By: Cayce Lee
The weather may not be very cooperative by alternating showers, blustery days, and glimpses of sunshine but Athens, Elkmont, and Mooresville are marking April – and our city, county, and state bicentennials – with a month of Saturday Historic Walks highlighting our history, people, and places starting April 7.

In Alabama’s oldest town, Mooresville, the citizens have prepared a special series to accompany their historic walks for April – “Portraits of the Beginning.” Each walking session will begin with a small lecture about key points in Mooresville’s history before setting out and winding through the tiny village’s tree covered streets and enjoy the almost doorto- door history, heritage, and architecture. They will pause before homes with charming gardens, stand in the shadowof the Brick Church, and enjoy tales of local lore including the XYZ Preacher, visits of U.S. Presidents and tales of yesteryear.

Attendees wishing to attend Mooresville’s Saturday Historic Walks are requested to reserve their spot via the website and looking under the Bicentennial section for Portraits of the Beginning. Seating for this free series that starts at 10:00 a.m. each Saturday in April is limited. Check-in instruction for the start location will be included with your reservations.Athens will be offering up to five of its community tours each Saturday as part of the Athens-Limestone County Bicentennial Celebrations. Interested guests should check Athens-Limestone Visitors Center at 100 North Beaty Street in Athens starting at 9:45 a.m. After signing in, intrigued attendees will depart at 10:00 a.m. with local guides Rebekah Davis to tour the Houston Historic District,Jerry Barksdale to tour Downtown Athens Historic District, Anna Gibbs to tour AthensCollege Historic District, Billy Ward to tour the Beaty Historic District, and Teddy Dutton to tour the Alabama Veterans Museum.

The walks through the historic district will wind past homes, businesses, and other historic structures while sharingtales of families, history, architecture, and occasional bits of forelorned tragedy or legend with tour participants. The tour attendees of the Alabama Veterans Museum will enjoy a carefully curated collection of items from the Revolutionary War to the present, featuring items and tales from the warfront as well as the homefront. Historic Elkmont’s tours will feature tour guides from the local historical society sharing tales of yesteryear, the Civil War, alongside other tales of Elkmont’s people, places, and lore. Attendees are asked to meet at the old L&N Train Depot on Railroad Street near the intersection with Upper Fort Hampton Road at 10:00 a.m. for check-in.

These Bicentennial Historic Saturday Walking Tours will continue the entire month of April. The walks are free and open to the public. The walks take between one to two hours to complete and will involve traveling on a variety of terrain. Another bicentennial eventto make note of is the upcoming Athens Cemetery Stroll – Bicentennial Event which will take place on Sunday, April 22, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Athens City Cemetery with actors dressed in period styles offering tales of history, families, and more that celebrates the 200 years of Alabama, Limestone County, Mooresville and Athens. The event is free and open to the public.
For more information on these or other upcoming events, please contact the
Athens-Limestone Visitors
Center at 100 North Beaty
Street in Athens, by phone
256-232-5411, or visit the
website www.VisitAthensAL.

By: Cayce Lee
Social Media Specialist, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association

By: D. A. Slinkard
I think back to the year of 1997, which is a year that has significant meaning in my life and shall never lose its importance to me. This was the year I was really going to be doing some awesome things as I was finally going to be old enough to legally get behind the wheel of a car and drive. The year started out with so much anticipation, as I could hardly wait to turn 16 so I could burn up and down the highway going nowhere as fast as possible.

The year 1997 also happens to be when “Tubthumping” was released by the British rock band Chumbawamba. Oh, you don’t recognize the song title of “Tubthumping”? – well, you may recognize the lyrics, “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never going to keep me down. We’ll be singing, when we’re winning, we’ll be singing.”

I write about this song because it was released upon the American airwaves just months after my dad had passed away at the age of 78. Honestly, I did not realize how crushing of a blow it would be for a young teenage boy to lose his best friend, to lose his dad; but I was quickly finding out the cold, hard facts of reality – that we will get knocked down, but what is important, is that we get up again.

I believe this is the story of life; we must make sure that when we do feel the crushing blows of life, we pick ourselves up off the ground one more time. There is this saying, “Get knocked down 7 times, get back up 8,” and this really needs to be the mantra of your everyday living. If you have a pulse, something bad is bound to happen to you; but what makes us who we are is how we handle those situations.

