RB7 Audiocast: Family Ties

*Audio posted with permission from storytellers.

From Rabbit Box 7: Family Ties (November, 2012)

A big Rabbit Box thank you to everyone who made it out to hear Family Ties, as well as Melting Point for hosting, the Grit for feeding, and our wonderful storytellers. Let us know what you thought and click over to “Tell” to share your story with us for one of our upcoming months starting in the new year: Resolution, Duets, and Saved! What will April be? Your vote (bottom of page) will decide. We hope to see you in January!


Maureen McLaughlin has worked as a trial consultant for most of her life, helping criminal defense attorneys select juries in death penalty cases. Beginning in the third grade, she moved to and from Athens a total of four times. The last time she moved here, she vowed never to leave. Maureen has immersed herself in the Athens community, working with organizations as diverse as AthFest, Our Daily Bread, and Occupy Athens.

Dee M. Ashley is a Georgia native born in 1989. He began writing poetry at the age of 13 and has been honing that skill ever since. As a teenager he was a youth motivational speaker, which enabled him to fund a trip to Europe at the age of 14 with his nationally ranked high school orchestra. He received honorable mention for his short film “Bent On Broken Dreams” in a competition at the Art Institute of Atlanta. Dee’s poetry has been published in the books Stars in Our Hearts and Great Poets Across America: A Celebration of National Poetry Month. Focusing mostly on love, family and loss, he has created a collection of poetry to be published later this year.

Hope Hilton is from Atlanta. She is a cum laude graduate of the Atlanta College of Art (2003) and a magna cum laude graduate of The City University of New York, Hunter College (2008). Hilton curates, collaborates, designs, publishes, writes, and walks. In 2007 Hilton completed a 60-mile memorial walk in the Southern U.S. to recognize the walk a slave named Henry made to announce the birth of her great-great grandmother. She is the newly appointed Gallery Manager of The Athens Institute for Contemporary Art.

Charlie Hartness is from Macon. He graduated twice from the University of Georgia during the 1970s and worked for 23 years as an emergency physician in Portland, Oregon before returning to Athens in 2006. He is a writer and musician and plays in the duo Hawk Proof Rooster with his wife Nancy. His song  “The Lynching” was an award winner in the Kress Project at the Georgia Museum of Art earlier this year.

Rick Kopp was trained as a psychologist but transitioned into a career as a branding strategist. Having consulted with companies from the Fortune 500 to start-ups, Rick believes that, whether in the form of advertising, PR, speeches or logos, all commerce is basically a form of storytelling. Rick began his long career in technology by launching the first color monitor and ended with the introduction of the first e-commerce search engine. Nowadays he mostly just drinks coffee and gabs with the other geezers in his treasured new home, Athens.

Nina (pronounced “9-uh”) Kelly is a city lover with left-brained tendencies. A proud Michigander, Nina moved to Athens with her husband in 2008 for her job in the community planning and development field. She can often be found wandering around Cobbham and Normaltown, earbuds in, listening to her favorite podcasts. This is her first public storytelling experience.

Master of Ceremonies, John Pence, is an Athenian who aspires to one day raise a thousand head of Texas longhorns and drive them from Texas to Montana. Or join the French Foreign Legion. Or explore the depths of the Marianas Trench or colonize Mars. If none of those work out, he will continue to teach at Athens Tech, write crazy stories, and raise two wild little boys.

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