William Guzman shows his new friend Gabriel Abshier all the sound features on the ride-on toy he was enjoying during the Gymboree at Andrews United Methodist Church. Photo by SAMANTHA SINCLAIR

SCOUTING AROUND: Church provides indoor winter playtime

    Energy fills the gym of Andrews United Methodist Church each Friday morning, as children from babies to preschoolers race around the space playing with whatever toys they can get their hands on.
    It’s Gymboree, a free-play gym time from 11 a.m. to noon for children to get a chance to play outside of the house during the cold winter months. Amanda Abshier, who brought her sons Jaxson and Gabriel for the first time last week, said she already was planning on going again.
    “Wintertime, you’re trapped in the house and want to find things for the kids to do,” she said. “It’s good to get kids out of the house.”
    Four-year-old Jaxson enjoyed getting to spend time with his friend, Carson Allen, and racing ride-on toys around the gym with him and other children. Kids also have balls to play with, flying discs to throw and a tumbling mat that was often used for fake crash landings.
    “We’re really trying to get more use of the building,” Rebecca Richards, the church’s director of youth and children and outreach, said of the church’s gym space off Main Street, which officially is called the Family Life Center.
    She said the time not only gives the kids an opportunity to play, but provides time for the moms to get to know each other. There are usually four or five families at Gymboree each Friday, but there is room for many more to join.

Valentine event for arts
    The Cherokee County Arts Council is providing another reason to go out this Valentine’s Day. The council is hosting “We Love the Arts,” a wine and chocolate tasting event from 6-9 p.m. at the Murphy Art Center, 33 Valley River Ave.
    Each person will get to try four combinations of chocolate and wine as well as a glass of a favorite wine. The event also features music by Joy West, a photo booth by Nathan Baerreis, door prizes and a raffle including a $200 dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Cherokee.
    Chocolates will be donated by Ingles, and the council will be purchasing wine primarily from The Daily Grind & Wine and Ingles, council Director David Vowell said.
    Tickets are $15 per person and available at the council’s office, Curiosity Shop and Parson’s Pub. Money raised will benefit the council’s program, including the Judith Beyer Memorial Scholarship. The $2,500 scholarship will be awarded the first time this spring to a Cherokee County high school graduate pursuing a music degree.
    For details, call Vowell at 835-0550 or email director@cherokeeartscouncil.org.

Therapist guests on radio show
    A former Cherokee Scout columnist was on the air for the first time as a guest on an Internet radio program last week. Dr. Dawn Nelson, who was more commonly known as Dr. Dawn Marta when she lived here prior to getting married, talked about therapy with Dr. Peter Breggin during his show on the Progressive Radio Network.
    In the show, Breggin said he was interested in talking to her because she is a practicing psychotherapist with an “ethical, caring practice.” The broadcast can be heard at anytime online at drpeterbregginshow.podbean.com.
    Nelson met Breggin at the Empathic Therapy Conference in Michigan in 2015.
    In her Scout columns, which ran occasionally in the 10 years she lived in Cherokee County, Nelson wrote about humane psychology, human nature, faith and psychology, the politics and practice of psychology, and human flourishing.
    “My perspectives were unique in that they reflected my education and intentional integration of philosophy, theology and psychology,” she said.
    Also while she lived here, Nelson founded the Centre for Human Flourishing in Andrews before moving her practice to Murphy. She was a member of Andrews United Methodist Church, served on the Cherokee County Crime Prevention Council and was a board director of the Hurlburt-Johnson Friendship House homeless shelter.
    She lives in Milwaukee, Wisc., where she has opened a new Centre for Human Flourishing.

Game includes local orchard
    One Super Bowl-related bet already was decided before the game began. As has become tradition, the governors of Georgia and Massachusetts placed bets on the game featuring products that represent their respective states.
    On Feb. 1, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal added a bet on league MVP, betting an apple pie from Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge that Matt Ryan would win.
    “We thought it was awesome,” Maggie Mayer, Mercier’s social media director, said about getting the recognition. The orchard retweeted the governor’s tweet and shared his Facebook post announcing the friendly wager.
    She didn’t know why the governor selected the orchard as a representative of the Peach State, but knew he had visited a couple of times.
    On Saturday night, Ryan was named MVP. As a result, no pies from the local orchard will be going up north. However, Deal will get to try cider doughnuts from Smolak Farms of North Andover, Mass.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message at 837-5122.