How are you handling 2018 thus far? Are you doing the thumping or are you being thumped? In this day of social media, we have become far greater pretenders than what we realize. You cannot judge a person by their status updates. If Facebook was truthful with all the positive memes, updates and smiling faces, then doctors, psychologists and pharmaceutical companies would be run out of business, as we would have no need for the “happy” pills.

Truth be told, there are a lot of hurt people walking around putting on a fake smile while the storm is brewing within. We all have thunderstorms, just like we all have sunshine, but sometimes we have to be the one to mentally decide which one is going to be more prevalent, the thunderstorms or the sunshine. This is life. This is reality. If the first 3 months of 2018 have not been going the way you want, so what? Who cares? What are you going to do about it?

Don’t believe me? Let’s compare notes – since January 22, 2018, I have been in Huntsville Hospital for a total of 23 days. There were 70 days from January 22 to the date I am writing this, April 2, 2018. I write this not to become some martyr, not at all; I write this to say, “Hey, it’s alright, I’m alright, you’re going to be alright, I’m going to be alright.” I am not trying to come across in the wrong manner, but I am telling you that I can have a positive outlook on life because I choose to have a positive outlook.

I have been knocked down multiple times in 2018, but the only thing that matters is that I keep getting back up. I am telling you right now, right here, that if you have been knocked down in 2018, then now is the time to pick yourself up off the ground and go do something about it. You cannot wait for tomorrow; you cannot wait for next week; you need to act upon this now. There is no better time than now to change the way your year is going, but you must first believe you can do something about it. When you believe you will get back up from something bad happening in your life, that is when you will notice the change from within. You get knocked down, but you get up again. Nothing is going to keep you down when you have the right mindset and approach to your everyday life. Go be great!
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

Athens-Limestone Public Library Book Clubs
Enjoy reading? Like discussing books with others? The Athens-Limestone Public Library offers two book clubs each month. Join in with the Third Thursday Book Club every third Thursday of the month at 9:00 a.m. for coffee, baked treats, and good conversation. Various genres are read. You’re also invited to join the Mystery Book Club every 4th Thursday at 6:00 p.m. for tasty treats and an even tastier mystery! Books are available from the library. For more info, check at the Circulation Desk or call 256-232-1233.

By: Roy Williams
It seems like more people than I can remember are complaining about their inability to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is just as necessary to good health as is taking proper nutrition.

When we fail to go into a deep level of sleep, we also obstruct the healing process. For maximum energy, efficiency, and healing, the human body needs at least seven hours of sleep, and at least one of those hours should be before midnight.

Due to the American lifestyle, which is stressful to say the least, most people are not reaching and staying in the deep level of sleep that is necessary for the body to heal.

Sleep deprivation is at an all time high. More Americans than ever before are becoming dependent on drugs, which can, over time cause other health issues. And up until now, there were very few natural supplements that could help.

The reason I said “up until now” is that a new superstar is now available to the public that is not only safe but also so effective that it is literally blowing people’s minds. Before I start talking about how it works for better more complete sleep, let’s go over some of the other known benefits.

Scientists are rapidly discovering more and more benefits of this most unusual plant oil that is literally changing people’s lives for the better.

Here are just a few of the proven benefits:

1) Epilepsy (Demonstrated to reduce number and severity of seizures)
2) Neuroprotective (Protects neurons in the brain)
3) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD
4) Tumors and Cancers
5) Pain Relief (May reduce inflammation)
6) Combats Anxiety (Creates a calming effect)
7) Promotes Natural Sleep (Sleep like a baby again)
8) Natural Stress Reducer (Helps relax the central nervous system)
9) Lowers Cortisol (The stress hormone)

Cannabinoids have proven therapeutic benefits and CBD oil is no exception. It is non-psychotropic, so it does not create the euphoric feelings associated with THC, the active ingredient that makes people feel high. However, it is psychoactive, which means it will pass the blood-brain barrier.

CBD oil does have some very interesting desirable effects. It can reduce anxiety and paranoia. It is a well-known anti-epileptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-nauseate, anti-depressant, and anti-proliferative. It also acts as a sleep aid, muscle relaxant, and stress-reducing sedative.

According to the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, CBD may be useful in reducing inflammation (pain relief), may work as an anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent, and is therefore a potential medicine for the treatment of neuroinflammation, epilepsy, oxidative injury, vomiting and nausea, anxiety, and schizophrenia.

