two kinds of people: those who love libraries, and those who don’t yet realize they love libraries. If you haven’t visited a Forsyth County Public Library lately (or ever), you might fall into the latter category.

Regardless of where you fall on the library appreciation spectrum, there are a number of lesser-known library card benefits that often surprise even our most ardent patrons. Here are a few of my favorite “hidden gems” you might not know are free with your library card:

Optimists Honor Deputy First Class Loucks

Optimists Honor Deputy First Class Loucks

The Sawnee-Cumming Optimist Club recognized Forsyth County Sheriff’s Deputy First Class De’Andre Loucks at the club’s 2022 Respect for Law program. At a club meeting, Deputy Loucks was presented a plaque with the inscription “For your outstanding contributions to the youth of Forsyth County.”

Five Reasons Why the IRS Will Audit You

Five Reasons Why the IRS Will Audit You

Each year, the IRS audits over 1 million tax returns. With agency resources shrinking, the IRS is more selective when choosing which tax returns to audit. Knowing what the IRS is looking for can help you understand and reduce your audit risk. Here are five of the biggest reasons the IRS may choose to audit your return:

Your income is high or low. The reasoning is simple – higher earnings may lead to bigger errors and lower earnings may mean incorrect deductions. The adjusted gross income (AGI) range with the least audit risk is $25,000 to $200,000. As your income moves toward the extremes in either direction, the chance of an audit increases.

my forsyth magazine Vickery Tax

Retirement Basics: Understanding Tax Efficiency

One of the basics when considering how to fund your retirement is to be as tax efficient with your income as possible. In 2022, income tax rates range from 0 to 37 percent, plus a potential 3.8 percent net investment tax. Understanding how these progressive tax rates apply to ordinary income creates a tremendous retirement planning opportunity.

The Basic Concept

Many retirees can control their taxable income each year by the amount they work and how much they withdraw from retirement savings accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s. Because you can control the amount of your taxable income by the amount you withdraw from your retirement savings, you can ensure your income is as tax efficient as possible.

my forsyth magazine Optimists Donate to CHOA

Optimists Donate to Children’s Healthcare

The Sawnee-Cumming Optimist Club contributed $15,000 to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Forsyth County. The donation was derived from the club's 2022 charity golf tournament held recently at Chestatee Golf Club. Proceeds from the tournament also benefit the club's community programs for children. The check was presented to Laurie Cole, community development officer at Children's Healthcare.

Cole said, "All of our dreams came true this year! The 10th Annual Sawnee-Cumming Optimist Club Golf Tournament was the biggest and best one yet! The club members out did themselves to ensure this anniversary of the tournament was extra special. We appreciate all the golfers and sponsors who came out to play. It is so exciting to know that our Aflac patients will benefit directly from this incredible community event. Children’s is so appreciative of the generosity of the Sawnee-Cumming Optimist Club over the past 10 years. It’s more than a partnership’s a friendship."

my forsyth magazine tattoo article

A Love Letter to Forsyth County

South Forsyth High School’s graduating class of 1997 chose me as the “Most Artistic” student because there was little doubt from my peers that I was going into a creative field. I left my childhood home in the Commonwealth neighborhood and started attending Georgia State University, made possible by the HOPE scholarship.

It was around that time that I received my first tattoo while laying on dirty carpet in a rental house off Pilgrim Mill Road. I was eighteen. I could never afford a professional tattoo on the money I made delivering pizzas for Mellow Mushroom, but through the eyes of youth, there was nothing wrong with an amateur tattoo. All of my friends were getting them too. Right here in Cumming. When I got home, I found a giant swollen tick sucking at my chest - the tattoo and the tick both came from that dirty Forsyth County carpet.

Sarah of Forsyth County Community Connection

Making a Difference: One Connection at a Time

Meet Sarah Pedarre - Executive Director of Forsyth County Community Connection

I live in an amazing community and I get to work hard every day for both.

After almost 12 years at the YMCA building their family programing, I took a leap of faith. I applied for the Executive Director position at the Forsyth County Community Connection. Someone once told me I was not cut out to be an Executive Director, that it just was not meant to be for some people, but my husband and family always had my back and pushed me to go for it. It is an amazing thing to have someone believe in you, sometimes it helps you believe in yourself. I loved my “Y”.

Virtual is Now Reality

Virtual is Now Reality

Virtual is now reality. 2020 has forced it (and so many other things) into our daily lives. Happy hours banned? Share a virtual toast with friends. Have a weird rash? Facetime your doctor for a telemed visit. School orientation? Google Meet your teacher and take a virtual tour of the classroom. Work meetings? Zoom to the rescue.

So let’s talk about virtual meetings. There are basic best practices like ‘must wear pants’ and ‘alert family you’re on camera.’ Some have perfected a professional setting with good camera angles and decent lighting. However, many of us are feeling disconnected.

Spark! Infusing Positivity and Inspiration into Everyday Conversation

Spark! Infusing Positivity and Inspiration into Everyday Conversation

Could you use a little more positivity and optimism in your life right now? Wouldn’t it be a pleasant change of pace to have a discussion that didn’t focus on COVID-19, our economy or politics?!

Justin and Monique Honaman love to curate conversations. In fact, their mantra is “BIG talk, not small talk.” Think about how energized you feel when you have a great conversation with someone … the time passes quickly, you are engaged, you learn something, you laugh together, you empathize, you walk away ready to make change. In contrast, think about those conversations that are lifeless and dull … where you learn nothing, when time slows to painfully slow, and where all you are doing is mentally figuring out your escape plan.

Give Your Immune System a Boost!

Give Your Immune System a Boost

In light of today’s hot topic, COVID-19, we read so many articles of what ‘not to do’; how to avoid the virus by ‘social distancing’ and quarantining yourself; and how to protect our loved ones by staying six feet away from each other. But another way we can protect ourselves is by building up our immune system so that our body has a chance to fight off illnesses.