Athens Now is pleased to welcome Sarah Moquin Chadwell, the Director of the Family Resource Center here in Athens to our writing staff. Sarah graduated from the University of Alabama, and has had a career in broadcast journalism and media consulting. Her column will be focusing on the stories of the people of Athens she encounters every day, and her desire is to give them “a voice.”
Welcome, Sarah!


Don’t you just love a simple question?

It’s probably due to the fact that simple questions require minimal brain power to process and respond as we are facing the never ending complexities of our smart phone, Facebook, CNN, twitter (still haven’t tried it) life.

Dry or wet food for the cats? Jeans or shorts? Tomatoes with or without the skins before placing in the salad?
My name is Sarah Chadwell, and I work alongside three educated, talented, and gifted woman who are finding that simple questions posed to them each day are requiring more and more complicated, heart wrenching, and resource draining answers.

You may have heard of the Athens Limestone County Family Resource Center. We are located on Jefferson Street right next to Dub’s, and on most days you will find single struggling mothers, jobless fathers, and families who find themselves under – educated or with low incomes and who are about to be homeless or hungry. They also realize they need someone to help them make a positive change on a path that is going totally off course.

These families have simple questions: “Do you have diapers, as I cannot buy them this month?” “Can you help us find a job?” Or, “We have been evicted and are living in the hotel with our two children, is there a low cost place to live?”

Our Social Worker, Parent Educator, and Juvenile Community Service program directors just don’t know how to give a simple answer. That’s because they know that these questions are just the top of a mountain of personal and family circumstances, social and education issues, drug or alcohol addictions and more that have brought them to our Resource Center.

Let’s go back a few years ago, when Governor Bob Riley had the opportunity to do a study asking another simple question: “How can we improve social service support to Alabama families in need?” The answer was based on research in other communities and states, research that showed that to create a positive change for a family in need, you must solve the immediate crisis first (emergency shelter, food and safety.) But in addition, you must provide the social service tools, the personal one-on-one guidance and mentoring, in order to help the family move out of their situation for the long term.

So, the simple answer to Governor Riley’s question was that “communities need a Family Resource Center to create positive changes for both now and the future.”

The Athens Family Resource Center has operated for over five years at their Jefferson Street location, and is designed to be the “go to place” to find information on existing resources (food banks, community action, hospice, Learn to Read, DHR and so much more) AND provide a visiting home for resources not available in our community but that are needed. Here in Athens, we provide an opportunity for families to visit the Morgan County Career Link / Employment office, Madison County’s LAUNCH to help youth find jobs, Morgan county Vocational Rehab to help our disabled, and the Madison County Crisis services to support victims of violence. Even if they are based in other counties, they are funded to provide personal support to families here in our community.

Once that simple question of “can you help me” is asked, we find that by having all the puzzle pieces or social services information at our fingertips, we can empower each family to find an individualized solution that works.

It only involves our staff and their talents who are using community resources to support local families with our local government support.
Sound simple? It may.

Why should you care? That’s really up to you. It is your community and our families’ future. Just one simple question to think about!

People who know me can’t believe that I am really a shy person. How could I be shy when I seem so at ease while I talk on television and radio, give speeches to community groups, and introduce myself in crowds? This is how I can do that.

As I said in this column before, we moved a lot when I was a kid. Moving was really hard for me, especially when we moved while I was in high school. I had visions of not going to the prom, and being left out of everything that makes high school special. Not only was I going to miss prom, but we moved in the middle of the year, and everybody already had their groups formed. On top of that, our stuff was not going to get there in time for Christmas.

Since my life was “ruined,” I figured I would go spend money at the base shopping center. I was really surprised to run into a boy by the name of Alan Boyd there. Alan and I met in middle school in Clarksville, Tennessee. As we sat in the cafeteria catching up, I told him about my ruined life, and he told me that since I was in a new place, I could be anything I wanted to be. All I had to do was ‘fake it until I make it.’ I was really glad to have a friend in our new place, but he was leaving the next day.

Talking with Alan made me feel better, but I wasn’t sure I could do it. I knew mom always said things such as, “The new place will be as good as you let it be,” or, “You will have as much fun as you want to.” And those sayings always seemed to work out. I decided I would try it.

The first day of school at Mannheim American High School in Germany, I said hello to everyone I saw. I asked questions in class. I went home with a stomach ache. Every morning I had to remind myself that I was going to ‘fake it until I made myself one of the popular kids.’ Every morning I would tell myself I could do it.

By spring, I knew quite a few kids in school. I tried out for cheerleader and made it. I tried out for drama club and “starred” in a play called “Zingu.” I ran for Junior class Secretary and was elected. I had “made it.”