CBD is different from other well-studied cannabinoids. It has the ability to dock onto the binding site of a protein and can modulate a receptor’s behavior. This can have positive effects in the brain, including movement, coordination, pain and sensory perception, emotion, memory, cognition, autonomic and endocrine functions.

At this point there is no evidence that CBD interferes with any medication. Many people on heart, diabetic, arthritic, and even cancer medications are using CBD with amazing results. Even the doctors are noticing improvements in their patients who are taking CBD along with their medications.

There are several brands that are now legal in all 50 states. From my research, the ones that are available and show positive benefits for all age groups, I recommend Charlotte’s Web, Regal Labs or my personal favorite is a capsule or Gummies called Hemp Bombs.

Over a month ago, my wife and I started taking one Hemp Bomb, a capsule, at bedtime. From the very first night, we have been sleeping like we are teenagers again. This oil seems to put us in that deep sleep that is what I call healing sleep. Both of us have noticed that we are more relaxed, have more feelings of well-being, and things that would normally stress us out are easier to deal with.

Many others we have told about the Hemp Bombs are reporting the same or even greater results. One gentleman told me that his wife could no longer make him mad, and as a result, she has also started taking them.

We are convinced that CBD oil is the answer for sleep and stress reduction. Over time scientists are convinced that even more benefits will surface. It only makes sense that when you can lower stress levels many other health issues will also be resolved.
Your friend in health,
By: Roy P. Williams

By: Lisa Philippart
Wearables have made the transition from technical innovations to fitness trackers within the past few years. So it seems that the most likely next step would be wearables that address the unseen level of well-being known as mental health. Many fitness trackers already monitor blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and skin temperature. Most trackers can collect data in real time, and over a period of time, to then be used to offer behavioral interventions. For example, when you breathe in a rapid, shallow manner, that is often a sign of anxiety. As this information is collected, your wearable could offer breathing exercises, guided meditations, or even just a nudge. The very act of checking your breathing patterns can help you lower your heart rate and reduce tension.

I would like to share with you some brief descriptions of a few wearables on the market that are designed specifically to help you become more mindful of your mental and emotional states. As with any product, you will need to do your research to determine which would work best for you.

Spire Stone
The Spire Stone continuously monitors breathing, and can remind you to relax through alerts from a connected app. The Spire website states that Stanford researchers who tested LinkedIn employees wearing Spire, reported 37% greater daily calm, 27% fewer anxious days, and 25% more time spent physiologically focused. The Stone clips to your clothing and measures your breath via the expansion and contraction of your torso. The information is sent to your app where it is categorized as calm, tense, or focused. A notification on your phone and to the Stone alerts you to changes, so you can be more mindful of your breathing. (Cost is about $130.)

Feel Wristband
The Feel Wristband has multiple bio-sensors that monitor physiological signals, such as electrical energy, skin temperature, and heart rate. This information is transmitted to an app, which assesses your mental state through recognition of emotional patterns. The app then provides real-time CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) coaching techniques. The Feel Wristband website purports to help you become more aware of your emotions, which can lead to a deeper understanding of your internal and external triggers. The Feel app combines the information collected from the wristband with your input to provide guidance on how to better regulate and improve your emotional responses throughout the day. (Cost is about $150.)

Leaf Nature

Leaf Nature is a health tracker specifically designed for women, to be worn on your waist band or as a bracelet or necklace. Leaf turns breathing data into real-time advice for meditation exercises or guided breath work. The synchronized app is called Bellabeat, and it provides a simple, visual snapshot of your daily activity levels, sleep patterns, and meditative vs. stress periods. Information provided is designed to inspire and remind you of your daily goals and to motivate you to track your improvement over time. The Leaf Nature runs 24 hours a day on a battery that lasts up to six months. You can also set inactivity alerts and be notified of important events through a vibration in the Leaf. (Cost is about $140.)

