Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 4

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Comments from our readers * Compiled by Jennifer J. Hewett
Hometown HEROES

A great hero!

By Jackie Kennedy

'The most satisfying
thing I could do'

Thank you for the Hometown Heroes story in the
January issue. [See " 'The most satisfying thing I could
D
do,' " page 42; bit.ly/hhgm121.]
I read the story in near-disbelief, given my
personal knowledge of the sacrifice of practicing
medicine in rural Georgia. As the middle class
shrinks and access to affordable and compassionate
medical care occasionally seems a thing of the past,
it was heartwarming to read of Dr. Karen Kinsell's
extraordinary practice. She deserves a lot of praise and
encouragement.
I turned in my stethoscope after 21 years in rural Georgia and now find rewards in
nonprofit work. I can only hope that her life is blessed with great abundance and that
those whom she serves will be aware of the very special gift that they have been given.
-Dr. Linda Harrell, Toccoa
r. Karen Kinsell was the only physician practicing medicine
in rural Clay County for many years, and she has developed a reputation for serving those less fortunate at her
clinic in Fort Gaines.
" She never turns anyone away and usually spends 30 minutes
with each patient addressing not just their medical needs but survival needs, " says Elizabeth McLeod, who now lives near Athens and
nominated Kinsell as a Hometown Hero. " She is a rare and wonderful human being and a blessing to many towns in the area. "
A graduate of Columbia University's medical school in New
York City, Kinsell trained at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in
the Bronx, N.Y., and ran homeless shelters near Times Square in the
heart of Manhattan. As she prepared to leave the city, she sought a
location in desperate need of her services.
" I went to a library, got a map and book of states, and found
places that needed help, " says Kinsell, who opened Clay County
Medical Center in a former Tastee-Freez in 1998. Housed in a brick
building with four patient rooms, the center attracts patients from
Clay and surrounding counties in Southwest Georgia, where poverty
is common and health care is sparse.
In the past seven years, three hospitals within a 60-mile radius
have shut down, including a Randolph County hospital that closed
in October. In November, Mercer Medicine opened a clinic in Fort
Gaines, bringing another doctor to practice in Clay County for the
first time in 15 years.
About a third of Kinsell's patients don't have insurance, so she
sees them for $10, according to the community doctor.
" These patients can't pay for their care without government
subsidy, " she says, calling her clinic " more of a private charity. " To
fund it, she takes on part-time work, such as performing exams for
veterans in Bainbridge and serving as assistant medical director for
a plasma clinic in Columbus.
In late 2020, Kinsell was still serving most of her patients
via telemedicine, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. At 65, she
doesn't plan to retire any time soon. Instead, she intends to
continue the work that fulfills her.
" It's a privilege and incredibly rewarding, " she says. " It's the
most satisfying thing I could do, and that's why I'll do it for another
10 years or more maybe. "
McLeod, a former Randolph County resident and still Kinsell's
patient even though she now lives in Athens, once offered the doctor
a paid weekend getaway to Cumberland Island. Kinsell declined the
gift, replying, " Elizabeth, I have to work Saturdays. "
Jackie Kennedy is a freelance writer living in LaGrange.

42

Georgia Magazine

42_Hometown_Hero_0121.indd 42

GEORGIA Gardens

Dr. Karen Kinsell
stands near the
entrance to her
clinic in Fort
Gaines.

JACKIE KENNEDY

Clay County doctor helps those most in need

January 2021

12/10/20 10:20 PM

By Helen Newling Lawson

Plant notes
First, I want to tell you that I very much enjoy the
magazine. I read it immediately upon its arrival, and the
articles are always interesting!
I read with enjoyment Helen Newling Lawson's article
M
" It's easy being green. " [See Georgia Gardens, page 27;
bit.ly/hplant21.] People need plants! They are good for the
soul as well as for cleaning our air. However, one important
issue was not mentioned.
Of the eight plants reviewed, five are toxic to either pets
or to pets and humans. Monstera, corn plant, pothos,
Chinese evergreen and ZZ plant are toxic. Also, sanseveria
is mildly toxic. Of the eight plants reviewed, only grape ivy and calathea are nontoxic.
I feel that toxicity always should be addressed when suggesting plants for
the home.
-Jane Moseley Mitchell, Toccoa
K .C
OM

/N

ALI

N PR

UTIM

ONGKOI

It's easy being green

TO
C

Low-light houseplants
anyone can grow

IS

Pothos

issing your garden during the cold and dreary
winter days? Bring in a houseplant to brighten your
home and your mood. Just looking at plants makes
people feel more relaxed, according to research by the National
Initiative for Consumer Horticulture, consumerhort.org.
If you think your house is too dark for a plant to thrive, take
heart. There are a number of beautiful houseplants that are easy
to grow and perfectly happy in low-light conditions.

