By: Holly Hollman
An Athens art organization is giving the German festival known as Oktoberfest an artistic twist for its inaugural event called ARToberest.

The celebration of beverages, brats and brushes will be Oct. 20 from 6-9 p.m. at High Cotton Arts in Downtown Athens. Proceeds will benefit Athens Arts League’s mission to support artists, provide art education, and bring cultural events to Athens and Limestone County.

The beverages will include German beer and wine. The food will include a German-based menu, and the art auction will include art pieces that artists from High Cotton Arts and the Athens Arts League Board have created using paintbrushes.
The cost for ARToberfest is $50 per person and includes music by The Little German Band of Huntsville and an exhibit of beer steins provided from the collection of Maria Taylor of Athens. Athens Arts League Board Vice President Diane Lehr said the beer stein collection demonstrates their artistic beauty with scenes such as Bavaria, Excalibur, Russian fairy tales and knights of the realm.

“ARToberfest incorporates the visual and musical arts in an Oktoberfest setting,” Lehr said.

Artists at High Cotton Arts will attend to highlight their studios and art creations ranging from paintings to stained glass to pottery. Artist Karen Middleton has created a portrait station by painting a German couple with open space for event goers to insert their faces and make a photo.

“For a non-profit art organization, we provide numerous art opportunities in our community from affordable downtown studio space for artists to supplementing art programs in our local school systems to transforming a vacant historic building into the Scout Music House,” said Athens Arts League Board President Amy Golden. “We are able to provide these opportunities because of the community’s support of the arts.”

Some of the art programs Athens Arts League provides include:

  • High Cotton Arts, a downtown art incubator with affordable studio space, art classes for all ages, a space for cultural events, and space for songwriting and guitar classes.
  • Scout Music House, a renovation project at the circa 1938 Scout House to transform the vacant structure into a music venue.
  • Boys and Girls Club Summer Art Camps, funded by grants and donations.
  • Limestone County Department of Human Resources, foster children art classes, funded by grants and donations.
  • East Limestone High School art survey class, providing guest artists and projects, funded by a grant.
  • Art supplies for schools provided through donations from artists and the community.
  • Participation in Fridays After Five, Chocolate Walk, Sippin’ Cider, Christmas Open House, and other downtown events by providing free music, snacks, and art stations for children.
  • The Alabama Spring and the Comic Book Art competitions and exhibits.

By: Holly Hollman

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
When I would drive by the Craftsman-style-house-turned-business located on the corner of Clinton and Market just off the Square, I was intrigued by the name on the sign: 17th + Pear. I knew it was a photography studio, and now I have the chance to introduce the delightful proprietors to you, as well as tell you the secret behind the name.

Back in the day when the studio was a home in downtown Athens, Clinton was the 17th street running north and south starting from the west side of Athens moving toward East Limestone. That’s where the studio’s owners, Lindsay Looney and Alison Bivens, get the “17th” portion of the title of their thriving photographic partnership. “Pear” is a play on the word “Pair.” Alison and Lindsay collaborated on the name, and the result is a business name that reflects the friendship, community roots, and playful style that makes 17th + Pear unique.

Alison’s Bachelor’s degree in English is from Athens State, and Lindsay started off in nursing school at UNA, with a desire to be a part of a trauma team. Lindsay’s unexpected diagnosis of a chronic medical condition made that dream no longer possible, and as is often the case with women of faith, when God closes a door, He opens a window. He most certainly has done that for these two, and making a living at what they love, as well as becoming best friends are only the beginning of their blessings.