WellBe proclaims to be the world’s first stress-balancing bracelet. The WellBe bracelet monitors your heart rate and uses that information to determine your stress and calmness levels, based on the time of day, your location, and the people with whom you have scheduled appointments. Over time, the app recognizes stress-producing events/people in your calendar and will provide guided meditations, focused breathing, and even personalized playlists to help you de-stress. The WellBe also records the changes in your stress/calmness levels while using the various stress release exercises, allowing you to see the before and after effects of each program you practice. The bracelet is made of cork, which is both a strong, durable material and feels soothing to the skin. (Cost is about $120.)
These devices all have the potential to ease common mental health problems and maybe even change the stigma surrounding mental health in the process. Until next time…..Lisa
By: Lisa Philippart
Licensed Professional Counselor

By: Joel Allen
Back in the 70’s, I had a dog by the name of Little Girl. Little Girl’s mother was a dachshund and her father was a pitbull. LOL…you can imagine what she looked like; but I tell you, besides being a little short, she had the head and body of a pitbull. She was very protective of her family, and one day the power man came to read the meter at our home in Montgomery. We lived in the county, so our dogs ran free. Back then, pepper spray was still unheard of, but the power utility man had a can. Well, Little Girl came charging at him and the man sprayed her. That only made things worse, and he barely made it to his car while my dog was chasing him with her eyes squinted shut from the spray and her making a face between a snarl and a sneeze…LOL. She was never sprayed again after that. And she had made her point, don’t come onto the property uninvited!

Please, no one think I am saying pepper spray your dog. No, we are going a different route on this subject. First, I want everyone to buy an unused spray bottle or even a squirt gun, and if it is a super soaker, then so be it. Then, buy a bottle of vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar). Now, here is the formula to use – 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water. Ensure the spray nozzle is set for stream, so distance may be covered when spraying at the dog. Now, let us wait for that unwanted behavior to start.

Barking at the door: Let’s say someone is at your door. The dog is barking. Reach over and get your spray bottle, aim, and shoot for the face. Most of the time the dog’s back is to you, so spray the butt first, and when the dog turns, spray for the face hitting the eyes and nose. Do not walk up and spray the dog point blank in the face. If your visitor is deliberately antagonizing the dog, spray your visitor, but still spray the dog, too, so as to deter the barking.

Jumping: A visitor arrives at your home and the dog wants their attention and jumps up and down placing its paws all over the new person. If the person is not encouraging this behavior, spray the dog. But, if the visitor is encouraging said bad behavior, spray the person, they deserve it; and the dog sees what happens to the human for behaving badly thus discouraging more bad behavior.

Grabbing what is not theirs and running: This is for the dog that grabs your shoes or items it has no business grabbing. By now, your aim should be improving, and I suggest spraying for the eyes and nose telling the dog to drop the item it has stolen. Small dogs tend to run and get under furniture or a bed thinking they are safe from the spray. Don’t allow them to get away! Reach down and spray under the furniture or bed and don’t forget to aim. When they have been told to “drop it” and they comply, then retrieve the stolen item and show your disapproval.

Bad behavior during walks: The spray bottle comes in handy during walks if your dog has a hard time getting along with others. If your dog growls, spray it and show your disapproval. This can be used to counter aggression toward people and other dogs. But remember, if there becomes an aggression issue where one was not present before, then something may have happened to trigger this behavior. Further investigation into the matter may be needed.

Beware that if young children are in the family, the spray bottle can be misused. So, keep it out of the children’s reach. One morning while everyone was asleep, a little boy got up before his family did, and he decided to go get the spray bottle and spray the family dog while it was crated. Thankfully, his mother heard the commotion of the dog growling and barking. When she found the boy and saw what he was doing, she sat him down and sprayed him to show him how it felt. LOL…he cried but when asked if he was ever going to do that again he said no! Sometimes the punishment should fit the crime.

These are just some ways to use the spray bottle to correct bad behavior. As your dog becomes a better dog, it will listen every time it sees that spray bottle being grabbed, and it may be wise to invest in a few spray bottles to place strategically around the house. Everyone should also note that lemon juice will work in the place of vinegar. If the formula is not strong enough, reverse it, and if that seems not to work, go full force or undiluted. Also, remember that some dogs are just plain immune to this correction, but in most cases this works.

Now folks, I need to make a few announcements. I am back writing. It seems I have gotten out of the rut I was in and have returned to write for the “Dog Barker.” Also, many of you know that I have been using Pet Depot as my training headquarters since 2010. That chapter is coming to a close and on good terms. My new training headquarters will be on East Limestone Road and it will be at the future site of Paws and Whiskers Boutique. April 21, 2018, will be our last day training at the Pet Depot. So, make plans to come out to East Limestone Road for all your training needs, and yes, we will still be offering private lessons, too.
By: Joel Allen

By: Jerry Barksdale
May 7, 1983. Camp LeJeune, N.C.