This may sound easy, but it was not. Every day I had to remind myself that I could do these things. Every day I had to force myself to perform the actions that would help me succeed. There were days I wanted to hide in the corner, and there were days I did not think it was working.

Some say you can change a habit in 30 days. I think it takes longer than that. There are days I still want to fall back on my old habits. From 13 Things to Avoid When Changing Habits, ZenHabits, http://zenhabits.net/13-things-to-avoid-when-changing-habits/, Jim Ryun, former athlete and politician, is quoted as saying “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Aristotle is quoted as saying, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” So, if you are going to make learning into a lifestyle, you might just have to “fake it” for awhile in the process, but if your heart is true, you will indeed “make it,” and the effort will surely be worth it.
By: Wanda Campbell

The Tanner Tractor and Truck Pull, hosted by the Tanner Quarterback Club, is one of the largest events in the South. The pull will be at 7:00 PM, July 27thand 28that Tanner High School. Each night includes six classes sanctioned by the NTPA/Mid-South Pullers Association. On Saturday night the dual-wheel farm tractors join the competition.

Bring the entire family and enjoy this event. If you only go to one tractor/truck pull this year, this should be the one. Each night is full of excitement and fun. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children over 6. Children 6 and under are admitted free, and concessions are available. Event proceeds benefit the Tanner High School athletics and Tanner youth sports.

To find out more about the Tanner Pull call 256-497-4309 For information about this and other Athens-Limestone County events call 256-232-5411/256-867-1438 or visit our website, WWW.VisitAthensAL.com.
By Jeanette Dunnavant, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association


I am so excited and I can’t wait! We have three bushes that are loaded with green tomatoes, and you would think I had never been in a garden before.

We had gardens in a lot of places when I was growing up. I was never responsible for the planting or caring for plants; Mom and Dad did that. I did not have to pick much because I was allergic to most of the plants. My eyes swelled up and I “got itches,” so I could wait by the car while everyone else worked the garden.

I did love the food that came out of the garden though, especially homegrown tomatoes. I would eat okra if it was fried real hard, and green beans were okay. The corn was great, as was shucking ears when they were picked. I was not as fond of squash or zucchini, unless they were dipped in cornmeal and fried. The field peas were the worst, no matter which way they were cooked. Canning and freezing were not my favorite work, and fortunately, I did not have to do it often.

Gardens were a lot of work when I was a kid even though I only did a little bit of it. Once I got married and moved away from home, there was not much time to think about gardens.

We had four kids, and both of us worked most places we lived. There were lots of reasons not to have a garden. The biggest reason, though, was that I had a black thumb.


In the early ‘90s I got a subscription to Plant a Month Club. A nursery would send me a new plant every month with instructions for how to care for the plant. I would put the plant in full sun, partial sun, lots of water, no water – whatever the directions said to do. It did not matter. Within two weeks my plant of the month died. I am not talking droopy leaves, wilted died; I am talking all the leaves falling off, black stalks died. You could hear plants coming to my house crying before they ever got there. They knew their fate.

So how did I get three bushes full of tomatoes? That was easy. I used the pots my mom used to grow her garden last year. Mom can grow sticks so I knew the pots had absorbed good gardener vibes. And, I let my granddaughter, Christina, plant them. She is only 12, but she likes to plant things. I asked my sons to water and feed them. Ben is very into organic gardening and how things work, so he was willing. Brian just likes to help out. That leaves picking them. I will probably get someone else to do this part too, just to be sure my bad gardener cooties don’t get on them. I will just look and enjoy the fruits of everyone else’s labor.

Knowing your limits is part of learning. Knowing how to delegate is learned, too. That’s how you get three bushes full of tomatoes.
By Wanda Campbell

Tired of the hustle-bustle urban life in Athens? I recommend a therapeutic day trip to tiny Aliceville in Pickens County, Alabama where life
is slow and folks are friendly. Recently I accompanied Athens residents Bill Ward and Jerry Crabtree there to visit the Aliceville Museum, touted as “Home of the Largest World War II German POW Camp Collection in the U.S.” Bill, a board member of the Alabama Veterans Museum, is a native of Pickens County. Jerry Crabtree is President of the Veterans Museum, and a retired Athens cop. I soon learned that when Bill Ward is driving, having a cop onboard is mighty handy.

We departed Athens at 7 a.m. and drove to Moulton, where I hoped to have a fine breakfast to sustain me during the 3-hour drive. When we headed down scenic Alabama 33, (that meanders through Bankhead Forest,) my stomach growled in protest. There would be no breakfast. At Double Springs, a blue and white cruiser did a U-turn, and flashed on blue lights.

“Sir, you were doing 65 in a 35,” the young cop said, pulling out his ticket book.

“Yes sir, I’m awfully sorry,” said Bill apologizing. I’ve never witnessed such boot licking in my life, but it worked!