COURTESY COS

TA FA

Monstera

ZZ plant

RMS

COURTESY COSTA FARMS

ZZ plant

Lisa Eldred Steinkopf,
author of " Grow in the Dark "
(Cool Springs Press, 2019), turns
alphabetical order on its head
and puts ZZ plant (Zamioculcas
zamiifolia) at the top of her list.
" It's my favorite plant for
very low light, " says Steinkopf,
who offers advice online at
thehouseplantguru.com. " It also
has fleshy roots, so it doesn't need as
much water. "
Justin Hancock with Costa Farms,
a commercial houseplant grower based
in Miami, agrees that ZZ plant is " about
as close to plant-it-and-forget-it as it
comes ... but who can forget such striking
foliage? "
www.georgiamagazine.org

2 2 _

rden _0221.indd 2

27

1/1 /21 2:

PM

I'm sure that many enjoyed the article " It's easy being green " in the February 2021
issue. I no longer have houseplants as I have house cats.
Many of the plants in the article are toxic to cats. Monstera and Chinese evergreen,
in particular, are highly toxic-in other words, deadly! Only two of the plants
mentioned are considered to be nontoxic: calathea and grape ivy.
Lilies are also highly toxic. Many cats have died after ingesting pieces of lilies that
have been brought into the home. Even just a small amount of pollen can kill.
Please take this information into consideration before bringing any plants into the
home. Do your research and don't rely on putting the plants out of reach of your cats.
Cats are notorious for finding ways to get into items you considered to be inaccessible.
-Anne VanDalinda, Warner Robins

Useful information
I truly enjoyed perusing the magazine to search for the answers to the trivia
questions and, as always, learned some fun and useful information! Thank you for the
opportunity to enter and also for your magazine. Keep up the great job!
-Julie Pearson, Hinesville

From THE EDITOR
Ax throwing isn't a new activity. But
while once the domain of lumberjack
competitions and Renaissance festivals, it
now has become a leisure pastime and a
burgeoning league sport.
Patrons of ax-throwing sites are met
by a coach-or " ax-pert, " as they are
sometimes called-who goes through
safety protocols and teaches first-timers
how to throw. No prior experience or
special equipment is needed-just
closed-toe shoes and decent aim.
If you're ready to embrace your inner
lumberjack, read " Never a dull moment
at Georgia's ax-throwing venues, " starting
on page 29, and find out more about this
cutting-edge sport.
Just as throwing an ax might not be
the first thing you think of as a leisure
activity, the post office might not be
where you'd expect to find fine art. But
thanks to a Depression-era federal
program, artists enlivened the walls of
post offices nationwide with murals and
sculptures depicting community life.
The post office art program had
several goals: boosting morale in host
communities, employing artists and
creating high-caliber art that was
accessible to anyone. The works
showcased local landscapes, folklore
and history, telling the story of life in
small-town America.
Georgia boasts 37 such pieces, many
of which can still be viewed in their
original settings. To see some examples
and find out more about the post office
art program, turn to " First-class art, "
starting on page 16.
Finally, we celebrate the coming of
spring by focusing on one of the season's
culinary harbingers: strawberries. If you
want to choose your own berries, there
are plenty of U-pick farms around the
state. Most also will sell you containers of
berries that are ready to go. Either way,
make the most of your bounty with our
selection of strawberry recipes, starting
on page 34.
Enjoy!

Continued on page 6
Share your thoughts. Email us at magazine@georgiaemc.com. Please include your name, address
and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.

4

Georgia Magazine

April 2021

Laurel George
Editor


http://www.bit.ly/hhgm121 http://www.bit.ly/hplant21

Georgia Magazine - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - April 2021

Contents
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 4
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 5
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 6
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 7
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 8
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 9
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 10
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 11
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Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 38
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - Cover4
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