His sea bags were packed. Tomorrow morning – Mother’s Day – he would depart home. Captain William E. “Bill” Winter, age 32, loved the Marine Corps, but leaving home and family was never easy. After all, he never knew if he would return. His two children, Michael, age 6, and Amanda, age 2 ½, were in bed. He reached up and pulled Melia, his wife of 7 years, onto his lap and held her. He turned serious. “If anything happens to me, I want you to remarry,” he said. She made light of it. “Nope, once is enough for me.”

“No, I’m serious. The kids need a daddy and you need a husband.”

Mother’s Day morning, Winter backed out of his driveway, paused, took a final look at his home, then drove off into a fine North Carolina spring morning.

This would be his second trip to the Mediterranean, this time with the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, part of a multinational peacekeeping force stationed in Beirut, Lebanon. Once known as “Paris of the Middle East” because of its cultural and intellectual life, the once beautiful city jutted out like a thumb into the blue Mediterranean Sea. Now, it was a deadly battleground between warring Christians and Muslims with bombed out buildings, shell-pocked streets and frightened citizens caught up in the violence. Iran and Syria were stirring the turmoil. The Marines would act as peacekeepers. They would go there in peace.

Captain Winter, the only child of Ellis and Virginia (Balch) Winter (retired Montesano scientist and school teacher respectively, of Capshaw, Alabama) was a Marine to his core. Following graduation from Auburn University in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science Degree, he joined the Marine Corps and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. After completing Parachute and Ranger Training at Ft. Benning, Georgia, he was assigned to the 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa. Later, he was stationed at Parris Island, South Carolina.

That’s where he met Melia Redding, the pretty, brown-eyed daughter of Major H.L. Redding, a tall, poker straight retired Marine. Major Redding was managing the Navy Federal Credit Union following 23 years in the Corps. A highly decorated Marine, Redding had enlisted following high school in 1950 and sent to Korea where a war was raging. A land mine darn near killed him, sending him to a hospital for 18 months. Afterwards, he served in President Eisenhower’s Honor Guard and made trips to Camp David, the presidential retreat. Later, he served in Vietnam.

The youngest of his two daughters, Melia didn’t wear Marine olive green nor the eagle, globe and anchor on her collar tab, but she was born and bred a Marine. In fact, she was born in 1957, in Alexandria, Virginia, not far from Marine Headquarters where her father worked.
Melia met the handsome, young Lt. Captain Winter on a blind date in January, 1976. A friend who worked for her father at the Credit Union set it up. Melia, half joking said, “I want a single officer that doesn’t smoke, drink or curse…and has lots of money.” She recently told me, “I was just messing around. What are the odds of getting all that?” Prior to asking her out, Winter went to the Credit Union, met her father and asked his permission to take her out. “Who does that?” Melia asked me as we sat in her living room not far off Menefee Road.
“Nobody! He did.”

He picked her up in a fairly new Cutlass Supreme and took her to see Three Days of the Condor. “It turns out,” says Melia, “he had gone to the movies the night before to see it and make sure it was presentable to take me to see it.” She adds, “He was a wonderful Southern gentleman.”

Winter called her, but not regularly because of his job. They dated in January, went out in February, once in March and then began dating steady in April.

“In May, 1976, he asked me to marry him, but he asked my dad first.”

America celebrated its 200th Birthday on July 4, 1976. Six days later, Melia and Captain Winter married at the Base Chapel on Parris Island. “It was a bicentennial wedding,” she calls it. She wore a white Southern belle gown with hoops and held a bouquet of red and white flowers that matched her husband’s dress blues and white cover. They exited the Chapel happy and in love beneath two rows of Marines holding sabers over their head.

One year and a day later, Michael was born at the Naval Hospital in Beaufort. In 1978, they went to Cornwall, England for 2 years where Bill served at a nuclear facility. Amanda was born while there.

It seemed only yesterday they exited the wedding chapel, happy and laughing with no worries. Now Bill was 6,000 miles away in Beirut. Melia wouldn’t see him again until Thanksgiving. She missed him terribly. And she worried. But she had two young children to raise and that filled a big void in her soul. She drove down to Beaufort, South Carolina, and visited her parents and that was good. Not only could she assist them, they could help her with the children.

Bill wrote regularly, sometimes daily, always addressing his letter to “Melia Michael, and Mandy” and never failing to ask about the children. It was hot in Beirut, and he didn’t sleep well on his narrow cot with no mattress. He was lonely and counting the days. “I wish time would go faster… I miss you terribly…….142 days to go. I love you with all my heart,” he wrote. When off duty he built model military vehicles and read. He’d just finished Follow the River and was starting another book. Then bad luck came calling on the morning of July 22. Eight, 120mm mortar rounds slammed into the Marine compound. One Marine caught shrapnel. “Glad you’re not here,” he wrote. “But sure wish I was there.”