They both have been fascinated with photography since they were children. Alison’s grandmother took literally thousands of pictures, and she says, “Almost every moment of my life is recorded,” something that became even more precious with the unexpected passing of Alison’s sister, Taylor, in a tragic accident. Taylor was 21, and Alison is grateful for every picture she has. Taylor and the fragile nature of life is some of what inspires Alison today. Jeff, Alison’s husband, purchased a DSLR photo system as a gift for Alison, which is how she got her more serious start in 2011. She has filled up hard drives and the cloud with close to 10,000 photos, with no chance of slowing down anytime soon!
Lindsay started taking pictures when she was 5 or 6, and once she had to change career paths, worked for a local photographer. Lindsay did Alison’s maternity and newborn portraits, and Ali was thrilled with Lindsay’s work. Later, Alison helped Lindsay “second-shoot” a wedding, and the partnership and friendship we see today was born in August of 2014.

Both women are completely self-taught, yet with the help of today’s technology, they have been able to expand their knowledge and skills, learning all they can about the entire about the entire photographic process from manipulating camera settings to posing families. They have done so through all manner of online tutorials and workshops. They told me, “Photography is always evolving, and we are always learning. You never feel like you are done.” They have also done online courses with Twig & Olive, whose work they greatly admire, and whose live workshops costs thousands. These gals have dreams; one is to learn under Twig & Olive at live events, and the other is to shoot a destination wedding in Ireland.
They have clients all over North Alabama, including Hazel Green, Huntsville, and Jones Valley. Because they both have children, including three year olds, they are especially experienced in capturing the best shots of kids by helping everyone in the family relax. They are fun and creative, and it shows up in their work. They also have the ability to exhibit a high degree of professionalism when dealing with weddings, and their work is stunning. Brides are beautiful, grooms are grand, and the beauty of the Big Day is captured forever.

Amongst the best photographers, there is an unwritten law of reciprocity and support of each other’s endeavors, something I found most attractive about 17th+ Pear’s working philosophy. They help out other photographers, and vice versa. Lindsay said, “We emphasize community over competition.” Indeed, there is enough to go around in the busy world of photography, and “the Pear” is booked months in advance.

“We are the all-time team,” they said, and added, “We know each other so well that we can tag-team a shoot without really even having to think about it.” They describe their prices has being those that reflect quality as well as artistic ability. They finished our time together describing something else about their brand that I think is highly valuable. “We form long lasting relationships. We shoot baby after baby in the same family,” they said, and it is the same with weddings. Relatives book them for their special day after they see the albums produced from family weddings, and it’s the same with friends. “There is no higher recommendation than a referral from a satisfied customer, and we even get invited to birthday parties of clients who have become friends where we get to be the guests, and don’t have to shoot!”

If creative comfort blended with high artistic photographic ability is what you are looking for at a fair price, then book your appointment for a studio or location photo shoot with 17th + Pear today.
By: Ali ElizabethTurner

By: Wanda Campbell
At the Center for Lifelong Learning, fall classes will begin on Tuesday, September 5. Whether you are looking for something for career growth or you want something fun, at the Center we have something for everyone. Check out our website – – for a complete listing of classes or call us at 256-233-8260.

YOGA – Tuesday, Thursdays, and Fridays, September 5 – December 1, 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. $5/per session or buy a 5 session or 10 session punch card.
Have you always wanted to try Yoga? This is your chance to get started. This Level One Class connecting postures (asanas) with breath, flowing from one posture to the next. The class includes standing and floor postures while elevating the heart rate to a moderate level. This means you will be breathing moderately but still able to speak. Depending on how you feel about your progress, the instructor will show ways to both increase and extend the pose or keep the pose at a beginner level. Bring your own mat and wear comfortable clothing.

CompTIA Security+ (Beginner to Intermediate Course) – Tuesdays, September 5 – October 3, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. $1495/person (includes $375 voucher to take exam, ebook study guide and workbook). No class September 19.
CompTIA(c) Security+ Certification covers the essentials in understanding best practices in Network Security and Risk Management. This comprehensive course will prepare the participant to take the Security+ exam. Topics includes: Network security, compliance, threats, vulnerabilities, malware, penetration testing, application, data and host security, access control and identity management and cryptography.