“Well, I’ll just give you a warning ticket,” the cop finally said.

That’s when Jerry Crabtree flashed his cop card and the officer wilted like a vampire before a cross.

“Ya’ll have a nice day,” he said, and we sped off.

“Just professional courtesy,” quipped Crabtree.

My stomach growled. “I’m hungry.”

“After touring the museum we’ll eat at the Plantation House in Aliceville,” Bill said. “It’s a fine place.”

A hungry man doesn’t care how fine a restaurant is; he wants food, now! Bill pulled in at Barbara Ann’s place, a logger’s hangout. While he
pumped gas, I gourged down a giant chicken biscuit. My stomach stopped complaining and converted into a grease trap.

At Carrollton, we stopped at the courthouse to see “the face in the window.” According to Bill, after being arrested for burning the courthouse in 1876, Henry Wells was placed in the garret of the newly-built courthouse for safe keeping from a mob. While looking out at the mob, lightning struck and imprinted his likeness on the glass. I didn‘t believe it. We stood in the middle of the street in a rain shower looking up.

“Look!” said Bill. “Do you see it?”

“Well, I’ll be doggone,” I said, seeing a face. Whether it was Henry Wells, I can’t say, but the face is there.

At the Aliceville Museum, housed in a 1940’s Coca- Cola bottling plant, we were welcomed by a friendly brunette named Bobbie Renee Unruh, its Director. By the way, admission is only $5.00 for adults, and $4 for senior adults, Military and students.

After Rommel’s proud Afrika Corps crumbled before British forces advancing across North Africa in 1942, 6,000 German POWs arrived by train in tiny Aliceville on June 2, 1943. There they were confined behind barbed wire on 400 acres. The Geneva Convention
was strictly followed. Officers didn’t work, and, if the enlisted men chose to work outside the camp, they were paid 10? an hour. They were fed foods that many Americans couldn’t obtain because of rationing. Peanut butter on white bread, something that they had never heard of, was their favorite. The POWs organized an orchestra, produced plays and concerts, wrote poetry, and promoted the arts. The walls of the museum display drawings, portraits and paintings, and in the courtyard are three sculptures. The museum is also chocked full of American military memorabilia, and for the record, Pickens County boasts two Medal of Honor recipients. Remarkable!

Finally, Bill decided it was dinner time and took us to the Plantation House, a roomy, two-story former family home that has been converted into a restaurant. A salad bar and large buffet of fried chicken and such made the waiting worthwhile. The museum is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4p.m and by appointment on Saturday. The Plantation House is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

So, get out of your rut and visit the Aliceville Museum. Remember, there is no Cracker Barrel in Bank Head Forest and don’t dare speed in Double Springs – that is, unless you have a cop card! A plate of fried chicken at the Plantation House will make your trip worthwhile.
By Jerry Barksdale


It’s hard to have a bad day when you are walking
around in summer’s cheerful colors, so start smiling because color blocking is BIG this year in fashion. Wonderful color combinations were all over NY fashion week on the runways. What is color blocking? It’s a styling technique of mixing and matching colors that your Mom would probably call “clashing” colors. If there’s ever been a great time to wear loud bursts of color, it’s now.

Forget the old rules – you can SO wear red and pink together! The trick is to pair neighboring hues on the color wheel such as yellow-orange, purplepink or blue-green. Now draw a straight line across the color wheel from one of your selected colors to the opposite side of the wheel. Voila – the perfect accent color! Adding it to your ensemble is as easy as grabbing a colorful accessory like jewelry or a belt. Do yourself (and the rest of us) a favor and stick to 3 colors max to avoid the “Rainbow Brite” look!

Feeling adventurous? Try matching up more vibrant, but still-complimentary colors, such as the orange, turquoise and white necklace pictured below. Go for contrasting shades such as bold, primary colors – opposites attract, after all. For a more subdued look, pair like-colors such as purple/blue or pink/red that complement each other. For a true color blocking impact, leave the leopard spots and other prints home – solids only.

With all that color, the best choice for shoes would be a nude color or other neutral. Nude shoes are one of the hottest shoe trends right now and are a perfect finish to your color-blocking not to mention they make your legs look longer- woo-hoo!

A little shy about colorblocking your clothes? Try it in your jewelry, such as Guy & Eva’s trendy color-combos. Bright, colorful jewelry is the perfect finish to pull ALL of your fabulous summer looks together! Pam Hartmann is a Style Advisor for Guy & Eva Jewelry and has recently been trained through their new Style Academy. Attend a Guy and Eva Style Session to get the latest fashion tips, learn the best-styling for your body-type, face shape and coloring. To find out more about scheduling a session with your friends and earning free jewelry, contact Pam at 256-729- 1160 or email her at guyandeva.pamh@yahoo. com. Her website is www.guyandeva.com/pamhart.