Bad luck travels in pairs. On the same day in Beaufort, South Carolina, at around 9:30 p.m., lightning struck the Redding residence and it burned to the ground. Melia, the children, her parents and 3 dogs barely escaped with their lives. Everything was destroyed, including Melia’s wedding ring. Aside from his own safety, Bill now had something else to worry about – his family back home.

Her father rented a beach house on nearby Fripp Island and Melia and the children stayed with them. “I did a lot of walking on the beach,” she says. “I would look across the Atlantic Ocean and think, he’s straight across there somewhere.” And Winter was missing her and the children, and counting the days until he could go home. If everything went well, he’d be home for Thanksgiving. He had recently sent roses to Melia.

“If I could afford it,” he wrote her, “I’d send roses everyday of our life because you are the rose of my life. He promised her they would go shopping for a wedding ring when he got home. The nearby Beirut Airport came under attack and Pan Am stopped flying. Mail slowed to a trickle. On July 23, he wrote Melia that he had finished reading Centennial and had started Hawaii… “lot of shooting up in the hills… 137 days left.” To add more misery to his life, Winter got “really sick” with food poisoning. “Beirut Boogie,” he called it, “stomach cramps and diarrhea 12-13 times a day.” “I need you to hold on to,” he wrote. Attending church was helpful. “The mosquitoes eating me up tonight… It won’t be long until we’re together again.”

Winter always asked about his children. “Tell Michael, he’s doing real well with his writing. I’m proud of him and of you teaching him. I know Mandy will do as well when she gets older.”

Islamic terrorists turned up the heat on Sunday, August 31, at 3 p.m. “Things started to fall apart…we took incoming for several hours…Monday it got much worse,” he wrote. “One round hit outside the mess tent and one hit the tent of Lt. Losey and S/Sgt. Ortega, the former killed instantly. Ortega died in route to the ship. We ended with 14 WIA and 2 KIA.”

Winter’s letters told of more attacks, shelling, wounded and dead Marines. His Auburn friends hadn’t forgotten him. Becky Arrington, one of Bill’s former classmates and President of the Houston Area Auburn Club, sent him an American flag. He hoisted it atop the Lebanese University Library where a company of Marines were stationed.

On September 7, Winter wrote, “2 more Marines killed in Company A…round blew them to pieces…we are getting hit every day and night. We keep hearing that the majority of folks in the U.S. want us to pull out. Wrong answer. We can’t quit and go home because of a bunch of terrorists. We have to stand up and be counted sooner or later. Better here than at home 20 years from now.” His prophesy was off by only two years. Terrorists brought down the Twin Towers 18 years later, almost to the day.
To be Continued….

By: Wanda Campbell
Athens State University’s Center for Lifelong Learning is pleased to announce our 3rd Annual Women’s Leadership Symposium on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, beginning at 9:00 a.m. at the Dynetics Solutions Complex in Huntsville. The theme for this year’s symposium is “Honoring Women Who Serve.”

Your $85 registration fee will include your admission to the event and access to an amazing panel of speakers, as well as networking breaks, lunch, and interactive discussions. This event is an opportunity for purposeful communication and strategic leadership development. You can register online at or call the Center for Lifelong Learning at 256-233-8260.

Our keynote speaker is Dr. Carolyn McKinstry (author and survivor of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing of 1963). McKinstry is an “Ambassador of Reconciliation” and her passion is community service. She served as Second Vice President and Program Committee Chair for the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute for six years. She has served as the only female Chair of the Board of Trustees for Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, past President of the Hospice Foundation of Jefferson County, and past Vice President and Director of Programs for The Academy of Fine Arts, Inc., Leadership Birmingham and Leadership Alabama and other organizations too numerous to name.

In addition to Dr. McKinstry, this year’s panel also includes Cathy Dickens, Lisa Wiliams, Jackie Warner, Rebekah Davis, and LTC Jenna T. Guerrero.

Ms. Cathy Dickens is Senior VP of Business Management at COLSA Corporation. She serves as the Board Chair for the Athens State University Board of Trustees and is also an advisor to the National Contract Management Association local chapter and a member of the AUSA Civilian Advisory Committee. She is a member of AUSA, NCMA and the Army Aviation Association of America.