Ballroom Dance: Waltz – Thursday, September 7 – September 28, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., $50/person
Ballroom dance refers to many different types of partner dances. It is a good way to meet people, a fun way to exercise, and can be very competitive. The purpose of our dance classes is to build confidence. Most importantly, it is to have fun.

The first of our ballroom dances is the waltz. The waltz began as a country folk dance in Austria and Bavaria in the 1600s. It was the first dance where a man held a woman close to his body. This class will introduce patterns, steps, and sways for the dance. Bring your favorite person and join us for waltz.

EC-Council CEH Certified Ethical Hacker, Mondays – September 11 – November 13, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., $2895 (includes $599 voucher to take the exam, ebook study guide, and workbook). No class September 18, October 2, October 16, October 30.
Advanced course requires two years’ work experience in information security. This advanced training course for the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker exam will provide professionals the knowledge and skills that hackers use to target systems so that professionals can work legally and ethically to improve security systems. Participants will be prepared to take the EC-Council CEH exam. Topics includes: Malware operations, mobile technologies, risk assessment, firewalls, cryptography, threat modeling, vulnerabilities, testing, and professional standards.

These are just a few of the courses listed for this fall. Watch for Music Mat for babies and toddlers, 3-5 year olds and ACT Strategies and Prep for teens. And don’t forget the trip to Gaylord’s Opryland Resort December 1. Check out the website – – or give us a call at 256-233-8260.

By: Holly Hollman
Athens, AL — The Travis Manion Foundation will host the Athens 9/11 Heroes Run 5K race at 7:00 a.m. on September 9 at Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives. The annual race will unite the community to remember the nearly 3,000 lives lost on 9/11, as well as to honor our veterans, military, and first responders who serve our country and our communities. Proceeds from the 9/11 Heroes Run will benefit the Travis Manion Foundation, which empowers veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations.

Our special guest at this year’s Athens 9/11 Heroes Run is Amber Loggins Godwin, sister of Adam Loggins, KIA Al Anbar Province, Iraq.

The 9/11 Heroes Run 5K series was inspired by Marine 1st Lt. Travis Manion, who was killed by a sniper in Iraq in April 2007 as he selflessly protected his battalion. Before his final deployment, Travis visited Rescue One in NYC—famous for losing almost all of their men on 9/11—and returned home with deeper passion about why he was fighting in Iraq. At its heart, the 9/11 Heroes Run is a tribute to a personal commitment to never forget the heroes of that day. Now in its tenth year, the 9/11 Heroes Run national race series will be held in more than 50 locations across the country and around the world. As part of the marketing campaign for the race series, TMF has released a video to inspire runners and walkers of all ages to participate, which can be seen at

“As I reflect on the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11 Heroes Run, I’m in awe at the number of communities across the country and around the world that have united to honor all those touched by the events of September 11, 2001.” said Ryan Manion, President of Travis Manion Foundation. “We challenge all Americans to join us this September to ensure our next generation never forgets the sacrifices of our veterans, active duty military, first responders, and civilians who were affected by the attacks on 9/11 and in the wars since.”

Last year, more than 50,000 people participated in race locations around the world or as virtual runners, to support military, veterans, first responders and their families through TMF. National sponsors of the events include Comcast NBC Universal and CBS Radio. To learn more and to register, visit

About Travis Manion Foundation:

The Travis Manion Foundation is a qualified 501(c)(3) that is dedicated to empowering our nation’s veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations. In 2007, 1st Lt Travis Manion (USMC) was killed in Iraq while saving his wounded teammates. Today, Travis’ legacy lives on in the words he spoke before leaving for his final deployment, “If Not Me, Then Who…” Guided by this mantra, veterans continue their service, develop strong relationships with their communities, and thrive in their post-military lives. As a result, communities prosper and the character of our nation’s heroes live on in the next generation.