Athens Fireworks organizers are excited to announce that we will begin this year’s celebration early by having the Independence Day Celebration Fireworks Show on Saturday June 30th at dusk. By having the event on Saturday night instead of Wednesday night, this allows families and churches to have their own celebrations.

Independence Day is a favorite holiday of children because they enjoy the exciting and noisy fireworks. The fireworks are symbolic of when the United States became independent of Great Britain on July 4, 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was approved. We all should remember that this holiday is the result of the valiant efforts and strong commitment of our American forefathers. We are fortunate enough to live in this wonderful USA and we should work together to maintain the integrity and values established by our forefathers.

Come to town early and have dinner and check out the unique shops downtown. Also, prior to the show will be a wonderful opportunity to honor all veterans by visiting the Alabama Veterans’ Museum which will be open 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. The museum is located at 100 West Pryor Street.
Contact Museum Director Sandy Thompson about groups and other information at 256- 771-7578.

This year the fireworks show is made possible by the City of Athens, Limestone County Commission, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association and Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce. The event will be held at Athens High School. A beautiful show is planned. Bring the entire family and enjoy the show.

For more information, contact Jeanette Dunnavant at 256-232-5411/256-867- 1438 or Jennifer Williamson at 256-232-2600.

Ok, I have lived here in Alabama for two years now. I have not lost my “Boston Accent” yet. I know this because when I am speaking to someone for the first time I get a funny look, along with a slightly tilted head and the question, “You’re not from here are ya?”. I am now. So I thought it would be fun to do a little comparing to how the true Bostonians talk as compared to the rest of the world.

Below you will find what Boston is about and how to understand their language. Have fun, and as we say in the South, “Bless Your Hearts!”

How To Say These Massachusetts City Names Correctly:
Worcester: Wuhsta (or Wistah)
Gloucester: Glawsta
Leicester: Lesta
Woburn: Woobun
Dedham : Dead-urn
Revere: Re -vee-ah
Quincy: Quinzee
Tewksbury: Tooks ber ry
Leominster: Le-min-sta
Peabody: Pee-ba-dee
Waltham : Walth-ham
Chatham : Chaddurn
Samoset: Sam-oh-set or Sum-aw-set, but nevah Summerset!

Boston Food & Drink
Frappes are made with ice cream; milkshakes are not.
Soda means CLUB SODA.
Pop refers to DAD.
Tonic is ANY carbonated beverage – except Tonic Water, When we want Tonic WATER, we will ask for TONIC WATER.

The smallest beer is a pint. Order the cold tea in China Town after 2:00 am; you will get a kettle full of beer. Scrod is whatever they tell you it is, usually fish – If you paid more than $7/pound, you got scrod.

It is not a water fountain; it is a bubblah. It is not a spucky, a hero, or a grinder; it is a sub. They are not franks; they are haht dahgs; franks are money used in Switzahland.

North, South, East, West, Getting Around Boston
The geographical center of Boston is in Roxbury. Due north of the center we find the South End. Due East of that is South Boston (Southie). The South End is the South End. East Boston is Eastie. The North End is southwest of East Boston and east of the former West
End. The West End and Scully Square are no more; a guy named Rappaport got rid of them one night. Roxbury is The Burree, Jamaica Plain is J.P.

There is no school on School Street, no court on Court Street, no dock on Dock Square, and no water on Water Street.

Back Bay streets are in alphabetical awddah: Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, etc. So are SouthBoston streets: A, B, C, D, etc.

There are two State Houses, two City Halls, two courthouses, and two Hancock buildings (one is very old; one is relatively new).

If the streets are named after trees (e.g. Walnut, Chestnut, Cedar), you are on Beacon Hill. If they are named after poets, you are in Wellesley. Massachusetts Avenue is Mass Ave. Commonwealth Avenue is Comm
Ave. Route 128 South is 1-95 south. It is also 1-93 North.

The underground train is not a subway. It is the T, and it does not run all night. (This ain’t Noo Yawk). Bostonians think that it is
their God-given right to cut off someone in traffic.

Bostonians always hang a left as soon as the light turns green, and oncoming traffic always expects it. Bostonians believe that using your turn signal is a sign of weakness.

The Weatha
Bostonians think that three straight days of 90+ temperatures is a heat wave. Bostonians refer to six inches of snow as a dusting.

Bostonians think that 63 degree ocean water is warm, and that the colored lights on top of the old Hancock Building predict “the weatha:” Solid blue, clear view.” “Flashing blue, clouds due.” “Solid red, rain ahead.” “Flashing red, snow instead.” (except in summer, flashing red means the Red Sox game was rained out!”)