Lisa Williams has been named to Top 10 Women Entrepreneurs of America. Williams is active on many boards and councils, including the boards of the Tennessee Valley Corridor representing the 5th Congressional District, The Committee 100, Still Serving Veterans, the Huntsville Arts Council and is a board member of SCORE-Counselors to America’s Small Businesses. Ms. Williams was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission. She is very active in mentoring and counsels many small businesses in the state of Alabama.

Jackie Warner is co-owner of “The Bridge” Community Outreach Center. Her areas of expertise are career coaching, performance consultation, curriculum design of workforce and organizational development courses, project management, and community outreach development.

Preserving and sharing the stories that knit together a community is the passion that motivates Rebekah Davis to serve and to lead. Since 2010, Davis, an Athens, Alabama native, has been preserving and providing access to the historic record of her hometown and county as the Archivist at the Limestone County Archives, and serving with community projects that forward that mission.
Lieutenant Colonel Jenna T. Guerrero is currently serving as a member of the active duty military and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her awards and decorations include two Bronze Star Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, and one Army Achievement Medal.

We would love for you and the members of your team to join us on Wednesday, April 11, at the Dynetics Solutions Complex on Explorer Boulevard in Huntsville. Should you be interested in sponsoring a session or purchasing a table for your employees, please contact Kim Bell, Director of the Center for Lifelong Learning, at 256-233-8261. As a reminder, you may also register at We look forward to seeing you at what promises to be a wonderful networking opportunity!
By: Wanda Campbell
Center for Lifelong Learning – 121 South Marion Street, Athens, AL 35611 – 256-233-8262

By: Janet Hunt
The Institute of Medicine reports that 50-70 million adults in this country have sleep or wakefulness disorders. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider poor sleep a “public health problem.”

When our body is rested, our body performs at its best. On the flip side, when our body is poorly rested, performance plummets. When we suffer from chronic lack or poor quality of sleep, we are likely to experience decreased brain function, hormonal imbalances, increased risk of heart disease, abnormal growth and development (seen in children and teens), decreased productivity and performance, fertility issues, poor immune and insulin responses, and an increased risk of getting in a motor vehicle accident. Sleep plays a crucial role in the repair and maintenance of all systems (physical and psychological) of our body.

Sleep is the time your body is working to repair, recover, build, strengthen, grow, and defend. Sleep is a productive process even if you aren’t moving.

• The brain “cleans house.” Cerebral spinal fluid flushes through the brain, cleaning out waste products from cells.
• Breathing and heart rates slow and blood pressure decreases.
• Hormones are released that aid in repairing tissues

It makes sense that if your body is chronically under-rested, your body cannot adequately repair tissues and blood vessels, produce and release hormones efficiently, or remove waste. If sleep suffers, there are other bodily effects.
When your body is sleep deprived, your brain craves food (and usually not the healthiest choices). The hormones responsible for regulating hunger and satiety become unbalanced. Ghrelin (the hunger “gremlin” hormone) increases, while leptin (the satiety hormone) decreases. Result: caloric intake increases and caloric expenditure decreases due to lack of motivation from mental and physical fatigue. This eventually leads to weight gain.

Poor sleep also results in higher-than-normal blood-sugar levels because a tired body is unable to effectively respond to insulin. If poor sleep is chronic, the development of metabolic disorders such as Type 2 diabetes is possible.
All of us require a slightly different environment to sleep well. However, there are some key ingredients.

• Remove (or turn off) all electronics and cover the alarm clock an hour before bed. The circadian rhythm is most sensitive to blue light (the type emitted from electronics).
• Make the room as dark as possible.
• Make sure the room is at a comfortable temperature.
• Evaluate the noise level or add a white noise machine or fan.

Behavioral tricks you can employ to improve sleep:
• Develop a routine. Incorporate relaxing activities (meditate, read a book, listen to calming music, etc.). No video games or Facebook.
• Try to avoid working out too late. Exercise will help you sleep, but not before bed.
• Reduce caffeine intake and limit caffeine after mid-morning. Caffeine antagonizes adenosine (another ingredient to promote restful sleep).
• Limit alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant that has sedative-like effects; but it also causes you to wake frequently during the night.

If you feel sleep deprivation is interfering with your life, talk to your health care provider. Medication is the last resort. Perhaps your physician can recommend something short term.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.