Local Point of Contact:

Whitney Hollingsworth – Local Race Director – (256) 651-7507 –

National Point of Contact:

Derrick Morgan – Travis Manion Foundation – (215) 622-2225 –

WHAT: 9/11 Heroes Run 5K race to benefit the Travis Manion Foundation. The annual race will unite the community to remember the nearly 3,000 lives lost on 9/11, as well as to honor our veterans, military, and first responders who serve our country and our communities.

WHERE: Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives, 100 Pryor St. W, Athens, AL 35611

WHEN: Saturday, September 9, 2017 at 7:00 a.m. start
By: Holly Hollman

By: Tim Lambert
Since our last report, a couple of local teams produced favorable results, the last local head football coaching job was also filled just in time for fall practice, plus another local high school athlete committed to continuing his career at the next level.

The 13-year-old Limestone Hammers completed an unbeaten streak that went through the Dizzy Dean State Tournament and World Series. The Hammers began play in the World Series in Southaven, Mississippi and smothered the Germantown Allstars 17-1. They went on to blister Hazel Green 15-1 and shut out Grenada 11-0. The team advanced to the finals and a rematch with Grenada claiming the title with a 14-2 victory. The 10-year-old Limestone Wild Devils also made the World Series, but lost to Albany 14-5, followed by a close 4-3 decision to Hayesville before being eliminated by Calhoun County 6-0.

The North Alabama Flames Elite basketball team won the Super 100 national tournament last month in Atlanta. The team includes Tony Shoulders, Takorian Porter and Myles Fewell from Athens High; J.T. Farrar and Austin Harvell from Clements; Juvonne Shanes and Connor Smith from Lauderdale County; Tommy Murr from Lindsey Lane; and J.J. Jones from Tanner.

The Athens Gators finished their season at the state meet in Opelika last month. While the Gators didn’t win, several swimmers received medals for their efforts.

Ardmore head football coach Clint Legg resigned his position at last month’s Limestone County Board of Education meeting and was hired as assistant principal at East Limestone. Andrew Smith, an assistant who is also the Tigers’ baseball coach, was named interim football coach. Lindsay Lane also announced that Charles Morrison would become their new baseball coach. Although Morrison played at Wallace State, this is his first time to coach the sport at the high school level.

Athens High pitcher and second baseman Jacob McNairy committed to play at Alabama. McNairy went 8-3 last season with a 1.93 ERA, 68 strikeouts and eight walks in 61 2/3 innings. His fastball has been clocked at 90 miles per hour. He also hit .407 with 18 doubles and 39 RBIs.

Team Alabama took the Southern Junior Cup, going undefeated in singles matches on Day 2 to win the golf competition with 19.5 points. Mississippi and Arkansas tied for second place at 10.5. Athens High junior Ally Williams was part of the team, paired with Spanish Fort’s Padric Sim.

In preseason football rankings, James Clemens is opening their year at the fifth spot in Class 7A. Tanner is sixth on the Class 2A poll.

High school football season is coming up and PlayAction Sports will be bringing Limestone County and James Clemens action to you via internet stream at Replays of select games can be heard on Sundays at noon on 1080 AM WKAC. You can also download or listen to games on demand anytime by going to the website. Here is our schedule of games you’ll be able to hear (subject to change):

August 25–Tanner vs. West Limestone
August 31–James Clemens vs. Gardendale
September 1–Elkmont vs. Ardmore
September 7–East Limestone at Mae Jemison
September 8–James Clemens at Bob Jones
September 15–Clements at Lexington
September 22–James Clemens vs. Sparkman
September 29–West Limestone vs. Elkmont
October 6–James Clemens at Grissom
October 13–James Clemens at Huntsville
October 20–James Clemens at Buckhorn
October 27–James Clemens vs. Hewitt-Trussville
November 2–East Limestone vs. Tanner
November 3–Clements at St. John Paul II

Coverage for each game will begin at 6:30 p.m. Bring your radios to the game and hear our coverage on 105.3 FM while you watch.

Upcoming events and registrations:
There will be a free Learn to Play Lacrosse clinic hosted by Huntsville Lacrosse at Bob Jones High School Turf Field on August 19 from 10-11:30 a.m. for boys and girls ages 7 to 17. No experience or equipment necessary or pre registration required.
Ardmore will have a softball camp August 22 from 5-7 p.m. for grades 1 through 5. Cost is $20. For more information, contact There will also be a volleyball camp August 26 from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Cost is $35. For more information, call Kristin Bates at 423-5950.

Athens adult softball registration is going on until August 31. You must be 18 years of age. For more information, call 233-8740.
Tune in for the PlayAction Sports Update, three times each weekday on 1080 AM WKAC. Visit us online at!

By: Yvonne Dempsey
It is time once again to honor the fallen while challenging the living!

Join us on September 9, 2017 for the 3rd annual 9/11 Heroes Run! Our run is just part of the bigger effort to unite communities internationally with one goal – to never forget the sacrifices of the heroes of September 11th and in the wars since: veterans, first responders, civilians, and military forces.

A large portion of the funds raised through the 9/11 Heroes Run are invested back into the race communities to support local veterans, first responders, troops and military families. The remaining proceeds support the Travis Manion Foundation; from the previous two races over $4,500 was donated back to the Veterans Museum for various programs.

Many have asked “Where does the rest of the money go, and what does the Travis Manion Foundation do with it?” From the Travis Manion Foundation website, here is where “the rest of the money goes!” The mission of the Travis Manion Foundation is to “empower veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations. In 2007, 1stLt Travis Manion (USMC) was killed in Iraq while saving his wounded teammates. Today, Travis’ legacy lives on in the words he spoke before leaving for his final deployment, ‘If Not Me, Then Who…’ Guided by this mantra, veterans continue their service, develop strong relationships with their communities, and thrive in their post-military lives. As a result, communities prosper and the character of our nation’s heroes live on in the next generation.”

As reported, over 90% of the proceeds donated back to the foundation goes to Program Services including Veteran Transition Workshops, which aid service members in leveraging their strengths, passions, and skills to thrive personally and professionally in their post-military lives. It also supports the “Character Does Matter Program” presented by Johnson & Johnson, which engages veterans and families of fallen heroes to inspire young adults to live with character, develop their leadership skills, and activate them to serve their communities in honor of fallen heroes. To date, over 200,000 young adults have been inspired to live with character and serve their community; over 60,000 veterans and survivors have been supported by the program. There are now more than 55 annual 9/11 Heroes Runs at different locations across the country and the world, and over 4,000 volunteers have been activated to support these programs!

Our run, which begins and ends at the Alabama Veterans Museum, will start at 7:00 a.m. Amber Godwin Loggins (sister of our fallen hero Lance Corporal Adam Loggins) will speak at the opening ceremony. Please help us get the word out about the race. For more information, contact the museum or Whitney Hollingsworth at 256-651-7507. For information about pricing and signup deadlines or to register visit

A pancake breakfast will be held at the museum on August 19, 2017 from 8:00- 10:00 a.m. to help raise money to support the race. Pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee for the low price of just $5.00! Come on out and support both of these events. The museum is located at 100 W. Pryor St. in Athens, AL.
By: Yvonne Dempsey
Limestone Veterans Burial Detail member and Alabama Veterans Museum volunteer

By: Lynne Hart – Executive Coordinator – Keep Athens Limestone Beautiful
August 1 was an important day for Leigh and me. It was a day set aside to say “Thank you” to all of the wonderful businesses, government entities, and individuals that support KALB in ways large and small. On Tuesday, August 1, we held our 2017 Appreciation Breakfast. It gave me great pleasure to stand in front of our many guests and tell them just exactly how I feel about them. They are precious.

Mayor Marks, Mark Yarbrough, Danny Crawford, Wayne Harper, Frank Travis, and Chris Seibert represented the City of Athens, Limestone County Commission, and the Alabama House of Representatives. We are so grateful for the financial and moral support that we receive from each of them. THANK YOU!

Several guests were there representing local businesses that have sponsored events, made donations, or provided in-kind materials or services. We were happy to see Lowe’s, Staples, Century 21, Athens Now, Clem Tire, HealthSource Athens, The SK Salon, and the News Courier represented. Several individuals invited were unable to attend for various reason and were truly missed. Our river cleanups, tree seedling giveaways, Earth Day & Outdoor EXPO, Clean and Green Fiddlers, and all of our fundraisers would have been impossible without the support provided by so many wonderful local businesses. THANK YOU!

KALB reaches out to other organizations and churches as well. We appreciate First Presbyterian Church for allowing us to use the Revival Building for our breakfast. We were able to say “Thank you” to Pastor Tony Johnson from Friendship Church for the use of the entire Friendship facility for our Earth Day & Outdoor EXPO. Melanie Newton – Main Street Athens, Betty Ruth – RSVP (and a Beautification Board Member), Deb Kohlhase – Habitat for Humanity, and Denise Taylor – Huntsville Green Team were also present to be loved on by KALB staff and board members. We truly enjoy being in a place where organizations work together to make this community great. The good of the community comes before any personal glory. THANK YOU!

Last, but not least, Leigh and I thank the wonderful men and women who have taken on the role of board member. We agree that our organization is blessed with the best board members. They are dedicated, hard-working, and so much fun!

THANK YOU just doesn’t express what is in our hearts. Every single person who volunteers with KALB, participates in fundraisers, or supports KALB financially is an important member of our family. Every business that sponsors events, provides in-kind products or services, or publicizes our activities has a value to this organization that we fully recognized.

We were happy to love on everyone who joined us for breakfast. To those who could not, we sure wish we could have told you in person just how much you mean to us.

THANK YOU just is not big enough…
By: Lynne Hart

The Athens Lions Club will again bring a piece of America to life this summer with the opening of their annual Kiddie Carnival June 29th. A mixture of joy, excitement and anticipation will fill the air as veteran and new riders wait their turn to ride one of the 10 rides for toddlers and young children. One such ride is the small vintage train that circles on its own track, riders scream and raise their arms as it goes through the dark train shed. Other kids and families wait in line for delicious favorites including funnel cakes, popcorn and hamburgers. Concessions also include corn dogs, chicken sandwiches, cold drinks, snow cones and dippin dots.

The Athens Lions Club Kiddie Carnival has provided generations of fun for kids and their parents, grandparents and friends. Located at the same site since 1957; it’s a summer pastime for many who now bring their kids out to enjoy the Kiddie Carnival. The Kiddie Carnival will open June 29th, with an opening ceremony at 6:00pm and rides opening around 6:30pm. Each ride requires just one 50 cent ticket. Families from surrounding communities are learning about this summer treasure of fun for their young kids.

As families enter the Kiddie Carnival, to their right old vintage rocket ships circle as the motor hums, kids giggle and watch the crowd as they zoom around. Just as the riders settle into the flight a Lion member changes the control so the rockets rise up a few feet, circle for a while in “orbit” and then drop back down. Other rides include small and large swings, a parachute ride that takes riders up as it circles and then come back down and a small scale roller coaster. The scrambler ride circles on its platform as kids spin in their seat, heading toward the crowd and then back to the center. Enjoyed by toddlers are the old fashion pedal cars that go around and the carousel with horses, as their parents stand beside them on the ride. For the more adventurous riders there is a small ferris wheel that takes the riders up above the crowd where they look over the sights and sounds of another fun night at the Kiddie Carnival.

The Kiddie Carnival is operated by Athens Lions Club members and other countless volunteers. Assistance to operate the Kiddie Carnival is provided by spouses of club members, the Leo Club, local high school sororities and other civic groups and businesses as well as individual volunteers.

Athens Lions President Tim Carter stated “It is a wonderful experience each summer to be able to witness all the kids having such a grand time at the carnival and knowing that at the same time we are raising funds that go to help some of our less fortunate families with expenses for correcting their visual problems.”

A part of the funds from last year’s Kiddie Carnival were recently used to fund scholarships for 5 local high school seniors who volunteered at the carnival and met other criteria. Lions International key focus area is sight. The Athens Lions Club supports this by helping those in the Athens who qualify with sight exams or glasses, as well as collecting used eyeglasses to be recycled. In the past year they have supported Alabama Lions Sight Conservation Association, Camp ASCCA and Camp Seale Harris, a camp for youth with diabetes and local causes.

The club, through manpower or funding, has provided assistance to Limestone Career Technical School Leo Club; Learn to read council, Hospice of Limestone County, Superhero Fun Day, Athens Grease Festival and the Athens Storytelling Festival. The big train has been taken to numerous civic events including riding in the Athens Christmas parade and providing rides at the Limestone Sherriff’s Special Needs Rodeo. It is the generous support of the Kiddie Carnival that allows these programs and community support by the Athens Lions Club.

The Kiddie Carnival is located across from Athens Middle School at 309 E Forrest Street. It is open every Thursday, Friday & Saturday night June 29th-August 5th from 6:30pm-9:30pm. Additional information about the Kiddie Carnival can be found at or their Facebook page: Athens Lions Club Kiddie Carnival.

Summer camps can be beneficial, enriching and fun. Choosing the right camp for your child can be difficult. The school year is more than half over and in just a little while kids will be out for the summer. When you are looking for something to do this summer, think of the Center for Lifelong Learning.

Why choose the Center for Lifelong Learning? Our camps are planned for fun first and include an academic component to keep the learning going during the summer. We offer a wide variety of programs for boys and girls, ages 8-12. In most cases, everything is included in the price of the camp, so there are no additional fees. Another reason to choose camps at the Center is the ratio of camper to teacher. We hire experienced teachers who work with just 10 campers at a time in most camps.

Archery Camp will be back for those campers interested in sports. This year we will be offering three new camps for the sports enthusiast – Fishing, Golf, and Soccer Camps. Last year the Archery Camp had a waiting list, so we recommend you register early for these camps.

From Cows to Cotton, Stop Motion Animation, and Smart Photography will be back for another year. The From Cows to Cotton camp will be touring new farms and focusing on different kinds of farmers. This camp filled last year too, so register early. Stop Motion Animation and Smart Photography will also be adding new components.

There are several new camps this year. There is a creative writing camp that will teach campers how to develop stories, and they will take home the collection of short stories from the camp. We will offer a Cooking School, co-sponsored by Food Fite, which will teach kids kitchen skills and let them cook a meal to take home for dinner. There is a camp that features Hip Hop moves and one that will feature sewing techniques. There are even science camps for the future scientists in your family. There are art camps in the works, too.

Most camps will be scheduled Monday through Thursday. Fridays will be reserved for Field Trip Fridays. Those campers who enroll in Field Trip Fridays will take short trips to local sites like the Huntsville Botanical Gardens.

Information about all of the camps and trips offered through the Center for Lifelong Learning will be available to the public on March 15. We will begin loading the website – – with details about the camps beginning March 1. You can look for information about camps on our Facebook page – Center for Lifelong Learning at Athens State University.

We also provide programming for adults. We are taking registration for our 2nd Annual Women’s Leadership Symposium on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, beginning at 9:00 a.m. at the Dynetics Solutions Complex in Huntsville. This year’s theme for the symposium is: “Leadership: It’s All In The Game.” Our featured keynote speaker is Mrs. Barbara Dooley – first lady of Georgia football, morning talk show host, author, and breast cancer survivor. Other speakers include Tina Tuggle, Director of Community Relations for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans; and Brooke and Audrie Hamann, two of Athens State’s own students who recently won the American Collegiate Rowing Association National Championship in May 2016. There will be three break-out session at the workshop: (1) Recruiting for a Winning Season; (2) Building a Championship Team; and (3) Retiring Your Number: How to Financially and Emotionally Prepare for Retirement.

Registration is available until March 1 at the sale price of $85. Regular tickets will be on sale for $95 beginning March 2. Please register by contacting the CLL at (256) 233-8260. More information is available on our website –
By: Wanda Campbell
Center for Lifelong Learning – 121 South Marion Street, Athens, AL 35611 – 256-233-8262

On March 10th and 11th, the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the annual Home and Garden Show, to be held once again in the Limestone County Event Center on Pryor Street. This expo has grown every year, draws attendees from all over the Tennessee Valley, and is the perfect way to prepare for spring.

More than 50 exhibitors come together to make the event happen, and the price for admission is two dollars. This year the Presenting Sponsor is Robin Rents; the Gold Sponsors are Persell Lumber and Top Job Roofing; Silver Sponsors are Alabama Foundation Specialists and Redstone Federal Credit Union; and the Bronze Sponsors are Collins Supply, Distinctive Landscaping, Inline Lighting, Jimmy Smith Buick/GMA, and Valley Mowing.

I spoke with Jennifer Williamson, Director of the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce, and there are several things about this year’s show that she finds particularly exciting. “First of all, Miss Alabama is coming, and that’s a first.” She went down the rest of her list with enthusiasm, which includes everything from learning how to distress furniture to attracting butterflies to your garden. “Keep Athens Limestone Beautiful just found out that they will have 800 tree seedlings to give away. There will be crape myrtle, shumard oak, redbud, bald cypress, blackgum and riverbirch,” she said. These will be available on a first come, first served basis, and just know that the crape myrtles especially sell out quickly.

One of the distinctive features of this year’s show is the number of hands-on demonstrations. For example, the Limestone County Extension Service is presenting a workshop entitled, “Screening the Noise, Neighbors and the Not-So-Pretty.” While I was fairly familiar with plants that provide privacy, I had never known that there are actual hedges that can help with soundproofing. That demonstration is going to be on Saturday at 10 am. The Extension Service is also going to teach us about container gardening, and will give away a beautifully planted container as a raffle prize.

The Huntsville Botanical Gardens, home of the largest seasonal butterfly house in the nation, will be presenting the Gardening to Attract Butterflies demonstration on Saturday morning at noon. Speaking of Huntsville, the HSV International Airport will be giving away a $500 travel voucher to be used on any airline of your choice that has a gate there. There will be door prizes and other giveaways sponsored by the vendors, and lots of activities for the kids.

Keep Athens Limestone Beautiful’s mascot, Sparky, will be providing photo ops with the kids, and KALB’s Director, Lynne Hart, told me that “Sparky will have goodies to give to the children.” Sparky will be appearing two times on Saturday: from 10:00 to 10:30 a.m. and from 1:00 to 1:30 p.m. There will also be a kid’s planting activity, also held twice on Saturday, from 10:30 til noon and 1:30 till 3 p.m.

Representatives from every aspect of home improvement will be present, from HVAC to roofs to windows to siding to plumbing to financing to more. For your garden, there will be people from a big-box store as well as a large local nursery. For your home’s interior, you can find help with custom picture framing, lighting, furniture selection, remodeling and radon detection. And, if all the choices before you make you feel stressed, there will be professional massage therapists to help with that.
Last year, more than 2,000 people attended because there is something for everyone at a price that can’t be beat. The Annual Limestone County Chamber of Commerce Home and Garden Show is one of my favorite ways to wait for spring to finally spring.

The Limestone County Chamber of Commerce Annual Home and Garden Show
Friday, March 10th from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, March 11th from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Limestone County Event Center, 114 West Pryor Street, Athens, AL 35611

For more information, visit or you can find the event on Facebook by visiting the event page Limestone County Home and Garden Show. You can also call the Chamber at 256-232-2600.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner